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Are you thinking of outsourcing your fulfilment to a third-party logistics provider (3PL) this year? It’s a big move, but one that can provide you with significant cost savings, efficiencies and more. But, only if you pick the right 3PL. Find out how to do exactly that in this guide…

Start by assessing your fulfilment requirements

Before you start shopping around for 3PLs, you should first take the time to assess your requirements.

This can be as simple as asking yourself a series of questions about how your business currently handles fulfilment.

For example:

  • How many orders do you fulfil each day?
  • What kind of products do you fulfil?
  • Which platforms do you sell on? How are these integrated into your fulfilment process?
  • How accurate is your inventory management?
  • How accurate is your fulfilment process?
  • Which markets do you sell to? Do these include international locations?
  • What are your growth plans?

Answering these questions (and more!) will help you to fully understand what you require from a third-party logistics provider.

Taking the leap: the benefits of outsourcing your fulfilment

There’s no getting away from the fact that outsourcing your fulfilment to a third-party logistics provider is a big deal. But, it can also bring big benefits.

When making the decision as to whether or not you’ll outsource your fulfilment, you should look ahead and consider some important long-term trends:

The cost of energy

Firstly, energy prices are currently sky-high – and are unlikely to decrease anytime soon. If you’re tempted to keep your fulfilment operations in-house, consider that things like warehousing, delivery and general operations are energy-intensive.

Instead, if you outsource your fulfilment to a third-party logistics provider, you won’t have to incur the high-energy costs associated with fulfilment.

Rising costs and inflation

It’s not just energy that’s become a huge burden for eCommerce businesses to bear. Following the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, global supply chains have fractured.

This has resulted in the cost of raw materials rising significantly. This has had the knock-on effect of increasing inflation and labour costs.

By outsourcing your fulfilment in 2023, you can avoid many of these costs as you won’t have to employ an in-house fulfilment team.

These are not the only ways in which outsourcing fulfilment can save your business money. However, they are the most pressing trends facing eCommerce brands.

Guide – to discover more ways outsourcing fulfilment can save you money, read our complete guide now.

How to select the best 3PL for your business

As you’ve just read, outsourcing your fulfilment to a 3PL can have a positive impact on your brand’s profitability, operations, efficiencies and more.

But, only if you select the right 3PL. Make the wrong decision and things can go badly wrong.

Therefore, to help you select the best 3PL partner for your business, we’ve outlined our top requirements to look for below.

Omnichannel expertise

These days, it’s rare for eCommerce brands to restrict their sales and marketing efforts to their website.

Thanks to the rise of online marketplaces (e.g., Amazon) and social commerce (e.g., shopfronts on TikTok, Instagram and others), eCommerce retailers can receive orders through myriad channels. In 2023, customers are expecting a seamless shopping experience across all channels.

The thing is, managing those orders from multiple channels can be a challenge.

So, it’s vital that you select a 3PL partner that has a demonstrated track record in managing fulfilment through multiple channels (this is typically called ‘omnichannel fulfilment’).

The very best third-party logistics providers have the technology and associated dashboards that allow them to integrate directly with your multiple sales channels – whether they are Shopify, eBay, Amazon, Magento, or a broad mix of all of them!

If a 3PL can’t demonstrate this ability to integrate into your channels, give them a miss!

Geographical network

Another important point to consider when choosing a 3PL partner is whether they have an international network of warehouses and distribution points.

All too often, 3PLs will state that they have an international network, when the reality is they simply outsource these operations themselves.

Here at 3PL, we have our own international warehouse and distribution locations in the UK, the USA, China, and New Zealand.

With dedicated in-country warehousing, a 3PL will be able to keep your products stocked locally, making it quicker and easier to make and fulfil sales in those locations. Having international warehouse locations will also reduce your overall shipping costs and shipping times – meaning you can truly accelerate your growth in global markets.

Customer service

Don’t run the risk of just becoming a number! When selecting a 3PL partner for your fulfilment, you should select one that puts customer service at the top of their priorities.

As we mentioned earlier, outsourcing your fulfilment is a big move. You’re handing control of your stock and fulfilment to a third party, after all. So, you want to choose a 3PL that’s going to be responsive and helpful to your queries.

Here at 3PL, we provide a personal touch with every client being assigned their own account manager. This account manager acts as your point of contact and ensures that any queries you have are quickly answered.

This isn’t the case with other 3PLs, where you won’t receive a personalised, personal service.

What’s more, here at 3PL we also provide our customers with our Fusion portal, which provides them with on-demand access to their information 24/7 from anywhere in the world. At a glance, our customers can see the state of their inventory, orders and more.

It’s for these reasons that many of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands are selecting 3PL for their fulfilment.

Specialised fulfilment services

Whilst it may be tempting to think of fulfilment as a generic service, it really isn’t. So, when you’re selecting a third-party logistics provider, we suggest selecting one that truly understands eCommerce.

That’s because eCommerce – like other forms of retail – has nuances and details that can impact the fulfilment process in various ways.

Here at 3PL, we understand eCommerce and know that certain products have specialist fulfilment requirements. That’s why we offer niche, specialist fulfilment for products such as:

Don’t choose a generic 3PL. Choose one that understands your products and their specialist fulfilment requirements.

Guide – for more tips, read our guide to selecting the best eCommerce fulfilment service for your business.

Outsource your fulfilment with 3PL

If you want to make 2023 the best year yet for your eCommerce brand, then speak to 3PL about your fulfilment today. We make ship happen.

You source and sell – leave the rest to 3PL! 

Speak to 3PL about your fulfilment requirements now

For more eCommerce fulfilment, logistics and shipping information, read the 3PL blog 

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