Your eCommerce company is really taking off, it’s easy to tell from the boxes and bags that fill every empty nook of your home.
It started out in your spare bedroom, but now fulfillment spans the length of your living room, runs across the dining table and has started invading the kitchen. Your bathroom is the makeshift box storage area, and your garage is stocked to the ceiling. This can’t be the way other small eCommerce businesses do their fulfillment, can it?
As your small business grows, you’re going to need the help of other companies in order to keep that momentum going. One of those will be a 3rd party logistics firm, also known as a 3PL. 3PLs are a great alternative to the creeping pile of packing materials and inventory that’s slowly consuming your home, and the people who work there are way more efficient with eCommerce order fulfillment services than you alone could ever be with your box tape and kitchen table.
What Can a 3PL Offer?
A 3PL is a great business partner for a small business, especially if you’ve already started doing some of your own fulfillment.
You don’t have to turn everything over to your new partner, but as you grow, you’ll always have the option to lighten your own burden and transfer more of your warehousing and distribution to your 3PL partner. It’s a great idea to find out ahead of time what a particular company can offer, just in case you might need it later.
Besides packaging and warehousing, a 3PL can provide services you can’t offer your customers, like advanced customer web portals that allow them to track their packages and relationships with shippers that help reduce your shipping rates even further so free shipping is within your reach. They also have great things for you, including tools for cartonization to save even more on shipping and integrated shopping carts to automate your inventory process.
Time to Make the Plunge
Jumping into a 3PL partnership is sort of like jumping into a new business, there’s no one right time for everyone.
If your inventory is overflowing your home or office, your organization is a nightmare, your warehousing could really use some help and your inventory needs to be sorted, a 3PL can take over all of that and let you get to the business of your business.
Even if you’re not in such dire straights, you may find that hiring a 3rd party logistics firm has benefits well beyond boxes and shipping. For example, having access to international shippers at great rates could mean that you can import from your favorite manufacturers at a substantial discount, or that you can now expand your business into international markets that you couldn’t reach before.
Partnering with a 3PL can change the way your business runs and free you up to focus on doing more than just packing an endless sea of boxes. After all, you got into your business to do business, so why not leave the packing to the professionals?