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How Third-Party Logistics Empowers Retail Startups

A third-party logistics (3PL) provider is a partner you outsource your shipping and fulfillment processes to. For retail startups, 3PL providers will pick, pack and ship your products to deliver to buyers or to brick-and-mortar stores. Shipping and logistics have become increasingly important processes in all businesses, including retail. As more people expect convenient product deliveries, your startup will need to meet consumer demand.

The Role of 3PL in Retail Startups

Retail startups have two core responsibilities: creating products to sell and delivering them to consumers. However, in the startup atmosphere, creating products is priority number one, making 3PL providers ideal partners in keeping startup retailers afloat.

As new retailers build their audiences, new products help to establish the brand and keep buyers interested. The process behind product development is intensive. Startups need to design products, source materials, find manufacturers for the products and grow stock to sell. With a 3PL, outsourced providers handle all of the steps that go into shipping, freeing up the resources to focus on production.

For many startups — retail or otherwise — teams are often very small, and each person has to juggle multiple responsibilities. While every employee could have a role in product development, there are also other processes to consider, like marketing and bookkeeping, that help the business grow. Adding logistics responsibilities to this long list can overstretch a small team and ultimately limit mobility.

Working with a 3PL gives your retail startup the space to scale and grow. Allow a partner, like Crown LSP Group, to handle fulfillment while your team focuses on the processes that bring in new buyers.

Advantages of 3PL for Startups

Choosing a 3PL partner offers plenty of advantages to your retail startup.


In-house supply chain management is no easy feat, even for large businesses with plenty of resources. Retail startups that are still finding their footing often lack the financial resources to add a single supply chain expert to their team, let alone a whole department. Internal supply chain processes require warehousing resources as well.

While outsourcing might feel like an extra expense, it’s still a much more effective use of your startup’s funds. Plus, a focused supply chain organization can reduce challenges in inventory management and prevent time-consuming customer service needs that your team might not have the time for.

Streamlined Processes

With so many processes to pay attention to at a retail startup, your shipping tasks are prone to being disorganized. Add this to a lack of resources, and your fulfillment procedures become inefficient. A 3PL focuses on shipping and logistics alone. These companies have the experience to manage fulfillment with ease and efficiency, so you can meet every order request.

Today, online shopping is the main way people shop, and many of them will expect orders on their doorstep within a week. If you’re a retail startup with an online store or a store that exists solely online, you need to meet these modern demands. A 3PL has the focused processes to help you achieve that.

Adaptability and Scalability

A 3PL provider is prepared to adapt to your needs and scale with your business. These providers offer extensive resources in the world of fulfillment and logistics, giving them the ability to adjust their services for your startup as you need them. While this is valuable for your retail startup as it grows quickly, it’s also helpful for slower periods when you may need less support based on consumer behaviors.

This adaptability means your team can rely on the same provider throughout the life of your business. You don’t have to abandon your partnership when your needs shift because a 3PL is ready to respond to these changes.

Specialized Knowledge

In the world of shipping and logistics, there are various concepts you need to understand to effectively manage the flow of orders and meet fulfillment requirements. Between planning and coordinating shipments, organizing a warehouse and tracking goods through labeling, fulfillment can be challenging to manage.

With a 3PL, you’re partnered with a team of experts who understand what it takes to handle all of these processes. Rather than having to learn these concepts yourself, you can count on specialists with years of experience in the field. This expertise also means your 3PL partner can handle these processes efficiently.

Network Access

A 3PL company typically has multiple warehouses and may even have a nationwide network your startup can rely on. This network access greatly benefits your growing business because it allows you to reach more buyers in less time.

With modern buyers expecting fast shipping times, this network access allows you to meet consumer demand. A wider reach also allows you to capture a larger audience in the early stages of your startup.

Advanced Technology

Technology is a major player in logistics and fulfillment as well. If you choose to handle fulfillment internally, these technologies might not be available to you. A 3PL expertly leverages shipping technologies to improve efficiency and accuracy in the fulfillment process. Possible technologies used by 3PLs include:

  • Warehouse management system (WMS).
  • Automated fulfillment technologies, like barcode scanners and conveyors.
  • Inventory management system (IMS).
  • E-commerce integrations.

These technologies pair with a 3PL’s specialized knowledge to create a well-oiled machine. Your 3PL partner will seamlessly receive an order, retrieve the item from the warehouse and ship it out.

Selecting a 3PL Provider

With all the benefits of outsourcing logistics to a 3PL provider, your next step is to find one. Since these providers are essential partners in the success of your business, you need to choose one wisely. Consider the following factors when selecting a 3PL.


