Fulfillment methods for eCommerce websites: 3PL
3PL stands for third-party logistics. This is where you buy the inventory and ship it to a warehouse, where a different company takes care of managing that inventory and shipping it out to your customers. So when an order comes in on your eCommerce website, that gets sent to the warehouse and they ship it out to the customer. There are a lot of eCommerce websites that do use this method and it can work really well, but sometimes it sucks. It’s really important that you find a good 3PL company, and you get references for that company to make sure that they’re going to do a great job. There are many different eCommerce websites that have had to shop around with different 3PL companies because they had bad experiences for their customers: orders were wrong, shipping was late, the customer received the wrong product. Or, they couldn’t do any customization of the packaging or the shipping.
But the advantage is you don’t have to rent out your own warehouse or deal with having to manage all the employees that make the shipping and logistics work.
So you can easily run your eCommerce website remotely and have someone else deal with all the logistics. Just make sure you find a good company and you keep a close eye on the quality control. The worst thing that can happen is that you find out that your 3PL company is really low quality, they keep messing up orders and you’ve already shipped them five pallets of products. This means that changing warehouses and 3PL companies are much harder to do.
Fulfillment methods for eCommerce websites: Shipping the products yourself
And the next method is shipping the products yourself. Of course, this is where you get the products shipped from your supplier to your own house or warehouse, and you ship them out to your customers yourself. A bunch of eCommerce websites does this, and it allows them to really maximize the profits, as well as ensure quality control of their products, shipping, unboxing experience for their customers. It also means that they can ship out orders really quickly. And it also allows them to add little notes and things inside the box so that it can add a better experience for their customers. The eCommerce website that I work with do this, they’re the ones that have the most repeat customers. But that’s because they take advantage of the fact that they have more control over the product. Those eCommerce websites ship quickly and they’re much more responsive to customer queries. It’s also much easier for them to chase up an order that may have been lost because they can just go down to their warehouse. It also makes it much easier to customize the packaging. They can also add in thank you notes and things like that to make the customers happier.
Dealing with 3PL or dropshipping can be much harder in this regard. Though, remember, this method does take a lot more management of employees and the whole process. You need to hire people to work in the warehouse, and you need to deal with the shipping companies yourself. If you grow your eCommerce website, you might also need to expand your warehouse to deal with the massive demand, and all the employees you need.