Happy customers lead to better sales – Any experienced seller knows this fact.
Today, customers expect quick and seamless deliveries. Like it or not, logistics stays at the core of this customer experience.
You have a bunch of good products to sell and a well-crafted marketing strategy in place. But if you can’t efficiently ship your orders, your business’s future will be bleak.
That’s why choosing the right third-party logistics (3PL) partner is imperative.
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the fundamental aspects of 3PL and the 12 best 3PL for ecommerce providers that can help you streamline your e-commerce operations.
Here’s a quick peek into the topic
- How Does a Third-Party Logistics Company Work?
- Choosing the Right Amazon 3PL Partners for Your E-commerce Business
- 12 Best 3PL for Ecommerce Companies for Handling Your Logistic Needs
- AMZ Prep
- Red Stag Fulfillment
- DCL Logistics
- Amazon FBA
- Amazon MCF
- Best 3PL for ecommerce Alternatives for Amazon Sellers
Let’s dive in…
How Does a Third-Party Logistics Company Work?
Third-party logistics or Amazon 3PL partners help e-commerce businesses manage their supply chain. In simple terms, you outsource your business’s logistics needs to a third-party service. This includes inventory management, warehousing services like picking and packaging, and order fulfillment.
Amazon 3PL partners can handle your products before shipping and prepare them to deliver either to a fulfillment center like Amazon FBA or to the end customer.
As your business grows, managing your own warehouse gets complicated and expensive.
In such cases, outsourcing your logistics needs to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider is a smart move. However, it’s hard to find Amazon 3PL companies that are cost-effective yet efficient in operations. We’ll get to that in a bit.
The key difference between 3PL and freight forwarder
If you are someone new to e-commerce, you may be confused between a 3PL provider and a freight forwarder.
Let me make it clear.
One of the key differences is the way they handle the supply chain. While a third-party logistics partner can manage your entire supply chain from inventory, warehousing, order fulfillment, and shipping, a freight forwarder gets your products from place A to place B. In some cases, freight forwarders offer limited storage and warehousing capabilities.
Another key difference is that a 3PL company helps you integrate your business with other channels to receive orders, ship goods to customers, and seamlessly manage your operations. On the other hand, the freight forwarder usually handles the journey part and has their shipping rates in place. In some cases, they may offer a limited warehousing basis for a short duration.
How to choose the right 3PL partner for your Amazon or e-commerce needs
The most frequent question we get from sellers is ‘how do i choose the right Amazon 3pl?’
Here’s you answer!
Businesses should look for 3PL providers that offer fast and streamlined fulfillment, storage, and warehousing services to cater to the growing demand of the customers.
The right logistic providers have the expertise and resources to ensure reliable and consistent delivery. They can handle the complexities of shipping, warehousing, and distribution, giving your business much-needed peace of mind. In case the shipment is delayed or something goes unplanned, you need a reliable 3PL provider that can assist you with quick solutions 24/7/365.
Better inventory management
Inventory management is a key part of the e-commerce fulfillment process. An ideal 3PL provider should be able to seamlessly integrate inventory management between your online business and the warehouses where your products are stored. They should also sync real-time inventory to your storefront so your customers would be aware of the products that are in stock and those that aren’t.
On-time deliveries are crucial for exceptional customer service. When asked about the expected delivery time for their online orders, 41% of shoppers said they preferred their products to be delivered within 24 hours. Today’s shoppers want swift and reliable delivery services, making it imperative for businesses to meet these expectations.
Depending on your standard delivery options and the market you serve, you should find a 3PL partner that can provide expedited shipping to stay ahead in the e-commerce world.
Improve customer experience
3PLs contribute to an improved customer experience in several ways. They can process and ship orders more efficiently, reducing lead times. They can also provide accurate order tracking, enabling customers to monitor the status of their shipments. Consistency and reliability in meeting delivery promises are crucial for customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Stay informed with shipping updates
Customers want real-time updates regarding their shipments. So, you need robust tracking and reporting systems to stay informed about shipping updates consistently. This transparency boosts overall communication and promotes trust among your customers.
Many third-party logistics providers have warehouses spread across different cities, allowing you to distribute your inventory among fulfillment centers. If your business spans multiple cities, it’s worth considering a 3PL provider that can distribute your goods to various locations. It is cost-effective, too.
This is an extension of the previous point. Your logistics mistakes can potentially harm your customer experience, hamper your business’s growth, and eat into your profits. You should find a fulfillment provider who has expertise in the field and make your process simple, easy, and effective.
Find a cost-effective fulfillment provider to help you expand your customer reach and handle a substantial volume of shipments. This way, you can reduce the expenses associated with freight, ensure backup supplies, and prepare for unexpected situations.
Automation and analytics
Reliable Amazon 3PL companies should invest in innovation and data capabilities to help you stay ahead of the competition and changing trends. Their technology should enable you to understand data and offer insights into performance. You can further use these insights to reduce operational costs, increase efficiency, and identify areas for improvement.
How to Choose a 3PL for Your Amazon Business
12 Best 3PL for Ecommerce Companies for Handling Your Logistic Needs
Here’s the list of the top 12 Amazon 3PL companies that specialize in managing your e-commerce operations.
Headquartered in Canada, AmzPrep is one of the leading Amazon 3PL companies tailored for e-commerce and DTC brands across North America.
You don’t just need a logistics service, you need an efficient partner to manage your operations, and AmzPrep is the right one for you.
With our proprietary technology and extensive expertise, we’ve been assisting thousands of brands like Duracell and Heinz and helped them save their fulfillment costs by 25%. Our team offers a comprehensive suite of solutions, including inventory management, warehousing, order processing, shipping, and fulfillment.
