As drop shipping grows in importance, it creates new challenges for suppliers. Not only are many now selling and shipping direct-to-consumer purchases made on their own sites, but retailers now feature products in their online stores without holding inventory. That means the warehousing and fulfillment obligation falls on suppliers. One of the most challenging requirements? Suppliers must be able to ship orders with retailer-branded packing slips and labels for drop shipping.
Why is it so important? Quite simply, stores see every interaction with customers as an opportunity to reinforce their own brand. If someone orders a product from the website of a large store—think sites like walmart.com, bestbuy.com, or bedbathandbeyond.com—the transaction is clunky if the purchase arrives at their home without the brand marks of the retailer. It makes the consumer experience less than seamless.
After all, the typical customer neither cares about nor understands all the steps in the supply chain. If they buy something from Store A, they imagine that it will be packed and delivered by Store A. It’s confusing if it appears without anything to indicate where it was originally purchased.
That’s what makes something as simple as retailer-branded shipping labels and packing slips so important. When the consumer sees those brand marks, it removes any questions about the purchase and creates more awareness for the store. If there is a need for a return, the customer isn’t confused about where to send the item—the necessary information is on the packing slip.
Bottom line: customers need to see retailer branding marks to recognize their order. What’s more, stores don’t want consumers to know if their order was packed and shipped by a vendor or a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) provider. Getting this right isn’t easy, but it’s vital for any company that wants to be a trusted third-party drop shipping provider for major retailers.
Return slips and returned items.
Whenever a supplier does a set up with new trading partner, it’s important that the process includes defining and understanding the return policy of shipped items. Make sure you know who is responsible for all parts of the process, how fast returns must be completed by the customer, and where returned items should be shipped. An EDI provider with an experienced setup team will help you through this and make sure that you and your team understand the expectations.
All the information the consumer will need to return the item should be in the packing slip. That includes correct phone numbers, URLs, and the various options for a return—the customer may be able to return an item to a physical store or have it picked up at their home.
Error-free retailer-branded packing slips and labels for drop shipping.
When a supplier is drop shipping for a major retailer, there are very specific requirements. Not only does the information on the shipping label need to be accurate, everything that is necessary to easily secure a return must be present, correct, and printed on the packing slip according to the retailer’s requirements.
If you’re relying on copy-and-paste actions to generate shipping labels and packing slips, errors are likely. Especially if you have a popular product and volume is rapidly increasing.
Your EDI software should make retailer-branded materials easy to create and print. They should also look professional—no retailer wants their customer to receive a packing slip that looks like a cut-rate production.
Too often, suppliers focus so intently on the purchase and fulfillment aspect of eCommerce that they neglect returns. Yet being able to easily return a product bought online is critical to the reputation of the retailer’s brand. Making sure that return information is clear and the process is straightforward will keep customers loyal, even when the item they ordered was the wrong size, not quite the right color, or just missed the mark. When you produce materials that enhance the reputation of the retailer, your business relationship will be more productive.
Automate retailer-branded packing slips and shipping labels.
The challenge with direct-to-consumer orders lies in their quantity shift. Instead of shipping hundreds of items to a single distribution center, suppliers are forced to send one item to hundreds of customers. It’s a serious paradigm shift and if your EDI software is designed mainly for wholesale orders, it’s going to be challenging. An automated process will help ensure quality, and just as importantly, save a lot of time.
With our Lingo software, high-touch, error-prone tasks are replaced by seamless automation. This makes it possible to generate hundreds of retailer-branded shipping labels and packing slips, with information that is accurate and updated, in just a few clicks.
Branded packing slips drive customer loyalty and future sales.
Using branded packing slips is not only important to your relationship with the retailer, it can drive sales of your own products going forward.
If a customer likes the item, they may be interested in the rest of your line. Some retailers, in addition to return and exchange information, will want to use the packing slip to promote complementary items. That may be one of your products, or something else the store offers. Whatever the case, it benefits suppliers to be able to easily add images or information to packing slips when the retailer directs them to do so.
Adding more information does, however, add another layer of complexity, and you’ll want EDI software that makes the process as straightforward as possible. These kinds of requests from your trading partners are likely to increase—research indicates this tactic can grow sales by as much as five percent. Just ask Amazon
Be a supplier trusted by retailers.
As retailers increase the number of orders they ship directly to consumers and see less traffic in their physical stores, they still want consumers to have a strong connection to their brand. With the right EDI and order processing platform, suppliers can work efficiently and strengthen relationships with their trading partners.