Starting a small business has never been easier. With the help of the Internet and social media marketing, thousands of small-scale and boutique producers have been able to launch their own companies selling everything from gourmet food items to custom furniture, artisanal textiles, and jewelry.
Most of these businesses are the end-point of years and even decades of hard work spent mastering skills and developing ideas. But while new entrepreneurs may know their own industry inside out, a successful brand is about more than just a quality product: it also requires dedicated attention to the nuts and bolts of retailing, delivery, and fulfillment. All the marketing, advertising, and design in the world won’t matter if you don’t get the logistics right.
Meeting Customer Expectations is More Important than Ever
We live in a world where people have gotten used to the idea that they can order something online and have it show up on their doorstep within a couple of days. This means that small companies have to clear a high bar when it comes to meeting customer expectations.
Vendors offering a specialized product can usually get away with longer delivery times, but it is important to factor in the reality that customers who are left waiting for weeks on end are unlikely to place a second order.
This means that your company needs to get aggressive about meeting delivery targets. Spending a little more to ensure that you have warehouse and fulfillment capacity is justified if it means you can get your products to the customer on a reasonable timeline.
Logistics Solutions for Small Businesses
Companies that are just starting out, and which have a predominantly local customer base, often choose to handle shipping and warehousing in-house. This helps keep overhead low, and when a business isn’t dealing in sufficiently large volumes to require warehouse space, this is a workable solution — if most of your customers are in the Greater Toronto Area, for example, you can get products delivered within a couple of days through regular post.
But as your company grows, you are going to need to scale your operations. Even if most of your business is still being done in Toronto, storing goods in your garage and paying for regular postage is going to quickly become inefficient.
This is why a lot of small businesses upgrade to a 3PL warehousing and distribution company that handles storage and deliver on behalf of the company. A company with a fulfillment center in Toronto can help Toronto businesses with short and long-term storage, and will take care of customer deliveries so entrepreneurs can stay focused on developing new products and keeping up with demand.
The difference between successful and unsuccessful small businesses often comes down to their ability to scale up operations as they evolve, and logistics is a critical part of that.
If your company is struggling to maintain timely deliveries, or no longer has space for inventory, outsourcing these key elements of logistics to a third-party provider is one of the best ways to continue meeting customer expectations while growing the business.