Transitioning from self-fulfillment to working with a Third Party Logistics (3PL) company is one of the biggest strategic decisions for a growing eCommerce company. It takes planning, proper budgeting and perhaps most importantly, trusting the 3PL to optimize the fulfillment process and deliver for your customers.
At Easyship, when you contact us about your shipping and fulfillment needs, you’ll be connected with a dedicated onboarding manager responsible for your account. But, what exactly does an onboarding manager do? Let’s take a look.
How an Onboarding Manager Helps eCommerce Businesses Optimize Their Shipping & Fulfillment
During the initial conversations, the manager will ask you questions about your current shipping, specific pain points, and long term goals for the company. Here are a few examples of questions you can expect:
- How do you fulfill orders?
- What criteria do use to select one courier or the other?
- What outcomes are most important to you? Is it to reduce costs? Shorter delivery time? Great tracking?
What are the Common Business Goals for Switching to a 3PL?
According to Easyship Onboarding Manager Andre Greco, “most customers focus on reducing shipping costs, so we help them understand what's behind shipping rates (for example, handling quality, courier's insurance coverage, delivery times, headaches when things go wrong and parcels are lost or damaged).”
When making the switch to a 3PL it’s important to have long term strategic goals in mind. Typically if you’ve reached the point where you are contemplating making the switch, you’re thinking about a few major objectives, such as:
- Saving Money: Moving to a 3PL can save you money on shipping costs by cutting down on the time and labor you put into doing it yourself. Plus you can automate shipping routines, and cut down on customer support tickets.
- Global Expansion: A 3PL will make it more affordable to ship to more countries through global fulfillment and a larger courier assortment. This means you can pursue a larger pool of potential clients through marketing. You can also expect to reduce cart abandonment because shipping will be cheaper due to close fulfillment warehouses, and you can find more affordable and efficient local couriers.
- Improved Customer Experience: You will have more courier options and access to the best local services. There will be fewer tickets per order and you will receive customer ratings on the shipping options you choose. With Easyship, you have a branded delivery experience, including a branded tracking page and email.
- Access expertise and analytics: Working with Easyship opens you up to the expertise of our partner network, including shipping and fulfillment strategy, customized recommendations based on your shipping data and comprehensive analytics. With our network, you are gaining access to decades of experience and insights.
Another key conversation revolves around choosing courier services. The onboarding manager will provide the benefits and drawbacks of the different solutions, and make a recommendation that will be best for your business.
With Easyship and our partners, you will have access to over 250+ shipping solutions, through 50+ couriers. These options will be critical in allowing you to save money and expand into cross-border shipping.
As Greco articulates, having options is important but also requires expertise to navigate.
“You may want to choose express or hybrid services over postal services depending on the price point of the product you ship. It’s preferable to give your customers an option through our rates at checkout, or build in a selling price at a higher shipping cost and have more flexibility with the shipping solutions you choose.”
Special Shipping Services and Direct Injection
Easyship has partnerships with over 50+ courier companies, and many of them while not the famous big names, offer great cost savings in local markets. For example, SF Express is popular in China and provides great cost savings, so the onboarding manager will help you find the right shipping solutions for their destinations.
Besides the shipping options available on our platform, we have special, off-platform solutions that we can offer to clients shipping in high volumes. These generally include a freight solution from A to B + last mile to their customers' door. These can help cut down on costs tremendously for large volume shipments.
Direction injection is another important consideration. This basically allows you to ship big volumes in a limited period of time to save money. The delivery times are generally longer than express shipping, but direct injection is can be attractive especially if you are shipping out of China or Hong Kong to the US, where you can use the 321 clearance and avoid taxes and duties (depending on the commodity and on the value of the shipment, which should be below 800 USD).
Once the manager understands your current shipping and warehousing process, and company goals, they will then craft a shipping a fulfillment strategy they think will best suit your needs.
After both sides agree on the strategy, it’s time to implement.
How Long Does it Take to Set Up the Warehouse?
The next step will involve an introduction to the new warehouse partners, and setting up up time to onboard onto the Easyship platform. This can take anywhere between 1-2 weeks depending on the needs of the client. For example, if you need time to figure our your SKUs or packaging details, it could take longer. It also depends on when you are ready to ship inventory to the warehouse.
Setting Up Warehouse and Shipping Automation With Easyship
Once the set-up process is completed, then the manager will cover how to automate shipping processes with the goal of saving time on order processing.
Here’s how warehouse automation works through Easyship:
- Let our system know what couriers you want to use. You can do this by either installing our Rates at Checkout feature, which will automatically choose the best couriers for your customer, or create shipping rules if you have additional preferences.
- Enter your product information in our Products feature. By entering information such as the SKU, product name, dimensions, and weight, Easyship will be able to provide the most accurate quote for your shipment. You’ll only need to do this once.
- Easyship will automatically sync your orders daily. Couriers will be chosen based on the Checkout options, or your shipping rules. All required shipping documents will be automatically generated, and they along with the order details will be sent to the warehouse for fulfillment every day.
- The warehouse will pick, pack, and ship your orders. All of this can happen while you’re sleeping, working on your marketing strategy, watching your sales go up… you get the gist.
Once the setup is complete and your goods are in the warehouse, it’ll be time to go live!
The onboarding manager will be there for support you through the process, answering any questions until the warehouse is live and the process operating smoothly. At this stage, they may also make further partner recommendations.
“We have a large partner ecosystem in many of different verticals, such as marketing, warehousing and finance. Many clients are building their business, and often need a hand in some areas that are not necessarily in our expertise. We understand that and we often introduce them to partners that can help them overcome any obstacle they encounter along the road,” said Greco.
What’s the pricing structure and are there long term commitments?
There are no set up fees, and we believe in a simplified pricing structure that removes the hidden fees you might find working with other warehouses. Cloud and e-fulfillment are month-to-month subscription models, so you can cancel at any time. We work closely with our warehouse partners to guarantee flexible solutions tailored made to your needs, with pre-negotiated discounted fulfillment rates.
How Do You Stay Connected?
The onboarding manager will be the point of contact at Easyship going forward and will handle any issues or questions with the warehouse partner to ensure smooth operations. You can also contact us 24/7 by email, phone or chat.
Are you ready to switch to a Third Party Logistics (3PL)? Get in touch and we can help you with the transition and answer any questions you might have.