An ideal 3PL is able to customize all of your shipping items to reflect your brand. If you have specific packaging, labels and packing slips, your 3PL should use all of these custom items in your fulfillment processes. This customization is how a 3PL becomes a true extension of your team, not a removed third party.

When you’re searching for a 3PL provider, questions about customization should be at the forefront of your exploration. It’s in your best interest to work with a provider that tailors services to your unique needs, making your 3PL an excellent invisible extension of your retail startup.

Customer Service

To build a trustworthy relationship with your 3PL, you need a provider that’s committed to excellent customer service with your startup. Customer service is valuable for building trust with any outsourced provider. In the case of a 3PL, you need confirmation that your provider is invested in excellence and quality, as it will reflect back on your growing business.

In logistics and fulfillment, customer service is also important for keeping you informed. Details about elements like estimated delivery times and cost optimization can streamline logistics and give you confidence that processes are running smoothly.


Logistics needs can change in an instant. Between canceled orders, recalls, returns and supply chain disruptions, you need a 3PL that’s ready to act in the face of these unexpected changes. When looking into a 3PL, you can ask about their processes regarding supply chain issues and sudden changes in order volume or destination.

For example, at Crown LSP Group, our team uses a series of technologies to maintain transparency in the shipping process. While this transparency is valuable for communication with your brand, it also allows us to see potential bottlenecks in the process and respond to them immediately.


A 3PL that can grow with you is one of the major benefits of outsourcing fulfillment. When selecting a 3PL provider, make sure they have the resources and flexible services to adapt to your changing requirements. It’s helpful to look out for value-add services. These solutions can be introduced to standard warehousing and logistics processes based on what your company needs.

Crown LSP Group offers a range of value-add services, including:

  • Reverse logistics
  • Cross docking
  • Transloading
  • E-commerce fulfillment
  • Inventory management
  • Kitting and assembly

Services like these illustrate a 3PL’s capabilities and their ability to adapt to your retail startup as the business grows.


When a 3PL has a good reputation, you can feel certain they deliver on their promises. Choose a provider that is well-established and may even come highly recommended by other businesses. Looking into customer reviews online can give you a good idea of a provider’s reputation before you work with them.

Another way to tell if a business is well-established is by looking at its list of services. A highly experienced 3PL will have a wide range of solutions and will often highlight a turnkey approach in the process.

Explore 3PL Solutions From Crown LSP Group

Retail startups need a trustworthy logistics partner to keep their consumers satisfied and align with modern expectations. While you can attempt to manage these processes in-house, you can gain more from a focused expert. As a startup, growth is a top priority, and an experienced logistics team can help you achieve that growth.

Crown LSP Group is a distribution solutions company that can help your retail startup thrive. Get started with us today and request a quote.

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Common Industries That Use 3PL Services

Partnering with an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) provider offers modern businesses many benefits, such as helping manage supply chain risks more effectively while enabling more efficiency. This strategy also helps support future growth by improving customer service and satisfaction.

Since this solution is useful for businesses across many industries, let’s explore what companies use 3PL, why and how.

E-Commerce and Retail

E-commerce skyrocketed during the pandemic, when shoppers didn’t have access to traditional marketplaces. In 2021, the industry generated over $5 billion in sales. The trend shows no signs of slowing as consumers continue to enjoy online shopping’s convenience. Economists predict the market will grow 56% by 2026 and generate over $8 billion in revenue.

This increase drives demand for e-commerce order fulfillment services and more efficient logistics. A 3PL partner can carry out tasks like last-mile delivery so that customer products arrive on time and in good condition, regardless of where they are. Plus, these providers can help with reverse logistics and returns processing to maintain great customer service.

Online retailers also rely heavily on their 3PL providers for inventory management solutions. The insights a 3PL firm provides into product stock let e-commerce pros know the status of the goods at a glance. As a result, companies get the data they need to place supply orders and schedule production to avoid stockouts, keeping their customers happier.

Third-party logistics companies help traditional retail stores support their operations, as well. Businesses providing 3PL solutions offer short-term storage and long-term warehousing services to meet seasonal demand changes. They also supply cost-effective solutions like cross-docking, simplifying goods distribution and increasing delivery speed.

Manufacturing and Distribution

Goods manufacturers and distributors face many pain points in the supply chain. Manual processes and in-house storage and shipping operations can be expensive, and inefficient transportation further increases operating costs. Effective raw material movement is vital to promoting continuous production and preventing downtime that may result in unsatisfied customers.

