It can be exhilarating to run your own eCommerce business.
You choose the products that define your brand, then customers from all over the world come and place their orders that you then fill and ship out. The whole cycle starts over and over, never letting up. The problem is that as your company grows and the orders grow in size and number, your fulfillment is going to get more complicated and your returns are going to pile up.
Don’t worry, though! Partnering with a 3rd party logistics company can make your job much easier and benefit your operation in a variety of ways.
A Partner With Benefits for You and Your Customers
Choosing to outsource your warehousing and distribution to a 3PL isn’t a sign of defeat, it’s a sign that your company is growing. Many Fortune 500 companies have partnerships with fulfillment houses because they recognize that specialists can handle these tasks better, faster and cheaper than they can on their own.
There are lots of benefits to choosing a 3PL, including:
- Optimizing your product supply and warehouse utilization. There’s a fine line between having excess inventory in the warehouse that you’re just paying to store and not having enough to keep the orders filled.Luckily, your 3PL has the right tools to take your data and create models that help them determine just how much of each item should be in your stock at any given time, saving you money and preventing the disappointment of backorders for shoppers.
- Improved order speed and accuracy. When you’re trying to do your order fulfillment from a makeshift office or space that isn’t really designed for fulfillment, it’s hard to do the job fast and without error.Your 3PL has been doing this for a while, everything is setup for speed and accuracy, with multiple checks for every package before it goes out the door.
- Reduced costs on labor, shipping and supplies. Since your 3PL does a lot of shipping, they have a lot of clout with the big shipping companies that you can’t possibly match on your own. They’ve negotiated rates that apply to all their shipments, saving you a bundle any time you send an order out.They also buy supplies in bulk, saving you even more. It probably goes without saying that not having to hire a dedicated 3PL team or train them is yet another place where you’re not having to spend extra.
- Returns management. When you have a returned item, do you have a plan for it? Many businesses don’t really have a set procedure, so the item ends up on a shelf in a storeroom instead of being returned to inventory.That’s where returns management through a 3PL comes in. They can take that item in through a separate, but similar, process to their forward logistics and move it quickly back to inventory or to a secondary market where you can still recoup some of the value of the product.
- Helping you reduce returns. Of course, you don’t want to get returns, no one does. But if you do, it’s important to figure out what’s causing them. Your 3PL has the ability to collect and analyze a great deal of data, including data related to your returns.By asking the right questions of customers, they can help you figure out the real reason shoppers are bringing things back. Are your photographs not accurately depicting the product? Maybe your size charts are incorrect. Whatever it is, they’re there to help reduce the backflow.
A 3rd party logistics company can benefit any company that sells products remotely, but they’re especially well suited to eCommerce operations. As you grow, they can grow with you, allowing you to achieve your dreams, no matter how big they may be.