Every eCommerce business wants to grow, but with growth also comes growing pains and there comes a point where you have to ask yourself whether it’s finally time to outsource order fulfillment to a third party logistics (3PL) fulfillment service provider.
Whether you’re looking to partner up with a 3PL or looking to switch partners, we’re here to debunk some common myths associated with outsourcing order fulfillment to a 3PL provider by separating fact from fiction.
Myth 1: I Can Handle My Own Order Fulfillment
Many small businesses start off handling their own order fulfillment without much trouble. However, it’s when business starts booming and your priorities start pulling you in all sorts of directions that the complexities of order fulfillment quickly become too much to handle. Once a business starts growing, you have to focus your time and resources not only on fulfilling orders efficiently and accurately but also on marketing, branding, staffing, managing inventory, picking and packing, shipping, and quality customer support. There’s so much to do yet you have limited resources to ensure each aspect is optimized, so why not consider outsourcing fulfillment to a 3PL who can handle the logistics side so you can better allocate your time and money on continual growth?
Myth 2: My Business Isn’t Big Enough to Outsource Fulfillment
Another common misconception about outsourcing fulfillment is that it’s only meant for big business or businesses with high order volumes shipping thousands of orders a day.
While some 3PLs do require order minimums, they are by no means exclusive to big businesses. Many 3PLs, including ShipBots, offer order fulfillment services for businesses of all sizes. Even small businesses can benefit from partnering with a 3PL for discounted shipping rates and economies of scale they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten on their own.
Myth 3: Outsourcing Order Fulfillment is Too Expensive
Third party fulfillment can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be. Outsourcing fulfillment to a 3PL provider is an investment that can actually drive down operating costs in the long run and allow you to scale your business without having to spend a significant amount of tangible resources on it. The right fulfillment partner will work with you to help grow your business within your budget so that the partnership is economically viable for both parties.
Myth 4: Outsourcing Fulfillment Isn’t Worth The Hassle
Your order fulfillment strategy is the backbone of your business; if you’re not efficiently handling your own order fulfillment or find yourself falling behind, it may be time to consider partnering with a 3PL who can not only handle your fulfillment but also scale with your business.
Outsourcing fulfillment is undoubtedly more worth the hassle than having to handle fulfillment on your own only to realize later that it’s no longer feasible to manage independently. The hardest part of the process is finding the right fulfillment partner, but once you’ve settled on one the rest should be a breeze.
Myth 5: Customers Will Be Deterred By It
Unless you’re explicitly communicating to your customers that you are partnering with a 3PL provider, customers will have no reason to suspect that you’re outsourcing fulfillment. Most customers don’t even think about fulfillment when they make a purchase. Instead, they focus on the ease of checkout, shipping speed, and on-time delivery, all of which can be optimized by working with a 3PL who partners with major carriers to share their discounted rates with you.
If you have global customers, you may need to find a 3PL who offers international shipping DDP services, such as ShipBots.
Myth 6: I Will Have Less Control If I Use a 3PL
While 3PLs handle all aspects of logistics on your behalf, you are not relinquishing control of your business over to them. In fact, most if not all 3PLs allow 24/7 access to their warehouse management software (WMS) so that you can manage, track, and update your inventory and stock on your end whenever you need.
Partnering with a 3PL is a two-way street that requires communication from both parties. While your business is no longer handling order fulfillment, you will still be in control of various operations such as keeping stock levels up to date and analyzing tracking reports.
Myth 7: 3PLs Require Long-Term Commitments
Perhaps surprising to most is that partnerships with 3PLs do not require long-term or even any commitments at all. This misconception arises from the word “partnership” itself, which seemingly implicates a long-term relationship between two parties.
Professional 3PLs know that some businesses will indefinitely change and require different needs at some point. They are also familiar with seasonal demand (ie. during peak season) and know that some businesses prefer to outsource their fulfillment exclusively during those times when order volume spikes. Thus, offering a “no-commitment” partnership is mutually beneficial to both the 3PL and the eCommerce business for various reasons.
Myth 8: 3PLs Won’t Handle My Inventory With the Same Level of Care
While some 3PLs pride themselves in strictly fast order fulfillment, others pride themselves in efficient yet accurate order fulfillment while handling your inventory with care. Not all 3PLs will provide this level of service, so finding one that will treat your goods as if they were their own may first require vetting multiple fulfillment centers.
Outsourcing order fulfillment doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Nor will it take away your control and access over your business operations. When evaluating a 3PL provider to partner with, it’s important to consider flexibility, breadth of services, and quality of care.
How 3PLs Like ShipBots Facilitate Order Fulfillment
ShipBots is a third party logistics 3PL fulfillment center that stores, packs and ships your products on your behalf. At ShipBots, we utilize our comprehensive inventory management software to maximize productivity and minimize errors. We integrate with virtually all marketplaces and shopping carts to efficiently and accurately fulfill your orders so that you can focus on scalable growth. With ShipBots as your 3PL provider, you won’t have to worry about losing control or being stuck in a long-term commitment. ShipBots offers order fulfillment services with no commitment for businesses of all sizes, from multi-million dollar companies to small start-ups. Below are just some of the features you get when working with ShipBots:
- Receive, pick, pack and ship using personalized software that integrates with your sales channel
- Validate and verify receiving, picking, packing, and shipping transactions
- Track SKUs and update product quantities in real-time
- Advanced warehouse management software (WMS) that can batch orders, print product and bin barcodes, and track inventory
- Manage any volume of orders efficiently using workflows and triggers
- Detailed reports including lot recall, shipping & tracking, and cycle counts
Interested in partnering with ShipBots to handle your order fulfillment? Contact us to start streamlining your logistics today.