People interested in growing their business look to ecommerce to help them get a business started faster and cheaper. Since there’s a lower cost in starting an ecommerce business, people are under the wrong impression that it’s easy to be successful.
However, there are several common ecommerce problems that people go through, leading to them not being successful. A common issue for ecommerce is one that centers around the fulfillment problems that businesses in the ecommerce space have.
There’s a lot to worry about in ecommerce fulfillment. Shipping issues are a common problem. Inventory management is also a recurring issue in e-commerce.
There are all sorts of issues that come with ecommerce fulfillment. But there’s also a solution that you can try to ease your worries: Third-party logistics (3PL).
Before we move on, let’s first figure out what is 3PL and find out how it can help you with future or current ecommerce fulfillment problems.
What are third-party logistics?
3PL is the acronym for third party logistics. Third-party logistics is a service that you can get for your ecommerce business.
Typically, you hire a 3PL company to help manage your fulfillment operations for you. They can be as involved as you want them to be.
For example, they can help handle only the shipping part of your fulfillment operations. However, you can also let them manage your products’ warehousing, inventory, packaging, and shipping.
If the order fulfillment operations have been a big headache for you for a while, you might want to get the help of a 3PL. If you’re not convinced yet, here are several ways on how 3PL services can solve a lot of your ecommerce fulfillment problems.
How Third-Party Logistics can Solve Ecommerce Fulfillment Problems
1. Improved Shipping and Handling Quality
If you’re only starting with the ecommerce business, you probably don’t have the means to handle shipping and inventory at your house. Since it’s ecommerce, you don’t have to rent a physical store location.
The disadvantage of this is that your home will serve as your place of business as well.
When you’re starting, you probably have to ship the items yourself and send them off to the post office. However, as your business grows, this might be increasingly difficult to manage in the long run.
If you continue, you’re shipping and handling quality will reduce as time goes on, which you don’t want for your business.
If you get the services of a 3PL, you won’t have to worry about any of that.
2. Your Focus is on Your Business
If you have an ecommerce business, it’s likely only you who would primarily be working on the business.
Although it’s good to know that you manage everything, this could also mean that you’re doing work irrelevant to making your business grow.
With the help of 3PL services, you will focus on the aspects of the critical business. The inventory management, shipping, and so on take a lot of time, so letting someone else manage allows you to free up more time in your schedule.
3. Provide Value to Different, Unique Customers
Working in an ecommerce business will let you know that each customer has unique needs. And it’s your duty to cater to their needs.
It’s a lot more complicated than you need, and ensuring that you follow these needs will also help your business’s image. However, given the number of customers you have, it might be hard to track each customer’s needs.
In some cases, 3PL services can help you with customer service in terms of your operations’ fulfillment.
If your customers have questions about their order’s shipping, you can connect them with the 3PL’s customer service. They will answer the questions that you won’t be able to answer.
4. Working with Skilled Professionals
The people in the 3PL service are professionals. They know more about how to efficiently and effectively manage the e-commerce logistics needs. This includes inventory, warehousing, distribution, and shipping.
Therefore, it ensures a high quality of work for your business that will be difficult to manage by yourself.
They’ll get things done faster than you could and will be able to do more work than you could in terms of fulfillment too.
Aside from being skilled, they also have the connections needed to improve their processes that you don’t. They have the network to make for quicker and better service for you and, in turn, your customers.
5. Flexible Space and Staffing Options
If you want to have an in-house fulfillment service, you’re going to need space for the items you need to ship and the items in your inventory.
You probably don’t have that at home, unless you rent out an actual space. However, the issues don’t stop there.
Fulfillment takes more time and effort than you would think. Therefore, you need to hire extra help anyway to help you accomplish your fulfillment operations. However, as you grow, you’re going to need more and more people.
Instead of doing it in-house, hiring a 3PL means you won’t even have to worry about these two things at all.
6. Access to Premium Supply Chain Software
When you’re managing your inventory for your ecommerce business, you probably stick to free software or even do it by hand. However, this can be inefficient and inconvenient.
If you hire a 3PL, they have their version of a supply chain software that makes it easier for you to manage inventory. These metrics are in real-time, and you can view them anywhere.
Since these types of software are usually expensive and only for the enterprise level, getting access to them is quite a steal for someone operating an ecommerce business by themselves.
Over to You
3PL services are convenient for any ecommerce business wanting to grow.
Whether you have a team working with you or you’re managing your ecommerce business alone, a 3PL service provider will be a huge help no matter what. Before you start your ecommerce business, look up 3PLs first and see which ones you’d like to work with you. That way, you won’t have to encounter these ecommerce fulfillment problems in the future.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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