How You Can Shorten Apparel Delivery Times to the Consumer

As more people head online to shop for everything from groceries to gadgets to clothing, consumer demand for fast shipping is rising. Fully 80 percent of shoppers want same-day shipping, whereas 61 percent want to receive their products within one to three hours of ordering, according to "The State of Shipping in Commerce 2016," released by shipping software firm Temando.

Even customers who aren't so demanding don't want to wait more than a few days. Work with your third-party logistics (3PL) provider on the following strategies to shorten your delivery times and meet consumer demand.

Collaborate on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Start a conversation with your 3PL to establish preferred shipping practices. Establish KPIs such as the time it should take between an order being received until it arrives in the consumer's hands. Other related KPIs, such as order accuracy and acceptable percentage of damaged garments, should also be discussed at this time. After all, customers will not care how quickly they receive their order if it doesn't arrive as expected.

Determining KPIs should be a collaborative process, which ensures that your apparel 3PL understands your expectations and feels confident that it can meet them. If your 3PL doesn't feel as if it can meet your shipping expectations, it might be time to research other 3PL providers.

Take Advantage of 3PL Relationships

Reputable 3PL providers have spent years building strong relationships with transport providers around the country. You may be able to benefit from these relationships by receiving faster shipping services at a lower cost than you would without your 3PL contacts.

Employ Cross-Docking Processes

Cross-docking is a logistics process that effectively speeds up shipping times. When items are cross-docked, they're taken directly from an incoming transport vehicle to an outgoing one, with little to no storage time required. Items are distributed more quickly because there's no need for warehouse retrieval. This streamlined process is especially popular during peak retail periods, but it can be used any time you want to ship your apparel goods more quickly.

Use Inventory Software

3PL providers often have more advanced logistics technology solutions than retailers. Inventory software is a common solution that can help cut apparel shipping times. These programs help 3PLs track inventory levels more efficiently and accurately than manual methods allow. Using such software, 3PLs can make sure that you always have enough stock on hand at the correct points of distribution to avoid lengthy shipping delays.

You can help your 3PL use this software more effectively by communicating your expectations and demands in advance. Distribute your sales forecast to your 3PL so that it can prepare for periods of peak activity. Note any product launches and promotions, which could lead to greater demand for certain items. Your 3PL can make sure that it maintains higher than usual stock levels to ensure that your company is able to fulfill orders during these busy periods.

Fast shipping is one of the key influencers of online shopping behavior and customer loyalty, so it's important to take steps to reduce your apparel delivery times. Request a free consultation from The Apparel Logistics Group to discover further strategies for shortening your delivery times.

Posted: 11/16/2016 3:09:01 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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