How can a business benefit from an e-commerce 3PL solution?
E-commerce can expand as an opportunity, but not without growing pains
If you have reached the tipping point of scaling your business, you understand how your primary products in e-commerce are logistics, shipping, and fulfillment. You can’t focus on marketing, product development, and relationship building when you’re struggling to get products out the door.
Most successful e-commerce companies outsource to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to manage logistics for a good reason. As an increasingly large share of retail and B-to-B business moves online, the e-commerce market has grown exponentially. The 3PL market has followed suit, forecast to reach $1.75 trillion by 2026.
3PLs services are in high demand because e-commerce sellers prefer to make one call to an expert who can handle contract packaging, shipping and fulfillment, house inventory, and pick, pack, and ship products to their customers.
If you’re considering 3PL for the first time or looking to diversify risk by working with multiple 3PL partners, here’s how outsourced e-commerce 3PL works.
How does e-commerce 3PL work?
A 3PL (Third-Party Logistics) partner helps e-commerce merchants manage their supply chain. They typically provide warehouse and inventory management, order fulfillment, shipping coordination, retail distribution, exchanges, and returns.
Partnering with a 3PL vendor like Envoy Source frees you to focus on other aspects of your business. Instead of managing your warehouse and distribution, you stock your inventory in Envoy Source’s warehouse. Envoy Source receives goods from your manufacturers and ships them out when a customer places an order online. By making the process simple and seamless, your customers don’t notice that a third party handled their order, and they appreciate the speed and reliability of the order/delivery process. Envoy Source gives you the capacity to build your brand and enhance customer loyalty.
3PL in the supply chain crisis
Until the recent supply chain disruptions, supply chains and logistics were hidden from the customer’s view. This changed when store closings and layoffs from COVID-19 were quickly followed by unprecedented pent-up demand. The most successful e-commerce companies used their 3PL partners to weather the supply chain crisis and help them anticipate changes in supply and demand. Political instability, natural disasters, and staffing shortages will always affect supply chains, and these fluctuations are increasing in severity and frequency. Some analysts report significant disruptions every 3 to 4 years.
The e-commerce 3PL process
Here is a general picture of how Envoy Source handles your e-commerce orders:
- First, we work with you to determine your specific customer service and fulfillment needs. We will design your e-commerce 3PL process to meet those needs.
- Envoy Source receives your inventory at our warehouse and organizes each SKU.
- When an order is placed on your e-commerce site, it will be forwarded to Envoy Source – either manually by your team or automatically pushed through software integration with your online store.
- An Envoy Source team member collects the items ordered from a picking list.
- The items are packed into boxes with the receipt and order details according to brand guidelines and customer service goals.
- Envoy Source prints a shipping label from one of our shipping carrier partners.
- The shipping carrier collects the package from Envoy Source and delivers it to your customer.
- Tracking information is uploaded to the Envoy Source system and synced with your order management software.
Why partner with Envoy Source for e-commerce 3PL?
We let you do what you do best. When we manage your shipping and fulfillment, you can shift from operational tactics to the big picture of your business.
- We make it easy to test and launch in new domestic and international markets
- Free up capital that’s tied up in warehouses and shipping infrastructure.
- Reduce the hassle and overhead of hiring and training shipping personnel.
- Insulate your business against global supply chain disruptions
- Work with industry experts who can customize a 3PL solution that gets your product to market seamlessly from our warehouse in Memphis, Tennessee.