An experienced 3PL provider like Crown LSP Group is an ideal solution, serving as a strategic business partner that offers solutions such as:

  • Warehouse storage: We can accommodate your long- and short-term storage needs to help you gain the redundancy just-in-time manufacturing requires.
  • On-site warehousing services: Our team provides on-site operational support for your facilities, eliminating the high labor costs of staffing and managing it independently.
  • Transportation services: Crown LSP Group is an expert in freight brokerage and specialized shipping to help you cost-effectively ensure accurate and timely raw material deliveries.
  • Order fulfillment services: We streamline last-mile distribution with fast delivery that improves customer satisfaction and prevents you from having to hire and manage ground-level fleets countrywide.

We also offer end-to-end inventory management services that help you optimize your stock. Our technology includes automated solutions that end manual processes, boosting accuracy, visibility and time savings. Crown LSP Group has a demand forecasting system for better planning, as well.

Health Care and Pharmaceutical

The health care and pharmaceutical markets represent two of the most common types of companies that use third-party logistics to solve their unique challenges.

Health care and medical supply companies frequently serve worldwide markets where patient lives and clinical outcomes depend on timely deliveries. A delayed shipment can leave an organization without the necessary supplies to deliver care. Further, these products often need specialized shipping to protect them against potential damage during transport.

Experienced 3PL providers play a critical role in health care and medical logistics by helping solve these complex issues. Warehousing services keep products strategically located for faster order fulfillment, and transportation services like less-than-truckload shipping ensure quick delivery for smaller orders. Additional solutions, such as drayage shipping, keep intermodal journeys on schedule.

Pharmaceutical companies face similar challenges when storing and shipping essential medications and treatments. They frequently need controlled atmospheres to preserve product safety and integrity and cold chain solutions to maintain those conditions throughout shipping. Those who do business with the European Union must also follow the Good Distribution Practice (GDP) framework, which contains the minimum guidelines for the industry’s supply chain.

A knowledgeable and reliable 3PL firm can manage these complexities with services like temperature-controlled storage and transloading, supporting product safety and compliance.

Food and Beverage

Food and beverage companies have numerous regulations applying to their supply chain management. For example, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires product traceability to help contain food-borne illness outbreaks. These businesses also need ways to manage stock rotation to ensure that products arrive fresh and safe for consumption.

Inventory management services from a 3PL provider solve these issues and support compliance. The right partner will have the technology to track goods at every step, like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and bar code systems. With real-time visibility, 3PL companies can also support just-in-time deliveries of perishable goods to cut waste and meet specific customer needs.

Food producers and distributors must focus on preserving their goods’ flavors and maintaining availability for out-of-season items, as well. This requirement often necessitates a well-controlled storage and shipping environment.

Full-service food and beverage logistics providers have solutions for these challenges, too. Temperature-controlled warehousing and specialized cold-chain shipping expertise help companies supply their customers with fast product delivery at the peak of freshness and taste while conforming to food safety laws.

Automotive and Transportation

Automotive and transportation professionals are among those who use 3PL services to drive organizational value. Thanks to the nature of their business, these companies serve multiple customers, from individual consumers to dealer partnerships.

The supply and distribution challenges of these companies include storing and shipping large, expensive items, smaller replacement components, and care or repair kits. The latter results in a greater need for inventory control to minimize waste, maximize efficiency and meet customer expectations for fast delivery.

An agile 3PL partner like Crown LSP Group has the expertise and resources to help with automotive logistics, with services like:

  • Short- and long-term warehousing: We’re close to the eastern North Carolina ports and can scale with your changing business needs.
  • Vehicle shipping: With our freight brokerage services, we leverage our relationships with a deep network of transportation partners to find you competitive rates for large deliveries.
  • Asset-based transportation: We can use our contacts for asset-based transportation services that provide the peace of mind of owner-operated equipment.
  • Kitting and assembly services: Our team adds extra value to the process with kitting and assembly services that improve the consumer experience.
  • Other value-added services: Crown LSP Group is also an expert in inventory management and rapid order fulfillment.

Other Industries

Firms providing 3PL services customize their services to streamline storage and distribution operations for various other crucial economic sectors, including technology, energy, construction and fashion.

Construction and Engineering

A successful construction project requires numerous materials that often arrive from different suppliers at various locations. Seasoned 3PL providers can combine these deliveries to help ensure all materials come on-site together and are ready to use, which allows you to please clients with jobs that move forward on time.

Technology and Electronics

Modern technology is highly sensitive to damage during storage and transport. A 3PL provider understands what’s involved in protecting these delicate and often expensive goods. They take the extra steps to develop specialized storage and shipping strategies to safeguard the products.

