Partnering with a top-tier logistics provider can help your company expand its services, scale its operations, and compete with industry giants.

In the fast-paced e-commerce market, industry giants such as Amazon and Walmart have leveraged quick and inexpensive delivery to attract consumers and drive customer loyalty. Indeed, with Amazon posting nearly $178 billion in revenue in 2017 and Walmart seeing a 44% increase in online sales the same year, it’s clear that both e-commerce heavyweights are moving to consolidate their hold on the market.

For ambitious companies operating at a more modest scale, competing with e-commerce powerhouses can be a challenge. However, there are steps that they can take to streamline their supply chains, engage positively with customers, and set themselves up for short- and long-term success.

Curious how to start, and how an experienced logistics provider can help? Consider these six ways that e-commerce businesses can keep pace with industry heavyweights. For supply chain managers throughout the shipping and logistics space, these tips are a must.

1. Provide Great Customer Service

As any e-commerce expert can tell you, committing to great customer service from first touch to final delivery (and beyond, if returns are necessary) is essential to building a positive brand in the online retail space. By offering polite and responsive customer service to your patrons, you can demonstrate that you take every stage of the supply chain seriously, even if they’ve already checked out of their online cart.

2. Give Customers Advanced Tracking Tools

While e-commerce has been so successful for numerous reasons, the ability for customers to feel in control of their delivery is key. By offering them convenient delivery options and empowering them to check in on their order status with sophisticated tracking tools, you can make patrons feel like they’re part of the process, rather than sidelined bystanders.

3. Carefully Manage Your Inventory

As online orders surge and customers expect increasingly faster delivery times, e-retailers need to be strategic when it comes to managing their inventory. For example, you need enough product on hand to meet consumer demand, yet you don’t want to maintain such a large stockpile that you’re paying for storage space you don’t strictly need. By incorporating an advanced warehouse management system (WMS) into your operation, supply chain managers can gain greater visibility, whether that means predicting and preparing for heightened demand or organizing facilities as efficiently as possible.

4. Streamline Your Reverse Logistics Strategy

According to research, 58% of consumers want a hassle-free, “no questions asked” return policy when shopping online. For businesses operating in the e-commerce sector, attracting new customers — and retaining them — hinges on making the ordering and returns processes as streamlined as possible. By adopting omnichannel strategies that include effective reverse logistics, your business can bring in new business and encourage repeat sales.

5. Balance Shipping Costs

Industry giants such as Amazon benefit from widespread internal infrastructure that lets them offer convenient services — services that would normally cause losses for smaller companies. For more modest businesses, however, it’s still possible to optimize supply chains for e-commerce without eating heavily into your profit margins.

By consolidating less-than-truckload (LTL) orders into high-volume shipments, for example, you can lower your overhead and boost efficiency. With strategic planning from the get-go, you can ensure that you’re meeting demand without wasting money doing it.

6. Work with a Proven Logistics Provider

For businesses hoping to stay competitive with larger online retailers, partnering with a tried-and-tested shipping and logistics provider can drive lasting value. Indeed, working with a third-party logistics (3PL) partner or integrated logistics services provider (ISP) can yield industry-leading expertise, advanced infrastructural support, and proven e-commerce strategies, all of which will position your company to succeed in an increasingly competitive online space.

With over twenty years of experience in the shipping and logistics industry, Primary Freight is strategically positioned to help online retailers scale confidently and tactically. Thanks to our award-winning customer support and sophisticated logistical suite of technology, we have the resources e-commerce companies need to thrive, as well as the expertise to surmount short- and long-term obstacles throughout the online retail sector. If your business needs personalized, around-the-clock e-commerce support, consider reaching out to Primary Freight for a custom logistics strategy that works for you.

To learn more about Primary Freight’s award-winning shipping and logistics services, give us a call at (800)-635-0013.