Episode 18: Whiplash, From shipping fulfillment and logistics to customer satisfaction, all the dots are connected

Podcast 18 Marco De Paulis Whiplash

On this episode of Retention Chronicles, we are joined by Marco de Paulis, Director of Partnerships at Whiplash. Whiplash is a 3PL (third-party logistics), also known as a nationwide omni-channel fulfillment provider. If you're trying to learn more about how all the dots in the customer experience are connected, give this episode a listen!

On this episode you’ll learn about:

  • 3PL is and does
  • What to look for and prioritize in the shipping and fulfillment space
  • How to be efficient while setting up your inventory
  • How to live up to the buy once the customer purchases
  • How to improve customer satisfaction

Be sure to subscribe to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands at gomalomo.com. Try our free trial today!

Episode resources: Privy and Crossbeam

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Mariah Parsons, Marco De Paulis, Noah Rahimzadeh

Mariah Parsons 00:02

Hello and welcome to Retention Chronicles, a podcast sponsored by Malomo, a shipment tracking platform that helps ecommerce brands turn order tracking into a profitable marketing channel. On this podcast, we welcome leading DTC brands and experts to chat about all things customer retention, and E commerce. We absolutely love highlighting all the amazing things that our customers are doing in the post purchase space. If you like what you hear, be sure to check out our website go malomo.com. Maybe you'll even be featured on this podcast someday in the near future, who's to say to help us continue to bring new guests and information to you. Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast, wherever you like to listen. On this episode of retention Chronicles, we are joined by Marco De Paulis, Director of Partnerships at Whiplash. Whiplash is a nationwide omni channel fulfillment provider. And if you don't know exactly what a 3PL does, it's okay. Neither did I. But Marco explains what a 3PL is, what to look for, and prioritize in the shipment and fulfilling space as well as the logistics behind it all, how to be efficient while setting up your inventory, how to live up to the buyer, once the customer has actually purchased and how to improve customer satisfaction. Let's get into it. So hello, everyone, and welcome to the retention Chronicles. We are joined by two lovely parties today. One is our very own, you have heard him before Noah. He's our director of partnerships here at Malomo. And then we are also joined by Marco, who is also the Director of Partnerships at whiplash. So thank you both. I'm so excited to have you here. Mark, I was hoping that you could dive into your intro your background to kick us off.

Marco De Paulis 02:01

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me really excited. You hit on the Director of Partnerships and that's all I do is my whole no so have been doing partnerships for quite a bit now. But really have been in E commerce even a little bit longer. background is I got sucked into the agency world years and years and years ago. You know, Client Services, sales, marketing, all that good stuff and kind of discovered, we'll fall into ecommerce there never wanted to leave because it was just the most interesting fun work, no matter you know, kind of what PC we're doing. And found partnerships more through like sales really than anything and fell in love with that aspect of business, you know, long term relationships and very strategic, you know, sort of long tail and goals and figuring out how to sort of mutually help you know one another or accomplish certain things or hit certain numbers. And so anyway, really focused on that, and built a career out of that on the SAS side. And so came to whiplash about a year ago to build out what partnerships would be for someone like a three PL, which is definitely unique and not super common. And yeah, so that brings us to today. I'm happy to be happy to dig in and dive into the nitty gritty.

Mariah Parsons 03:26

Yes, very excited to do so. No, I know you were on our previous episode, but similar to building our Partnerships Program here at Malomo.

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:35


Marco De Paulis 03:37

it's a beast, isn't it?

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:39

It is, but Marco, I gotta say, Man, I am super, super impressed with what you've been able to do in just a short amount of time and a year. I think a lot of a lot of folks sort of in our, in our function in partnerships, given that it's newer, I think, expect that it takes at least a year, right, like start gaining some traction. And I know you're already starting to really build out the team. So love to see that and happy that we're hopefully going to be a bigger part of the partnership ecosystem. That Whiplash is absolutely nonsense. Oh,

Marco De Paulis 04:14

absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I know, we'll talk more about it. There's just so much synergy, you know, between our organizations, but yeah, I mean, partnerships can take a long time to really start to see traction and progress and, you know, to show the results to warrant investing, you know, some more dollars into it. And so, you know, it's kind of a combination of you need, you need the sort of vision to be seen at the leadership level. It helps you know, if you've been around the block a little bit to you know, get the results a little bit quicker than normal. And honestly, you just need, you know, good partners like you guys to get some quick wins and, you know, trick everybody into building an offer there.

Mariah Parsons 05:00

So that's what this episode is all going to be about. Right? And just partnerships and how to build all that out. We could go on for hours. Yeah, right, right. That'll be the next one. But yeah, so Okay, three pls. I'm curious to hear what you have to say about this. But can you give us, in your best terms, like, explaining whiplash to someone who perhaps isn't familiar with, like, this side of E commerce, like E commerce fulfillment, or retail event? fulfillment, all of that? How would you kind of summarize what whiplash does?