Energy and Utilities

Oil, gas and other energy companies have multilayered, complex supply chains with many moving parts to coordinate. Partnering with a 3PL firm lets them outsource the variables to a knowledgeable business that provides access to the latest technology and support services, such as intermodal transportation expertise.

Fashion and Apparel

The fashion and apparel industry is a high-SKU, high-turnover environment. As a result, businesses in this field have frequently changing storage needs. A 3PL company offers flexible storage, fulfillment and inventory management based on individual needs, and these customized approaches allow businesses to use their resources more effectively.

Trust Crown LSP Group as Your 3PL Partner

Companies in many industries regularly turn to Crown LSP Group for tailored supply chain management solutions. From automotive and consumer packaged goods to life sciences and food, we help companies optimize efficiency and allow them to focus on their core operations.

Request a personalized quote, or contact a specialist online for more information.

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How to Create an Ecommerce Fulfillment Strategy

To rake in consistent sales for your ecommerce business and remain profitable, you need more than a stunning website. You need a rock-solid and efficient ecommerce fulfillment strategy. By 2024 ecommerce will account for 21.8% of total retail sales worldwide. As more customers move online and ecommerce becomes very competitive, customers’ satisfaction will shift from product availability to speed and accuracy of order delivery. One poor experience and they may never return to your store.

According to a study by Retail TouchPoints, 88% of customers say they’ll pay more for same-day delivery. And Amazon set the standard for ecommerce fulfillment with their addition of the next-day delivery option. What does this mean for online businesses and the consumer goods supply chain?

To satisfy your customers, stay competitive and profitable, you need a reliable and effective order fulfillment plan. Discover what you need to know about ecommerce fulfillment below. Find out how to select a fulfillment strategy that suits your unique business needs and how ecommerce fulfillment services can satisfy your warehousing, transportation and distribution needs.

What Is Ecommerce Fulfillment?

Ecommerce fulfillment — also called order fulfillment — refers to the process involved in delivering online orders to customers. The entire process consists of several stages that include receiving and storing inventory, order processing, picking and packing items, delivering products to the final consumer, and handling returns.

There are various strategies for fulfillment and the method you adopt for your business depends on the following factors:

  • The size of your business
  • The volume of orders you process
  • The nature of your products
  • The size of your products
  • The location of your customers

From receiving the order to handing off the product to your customer, the ecommerce fulfillment process has many moving parts, no matter the strategy you choose.

what is e-commerce fulfillment

Top 4 Trends Influencing Ecommerce Fulfillment

Ecommerce fulfillment is undergoing a lot of changes. Here are three trends influencing ecommerce fulfillment now and moving forward:

  • Increased significance of ecommerce fulfillment: As more customers prefer buying online and getting their orders delivered to their doorsteps, the efficiency and speed of order delivery will become a major ecommerce success factor.
  • Rise in automation and robotics in fulfillment: As the demand for fast order picking, packing and delivery increases, robots and automation are helping to meet this demand.
  • Increased adoption of augmented reality: More augmented reality (AR) in ecommerce order fulfillment is helping warehouse operators navigate products, pick orders and fulfill orders easily and making the landscape more competitive.
  • Better decision-making with data: Customer and market data is helping retailers and 3PL companies make better inventory forecasting decisions. And businesses that gather and make use of data will win.

At Crown LSP Group, we provide the resources to help ecommerce businesses stay flexible and responsive to trends and changes in their customer and market needs.

Related: The Future of Warehouse Automation & AI

What is Involved in the Fulfillment Process?

Whether you partner with a 3PL ecommerce fulfillment company, work with a dropshipper or fulfill your orders by yourself, the process follows the same pattern.

The online fulfillment process starts from when a customer places an order on your ecommerce site to when you deliver the accurate order to the customer. Typically, it includes the following steps:

1. Receiving and warehousing inventory

This stage of the fulfillment process ensures you have the space to house your inventory to fulfill customers’ orders later on.

Inventory warehousing involves moving your products to an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse or a self-run warehouse — a process called inbound logistics —  and storing the products awaiting your customers’ orders. For small businesses, this could be a garage or a small store for storing products and accessing them to fulfill orders. But for a big and growing ecommerce brand that processes hundreds of orders daily, you need dedicated warehousing space or to partner with an ecommerce fulfillment center.

Effective inventory warehousing ensures the safety of your products. You can also consider your warehouse’s proximity to your customers for speedy and cost-effective order fulfillment.

2. Storing and managing inventory

This stage of the fulfillment process ensures you always have products on the shelf. Inventory management involves monitoring, forecasting and restocking inventory. The goal is to maintain an optimal level of product in the warehouse.

