Despite supply chain challenges, it’s likely your 3PL warehouse sales have remained steady. However, it’s important to remember that sustainable growth comes from repeat sales and referrals. Knowing how to effectively promote your best service offerings to prospective and current customers is key to this growth. By promoting your strongest traits, your 3PL warehouse can gain an edge over other distributors who are fighting for the same customers, while you are focused on increasing sales and customer satisfaction.
Stand Out from the Competition
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.” Prospective customers are now evaluating all the different services and benefits a warehouse can provide to determine which one is the best fit for them. It’s easy for customers to get lost in the maze of 3PL warehouses that all seem to offer the same thing, but there are ways to shine above the others.
Explain How Your Warehouse is Different
There are many different 3PL warehouses that provide similar services, but what makes yours unique? What can your business offer that those other 3PLs do not? Highlight those strengths and explain how they set you apart from the competition. Seth Robard, a franchise owner of InXpress, says 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.”
If you have a unique approach to how you manage inventory, show it off! For example, if your warehouse uses automation to move goods around the facility or uses state-of-the-art warehouse management system (WMS) software for tracking inventory through the warehouse, let customers know about it! Don’t be afraid to brag.
Show Them the 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.
Be the Expert, Not the Apprentice
Your company’s strengths are your advantage, especially value-added services. Supply Chain Dive 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.”
Call attention to your value-added services when seeking new customers or expanding your facility’s role with existing customers. Maybe you specialize in high-volume distribution and subscription shipments. If so, let them know! Your premium customer service and logistics solution are also key points to highlight. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated in a CO article, “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.”
By offering expert services, your 3PL warehouse can distinguish itself from others.
Talk About Your Technology and WMS Software
Inbound Logistics recommends that a 3PL should be using the best technology for efficiency and accuracy. This includes powerful and progressive WMS software.
“Your provider should offer advanced technology solutions,” the editors advise companies looking for a 3PL. “You may not need such sophisticated systems right now, but your business is always evolving. An experienced 3PL can help (customers) leverage postponement strategies to optimize inventory and deliver excellent service.”
Since distribution facilities do not all use the same WMS software, highlight how key attributes of your WMS software offer solutions for a client’s unique needs. Considerations include:
- WMS software reputation
- Premium security features
- Frequent system upgrades and improvements
- Operation without errors or crashes
- Flexible fields and reporting
- Integrated financials for billing accuracy
- External systems integration (EDI, WCS)
- 24/7 customer access via a web portal
Spotlight Your Commitment to Excellence
No 3PL or warehouse can remain competitive in today’s marketplace without the desire for improvement. Prove how your company is committed to excellence through operational and/or capital enhancements. Excellence could be represented in the form of:
- Using the latest version of your warehouse management system software,
- Technology and facility investments,
- Regular employee training and safety classes, and
- Quality processes and procedures.
Show that your 3PL does not remain stagnant and takes its commitment to excellence and continuous improvement seriously as part of the global supply chain.
Your 3PL Can Increase Their Sales
When partnering with a 3PL warehouse, customers get more than just the convenience of offloading their logistics burden. They also gain the opportunity for sales growth. Show them how they can achieve an uptick in purchases through inventory adjustments, new warehousing locations, and increased customer satisfaction.
Customers can realize increased sales simply by adjusting inventory levels when needed at your facility. When seasonal products are at peak levels, this ability to fine-tune SKU amounts based on sales volume will help your customers reduce out-of-stocks and lost sales opportunities accordingly.
When it comes to increasing a business’ distribution capacity, 3PLs are a great option for customers. Not only does your 3PL have the ability to warehouse products of all types and sizes on a contractual basis, but you also provide a go-to solution for those who want to increase their distribution capacity without constructing costly new facilities.
Businesses and larger distribution centers will also choose to partner with 3PLs that have storage space across the county, including urban locations where facilities are desired. This provides companies with the ability to compete in geographical areas they have not previously accessed or emerge into global markets.
Combined with a quick and efficient 3PL warehouse management system shipping process, high customer satisfaction ratings can lead to increased (and repeat!) sales for your 3PL and your customers.
Promote Your 3PL Warehouse Online
Everyone knows that the Internet plays a huge role in brick-and-mortar businesses, however many 3PL companies still do not take advantage of it to promote their warehousing services. Online marketing is a powerful tool that can be used to enhance business opportunities and set your facility apart from the competition. The following tips will help you in making digital marketing work for your 3PL or warehouse.
What to Include on Your Website
While you probably don’t have the time or the budget to overhaul your website, that doesn’t mean you can’t make small changes to it to improve your search engine rankings and make it more attractive to visitors. It should include:
- User-friendly navigation
- Easy to find contact information
- Call to Action (CTA) through contact forms, downloads, and video tours
- Customer Reviews and Testimonials
- Enhanced use of keywords and phrases commonly searched by prospective customers
Social Media is a Great Marketing Tool
Social media has become a strong tool for identifying new prospects and communicating with customers over the years. However, it requires continual participation on the company’s part. You can use social media to boost your 3PL warehouse business by:
- Engaging with prospects and customers on posts related to warehousing services
- Networking through industry groups or pages
- Encouraging positive customer experiences with your company
- Sharing important industry information
- Posting informative articles
Andrew Davis, best-selling co-author of Digital Marketing Growth Hacks said, “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”
Digital Advertising and Communications
If you’re looking for a new way to market your 3PL or warehouse online, you’re in luck. There are a variety of options available, including paid and unpaid campaigns.
Unpaid campaigns include emailing your current customers and prospects about your latest accomplishments or services. Sending out newsletters regularly is a great way to stay in touch and garner new or repeat business.
Digital advertising includes paying for promotional ads or listing placement on search engines and social media platforms. You can also purchase advertisements on relevant industry websites. Choosing your demographic market is crucial when making an ad buy so you are targeting the right prospects. The key is to be consistent in all of these efforts because this will help build awareness of who you are and what you do among potential clients and customers.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the free listing services on Google, Yelp!, and others to help your company be found by those looking for a local or regional partner. A very common search engine keyword phrase is “3pl near me,” which is why your marketing area should be spelled out clearly on your site.
The bottom line is that high standards and exceptional performance build customer loyalty. Be sure your customers and prospects know why they can rely on you to handle their goods efficiently and effectively. Let the confidence in your excellent service be reflected in your communications and that will help build your brand awareness. Contact us today to find out how Argos can help you keep your best customers and gain more business!