Marco De Paulis 05:36

Yeah, I mean, that was me 10 months ago, before I even came, and I've been in commerce for like, close to 10 years now. And I always just like, you know, assume it just, it just takes care of itself after the order goes through, because that's what everyone likes to talk about, right. It's like, top of funnel conversions, you know, driving sales, and a Movie and all of that, and then subscriptions, whatever, but nobody ever really is like, what actually like happens, they are at that part. And that was actually one of the reasons I took the job. I should probably figure that out. Now, I've been doing this for too long to not know. But I think the most simple way to put it is a three PL is someone who picks and packs your you know, your inventory, it puts it in a box and ships it out. If you water it down, like as much as you possibly can. That's where I always start in terms of describing it. And then you know, you can layer on a bunch of a bunch of stuff as to, you know, where does Where did the orders come from? And how do you store the inventory, you know, packing orders according to you know, bundling and like extra little things to do like writing notes or custom packaging, and then you get it to a carrier. There's, there's a lot I'm sure we're going to dive into all those pieces, but water it down, you know, throw the inventory, pick it, pack it, give it to UPS, and then wipe your hands. And that's what it revealed us.

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:04

For me Marco like I come from the enterprise mahr tech space. And in partnerships for the last five or six years, myself, but obviously a little bit different, more market. So one of the biggest gaps for me, I'm about two months in now to the to the new role at Malomo is the logistics side. So that's, that's a really helpful high level overview. And we'll absolutely dive in deeper, but I'm curious to get your thoughts on, like, how you ended up choosing to go to the three PL side after spending, you know, the last nine or 10 years on what sounds like was probably more marketing focused. gigs. Yeah,

Marco De Paulis 07:50

yeah, everything was was like the front end of EECOM, you know, and the agencies was building sites and building up the marketing channels. And then was that privy for a few years, which is straight martec, as you're familiar with Noah, I think really, I was, I honestly, I was, like, burnt out of, you know, on the marketing side, but I was like, I feel like I've seen it all. I've heard it all. You know, it's, it's just so everyone, everyone talks about it all the time, nonstop. And I think in terms of like platforms, and systems and whatnot, like, very competitive, right, like, every other day, there's something new popping up in that in that space. And as you know, we were getting into the world of COVID and all the issues right at the supply chain issues with deliveries, I think, for the first time, and rightfully so, post purchase started to get more attention. Because, you know, all of a sudden, we were everyone was like, order for Christmas and like September because you know, everything's going to take forever and there's all these issues and then, you know, everyone started to get more attention in terms of like, you know, USPS taking three extra days to deliver your orders all these things right. And so you know, now that there's more of an understanding of you know, the the value of post purchase the value of three PL the value of carriers, it's actually a really fun time to be in the space. But yeah, I just wanted to learn something new. I want I didn't want to be ignorant to that aspect of ecommerce like I was for so long. And I think that competitively there's way less, you know, like, there's a very high barrier to entry for post purchase and three PL specifically and so I think that was also appealing, like alright, cool, I don't need to be aware of like 38 competitors, you know, who do exactly what we do sort of thing. So yeah, I think all those reasons. I was like, You know what, I think this is pretty Cool, I should learn it. And worst case, you know, there's plenty of martech jobs to get back into if I really need to such back, you know?

Mariah Parsons 10:07

Yeah, no, that's phenomenal. And that's why I was excited to have you on because if I'm being honest, I had no idea hopefully after this podcast, I'll know what

Marco De Paulis 10:18

maybe a little tiny bit. Yeah, I'll

Mariah Parsons 10:20

give you I'll give you a five star review. Hopefully. Um, but yeah, like, I had to look up even what a three PL does, because I, you know, the, the technical stuff is all the logistics. I'm like, I don't even know what that means. So just like

Marco De Paulis 10:33

we just started this by saying three PL means third party logistics, just like get that out of the way. Because I didn't even Yeah, again, a year ago, I didn't know what it meant either. Like, yep, sure. Free PL Yep, got it. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 10:44

like checkmarks are Yeah, so to my understanding, like, anywhere from like fulfillment to shipping. I even was going to ask you to like, it sounds like you work with carriers as well. Right. So working with carriers, like understanding kind of everything that a three PL does for a brand, at least in my point of view, it's like you take every step every like fulfillment, order, logistics, shipping all that. And like, optimize for better performance for like scaling brands. Or really, any brands of any sizes. And so can you kind of like walk us through the, like each step of that like diving into the logistics, it doesn't have to be like super, super detailed, of course. But if you're like sharing with a brand, kind of like, what a three PL does, and what they should know about whiplash and everything that you all are doing, where would you start?

