Are you tired of high labor costs, regular inventory counts, excess stock, or lack of space? Managing your warehouse can be quite the responsibility, to say the least. There are so many issues that come from managing your own warehouse, it’s often easier to search for alternatives, primarily outsourcing to a third-party logistic provider (3PL). Hiring people who have better resources to do the job can save you precious time, increase efficiency, and reduce headache.
What exactly is a 3PL?
A 3PL provider also known as a third-party logistics provider, mainly provides services to industrial & commercial customers. These services include, but are not limited to, warehousing, transportation, deliveries, shipments & order processing. In many cases, individuals and ecommerce businesses do not have the resources to carry out such activities themselves. Hence, making the 3PL service an attractive investment.
Since all your logistical operations will be carried out for you when partnering with a 3PL, you can repurpose your energy on other growth-related tasks or customer experience.
Three main services provided by a 3PL provider
- Warehousing & Storage: Saving you the rent & insurance of your warehouse, 3PL providers store your products in secure warehouses.
- Supply chain shipping and receiving: Freight services can be a vital tool in saving money and shipping products. A 3PL partner will help you with the right services and may also be able to arrange FTL or LTL for large shipping orders.
- Packing products & deliveries: Your 3PL will be in charge of packing your orders and shipping them off. The orders placed by your customers will directly go to the database of your 3PL, and they will carry out the order fulfilment plan. Some even offer custom-branded packaging options.
Why you should use a 3PL
- Higher efficiency: You will have a lower cost and higher productivity, resulting in higher efficiency and revenue.
- Faster shipping: Your order fulfilment will be handled by professionals who will ensure no delays; moreover, you can choose warehouse locations yourself to be within closer proximity of your higher volume geographies.
- More time to spend on other business ideas and goals: The time you will be saving by outsourcing, you can dedicate to your marketing goals & customer satisfaction.
- Scalability: You won’t have to worry about hiring more warehouse workers during busy months, and will have a leaner, more scalable team.
What are the top 3PL companies for ecommerce?
There are many 3PL services available in the market. However, the following are amongst the best options out there.
ShipBob is one of the most well-known 3PL companies across the globe. They operate in the United States, Europe, United Kingdom, and Canada. ShipBob has warehouses in many convenient locations and has technology that ensures timely delivery of your products. It is also known for its high customer satisfaction and low costs.
Services provided by ShipBob
- Inventory storage
- Free of cost returns
- Packing & shipping
Fees and pricing
Unlike many 3PLs, ShipBob publishes a clear pricing structure with no hidden costs.
- Receiving: $25 for the first 2 hours ($40/man every hour after the first two hours)
- Storage (monthly charges): $40 per pallet/month, $10 per shelf/month, $5 per bin/month
- Pick & pack: Free for the first four picks in order and $0.20 per pick after the fourth.
- Standard packing: Free of cost
- Shipping: Varies depending upon weight, destination, dimensions, etc.
- Inventory management
- Reporting & analytics
- End to end customer experience
- Order Management
- Distributed inventory
- Two days express shipping program
Sign up for ShipBob here.
ShipMonk offers various services targeted specifically towards small-scale and medium-scale brands. They believe in helping their ecommerce customers “stress less & grow more”.
- DTC eCommerce
- Subscription boxes
- Crowdfunding fulfilment
- Amazon FBA prep
- Seller Fulfilled Prime
Pricing and Fees
Pricing & fees majorly depend on the number of monthly orders.
For 0-500 monthly orders:
- First Item Pick Fee Per Order: $2.50
- Additional items per order: $0.50
- Promotional inserts: $0.20
- Return processing: $2.00 + 0.50/additional item
- $20 per pallet/month, extra-large bin $4 per month.
*Fragile items and items heavier than 5lbs may incur additional charges
Additional services free of cost
- Discounted shipping options
- Order/inventory management software
- Free receiving
- Unlimited integrations
- Dedicated customer support
- Claims management
- Receiving photos
- International order processing
- Address validation
- Freight management
Whitebox is one of the best 3PLs aimed at small & medium-sized businesses. It cuts additional costs and provides many services at reasonable charges. However, a minor drawback is the initial registration fee of $3,000 and 10% of sales.
Available to various channels through
- Direct to consumer ecommerce
- Marketplace prep
- Amazon seller fulfilled prime (SFP)
Key features provided
- Product listing is done through SEO.
- Constant Inventory Maintenance free of cost
- Quality assurance
- Predicting product demand
- Product photography
Deliverr is a 3PL service that provides inventory and warehouse services for ecommerce websites like eBay, Walmart & Amazon. It offers quick 2-day shipping, customer consultancy, and delivery dates at standard rates.
- 2-day delivery badge
- Customisation for your company
- SEO product listing
- Buy Box initiative
- Warehouses all across the US
Pricing & fees
- Storage: starting at $0.75 per cubic feet per month
Three service levels:
- Standard 5-7 days shipping
- 3-day shipping
- 2-day shipping
Fulfilment cost varies according to product, starting from $3.99
Best 3PL for Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime
Deliverr is the best option for Amazon SFP. It provides fast and not-so-expensive options for inventory and order management while enabling the beloved Amazon Prime Badge.
Amazon requires 2-day delivery options for SFP which Deliverr provides at affordable rates. It also includes quality control, making sure that the standard of service is never compromised.
Best 3PL for Walmart
Similar to Amazon, Walmart is a huge company that requires a 3PL which ensures timely deliveries and low costs. Deliverr is your best option here. According to Walmart, Deliverr "enables sellers to spend more time focusing on increasing their sales, while having confidence that their orders will be delivered quickly and with outstanding customer support."
Further, it also provides return services which are essential to Walmart. Thanks to Deliverr, both Amazon Prime & Walmart have the fastest delivery system where customers can receive their products in as little as 48 hours.
In conclusion, companies (small scale, medium, or large) need help with their logistical processes. 3PL provides an efficient solution to all your problems. However, it is essential to research before partnering with a company. You should compare prices, warehouses, and services before you finalizing outsourcing a 3PL for your company.