Apparel Logistics: Balancing Cost and Customer Service


Managing logistics for an apparel business is a delicate balancing act. In many cases, your profit margins aren’t particularly large, leaving little room for error in your pricing and fulfillment.

These slim margins make it difficult to determine just where you should splurge—and where you should save.

Exceptional Service Makes for Repeat Customers

If there’s any area where you should focus on spending a little bit of extra money, it’s in creating an exceptional customer service experience. Customers have so many choices when it comes to apparel retailers, and if you don’t give them a customer experience they’ll remember positively, they’re sure to go elsewhere the next time they need a new wardrobe staple.

Finding ways to add extra funds to boost the speed of your returns or have extra people answer your customer service emails can go a long way toward giving your customers a positive experience. And this may mean cutting reasonable costs elsewhere in your business so you have the resources to funnel toward your customers.

One way to help cut some of your operational costs down a bit is to partner with an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) company for your warehousing and fulfillment.

Sounds counterintuitive, right? You’re just going to spend a ton of money hiring a 3PL when you could just as easily keep things the way they are for less, right? Not necessarily.

Hiring a 3PL Is Often Cheaper Than Managing It All Yourself

One thing many business owners don’t realize is that hiring someone else to handle some of your tasks, including warehousing products, picking and packing, or returns processing, is likely to save money in the long run. Take shifting your warehousing tasks to a 3PL, for example. Your single fee that’s paid to the 3PL means you’re no longer paying money separately for:

  • Warehouse space
  • Staffing
  • Utilities for the building
  • Maintenance and upkeep
  • Employee benefits
  • Fixtures and equipment for the warehouse
  • Taxes
  • Warehouse management software
  • And more

By partnering with a 3PL, you’re joining a group of small businesses just like yourself, spreading the costs out to make them more manageable for everyone. And the savings you realize by partnering with a 3PL can be spent on the things you need to keep your business growing.

If improving your customer service is one of your big business goals, the money and time you’ve saved with a 3PL could be used to:

  • Hire more customer service reps to answer phones and emails
  • Pay for a higher-tier chatbot on your website to allow customers to ask questions 24/7
  • Improve your website to make items and information easier to find
  • Offer faster shipping so customers get their items more quickly
  • Develop new products

All these little extras really add up when it comes to the experience your customers have with your business, and can earn you loyal customers and fierce advocates of your brand.

Your East Coast Logistics Company

If you’re looking to make your apparel logistics easier on you and your team, trust Cannon Hill Logistics. We have more than 35 years of experience serving small businesses just like yourself, and we’re committed to finding a customized solution to meet your needs. Contact us for a quote!