Marco De Paulis 11:43

Yeah, that's a good question. So all right, we can definitely get into a lot here. I'm gonna like try and sort of find some middle ground. So start at the inventory, you know, level, right? But inventory isn't just inventory, you need to design your setup for inventory, according to your catalog, right? Like, if you think about the catalog of one ecommerce brand versus another, you know, if you have 10 skews, and you have like, a million units of each SKU, what that warehouse is going to look very different from someone who has, you know, 500,000 skews, who maybe only like five of each product, right. And so, you know, kind of starting there in terms of inventory, it starts with like designing your layout in a warehouse, and how you are going to pick and pack those orders, right? On a merchant by merchant basis. Because at the end of the day, you just want to maximize the efficiency no matter what you do, right, you just want to be more productive. And so in the 3d world, it's very small margins. And so anytime you can just like get more packages out per hour, you're just gonna make more money. So starts with the inventory, and all of that and designing that. And then you come up with, you know, an SLA, a service level agreement with every customer as to, okay, you know, anytime an order comes through, and whatever ecommerce platform, it goes into the whiplash platform, we're going to pick and pack that within X amount of minutes. And then we get it ready to hand over to the carrier. And then we put it all in this one area, and the carriers come and they pick it up at certain times, every day, every few days, whatever it is, pretty much every day I think. And then after that, it's out of our hands, but that is where there's a disconnect. And I think Malomo plays such a valuable role. Because as a consumer, right, like you get that, okay, your labels created, that label is created when it's still in the warehouse. It's actually not a carrier yet, right? And so, that happens, we gotta get that label on that box, and then boom, we stick it in that area, and then UPS USPS, FedEx, whoever comes and gets it. And then once it hits their truck, you know, they take care of the rest. So think about Yeah, the three PL is like those, those three steps. But within each of those three steps is a very, very complex and nuanced and custom, you know, Operation behind every one of those steps behind every one of those packages. And then, you know, there's even the whole world of returns and what we call reverse logistics and all of that, which is yeah, a whole nother podcast episode in itself. I'm sure.

Noah Rahimzadeh 14:25

That's, that is a great overview Marco for me, especially like I said being newer to the space just trying to wrap my head around all of the things that you know, you guys are managing on behalf of your clients. I'm curious about the size of the business and how many SKUs they have makes total sense to me. I'm curious if there are businesses that you know, you feel are a three PL is an absolute must for and other sort of verticals. where it might not make as much sense? Or is your general philosophy that any commerce merchant should be thinking about? How they might integrate? Three PL into their business?

Marco De Paulis 15:10

Yeah, yeah, good question. I think I think the, you know, sort of unit of measurement is more around volume than anything else, rather than like, industry or anything like that. Because, you know, taking a step back, like, what does a three PL help with, they help with storing your stuff, and getting it out from that storage into boxes very, very quickly and efficiently. And then to a carrier where they have a relationship with that carrier. And that brand can leverage that relationship for savings on labels and things like that. Right. So that's really like anything, in terms of an investment. The analysis typically is, you know, well, like, what are the savings at this, you know, quantity? And so, usually what you want to think about is, how many orders are I fulfilling a month and therefore, can I do this out of my garage? Or do I have to like to leverage somebody who can actually help me with that. And then there's, you know, much more serious enterprise conversations, not necessarily comparing Gorazde three PL but like three PL to three PL Right? and things of that nature. But yeah, that's usually like, what the critical event is like, Okay, I can't do this as one person and like my cousin, in my basement, or my garage, or whatever, we're having too much success to get things out on time. And that's where this plays into customer, you know, lifecycle, or really like how it impacts the end consumer, how that impacts, you know, retention, how that impacts all of that stuff. Because they're, what happens is you reach breaking points, no matter where you're at, like in the stage of your business, whether you're in that startup phase, you're reaching a breaking point where you can't fit enough packages in your car to bring the UPS you can't, you know, get enough orders out of your garage and time. And that it's the same thing at a three PL level, if you're working with a smaller three PL or four PL, there's going to be, you know, limits to what you can do what you can fulfill on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, or even your catalog, right? Like, I can only fit 20 products in my garage, I can't fit 1000. And right if you think about how many of each of those products, it usually just comes down to a numbers game around, you know, catalog volume, things of that nature. And at what stages of your business you reach breaking points where that fulfillment process can no longer support you, you need to look for the next step up in your sort of maturity level.

Noah Rahimzadeh 17:50

Or that's super interesting. So do you see do you see like a graduate or path in the three PL space specifically where it's often where brands will migrate or sort of like graduate from a lower level or totally lower level provider and then kind of move up to the enterprise as their business grows? That's, that's for sure. A common practice?

