Everything’s so fast-paced and competitive in the ecommerce landscape, isn’t it? Businesses must keep innovating, stay updated on trends, personalize customer service, optimize operations, and ensure value for money to stay ahead.

One question that usually comes up when mulling over growth and expansion is whether you should integrate a third-party logistics (3PL) provider into your business.

If you’re thinking about this, too, this article will give you insights on when to consider 3PL services to optimize your workflow, save more money, increase sales, and overall enhance your brand experience.

 

What is a 3PL provider?

3PL sounds so technical, so defining it can be a bit fuzzy, indeed. Basically, a 3PL or third-party logistics provider takes care of all your logistics needs, from warehousing and inventory management to transportation and order fulfillment.

By taking advantage of a 3PL’s expertise and infrastructure, you can streamline the supply chain operations of your business, get more time back, and focus on other aspects of your brand.

To get a better understanding of 3PL providers and what to look for, we reached out to our trusted partner Nick Andreas from Stacked Commerce to pass on some wisdom. Stacked Commerce offers traditional 3PL services, print on demand, Amazon FBA prep, growth hacking services, and more to help determined individuals grow their business.

Book a demo with them for a brief overview.

 

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5 Signs it's time to consider a 3PL provider

Still unsure whether integrating a 3PL provider is right for your business? Here are some signs it could be time to get onboard:


1. Orders are on the rise.

Managing logistics in-house can become overwhelming when you’ve been receiving way more orders than usual. If you’re experiencing this, a 3PL provider can assist you with higher volumes, while ensuring timely and accurate deliveries without compromising quality.

“It’s really common for growing businesses that are used to a certain volume to struggle to optimize their flow on the fly. 3PLs offer the advantage of instant optimization. And since we’ve partnered with Sendle, businesses can enjoy even better rates as they ship more without minimums required,” Nick said.


2. You’re planning to expand your market.

Want to reach more customers? Whether you’re expanding domestically or internationally, preparing for potential complex logistical challenges is crucial. The good thing is that 3PL providers have the networks and capacity to navigate these complexities, and they can also help you seamlessly transition into new territories.

Sendle offers international shipping, too, covering 180 countries and territories worldwide.


4. You have limited warehouse/storage space.

If your warehouse is bursting at the seams (or just your entire business space), it might be time to outsource storage to a 3PL provider. They offer warehousing solutions that can grow with your business, which can also eliminate the need for significant capital investment in additional space.

“Actually, a huge benefit of a 3PL provider is that their warehouses tend to be located somewhere convenient to major shipping lanes or even multi-locational,” Nick added.


4. You deal with seasonal demand spikes.

If your warehouse is bursting at the seams (or just your entire business space), it might be time to outsource storage to a 3PL provider. They offer flexible warehousing solutions that can grow with your business, which can also eliminate the need for significant capital investment in additional space.

“Actually, a huge benefit of a 3PL provider is that their warehouses tend to be located somewhere convenient to major shipping lanes or even multi-locational,” Nick added.


5. You need more time to focus on your core competencies.

“Managing logistics can be a distraction from many things like your primary business activities.” Nick continued. “By outsourcing logistics to a 3PL provider, you can focus on what you do best—whether it’s product development, marketing, creatives, customer service, etc.”

 

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7 benefits of integrating a 3PL provider into your online business

Although we’ve already touched on the benefits of partnering with a 3PL provider above, here’s a more in-depth explanation of each one to also help you make informed decisions for your business:


1. Reduced costs

Let's talk dollars and cents here. The truth is, running your own warehouse and handling logistics in-house can be a major drain on your resources. But with a 3PL, you're only paying for the services you actually use.

No more sinking money into expensive leases, equipment, or staffing costs. Plus, with their bulk buying power and streamlined processes, they usually have access to better rates with carriers like Sendle, which can save you even more money in the long run.


