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How to Outsource the Best 3PL Companies for ECommerce

If you think your business is ready to move onto enlisting a 3PL fulfillment service, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to be looking at the signs you should look for when searching for the best 3PL companies for eCommerce so you can end up with the right company for you. And since not every 3PL company will be able to offer exactly what your business needs or they don’t cater to your industry, you must do plenty of research rather than going with the first one you find.

Check Their Current Clients

One of the first things you should check is what type of clients the 3PL already works with. This way, you’ll be able to get a good idea of what type of industry they cater to and if they’re a good fit for your business.

Technology Options

The 3PL company needs to be able to integrate your business into theirs, this is done via various types of technology. The technology they use needs to be compatible with your shop to reduce the risk of any technical problems while you are using them. If they don’t use the kind of technology that works for you or your store, then there’s no harm in finding a different company.

Size

All 3PL companies have to start from somewhere; this means that not all of these companies are yet big enough to handle your needs if your store is big. If you need hundreds or even thousands of orders per day, and the 3PL company doesn’t have the capabilities for them yet then you’re going to have problems every day. You need to check what kinds of qualities they can handle and ensure that they won’t be overwhelmed by the order amounts you have.

Extensive Services

Ideally, you want a 3PL that is going to offer all the services you need. The more the better so you know for certain that you’re in good hands. Not all 3PL companies offer the whole package, which then kind of defeats the point when you’re left picking up the jobs that you were trying to offload in the first place. It’s a good idea to check that the 3PL company you are talking to offers the following services in their monthly cost.

  • Inventory management
  • Order tracking
  • UCC 128 labeling
  • Advance Ship Notice
  • Labeling and packaging
  • Custom packaging, repacking, and assembly

Returns Policy

No matter what you sell or how good the quality is, customers will return their products from time to time. Sometimes it might be quality issues, sometimes the customer might have bought in haste. Whatever the problem, you have to know that your 3PL company is equipped to handle returns quickly, efficiently, and with a high level of customer service. Since you won’t be dealing with the returns in any way, you’ll have no control over what they do or what they do. When another company is representing your company and you have no control, it can seem a little nerve-wracking. However, as long as you can be assured that the 3PL has a fair returns policy and they have a good reputation for handling returns well, then this will reflect positively on your company.

Transparency

Like with any contracted service, you will be provided with a contract agreement to sign. Perhaps monthly or biannually to make sure you understand what you are signing up for and what you will receive in return. Check the contract carefully, and make sure that the company is being completely transparent and honest about all the costs involved and what they’ll deliver in return. If you’re not happy with the contract or you don’t feel like they are being upfront, just walk away. If they aren’t open about costs, then you shouldn’t get involved.

High Customer Satisfaction

Like with most companies out there, you should be able to easily find online reviews and comments about the 3PL companies that you are looking at. It’s always a good idea to double-check the company’s reputation online. Even if you feel they are the one for you, it doesn’t do any harm to see what other users are saying before you sign on the dotted line.

So, now you know the signs to look out for, you’ll be a lot better equipped at finding the best 3PL companies for eCommerce. However, what if you’re not sure if your company is ready to take the plunge and hire a 3PL company? Well, if you’re unsure, let’s take a quick look at three key questions you should ask yourself.

Are you running out of costly inventory storage space?

The cost of storage space for your products soon adds up. In fact, depending on how much stock you have, your storage costs could end up being one of your biggest expenses. Paying a monthly fee for a 3PL company includes storage costs and can save you a lot of money overall.

Are you fulfilling more than 10-20 orders per day?

Fulfilling larger quantities such as 10-20 per day and above means you have to spend a lot of time dealing with the logistics side of the business yourself. Once you start investing hours every day handling this part, you’ll find that you have less and less time to spend growing your business. Enlisting a 3PL company can help free up your time and increase order numbers.

Can your infrastructure handle the demand?

If your business grows in the future are you able to keep up with the demand for orders? Of stocktaking? Of packing? And keeping up to date with shipping? If you expect your business to grow then now is the time to make the switch to 3PL so you don’t ever end up getting overwhelmed because your business’ infrastructure can’t deal with it.

Making the switch to 3PL can seem scary but it’s a fantastic service that can have a huge amount of benefits for your company! If you’re looking for a professional and trusted 3PL company then find out more about how we can help you and your business on our website!

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