Marco De Paulis 18:13

Yeah, I mean, what we're seeing more and more, right, like at the startup level, even adding like a few dozen orders a month. Again, like it can be the other man. Usually at that level you like you can use it for appeal. And now there's a lot more for PL models out there. And you can go Google ecommerce or PL or E commerce startup three PL and you'll see plenty of folks that are bidding for the keywords. And they're great solutions when you don't have a crazy amount of demand. Right? Like, if I have 100 orders a month, I'm not too worried about them, you know, not being able to service me because that's a pretty low bar. And so you can leverage those and you know, scale to a decent volume with those to maybe a few 1000 A month roughly. But again, that's where you reach, you start to think about breaking points or like maturity of a business, okay, well, maybe I'm not just selling five products, maybe I want to get to 100. Or maybe I'm not selling 100 orders a month, I'm getting to 1000 or 10,000. Naturally, there's going to be things that are going to break. And you don't want to risk that touchpoint with your customer, right because as we talk about a lot in our day to day, the focus isn't on getting the sale the focus is like no the sale has been made. This is the most important part now. Like you got to live up to what you sold them on. You have to get them in order in a timely manner. It has to be accurate that you should be communicating with them at this point because they just handed you the credit card. Now this is like this is where it's all at. Like if you do not live up to that at this stage. You're not going to get that repeat sale, you're probably going to get a return earn, you're probably gonna get a bad review. And that's like where the most risk is. And so this is where I think brands are starting to realize they've done so much, you know, on the front end to really maximize, you know, that brand, that website, those marketing channels that conversion optimization, and now it's like, you got to live up to all that on the post purchase side. And so there's a lot that, you know, we're all seeing now in terms of developments to optimize that experience. And I think the brands are paying a lot more attention to it now, which is, which is good, because this is what separates I think the, the big boys from, you know, the little new players or, or even just separates, like the true brand focused brands or like customer focus, or customer centric brands from just like ones that are just trying to make money.

Noah Rahimzadeh 20:49

So in other words, retention is very important. Just a little bit is a little bit of what we're talking about today. I mean, that might be the tagline for that episode, right there.

Marco De Paulis 21:01

We may be in a good spot here, in terms of synergy and whatnot. But for now, I mean, it's like, I think this has been something that's been on my mind for a long time, even just as a as a consumer, and I see it more and more, you know, with every order I make, or for every, you know, bad experience I have I'm like this is where it really, really matters. And this is, you know, what is more important to consumers than ever, and I think we're all becoming more savvy, and, you know, we get it now we've been doing it for long enough where we have certain expectations. And if you're not meeting it, then like you're not retaining me.

Mariah Parsons 21:46

Yeah, yeah, for sure. I feel like, um, at least, I don't know if it's because of being in the e-commerce space, specifically in post purchase. But now if I order from a brand that doesn't have a really detailed tracking experience, and is overly communicative of where my package is, I'm like, something's going wrong. And I feel like now, because I've been exposed to at least a couple of brands that have that elevated experience. Now, brands that don't you're looking at them, and you're like, why aren't you giving me the experience. And so I feel like now it's we're in the, we're in the timeframe where other brands are starting to, you know, get the ball rolling on the importance of the post purchase space, but those brands who kind of like don't, or kind of fumble the ball or don't specifically allocate time and energy or effort or resources to post purchase, they're going to be the brands who are left behind, because that's starting to be the new normal of like, getting those, like communications or being told, like, you're very much in the visibility or the transparency aspect of like, the whole customer experience, because the customer is obviously part of the journey when they're like buying, right, like they're actively in it. But once you buy something, you're you're taken out of the equation, unless you're getting those communications about where your package is,

Marco De Paulis 23:18

without a doubt. Yeah, I think that that maybe even is like one reason why for a long time, it was kind of viewed as the black box, right? It was both, you know, whether you worked in E commerce or not, just for a long time, there was no visibility, and you just had to wait, and that was normal. But as soon as some brands started to pay attention, and you know, we got a little taste of it as consumers now it's like, yeah, I do expect that for sure. But it's something I like. I've been saying it even since I was at whiplash, like on the MAR tech side, like when someone puts in their credit card information. That is like, that's where you really have to, you know, live up to that expectation. All it's, it's all the marvels now. And that's where you really have to focus on communication. And this is back in the day before I think, you know, post purchase tracking solutions were really, you know, available or widespread. And so at the time it was focused on automation based on you know, order status, which wasn't much like for Shopify, it was like order place and order shipped and May May I don't even think delivered was a thing you just had to like, estimate based on your again, like the SLA isn't everything, Estimate Like okay, it's been five days since it was shipped. So like, we can kick off a flow now that says like, you know, congrats, you got your order. Right, and then half the time like they didn't, and then that, you know, consumer realized, well, this is a bit of, you know, buzzkill or you know, half the time they got it right, but now that we have so much more data, we have so much more insight and visibility. We have amazing solutions like Malomo to actually kick off the right autumn Patients at different stages of that post purchase experience, you know, we can benefit as consumers tremendously. And that's great, because we're given Yeah, we put all our trust in that brand, we give them our credit card information, which is like a very, you know, personal thing. We should have a good experience there. And it's about friggin time I, you know, I say that we do. So yeah, I am loving the world that we're in as a consumer. And also, you know, obviously, on the professional side, there's just a lot more value to deliver for both the merchant and the consumer.

