As the eCommerce industry continues to grow – at a projected rate of 56% over the next few years, reaching about 8.1 trillion U.S. dollars by 2026 (Statista) – it’s important that you continue to evolve and grow with it.
As an eCommerce business, you know that fulfilling orders can be a challenge. You want to provide excellent customer service, but you also want to keep your costs down. That's where a 3PL company comes in.
A 3PL (third-party logistics) provider is a company that offers eCommerce fulfillment services. This means they can take care of all your shipping and
logistics needs, from warehousing to transportation and delivery.
Using such a partner can be a great way to improve your fulfillment process and save you money. It can also help improve your customer’s experience, with 86% of eCommerce stores reporting that the use of 3PLs has contributed to improved customer service.
In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about using a 3PL partner for your eCommerce fulfillment services, from shipping solutions to warehousing, and how to choose the right partner for you.
Before you choose a 3PL partner for your eCommerce fulfillment services, you need to familiarize yourself with the various services they provide, and how those could benefit you – so let’s take a look!
End the Headaches with Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
3PL companies can offer warehousing and fulfillment services, and this can be a great option if you don't have the space or resources to store and ship your products yourself. Here are a few of the services they can offer:
Inventory Management → Increase Sales
When you work with a reliable 3PL, they’ll help you keep track of your inventory, so you always know what's in stock and what needs to be reordered. This can save you time and ensure that you never run out of products – and that each and every product is taken care of so your customers never receive damaged goods!
Order Fulfillment → Increase Efficiency
You can also have your orders picked, packed, and shipped for you from their fulfillment centre. This means you don't have to worry about packing and shipping yourself – that’s one less thing on your plate! – and it ensures that your products are shipped on time, and delivered to the right addresses.
Returns Processing → Increase Efficiency
The right logistics partner will even handle returns for you, from processing to restocking the product. This can save you a lot of time, headache and hassle – not to mention the opportunity cost of trying to do it yourself or not having products ready to ship when customers want them!
Scale Your Store with 3PL Scaling Services
Scalability → Increased Growth
When a particular sale at your store works really well and your products are flying off the shelves, you’ll want to capture all the possible sales you can! To achieve scale with your eCommerce store, you need a 3PL partner that can grow with you as your business expands. Having support with increased volume is essential for scaling your business with ease.
Flexibility → Increased Growth
With a range of eCommerce fulfillment services, from warehousing and fulfillment services to transportation and delivery, you’re able to fully customize your partnership to meet your specific needs at any time. Ramp up the services you require smoothly and seamlessly by working with your dedicated account manager at eShipper.
A 3PL partner can offer a number of shipping solutions that can save you time and money. Here are a few of the most popular ones they offer:
Competitive Rates → Increase Sales
According to Baymard, the most common reason consumers abandon their cart is because of extra costs. With fifty-five percent of survey respondents abandoning their carts for this reason, you’ll reap the rewards by reducing shipping costs for your customers. Streamlining your fulfillment services can help you more easily offer free shipping and profit from it.
Shipping Software → Increase Efficiency
A respected partner will have a well-oiled fulfillment process that's designed to get orders from the fulfillment centre out the door quickly and efficiently. This can free up your time so you can focus on other aspects of your business, while your 3PL takes care of the rest!
Label Printing → Save Time
As you grow, your 3PL should be able to grow with you, printing labels and shipping your product to your customers at scale. Many logistics partners offer label printing services, and this can save you time and hassle, especially if you sell and store a lot of products at your fulfillment centre.
Carrier Discounts → Reduce Shipping Costs
3PLs often have relationships with major carriers in your area. For example, eShipper works with many reputable carriers such as Canada Post, UPS and Purolator, and can offer up to 70% in savings. This gives you access to discounts that you might not be able to get on your own. If you’re not working with a partner that has carrier relationships, then making the switch will help you reduce your shipping costs and improve your profit margin!
Now that you know what warehousing and fulfillment services a 3PL company can offer, you might be wondering how to choose the right one for your business. There are a few things you should consider when making this decision, which we’ll break down for you below.
Your Business Needs
First, you need to assess your business needs. What type of eCommerce fulfillment services do you need? Do you need warehousing and fulfillment services? Return processing? Once you know what type of services you need, you can start to narrow down your options.
Your budget is another important consideration. How much can you afford to invest in eCommerce fulfillment services? Find the company that delivers the best bang for your buck.
When do you need eCommerce fulfillment services? If you need a quick turnaround time and your customers want your products delivered immediately, then you might want to choose a 3PL partner that offers same-day or next-day service. If you have a little more flexibility, you might want to choose one that offers a longer lead time.
Your Shipping Needs
Depending on your customer base, it’s important to look at your shipping needs and requirements. If you’re looking to expand into new geographic regions, you may want to choose a partner that has various strategic fulfillment centres across the country.
Your eCommerce Platform
Many 3PL companies offer integrations with various eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify or WooCommerce, creating a more efficient process. Choosing a service provider that integrates with your current platform will make this transition much more seamless for you.
One of the most common challenges businesses face is miscommunication. Make sure to communicate your needs and expectations clearly from the outset.
Supply Chain Digital reports that 73% of shippers interact with their 3PL partner on a daily basis - that’s a lot of interaction! Having a dedicated account manager can help to ensure there are no misunderstandings down the road, and allows you to build rapport and trust with them.
eCommerce stores can sometimes have trouble integrating their systems with their 3PL partner's system, causing delays and errors in the fulfillment process.
Choosing a fulfillment centre that offers 24/7 support, such as eShipper, can ensure any problems are solved before your customers even become aware of them.
eCommerce fulfillment services can offer several advantages for your business, from offering more efficient shipping services to helping you grow your store.
While it’s possible to manage your own fulfillment, using a 3PL partner can make the process much easier and more profitable, while also improving your customer’s experience with your brand.
To keep up in this growing industry, you’ve got to make sure you’re on top of trends and focusing on the needs of your audience. A fulfillment service will help you with that, offering fast, reliable, and scalable service to you and your customers.
If you’re looking for an experienced 3PL partner you can count on, head over to the eShipper website for an instant quote. We offer a variety of eCommerce fulfillment services for stores of all sizes, allowing you to focus on growing your business rather than managing logistics.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take your eCommerce business to the next level!