In the supply chain industry doing a great job is vital, but to be a truly successful third-party logistics provider or warehouse you need to make that work pay off for future growth.
With more customers than ever relying on off-site distribution facility services to streamline their shipping needs, knowing how to effectively promote your best service offerings to prospective and current customers is important. Your 3PL or warehouse can maintain an edge over the competition vying for the same customers by promoting your strongest traits, all while helping your warehouse increase sales and customer satisfaction.
What Makes Your Warehouse Unique?
Continuing disruption in the supply chain worldwide has inherently changed the relationship between distribution facilities and clients, with more reliance upon the warehouse for inventory movement. According to Supply Chain Dive, “Logistics sourcing strategies have historically been focused on lowering rates. In times of space abundance and high levels of competition, this was indeed the best strategy. Back then, third-party logistics providers had lean margins that made it irrelevant for shippers to invest in strong partnerships with them.”
Today, prospects are looking at all services and benefits a warehouse can provide to determine which one is the best fit for them. Don’t let your company get lost in the cluttered market of warehouses that all seem alike. Showcase your strong points and explain how your warehouse is different from the rest.
Services That Add Value
Is your warehouse facility known for the ability to handle high-volume distribution or as an expert in hazmat or chain-of-custody logistics? How about your exemplary customer service and problem-solving abilities? Or maybe your warehouse is very efficient when it comes to processing returns or sending out subscription shipments? Do you call attention to your value-added services when seeking new customers or expanding your facility’s role with an existing customer?
It’s very important to use your company’s strengths to your advantage. As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says, “Part of a healthy business relationship is respect and good customer service. 3PLs with eager-to-help, creative problem-solving team members can save you money and provide an enjoyable working relationship,” according to a 2021 post by CO.
By offering specialized services, 3PL warehouses can distinguish themselves from others. As Supply Chain Dive also notes, “Segmentation is the process of differentiating suppliers in terms of their impact on the organization and the potential risks posed — service failures, security, or compliance risks. But 3PL segmentation shouldn’t just be based on spending and volume drivers. Some 3PLs might be specialists in cold chain or handling dangerous goods, for example.”
Your WMS Software Capabilities
3PLs and distribution facilities do not all use the same WMS (warehouse management system) software. Nor does all WMS software offer all the same benefits and services. When advising customers seeking a new distribution partner, Inbound Logistics suggests that a 3PL should have robust technology for handling today’s challenging supply chain. "Your provider should offer advanced technology solutions. You may not need such sophisticated systems right now, but your business is always evolving. An experienced 3PL can help you leverage postponement strategies to optimize inventory and deliver excellent service.”
What can you do? Highlight how key features of your 3PL warehouse management software can offer a solution for a client’s specific needs. A prospective warehouse customer will often consider:
- WMS software industry standing
- Exceptional security features
- Continual upgrades and improvements
- Fault-free operations
- Customizable fields and reporting
- Easy integration with external systems such as EDI, WCS, accounting, and billing.
Find out what's important for the client and highlight your capabilities in these areas.
How Do You Save Customers Money?
Some potential and existing customers will only focus on the bottom line and how your 3PL or warehouse can save them time and money in the long run. Show them how you can help by highlighting their current or potential savings. This might include removing their logistical burdens with your industry expertise, operational efficiencies, price negotiation skills, exceptionally accurate picking ability, or tiered storage options.
However, it’s also important to mention to prospects that “choosing a logistics partner shouldn’t just be based on the cost, as there will always be a cheaper option somewhere out there. The trust factor is what one needs to be looking for in a reliable partner.” - Seth Rothbard, franchise owner of InXpress.
Promote Your Continual Company Investment
Showcase how your 3PL or warehouse invests in key capital and operational improvements to prepare for the future. This could include your commitment to ongoing employee training and quality processes, utilizing and upgrading the best WMS software, and facility and technology investments. Customers want to know that the 3PL or warehouse facility they are partnering with isn’t stagnant and can keep up with the ever-changing global supply chain and any challenges it can present.
Show How Customers Can Increase Their Business by Choosing Your Warehouse
Partnering with your 3PL or warehouse isn’t just about relieving a customer’s logistics burden. It affords them the opportunity to increase sales. Inform current customers and prospects about how your 3PL services can lead to increased profits for them. A huge customer benefit is the ability to be flexible with their inventory levels as needed at your facility. That way they can adjust SKU quantities up or down based on their sales volume, especially helpful for seasonal products.
In addition, 3PLs are a go-to option to increase a customer’s distribution capacity without tying up capital by constructing costly new facilities. They also have the ability to warehouse products of all types and sizes on a contractual basis. A prospect may even be able to compete in geographical areas they may have not had access to prior, even globally. Don’t forget to mention how they can increase customer satisfaction due to your quick and efficient warehouse management system shipping process, which can lead to increased (and repeat!) sales. All of these factors can help your 3PL or warehouse maintain customer satisfaction and secure new business.
Don’t Forget About the Internet
In the past, most current and prospective customer contact came in the form of cold calls, industry events, and trade shows. While these are making a comeback, the world has changed and a 3PL or warehouse cannot simply rely on face-to-face sales techniques alone.
The Internet is more important now than ever for generating new leads and promoting your company. Warehouses that have taken advantage of online marketing have been making strides over their competition. Following are some tips on how to increase your online footprint.
Use Your Company Website
A 3PL or warehousing website should offer information important to prospects and current customers. It’s important that it is easy to navigate, has your company’s contact information basics, and includes your areas of expertise in detail for web search engines.
Include a Call to Action (CTA) throughout your site. CTAs can include links to actions such as a Contact Us form to request more information, a Video Tour, or to download a brochure.
Customer reviews and testimonials are of interest to prospects. You can also increase your website’s search engine rankings by enhancing your SEO (search engine optimization) by having your copy include keywords or phrases that your prospective customers might enter into a search engine like Google or Bing when they are looking for a 3pl or warehouse partner.
Since a common search query is "3pl (or warehouse) near me," be sure your business' service area is well-defined on your website. Also consider listing your location(s) with Google, Yelp!, and other free listing services to ensure you get appropriate local or regional visitors to your website.
Social Media is for Businesses Too
Social media has come a long way since its original intent as a social interaction tool. Businesses now use these media outlets to identify new prospects and communicate with customers through social sites relevant to their industry. Social media does require company engagement and interaction, however. Here are three ways to use social media to boost your business:
- Encourage your current customers to share their positive experiences with your 3PL or warehouse
- Share important industry information
- Post informative articles.
Encourage your sales team to interact with customers and prospects online. They can also join groups or pages to expand their networking ability as well, increasing company awareness and referrals. Andrew Davis, best-selling co-author of Digital Marketing Growth Hacks said, “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”
Paid or unpaid advertising/information campaigns are yet another way to market your 3PL or warehouse online. Emailing your current customers and prospects about your latest accomplishments or services is an example of an unpaid campaign. Paid campaigns include search engine advertising and social media advertising, both of which are built on a pay-per-click model, and advertising on specific industry websites. Always target your geographic and industry market when buying advertising, so as not to waste your money.
In closing, remember that your customers seek stability and growth with your warehouse. They entrust you to be a representative of their company and want a history of proven success. To win over new 3PL or warehouse customers and keep the ones you have, always make a strong case for what you offer vs. your competitors. Highlight what makes your warehouse exceptional, including your warehouse management system software. To find out how the features included in ASCTrac® software can help you retain customers and gain more business, contact us today!