Noah Rahimzadeh 25:36

It feels like, feels like we've certainly come a really long way in terms of, you know, ecommerce customer experience over the last couple of years, but we probably still have a long way to go. And, you know, obviously, ecommerce is a relatively new concept still, even to this day, right. So where, whereas a lot of other industries have matured a lot more, and technology providers have come in and provided sort of an end to end experience that really allows customers in those different sorts of categories to now come to expect, right, like a best in class experience. But I think there's probably still a long way to go in E-commerce. So, Mark, I'm curious, like, specifically as it relates to logistics, what are one or two things that maybe a lot of brands don't think about, but should think about when it comes to providing an end and sort of seamless experience for their customers? On the logistics side?

Marco De Paulis 26:38

Yeah, that's a good quote, I totally agree, by the way, like, there's still so much room for, you know, growth and acceleration in E commerce, and we're fortunate to, you know, be in that space at that time. Yeah, I mean, I think in terms of like, what brands should be thinking about and prioritizing? Well, I mean, first, I think it starts with, you know, speed and efficiency, you know, after an order is placed, right, like, again, I think, I'll probably say it a million times, it's like, that's such an important touchpoint. The faster you move, the faster you get something picked and packed. And, you know, again, one of the small fine details, a three PL is that carriers pick up orders at certain times from the warehouse. And so the sooner you can get it to the carrier, the more likely it is to get it on that day versus the next day. So you need the right tech that's integrated, that is like, you know, pinging the systems immediately as orders are coming through, so that can be picked and packed accordingly. I think that there's a lot more of a focus now and more expectation around, you know, a branded experience, right, like, not just having a generic cardboard box with generic, you know, paper in a generic plastic wrapped product. But having more brand oriented, you know, packaging, whatever that is, whether it's at the box, or the wrapping paper, or, or whatever, even having more sustainable packaging, like anything that aligns with the ethos of that brand, and all of that. And then I think it gets down to Lastly, the communication with the customer, and making sure that you have the right technologies enabled, that you have the right, like a marketing playbook set up to take advantage of those technologies. And to really focus on the communication there, I think there's, you know, there's a, there's a martec stat that we've talked about a lot is like the open rate for, you know, an order confirmation is I don't know, and then maybe a fact check needed around here, 90 something percent, right, like it's crazy, crazy high, versus anything else, and email marketing, you know, flow, you know, communication, you know, sort of process, right. And so how do you capitalize on those touch points? How do you capitalize on those open rates? There's also kind of silly, you know, like, your, your package is 100%, open rate, right, like, so how do you optimize for those things, you know? And so, I think that, again, this is all getting more attention now. And these are the things that brands should pay attention to, as they get to that more mature stage of their business. You have your top of funnel, you know, pretty much nailed down, you have a lot of your marketing channels nailed down, you have your brand nailed down, you have your catalog nailed down. This is the thing that you should be paying attention to next, if you haven't already given it, you know, quite a bit of thought.

Noah Rahimzadeh 29:41

That's awesome. Yeah, I think especially like the brand ethos thing that you mentioned stuck out to me because while I just talked about, you know, e-commerce still has a long way to go as an industry, it is extremely competitive and Time. But getting back to retention, right? Like the way brands stick out is by sort of reflecting their ethos on a, from an end to end level right from like the time you first visit the site to the time that your package arrives. So that's a really, really interesting sort of concept. And then, obviously, Malomo were highly focused on communication throughout the shipping experience. I couldn't agree with you more there. I'm curious about sort of getting back to your role in partnerships? Who are some of the technology vendors that you see really complementing what you're doing that whiplash? And who are you spending a lot of time with? In your sort of day to day because I'm sure it's, you know, bringing some level of joint value right to your joint customers? So can you talk a little bit about the stack that you focus on?

