Onport Guest Post: How to Address 3 Common Marketplace Shipping Solution Challenges
E-commerce shipping can be a complex topic. Managing different carriers in order to provide different service levels and routes, and at the right cost to serve, is not easy. But luckily platforms like Shippo have come into the market to help solve those pain points.
However, marketplace shipping can add a significant layer of complexity to your operations. You are now no longer managing a supply chain you fully control, but one that needs to serve your marketplace vendors.
Marketplaces typically go through a number of evolutionary stages tied to their growth and scale, and also to their particular take on the marketplace business model. However, at some point, most of them will want to have strong control over their logistics network, to ensure the best customer experience and to leverage economies of scale.
To help address these complexities, Onport (formerly Jetti) and Shippo are helping marketplaces scale and reclaim ownership over their supply chain. Let’s take a look at some of the most common pain points of managing marketplace shipping, along with tips on how Onport and Shippo can help you solve them.
Lack of visibility and control over shipments
Your vendors are fulfilling your precious customer orders, so you need to ensure you and your customers know what the status of their orders is at any given point in time – otherwise, you’ll fail to provide crucial customer service. Luckily, Onport can tap into Shippo’s services to provide shipping labels to the vendors, which they can use to fulfill the orders. You can decide what carrier and service level is going to be used based on a number of criteria (vendors, destination, service level selected at checkout, order value, etc.).
These labels are then made available to the vendor either in the vendor portal or sent alongside the orders as it integrates into their e-commerce store, enabling a seamless vendor experience. Tracking information is then retrieved to allow the end customer to consistently track their orders.
Customer experience is disconnected
If you put shipments fully in the hands of your vendors, then your customers won’t know what to expect every time they order from your marketplace. What carrier is delivering? Can they consistently tap into additional carrier services such as rescheduling or leaving the parcel with a neighbor? Why does the tracking experience change every time they order something?
These are genuine concerns, but thankfully, both Shippo and Onport have the solution. As the operator of the marketplace, you can decide which carriers you work with and fully define what the customer journey will look like, with real-time visibility over shipments (status, incidents, and costs), enabling a coherent and consistent customer experience, and doubling down on its ability to provide great customer service.
Money is left on the table
As marketplaces scale, they will tend to outnumber the volume of orders their partners are fulfilling on their own, and this opens a great savings opportunity for both parties. Potentially it would be cheaper if the marketplace negotiated discounted rates directly with the carriers on behalf of their vendors when they are shipping orders for the marketplace.
By choosing to make use of the shipping label system as well as owning the carrier relationship, the marketplace will be able to negotiate better rates and leave more money on the table to be split between the marketplace and its vendors – keeping everyone happy and on the same page.
The Answer Is Clear
By using both Onport and Shippo together, you can eliminate these pain points and create a more cohesive and positive experience for both your vendors and your end customers. A strong customer experience leads to satisfied customers who then become repeat customers. It’s as simple as that.
Onport is a marketplace automation solution that offers a number of e-commerce solutions to its users, from automatically importing vendor product catalogs from their e-commerce stores, to routing orders back to the vendor’s store, or to a white label vendor portal, to automating vendor payouts, and of course, automating marketplace shipping.
This is a guest post by Francisco Campos. Francisco spent 3 years in different operations roles at Farfetch, and is now the COO at Onport, helping build technology to scale marketplaces. When he’s not busy with Onport, you can find him skateboarding and surfing around Porto, Portugal.