We’ve all seen them; the influencers. You know the ones I’m talking about…The eCommerce business influencers on TikTok showing off their garage. One half occupied by a Lamborghini, the other half filled with products that they either sourced through online arbitrage, retail arbitrage, or private-labeled. The message always sounds similar too, “This can be you!”. However, depending on the size of your product and your home, this may not be possible. You’ll likely need somewhere else to store your product.
Additionally, if your eCommerce business is a side hustle, finding time to print off and adhere all the labels for your product and send out the packages to each purchaser is difficult enough. Not to mention managing your PPC, your relationship with suppliers, freight forwarders, etc. (Oh, and don’t forget you have to eat and get some sleep too.) In lieu of doing all that, brand owners will opt to utilize a 3PL to help streamline their supply chain and more efficiently scale their businesses.
What is a 3PL?
3PL stands for third-party logistics. These are warehouses that aren’t associated directly with any one particular platform, like Amazon, Shopify, or any brick-and-mortar store. Though they aren’t directly affiliated, many conduct Amazon FBA Prep, FBA forwarding, and multi-channel fulfillment for their eCommerce customers selling on Amazon and other eCommerce platforms. They allow Sellers to outsource supply chain operations that typically require a lot of real estate, operational overhead, and management. This ultimately frees up the Seller’s time to continue focusing on scaling their business.
Benefits of Using a 3PL
If you’re an Amazon Seller, of course, Amazon has its FBA centers, but this limits you to selling through FBA only. Using a 3PL empowers eCommerce businesses to become more than just an Amazon Seller and easily expand onto other marketplaces such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Walmart Marketplace, and WooCommerce as they all require that you be able to ship quickly and your consumers typically expect cheap shipping rates
Opportunity for Greater Capacity
Specifically for Amazon Sellers, inventory limitations are an ever-present roadblock to scaling. Fulfilling through a 3PL allows you to store more than 200 units. If you want to still use FBA fulfillment centers, you can use your 3PL location to feed your 200 units to FBA so you’re not trying to accurately navigate shipping delays to fill your FBA straight off the ship
Cheaper Shipping Rates
Third-party logistics centers typically have partnerships with several (if not all) of the major shipping carriers which allows them to have better rates on shipping. These discounted rates are often offered to their customers to incentivize them to not only let the 3PL handle the operations, but also take care of their shipping labels.
Free Up Your Calendar
Outsourcing operations of your business is all about being more strategic, efficient, and effective overall. When you’re not spending hours printing off and adhering labels to your orders, you’re able to spend more time on advertising, listing optimization, and in general, growing your business!
How do I find a 3PL?
Some supply chain management solutions, such as Noviland, have their own 3PL locations domestically and internationally. However, if you’re an Amazon Seller sourcing through an Agent or through Alibaba, there are various directories of Amazon Service Providers such as Sermondo available. If you’re not an Amazon Seller, or perhaps not even an eCommerce Seller at all, you can reach out to another non-Amazon-specific network such as The Growe Network.
Lisa Kinskey is the Marketing Assistant of Noviland, Inc., a rapidly growing sourcing & purchasing solution making sourcing from overseas factories simpler. She is also the Producer and Co-Host of the Link Up Leaders podcast. Lisa has a background in sales, marketing, and event planning, and currently resides in Duluth, Georgia.