AmzPrep provides invaluable support in fulfillment and Amazon preparation services to brands. This includes expertly handling packaging, labeling, and shipping your products to Amazon FBA or directly to your end customers.
Besides, AmzPrep is one of the few Amazon 3pl companies in North America that can help brands manage Amazon Vendor Central purchase orders.
Here are a few more reasons for choosing AmzPrep:
- Helps you reach global markets with an international fulfillment network across the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia
- Reduced shipping time and costs
- Analyze metrics like orders, sales performance, and inventory levels and make informed business decisions
- Helps you integrate across various platforms, including Amazon, Shopify, eBay, and more
- Quick turn-around times with excellent operational efficiency
- A dedicated account manager to guide you throughout the journey
AmzPrep offers transparent and competitive prices for e-commerce fulfillment. You can check the pricing details here.
ShipBob is a growing third-party logistics provider specializing in order fulfillment and e-commerce warehousing services. They gained popularity among e-commerce businesses by offering a range of logistics solutions to streamline the order fulfillment process.
ShipBob has fulfillment centers across North America, the EU, and Australia.
FedEx is one of the renowned third-party fulfillment services. They provide inventory management, warehousing, order fulfillment, and shipping services.
FedEx helps your deliveries reach their destinations with ease and utmost care. They specialize in overnight shipping and delivery. However, their shipping costs can be expensive depending on the needs. On the other hand, you should also check their surcharges during peak season.
Note: If you’re not looking for the whole 3PL package but want a part of freight forwarding, you can try eShipper. It is one of the largest and fully automated shipping services out there. The company offers inexpensive and hassle-free shipping solutions for all your business needs. You can check their website for more details.
DHL is one of the world’s leading Amazon 3pl companies offering a range of 3PL services that cater to e-commerce businesses. Their vast global network and international expertise make it a valuable partner for e-commerce businesses looking to expand their reach into international markets.
DHL is often chosen for time-sensitive and urgent shipments.
5. Red Stag Fulfillment
Red Stag is yet another 3PL company specializing in serving e-commerce brands and retailers. They provide order fulfillment, warehousing, and shipping solutions to small and mid-sized businesses.
Red Stag pricing and operations are suitable for brands with products that require special handling, like oversized or heavy-duty items. However, we suggest you check their pricing and additional costs for more details.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a popular 3PL provider for e-commerce and other businesses in North America. While USPS primarily functions as a postal and package delivery service, it offers various logistics services for businesses.
USPS offers a range of services, such as distribution, shipping, and fulfillment services. They also recently rolled out logistics programs like USPS Connect eCommerce to enable faster deliveries for small businesses.
Moreover, you can easily integrate your business with other e-commerce platforms to manage orders and generate labels with USPS.
7. DCL Logistics
Based out of the US, DCL offers flexible and comprehensive fulfillment solutions for all kinds of businesses. Their years of operational expertise support startups and established brands.
With a diverse experience, DCL serves their clients with complex fulfillment needs. They have warehouses across the US and fulfillment partners across Canada and Asia.
With DCL, you get great visibility across your orders. It also allows you to integrate with Amazon, Shopify, and other platforms.
ShipWire offers global fulfillment and logistics services. They fulfill orders from over 20+ fulfillment centers across the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and China.
ShipWire has an intuitive dashboard that makes it easy for you to see real-time data. As you send your products to fulfillment centers, your customers place orders. ShipWire reroutes these orders to the nearest fulfillment center, reducing the shipping time.
ShipWire’s areas of expertise include warehousing, B2C and B2B e-commerce fulfillment, dropshipping, marketplace fulfillment, and more.
InterFulfillment is a Canadian third-party order fulfillment company offering logistics, warehousing, and distribution services. They offer efficient cross-docking services and shipping services from Toronto and Vancouver.
InterFulfillment provides a quick and simple account setup process. They don’t require a long-term contract, making it a good option for small businesses.
Located in Toronto, Canada, ShipHype focuses mainly on DTC and B2B fulfillment, FBA prep services, and kitting services. ShipHype ships orders from its four fulfillment centers situated in the United States and Canada. With ShipHype, you can integrate your business with Amazon, Shopify, WooCommerce, FedEx, eBay, and other platforms.
Top 3PL Alternatives for Amazon Sellers
The list wouldn’t end without mentioning Amazon. As an Amazon seller, you have a myriad of 3PL options to choose from for your business. Apart from AmzPrep and the others on the list, you can also consider logistics services provided by Amazon.
Under Amazon 3PL service, we have FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) and MCF (Multi-Channel Fulfillment).
a. Amazon FBA
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a program that allows you to outsource your logistics needs to Amazon. It’s an automated service where you can send your products to Amazon’s global fulfillment centers.
When a customer orders, Amazon’s team will pick, pack, and ship the order to the end customer. With FBA, you can offer free or two-day shipping to your customers through Prime.
Amazon fulfillment costs vary depending on the peak holiday season, product categories, and size tiers.
b. Amazon MCF
Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) is a program within Amazon FBA that allows you to fulfill orders from multiple sales channels, including your own website. MCF is one of the quickest and most trusted fulfillment solutions. You can use a pool of inventory to fulfill your orders across all your sales channels – So everything is centralized.
One common misconception sellers have is that you must sell on Amazon to leverage MCF. It’s not true, though. You can use Amazon MCF whether you’re an Amazon seller or not.
To sum it up!
The right Amazon 3pl partners gives your e-commerce business an edge over others. Carefully assess your requirements and find a reliable 3PL company that can boost your overall profitability.
If you’re looking for the best 3PL for ecommerce in North America in North America, you can schedule a call with AmzPrep. We’d love to help you!