Ecommerce sales are growing, and so is the amount of businesses outsourcing order fulfillment.

In the last several years, ecommerce sales have exploded. In 2014, B2C ecommerce sales totaled $1.3 trillion, and that number is expected to exceed $4.5 trillion by 2021.

With the ability to shop 24/7 thanks to the internet, modern consumers have come to expect instant access and lightning fast turnaround. This is especially true of millennials and Generation Z consumers, who will become the top spenders in the upcoming years. To keep up with the increasing demand, many ecommerce retailers have turned to 3PL companies for help with product fulfillment.

Why outsource to a 3PL company?

Also referred to as order fulfillment, product fulfillment is becoming an increasingly popular area of business that ecommerce retailers of all sizes are choosing to outsource. While many start off shipping their own products in the beginning, managing it all becomes too much as business owners work to grow their companies.

Ecommerce brands choose to outsource their fulfillment to a 3PL services company for a variety of reasons. You’ve probably already heard of the more common reasons, including the following:

  • To save money on everything from shipping costs to supplies
  • The ability to ship products globally more easily
  • To take advantage of the expertise that a 3PL partner has, resulting in less errors, improved customer service, and more efficient processes

However, here are some other reasons to outsource fulfillment that you may not have considered:

  • Better inventory management. By using the best warehouse management systems available, 3PL companies have the ability to track and manage inventory more accurately than most businesses could in-house. Say hello to increased efficiency, and goodbye to costly errors and headaches!
  • Less staff for you to manage. As your ecommerce business grows, fulfilling orders becomes a full-time job. It’s a responsibility that either you, the business owner, must take on, or you will have to hire a staff. With that comes hiring, training, management, and liability, which can quickly get expensive and time consuming. When you outsource to a 3PL, you can rest assured that you have a team of experienced fulfillment experts managing your orders.
  • You don’t have to deal with handling returns. Processing, packing, and shipping orders is just one side to the fulfillment process. Keep in mind that of all product orders placed online, around 30% end up getting returned. In addition to processing and fulfilling orders for ecommerce retailers, a 3PL partner can help with reverse logistics, or returns management. Having a seamless returns process in place will result in happier customers, and fewer headaches and money wasted for retailers.
  • A 3PL services partner can also help with mailing Regardless of the mailing volume your company is doing, outsourcing to a mailing services provider can help you save time and money by managing your mailers, flyers and direct mail for you. A mailing services provider can help with tasks like pre-sorting mail, inserting, folding, address correction, poly bagging, label addressing, shrink-wrapping, direct mail, and more.