For ecommerce businesses, providing fast and reliable order fulfillment is a critical component of the customer experience. Today’s online shoppers expect to be able to purchase anything, anywhere, anytime, and through any channel – and to have their order delivered to their doorstep in no time.
The key to driving long-term, bottom-line growth in ecommerce is to be able to keep delivery promises to customers while keeping operating costs down. This is particularly challenging for companies that are rapidly expanding, like clothing manufacturer and retailer LA Police Gear.
Operating in the tactical and outdoor clothing industry – which, according to a recent report, is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 6% in 2022 to reach $4.26 billion – LA Police Gear is always looking to improve its delivery performance to meet the needs of its expanding customer base.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, LA Police Gear sells its own house brand of tactical and outdoor clothing and gear as well as other leading brands both at its brick-and-mortar stores and through various online channels including Amazon and the company’s website store, which is powered by the BigCommerce ecommerce tool.
To fuel its ongoing business expansion on the ecommerce side, LA Police Gear must be able to consistently:
- Deliver high-quality, affordably priced products to customers as quickly as possible.
- Strategically position inventory close to customers to reduce shipping times and costs.
- Optimize efficiency by integrating and automating logistics operations.
- Minimize costs for inventory management and order fulfillment.
In early 2021, LA Police Gear began looking for a third-party logistics (3PL) firm to help the company achieve these business objectives and streamline and scale its ecommerce fulfillment operations.
LA Police Gear’s Operations Manager Ryan Batenhorst commented, “In order to maintain our position as one of the leading players in the tactical and outdoor gear industry, we have to continually look for ways to improve our delivery performance (by getting our products to customers faster and more cost-effectively), while reducing our operating costs and increasing our profit margins. To help us drive ongoing improvement in these areas, we decided to look for a 3PL.”
LA Police Gear conducted a rigorous and thorough evaluation of numerous 3PL providers, taking a close look at their service offerings, industry experience, global presence, costs and pricing structure, and other criteria.
In the end, LA Police Gear selected Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) to be its 3PL provider, and this choice was based on several key factors:
- Scale of operations: MCF enables businesses to leverage the world’s largest fulfillment network – with over 200 fulfillment centers, 200,000 operations staff, and 85 aircraft – to deliver anywhere, anytime for customers. With its warehouse and brick-and-mortar stores concentrated in California but its customer base all around the world, LA Police Gear was looking for a 3PL with a global network – and MCF was able to provide that.
- Delivery performance: Amazon Supply Chain offers a Prime-like delivery experience with shipping speeds as fast as 1-day and has a track record of achieving a >97% on-time delivery rate. One of LA Police Gear’s primary business goals was to boost shipping speeds – and Amazon Supply Chain was equipped to help them improve in this area.
- Multi-channel fulfillment: MCF gives ecommerce companies the capability to fulfill orders through any off-Amazon channel including their own website, other ecommerce sites, and social media ecommerce sites. This is especially beneficial for ecommerce companies – like LA Police Gear – who are already selling on Amazon as it allows them to streamline their fulfillment and inventory management operations for on-Amazon and off-Amazon orders.
- Seamless integration: MCF’s back-end systems can be easily and effectively integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and various ecommerce tools including BigCommerce. There’s even a dedicated MCF App for BigCommerce that enables businesses – in a matter of just a few clicks – to connect their BigCommerce online store with MCF and automate their fulfillment. For companies like LA Police Gear that use BigCommerce to facilitate ecommerce transactions on their websites, this app is a big plus point.
- Inventory consolidation: With MCF, sellers like LA Police Gear can consolidate their inventory into one global pool that they can utilize to fulfill both on-Amazon orders (with Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA) and off-Amazon orders (with MCF).
- Operating cost reduction: Partnering with MCF enables businesses like LA Police Gear to minimize their fulfillment and warehousing costs by optimizing the efficiency of their logistics operations.
“For LA Police Gear – as we are already selling on Amazon and using BigCommerce on our own website – the choice of MCF as a 3PL was a no brainer,” Batenhorst said, “Now we have one pool of inventory that we can draw from to fulfill on-Amazon orders as well as off-Amazon orders from our BigCommerce store on our website and other channels. And with Amazon’s world-class fulfillment network and capabilities, we can offer better shipping speeds and a superior customer experience.”
In October 2021, LA Police Gear started using MCF. It only took a few days for LA Police Gear to begin working with MCF after integrating MCF’s systems with their ERP system and BigCommerce store on their website by using the MCF app for BigCommerce.
“We got up and running with MCF really quickly. The MCF app for BigCommerce made the integration of MCF with our BigCommerce store on our website simple and seamless. The app was very much ‘plug-and-play’ for us,” Batenhorst remarked, “With other 3PLs, we would have had to go through an extremely challenging integration process involving a whole new set up, but with MCF, we were able to quickly and easily tap into our pool of existing FBA inventory for on-Amazon sales and use that for our off-Amazon sales as well.”
Since LA Police Gear started using MCF, LA Police Gear has been able to realize numerous business benefits including:
- Faster shipping speeds: By leveraging Amazon’s fulfillment network to position product inventory as close as possible to customers and deliver orders as fast as possible, LA Police Gear has been able to improve shipping speeds – offering 1, 2, or 3-day shipping for its off-Amazon orders.
- Superior customer satisfaction: With MCF’s fast, reliable, and low-cost fulfillment services, LA Police Gear has been able to boost service levels and enhance the overall customer experience.
- Inventory optimization: LA Police Gear can now draw from a single pool of inventory for its on-Amazon and off-Amazon orders. By exposing the same inventory to multiple channels, LA Police Gear has been able to reduce the amount of inventory in storage (as well as inventory storage costs).
- Improved operational efficiency: LA Police Gear – by using MCF to fulfill off-Amazon orders on the BigCommerce store on its website – has been able to drive greater automation and efficiency across its order fulfillment and inventory management operations.
- Greater profitability: Partnering with MCF has enabled LA Police Gear to significantly slash costs for storage and shipping and create new pathways for revenue growth.
“Using MCF for our BigCommerce orders has been a game-changer for LA Police Gear, enabling us to transform and optimize our logistics operations and achieve many of our critical business objectives including improving shipping speeds, delivery performance, and service levels for customers, and cutting operating costs. We are looking to expand our use of MCF and increase the amount and variety of products that we are selling through the solution,” Batenhorst commented.
“I would recommend Amazon Supply Chain’s MCF solution to any ecommerce business – no matter if they are selling on Amazon or not – that is looking to boost its sales across various channels, increase service levels and customer satisfaction, and decrease operating costs,” he added.