Running your own fulfillment from your home, office or retail location means having the staff available to accurately pack boxes, the dedicated space in which to do it and somewhere to store all your inventory.
Even if you can get all those pieces together under one roof without breaking the bank, you’ve got an even bigger challenge ahead: shipping it all out. As a small business, you might take your boxes to the Post Office on a daily basis, but are you really getting the best deal and giving your customers the shipping and mail service options they want?
3rd Party Fulfillment Companies Expand Your Shipping Options
One of the greatest benefits of partnering with a 3PL is being able to take advantage of their many contacts in the shipping world. Not only will you be able to utilize companies you’re already using, your 3PL may be able to connect you with shippers that you’ve not yet heard of to create even more opportunities for your business.
Partnering with a 3PL can supercharge your fulfillment by:
Giving buyers more shipping options. Your fulfillment house likely has contracts with many different shippers and delivery companies, enabling a variety of routes and shipping options for your shoppers. Instead of being stuck with accepting shipments only from the Postal Service, your customers will be able to choose from their favorite shipping companies who may offer a variety of shipping speeds to their locations.
Providing your customers with a customer web portal to track their packages. Knowing where your package is in the order fulfillment process makes is easy to plan for the day it’ll arrive. Having a customer web portal that automatically updates and reports as that package is scanned through the various steps of fulfillment, all the way to the customer’s doorstep, is more than just an added bonus.
Enabling shoppers to reroute and reschedule their deliveries. Transportation management systems (TMS) make it easy for your 3PL to reroute packages to make their movements more efficient, but they also work to benefit customers. With access to these tools on the customer side, your buyers can reroute shipments to more convenient delivery points or to a time that’s better for them.
Partnering with a 3PL can super charge your fulfillment activities, from picking and packing to shipping and rerouting those shipments to better suit your customers’ schedules and lives. Many small- to medium-sized businesses are surprised at how affordable these services can be, especially when they only pay for what they use.