January 7, 2021

6 Tips for Digital Freight Forwarders to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Miles Varghese
Miles Varghese
Helping independent freight forwarders/brokers better stay in-sync, collaborate, and improve operations with their shippers/clients. Co-founder & CEO @ Cargologik.com

The freight and logistics industry has always been a competitive and complex tradeoff between service and risk. However, during the continuous disruptions of recent years, the emphasis has been on evolving technologies and using software for digital freight forwarders to streamline operations. 

Digital freight forwarders have their work cut out for them. Their primary job of managing client imports and exports is still the same. Of course, any new technology is not necessarily ready for deployment on day one. After all, a company still needs to understand how to use it. Implementations take time and effort from all team members starting with leadership.

Fortunately, more advanced, user-intuitive SaaS-Based platforms, such as Cargologik, are changing the narrative.  Simple freight collaboration platforms are finally making it easier for independent forwarders to function. 

Part of that functionality is applying these six tips to gain a competitive advantage. 

1. Understand What Clients Want and Need

Shippers often have unique needs in a time of extreme SKU proliferation. The age of e-commerce has expanded to match a volume that would have otherwise occurred over six years. John Koetsier of Forbes speaks further to the point:

“Higher rates of e-commerce and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) may be the new abnormal, Adobe data indicates. ‘We are seeing signs that online purchasing trends formed during the pandemic may see permanent adoption,’ Taylor Schreiner, Director, Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement. ‘While BOPIS was a niche delivery option pre-pandemic, it is fast becoming the delivery method of choice as consumers become more familiar with the ease, convenience and experience.’”

Without insight into what clients want and need, it’s more troublesome to figure out what markets to target and where to begin. Digital freight forwarders must also know why the market responds to current conditions and how that will affect future decisions.

2. Actively Market Unique Feature/Services

Informing clients of services must be more than a simple list of services. With fierce competition and customer experience a critical initiative for forwarders, it’s critical to differentiate. It is also essential to engage with all potential shippers and partnering carriers for digital freight forwarders to promote their service actively. Competition is ever-present, so freight forwarders must always be setting themselves apart with active marketing and telling their clients how their services and platforms are superior.

3. Create Open Lines of Communication With Clients 

Another great way to gain a competitive advantage is by being more than a tedious computer interaction. Clients want to be able to establish contact with digital freight forwarders quickly. And they want quick, easy-to-understand answers. That interaction and communication could be part of an AI-guided chatbot or other process designed to mirror face-to-face conversations. 

Assertive communication is the key to keeping customers content. Such an approach is even more critical in the volatile freight market of today.

4. Tap Investors and Advanced SaaS-Based Resources

Digital freight forwarders often struggle to secure funds, but current trends are making it easier to connect with investors. Even still, the advent of software-as-a-service digital freight forwarding software has made it easier for companies to get started and hit the ground running. 

SaaS can allow individual users, such as a specific segment of the market, to post or interact with forwarders for free through set portals. Those same functions could be used to pay for the forwarders’ investment in the software. Of course, it all depends on usage, segment, and volume. But the points remain the same. 

5. Match Demand with Supply Through API-Connected Load Boards and Platforms

There are many industries and markets affected by changes brought by current market forces. Using load boards and platforms, digital freight forwarders can better play the market to match supply (loads) with demand (equipment and drivers). Using APIs, it’s easier than ever to transform these processes into a turnkey operation. This occurs while working as a more accurate third party to find the best deals and reduce total landed costs. 

6. Digitize and Automate As Much As Possible

Digital processes and automation are the way of the future. Most digital freight forwarders have started embracing this trend. As further explained by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), “As these companies realize, applying digital technologies operations offers many opportunities to improve both the customer experience and operations. Digitization of processes from booking to documentation handling can bring tangible benefits to customers and logistics service providers alike.” However, the full automation of shipment tracking and servicing is essential for ongoing success and growth.

Find Success as a Digital Freight Forwarder With Help From the Pros

Make the most of any freight forwarding platform, and maximize the reach of services with a digital approach. Start by applying the six tips above. And don’t forget to sign up for Cargologik today.

To get the most out of our platform, book your free, personalized training call with our Success Team

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