Marco De Paulis 30:58

Yeah, for sure. So yeah, I'm fortunate that I'm at a spot where we're very, you know, tech forward in the three PL space that is not common, by any means, especially like mid market enterprise three PL, it is a very old school, old school space. There's a lot of spreadsheets and things like that, not a lot of great tech. And so what whiplashed did years ago, and I think one of the most exciting, you know, reasons for why even came over here was they acquired whiplash, the WMS technology, warehouse management system technology. And so we have an open API. So you know, Latin just last week, someone integrated into us, I had no idea it was happening. And they email me and like, hey, you know, we should partner? I'm like, yeah, totally, thank you. This is great. So in terms of the tech stack, you know, so we're able to leverage an open API and integrate into, you know, lots of great platforms and have platforms integrate into us. I spend a lot of time as you can imagine, with more operations focused solutions. So if you think of an ERP, someone like Brightpearl, or have, you know, someone of that nature, maybe it's Cubana, the things that are running the operations for our customers where they can, you know, there's some, there's some usually crossover like, with what you can do in whiplash and what you can do it in ERP, manage inventory, manage orders, but there's a lot more in an ERP you can do in terms of like automating, you know, purchase orders to your manufacturer based on your inventory count. Like, we need to pass that inventory to something where they're doing all of that, and they're doing their invoicing and whatnot, and what have you. So there's a lot around the operation side. And then the return is a very common place for us to spend time with partners as well like a loop, a happy return only. They're often fantastic players, they all each have their unique value propositions. And the reason why that's really important, and I can even get into, like, we can take that into retention for sure, is if a return is being processed, we need to know as someone who manages inventory, right, so, okay, this order that we sent out last week, two of the five products are going to be returned, we need to know what those products are, we need to know when they're coming back, when we should expect them at the warehouse. And then we need to do a bunch of work to inspect it and make sure it's, you know, okay to restock. If not, what is the next step? Do we have to donate it or get rid of it, so on and so forth. So that's, that's a big space in terms of, you know, partners that we spend time with. And, you know, there's quite a few other sort of more strategic partners that we like to spend time with, for example, who makes a lot of sense for us. Ripio can have a significant, you know, sort of capital expenditure, you know, to get started, it's not cheap to get a building set up and outfit and on boarded, and all of that. So folks like that. So think, yeah, operations and whatnot. But obviously, Malomo, where there is a natural conversation around, okay, hey, we're doing all of your fulfillments. You should have something that talks to your consumers about what's happening once we get a package out there, right. We want to optimize their experience as best as possible, it's in our best interest for them to have the best tax sec, whether it talks to whiplash or not, because that's going to improve the customer experience, which improves retention, which improves more orders, all that good stuff. And so I'm very agnostic in terms of the partners that we work with if we can correlate, you know, business growth and, and or, like improving operations, then we should have a conversation you know, as a potential partner, because that helps our customers and if our customers are in good shape, and they're healthy, and they're growing even like, we're happy because we make revenue on orders that are being fulfilled. Yeah, the long winded answer.

Mariah Parsons 35:07

No, that's phenomenal. I love that you said the part about like, how everything, I feel like in E commerce, we're like, oh, everything ties in together, everything's related. But you saying like, even from Malomo, right, like the communications then tying back into, like, your customers are more informed, they're way more willing to come back to your brand to make another repeat purchase. And then that kind of just like fills the next bucket of, you know, that's increased orders that then you know, you're dealing with in your three PL and processing those, and then it just kind of like, it's like a flywheel and each, each turn each part of the journey, it keeps cycling and keeps keeps it all going. And so my question for you have like, in terms of customer satisfaction, yes, more communication is better, but are there like other, perhaps, like other avenues or other things you've seen that wouldn't like be the first to come to mine in terms of how a three PL can improve customer satisfaction, like outside of communications that you can think of?

Marco De Paulis 36:20

Um, I think a little bit of what I touched on earlier around, you know, just like speed, and that that syncing of data, probably is another one that I briefly touched on, right? Like, how integrated is it with your business, not just are they doing a good job fulfilling, but is that information flowing to the other things that power your business, right? That's imperative, because then if you don't have that, you know, that visibility, that connectivity, you're, you know, basically in the dark ages, and when you get to a certain size of a brand like, that is the difference between growing and not growing, right, like having that data having that access. I think kind of, you know, very similar to that, but a slightly different point is just generally like a three PL should have just good technology, it should have a good, you know, system for you to go and see what the heck is going on. So before it even gets to something else, it should work well for you as as a merchant, and I think what, you know, this world of data, see has has sort of, I don't know spoiled merchants with which is great is great, great technology, great, great interfaces, integrations, and, you know, syncing between all these different platforms, it's only making them smarter, it's making them more proactive. And so I think those are probably the big categories, or where a three PL is adding more value outside of just fulfilling things properly. And efficiently. You need to be at that next level, to really keep up with the growth that these brands expect, right? You know, we've seen customers like, literally 5x, their order volume in, you know, 12 months, 16 months, like, that's insane, because we're not talking about five axes from one or 10. Like we're talking about five exit from like, you know, 50,000 orders a month or something like that, right. And so, that type of growth is not possible. If you don't have visibility control, you don't have, you know, data sinking into the right things, open API's, you know, connectivity, and all of that good stuff,

Mariah Parsons 38:39

ya know, that, that that's kind of where I was thinking of, like, the analytics behind it, like the data syncing. And I was trying not to ask too much of a leading question, because I do think like, having, I feel like shipment and fulfillment is one of those areas that if you like it is founded in logistics, of course, like, you have to make sure everything's up and running. But then there's so many little things that mean, not being an expert in space. I'm curious, like, that's why I ask the question of all those little things that tie back into each other, because like you said, like the synchronization of all the different spots of all the integrations, all the data like flowing back and forth, I imagine like a brand that just enables a brand to have way more knowledge until what's like working right, like, in their fulfillment of it, like all the way down in the beginning, how you said the, like, the design of the warehouse, right? Like what makes the most sense for packing packaging and order. And so like sinking all that all the way down to the like packaging and the design is a really, really interesting and cool take to hear.

