Do you find yourself spending too much time packaging orders, printing shipping labels, and negotiating shipping rates with carriers?
The good news is that your e-commerce business is doing well enough that you are fulfilling multiple orders each day. The bad news is that order fulfillment can be a big task for a retailer to take on, and if you’re not equipped for the job, it could result in order snafus, unhappy customers, and incursions into your profit margins.
That’s where third-party logistics (3PL) comes in. Handling anything you need in the fulfillment process from storage to shipping to supply chain management, a 3PL (as such companies are often referred to in short) can be an MVP in running a successful e-commerce business. Here are some reasons why you and your business could benefit from third-party logistics:
- Time. You probably didn’t get into fashion retailing to spend hours packing orders. Working with a 3PL gives you the time you need to focus on your big-picture business strategies. There are countless tiny details involved in order fulfillment. Contracts with transportation drivers, tracking lost orders, figuring out how a storm on the East Coast may affect deliveries to the region—these are the kinds of small but important details you no longer have to worry about with a 3PL in place.
- Money. When an outsourced provider handles your order fulfillment process, that can cut down on expenses. For instance, a 3PL with a warehouse means you don’t have to spend money on your own storage facility for excess inventory. You also don’t have to hire and pay extra staff members to handle fulfillment on your end. Plus, if you work with a 3PL that has multiple other clients, it can often translate to lower shipping rates for everyone because the 3PL is shipping at high volume.
- Convenience. Using 3PL is a terrific e-commerce business solution because it can handle every aspect of order fulfillment. Your vendors can ship merchandise directly to the 3PL warehouse, where it can be synced to your in-store inventory to keep everything organized for you. When orders come in, the 3PL handles all of the packing, labeling and shipping. If an order is returned, the 3PL takes care of restocking. An experienced company that professionally and reliably administers all these logistics can be a game-changer for your business.
- Customization. Obviously, a 3PL can cover every aspect of order fulfillment for you. But 3PLs can also offer customized solutions tailored to your specific needs. Are you focused on adding next-day or same-day shipping to your e-commerce site? Find a 3PL with those capabilities and the warehouse network to support that. Do you want to provide gift-wrapping services, or need temperature-controlled packaging? There are 3PLs out there that can handle every kind of fulfillment issue. The best firms will listen to your needs and come up with a comprehensive plan to optimize your order fulfillment.
- Flexibility. A 3PL boosts your company’s responsiveness to e-commerce demands. If you’re planning a huge holiday sale, for instance, your 3PL company can adjust accordingly and make sure it has enough transportation solutions and fulfillment staffers in place to meet that higher order volume. Conversely, you don’t have to let go of your workers if there is a lull in orders; the 3PL can easily ramp down, depending on your needs. This scalability is especially valuable if you are at a crucial stage of growing your e-commerce business. There are few things worse than not being able to meet increased customer demand—it can absolutely tarnish your brand’s reputation. Plus, taking advantage of a 3PL’s warehouse means you may be able to carry a higher volume of inventory, so you can save money by buying merchandise in bulk and serve more customers with more orders, which can benefit your bottom line.
- Quality assurance. By doing your homework and partnering with a trusted 3PL company, you are leaving order fulfillment in the hands of the professionals. These intricate, heavily detailed logistics are their bread and butter, and you can be assured that your fulfillment process is in the best possible position to benefit your e-commerce business. A well-oiled fulfillment process reflects well on your business and enhances customer satisfaction and your brand’s reputation.
The decision to work with a 3PL can be a wise one, but only if you use a company that is focused on meeting your e-commerce needs and can provide you with quality service and effective solutions. Connect with us and learn more about how BrandedOnline’s global logistics solutions can optimize your fulfillment and all of your other e-commerce operational processes needs.