2. Smooth sailing shipping

3PL providers are the pros at getting stuff from point A to point B efficiently and affordably, so you can definitely say adios to shipping hassles. Whether you're sending out a single package or a whole truckload, you can rest assured that they’ve got it covered, which can lead to happier customers who get their orders on time, every time.


3. More flexibility

One of the coolest things about working with a 3PL is the flexibility it gives your business.

Got a sudden spike in orders? No problem! Your 3PL partner can scale up their operations to handle the increased demand without skipping a beat. And when things slow down, you're not stuck paying for unused warehouse space or extra manpower.

“3PLs usually offer a range of services. This diversity allows businesses to customize their logistics solutions according to their specific requirements while saving time and without being locked into one-size-fits-all contracts,” Nick shares.


4. Access to new markets

Aiming to offer your items to customers in Toronto or Sydney? Partnering with a 3PL can help you go wider or global without breaking a sweat. Many 3PLs have a network of distribution centers and international shipping capacities, they can help you ship to customers in most parts of the world.


5. Better customer experience

Customer experience should always be a priority in today's hyper-competitive online marketplace. Unfortunately, nothing ruins a customer's day like a late shipment or a damaged package.

“Yes. But thankfully though, with a 3PL supporting your business, you can focus on delivering a top-notch experience every time. From faster shipping times to real-time tracking, they can help you wow your customers and keep them coming back for more,” Nick added.

And with Sendle, you can take advantage of 24/7 customer support. Ask questions or raise concerns whenever you need to, and our friendly support team will get back to you as soon as possible.


6. Reduced risk and liability

Let's face it; running a business comes with its fair share of risks. Yet, when you partner with a reputable 3PL provider, you're not in it alone. They're experts at navigating the complex world of logistics and can help you mitigate risks and avoid costly mistakes. Plus, they've got all the necessary insurance and compliance measures in place to help protect your business from liability.


7. Scalable technology

Keeping up with the latest technology can be challenging for online businesses. With a 3PL, you’ll get access to cutting-edge tools and systems that can supercharge your operations.

From advanced inventory management software to automated order processing systems, they usually have things you need to stay ahead of the curve and delight your customers.

 

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How to choose the right 3PL provider

In case this article has convinced you to integrate a 3PL provider into your online business, here’s how you can choose the right partner for you:


1. Assess their expertise and experience.

Experience speaks a lot when it comes to 3PL providers. You want a partner who knows the ins and outs of the logistics game like the back of their hand. Look for one who's been around the block a few times and has a proven track record of success.


2. Check the reviews.

Just like you wouldn't buy a product without reading the reviews, you shouldn't choose a 3PL provider without doing a little research either. Take a peek at client testimonials and what other online businesses have to say about their experience.


3. Ask about technology.

If innovation is a major factor for you, choose a 3PL provider who's up-to-date with the latest tech trends. From advanced inventory management systems to real-time order tracking, it’s ideal to choose a provider who's got all the bells and whistles to keep your business running smoothly.


4. Consider their flexibility and commitment to seeing your business thrive.

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, things can change in the blink of an eye. Be sure to choose a 3PL provider who's flexible and adaptable. Can they scale up their operations to handle sudden spikes in demand? Can they customize their services to meet your specific needs? Look for a provider who's willing to bend over backward to help your business succeed.


5. Get personal.

Choosing a 3PL provider shouldn’t just be about the services they offer. It's also about the people behind the scenes. Take the time to get to know your potential partners. Are they responsive and easy to work with? Do they share your vision for your business?

We’ve heard from the Founder and President of Stacked Commerce Nick Andreas. Together, Stacked Commerce and Sendle aims to help as many online businesses as possible to grow and reach their goals without breaking the bank.

Learn more about Stacked Commerce

 

Ready to partner with a 3PL provider?

We’re here for it! Partnering with a 3PL provider, along with simple, reliable, and affordable Sendle shipping, can be a game-changer for your brand. It's like having a trusty sidekick or two who's got your back, taking care of all the logistics stuff, while also helping you grow your business and take things easy.

 

Start shipping with Sendle

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