Marco De Paulis 39:51

Yeah, I mean, there's, you know, we have a lot a lot a lot of data that we capture, and for you know for customers Um, you know, want to access more of that than what we would like typically serve up in our in our platform, then we can, you know, we work with them, basically, to build out more custom reporting and analytics, and there's a lot of insights, you know, you can uncover there in terms of, you know, around demand, geography, you know, cost of parcel and like, how that impacts your margins. And even things like, you know, what, you know, sort of orders have gone out when you did, what sorts of promotions or what skews are pairing well together, like these times, or based on, you know, all these factors, like, you can cut and slice this stuff, almost any way you really want. And the more mature you become, as a business, the more important those you know, very hard to find details are right, and that can literally make the difference, you know, between a couple of dollars in margin, or, you know, your ability to sell through more product or not, and to be more efficient with the way you order more inventory, or you don't, you know, and so there's yeah, there's, there's a ton there. And so, that's another piece, I think, just kind of in that theme of like, where three fields add value, and when, you know, you sort of like, need to be thinking about a three PL or your next retail or whatever. That type of relationship, that type of visibility, that type of control. And connectivity is Yeah, huge. And it plays into. Yeah, so so, so many aspects of your business. Like there's, I used to have a lot of conversations, you know, again, around marketing conversions, you know, ARV and I would even have conversations with folks like, why, you know, let's just bundle these products and sell three or more of those. And there would always be like pushback like, oh, well, I don't know, if we can, like fulfill it like that I never understood and so there's a lot now I'm seeing as to why there was, you know, challenges with that it's not, it's not always that clear, right. And you never want to sell more product than you have, like you need that visibility, that connectivity, or you never want to, you know, pre-sell too many things that are, you know, coming into the warehouse at a certain time. So yeah, there's, there's a lot, there's more than you can even think of more than I can even think of in terms of, you know, ways to leverage that data and value propositions for it. And now, of course, there's also tons of great BI tools that are just for EECOM. Right, talking about innovation. During the last year, like five new business intelligence and data analytics platforms have come out that I've, you know, learned about and I've met, and I'm now you know, talking to again, is like another strategic partnership.

Mariah Parsons 42:40

Ya know, that's really cool. And you kind of touched upon it earlier in the episode, but one of the things that goes into the customer retention as well, is like custom packaging and writing notes and like having a very personalized experience. And so, I was curious, I wanted to ask you kind of along that same line of like, those nuances, those things that all link linked together data being one of them. But like, how does that personalization? Um, have you seen that tie back into the customer retention, like personalization of the fulfillment shipping process?

Marco De Paulis 43:21

Totally. Yeah, no, I mean, so we do a lot of it, I think, again, it is, it becomes more important at that sort of certain level of maturity in a business, right. And, as a consumer, I'm starting to see a lot more of it. And now I'm starting to expect more of it. But we do a lot. So we have some customers where we have to go as far as literally writing handwritten notes, spraying perfume in a box, you know, doing all this crazy stuff. There, we partner with folks that can, you know, create custom packaging. So like the boxes are branded, all the, you know, inserts are branded, all that good stuff. And it just yeah, it all plays into that customer experience. And that that's what drives somebody back like that experience, that unboxing experience. That's why YouTube videos get millions of views just for unboxing like there's science and art behind it. And it truly does play such an impactful, you know, role in that in that customer lifecycle. And that's what you're going to Instagram, right? And that's going to, you know, get tons of likes and followers and whatever, then they can put that on their site as user generated content. Like there's so much right untapped value and potential in these things. It's not just the surface level like yeah, it would be nice like no that plays into not just repeat purchases it plays into our content into our marketing into right every right and then you have an Instagram like account, you can reply back and build that relationship. There's so much so yeah, we're seeing a lot more, I think, but not just, you should have some custom stuff in your boxes. Again, Back to ethos like it should resonate, like I got, I got a package from vra not long ago. And even though I wasn't insanely crazy about the products, everyone I tell is very surprised about that. What was really great was that and they had a little note about it that there was no plastic wrap on it. And it came in like a very simple bag. But the shirt was rolled up and tied like a piece of string. And the note basically said, like, this is sustainable packaging, like we're reducing plastic waste. And that resonated with me and like, I'm still willing to give them a shot. And I'm probably going to buy a pair or something at some point soon, just to like, cuz I feel like everyone tells me I'll probably like it, but also because that's important to me that stood out. And now when I get other packages, I'm like, well look at all this wasted plastic. This is terrible. So it really does, like it sticks in you. Right? Even if it was the best product or maybe not the best. That brand now has like cemented in my brain for that. And now I question. You know why other brands aren't doing this or that? Even if they say they're sustainably focused, like if you're sending me something wrapped in plastic? I'm not buying it, you know?

