E-commerce comes with stark challenges. Implementing an e-commerce shipping strategy may lead to problems with visibility, channel isolation, delays in fulfillment, poor returns management, international trade issues and more. This risk could lead to severe setbacks in customer service and damage customer-shipper relationships, as well as shipper-carrier relationships. Shippers that want to prevent relationships from dissolving need to understand the risk of poor e-commerce service in the modern era, how less than truckload freight management and less than truckload service can solve some of the problems present in e-commerce and how to choose the right less than truckload service provider for e-commerce and omnichannel shipping.
The Risk of Poor Customer Service
Poor customer service can decimate a company, and the power of the consumer is expanding. In the European Union (EU), customers can now send feedback regarding service up to three months after a product arrives among ocean liner companies, reports Tomas Kristiansen of Shipping Watch.com. While this may seem unrelated to LTL, remember ocean freight has an LTL-similar type of freight called less than container load. In the global nature of e-commerce, this will have an impact on shippers’ sending products through the EU.
Less Than Truckload Service Can Move Products Faster and Give Customers Peace of Mind
The allure of less than truckload service derives from its multi-stop nature, as well as average shipment size. Since LTL involves the consolidation of multiple shipments from numerous shippers, it inherently has fewer costs of transportation. However, the added capacity crunch places greater pressure for moving product faster, and as carriers work to increase productivity, shippers can tap into the value of LTL carriers to give customers peace of mind and move product faster than waiting on a slow truckload. Additional ways shippers can ensure the right customer experience, reports UniShippers.com, include:
- Make shipping seamless.
- Integrate shipping management.
- Be present.
- Offer more delivery options.
- Mind social media.
- Be transparent.
- Keep freight spend under control by not throwing in the kitchen sink with each purchase.
[WHITE PAPER] The Current Factors Driving the Less Than Truckload Pricing Market
How to Choose the Right LTL Provider
There are a few things shippers should consider when selecting LTL providers, including:
- Service Guarantees
- Accessorial charges
- Loading and unloading services
- Value-added services, like invoice auditing, final mile logistics delivery & white glove service, and other services.
- Integration with the TMS or other ERP systems
- Cargo insurance
- Ease in shipment processing, including the use of a digital bill of lading.
- Dimensional pricing
- Fleet sizes
- Partnering LTL transportation networks, extending beyond stated service region
Putting It All Together
A misstep in shipping can put even the most significant savings to shame. If a customer expects to receive a shipment on Monday, delays until Tuesday can result in an additional return. Failure to notify customers of delays until after checkout, if at all, can result in the loss of a customer altogether. In the age of social media, customers’ voices are powerful and can be shared with the entire world in the blink of an eye. Shippers and carriers must work together to ensure customers’ expectations are met, and part of this lies in choosing the right less than truckload service to give customers a winning experience.
There will be times when problems are unavoidable, but it is being able to respond to issues and present real-world, acceptable resolutions that can mean the difference between positive and negative customer experiences. Shippers need to choose the right service providers, and carriers need to follow through.
The most significant power in navigating the complexities of the capacity crunch, demand for integrated platforms for LTL and e-commerce, the driver shortage, fuel surcharges, DIM pricing and everything else lies in knowledge. Shippers, carriers, drivers, freight brokers, and Bill from accounting are a team that should work seamlessly to provide the best experience possible, at the lowest rate and with the fewest delays. To bring this series to a close, remember that, collaboration and use of technology for better efficiency, is the heart of successful LTL freight spend management.