Noah Rahimzadeh 46:11

Yeah, that's cool. I echo your other buddies that VR is awesome. I just

Marco De Paulis 46:20

I don't know what I got that I didn't like, I don't know. It was some sort of shirt or something I got I heard the pants or

Noah Rahimzadeh 46:26

what I gotta try. Yeah, for sure. I got a closet full. I'm a big fan as well. But I liked what you said about the user generated content I actually just saw in Brian, that you always like to ask about resources. So I'll plug one right now. Whiplash's blog just featured a joint client of ours addicted, who has seen a ton of growth through and you guys highlighted in the blog, I noticed Tik Tok and other social media platforms. So fascinating to me that, you know, a logistics platform is highlighting what a brand is doing on social channels. But to your point, what you just laid out Marco, you know, that's the sort of stuff that I'm still getting educated on. And I think this podcast will be a great resource for anybody who's looking to learn more about how integral three PRs are not just to shipping right, but to the end to end customer experience. So I really appreciate that example. And again, I would recommend that whiplash blog for anybody who is looking to learn more.

Marco De Paulis 47:34

Yeah, no, that's a great point. It is a good blog, but yeah, man, I mean, I, those dots are connected at some point, right. And the thing is, not every three people can do that. You can't do that in your garage for every order, right? Like you reach breaking points. And so I think, you know, you have to find the right partner who is experienced enough with that, who has, you know, the right operations and capabilities and, and yeah, and again, it just goes down to brand maturity, but so valuable in so many ways, and absolutely comes back full circle in terms of retention and growth and all of that stuff.

Mariah Parsons 48:11

Yeah, no, that's, that's awesome. That might even be the title of the episode if the dots are connected, we'll see. No one. Perfect. That's what I love. Um, so yeah, so no, you gave the whiplash blog, which is great. You know, yeah, you know, me with the resources. So Mark, I'm gonna toss the same question to you. What are some resources either specifically in the three PL space or E commerce? Or just like the partnership side, really take it however, at whatever level you want, but what are some resources you'd like to share with our listeners?

Marco De Paulis 48:49

Yeah. So a whiplash blog. And we also have a podcast that's sipping and shipping. That's a good one where we bring on pros in different you know, verticals of fulfillment. And partners as well. I'll be sending you guys an email on that shortly. I think ecommerce marketing is the last, I've been fortunate everywhere I work has really good marketing. privee is really awesome. On the E commerce marketing fronts, I recommend checking out their stuff. They do master classes, they have great content, great, great email for partnership stuff crossbeam across me is the best content for that.

Mariah Parsons 49:27

Yep. No, no as a cross team fanatic. Yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 49:32


Mariah Parsons 49:33

Yeah. Well, this has been so fun. Thank you both for spending the time. I know I was so tempted to just do a deep dive into three pls. But I really held myself off so that I could hopefully be in the perspective of, you know, understanding more about three peels and asking you all the all the questions under the sun for that Margo. So I really appreciate you taking the time to educate, share and really leave us with So many great tidbits of information to move on with in the fork in the future.

Marco De Paulis 50:04

Totally. Yeah. No, we can get real nerdy on repeal. You know, it gets deep, very fast. And it's complicated. But there's a lot to get into. But now this has been perfect. I think we kind of hit the right amount of information without hopefully losing too many folks. And yeah, hopefully it was valuable and surface some good insights and thoughts.

Mariah Parsons 50:25

Definitely was no, we will, we will have to have you back on to chat about all those nitty gritty details. People that are interested, I'm sure after they listen to this episode. So it's been great.

Marco De Paulis 50:39

Awesome. Well, thank you so much. It was great seeing you now. As always, Ryan, thank you for having me and setting everything up. You guys are excellent at this and recommend the podcast too many

Mariah Parsons 50:49

music to my ears. They give.

Noah Rahimzadeh 50:50

Thanks, Marco.

Marco De Paulis 50:51

Thanks for thank you guys. All right.

Mariah Parsons 50:56

So for our fact check today, the first fact that I wanted to check which we definitely have done before, but Marco mentions during the episode that order confirmation emails have a very high open rate. And he says I believe something towards 9090 plus percent. And so we have seen brands with that high, high percent. We have case studies on some of those brands, if you'd like to go check them out at our website, go malama.com. But I also wanted to fact check other spots. There's of course, many different numbers around order confirmation emails, and it kind of differs between a lot of different factors. But I found other averages around 65%. So it's safe to say you know these transactional emails. So what a customer gets after they buy something is very highly trafficked. And it is unanimous that transactional emails are higher, are much more traffic than marketing emails than your traditional marketing emails. But I also wanted to share that this doesn't just pertain to emails to transactional SMS is also very highly wanted. Our friend Blake imperil at Attentive, he shares constantly, he always shared, he shared this fact with us, and I love it. So I was gonna plop it in right here too. But from a study from attentive, they found that tracking transactional SMS is the highlight of the most highly requested communications that customers want. So it really is that spot to take advantage of if you're a brand. That it really is those. So definitely take advantage of that knowledge and apply that to your brand if you have one. I also wanted to go over the two resources, two of the resources that Marco recommends, so he mentions privy, he also works there, but privy is an email marketing platform for E commerce brands. And then he also mentioned crossbeam, and crossbeam is a partner ecosystem platform. So definitely check out both of those technologies as well as their resources. Thanks for listening