Inventory management is essential because too much inventory leads to poor cash flow, more payment for storage and the selling of outdated products. On the other hand, too little inventory leads to backorders and unsatisfied customers.

3. Tracking and managing orders

Order management covers everything about receiving and tracking orders from your customers. Proper order management involves integrating your sales channels — whether Shopify, Amazon, eBay or other merchants — with your warehouse management system to ensure real-time notification and processing of orders.

4. Picking, packing and shipping orders

The steps in the order fulfillment process involve picking, packing and shipping the right product to your customers. This stage in the ecommerce fulfillment process kicks in immediately once a customer places an order. Once the order is received, the correct product is picked from the warehouse, packaged and handed off to logistics for delivery. Proper fulfillment of online orders ensures picking and promptly delivering the accurate product.

5. Delivering products to consumers 

Order fulfillment is the most important part of the ecommerce process because it puts you in direct contact with your customers. According to a study, 54% of customers would not place an order because of high delivery charges and 25% of customers won’t place an order if the delivery will take too long.

Efficient and satisfactory last-mile delivery leads to happy customers and positive word of mouth. Those benefits translate to more customers and revenue for your online business.

Small businesses can easily pull this off with self-fulfillment or partnering with a dropshipper. But big ecommerce brands who want a predictable and accurate order fulfillment process can guarantee this with a third-party ecommerce fulfillment company.

6. Returning orders

Also known as return management, reverse logistics involves processing returned products, redelivering the product, refunding your customers and returning the product to the store for reselling.

Thirty percent of everything sold online is returned, either because of damage or wrong product delivery. How you handle reverse logistics influences customers’ satisfaction and their desire to keep buying from your store.

For example, 92% of customers say they would buy more from a store with a satisfactory return procedure. And 79% of customers say they appreciate free shipping for return products.

Ecommerce stores receive the most returns because customers often do not have physical contact with the product before buying. But a laid-out return policy can mitigate product returns for your business.

Return logistics can become complicated. While small ecommerce businesses can easily process returns in-house, big ecommerce brands would need to dedicate plenty of time and resources to effectively handling return products. One advantage of outsourcing the fulfillment process is that it frees you from this burden and creates more time for you to grow your business.

e-commerce fulfillment process explained


Considerations for Choosing a Fulfillment Strategy

The order fulfillment process you choose will depend on several factors. Each strategy will have its unique advantages depending on the following.

1. The size of your business

Smaller businesses or start-ups may not need a comprehensive order fulfillment strategy. They likely don’t have the order base to support the cost of outsourcing fulfillment.

However, if your business is scaling rapidly and you find order fulfillment challenging, dropshipping or partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) company like Crown LSP Group can provide you with a cost-effective way to save time and money.

2. The type of products you sell 

The size and style of your products will directly affect your order fulfillment needs, especially when it comes to storage and shipping.

For example, products with hazardous materials have transportation limitations. Perishable items will have particular storage demands. The larger your items are, the more storage space you need and the more shipping may cost.

When choosing a fulfillment strategy, consider your product sizes and storage and shipping needs to fulfill them.

3. Your ability to keep track of your inventory

Inventory management includes tracking, storing, restocking and ordering new stock.

Selling out-of-stock merchandise could cost you a potential customer. However, ordering too many products could lead to unnecessary storage fees or a lack of storage space. If your items are perishable, this could lead to significant financial losses.

Dropshipping provides little to no control over inventory management, while a 3PL provider can take over inventory management so you can focus on marketing your business.

4. If you have warehouse space

Your choice of ecommerce fulfillment strategy might boil down to how and where you will store your products. Do you have the storage space for a reasonable stock level?

Small- to medium-sized businesses with smaller stock items may be able to store them in their basement or garage. Other times, the items may be too large or have specific temperature control needs. In those instances, outsourcing may make more sense.

Likewise, medium- to large-sized businesses with large order bases may benefit from partnering with a 3PL company as the cost of a bare-bones independent warehouse may not be financially lucrative.

5. How you will handle returns

As an ecommerce business owner, you will likely experience a high volume of returns, since customers cannot see the product before they buy. Customers love a solid return policy, so how you will handle returns is an important consideration. Processing returns includes providing a way for customers to send back damaged or unwanted items easily and for you to track the returns for stock planning.

If you manage returns in-house, you have control over the entire process, though it could be time-consuming, depending on the product type and the number of returns you receive. However, dropshipping affords the seller little to no control over the returns process and whether it will satisfy customers.

6. The cost of fulfilling orders

Your cost per order includes all costs associated with fulfilling an order, including fixed and variable costs, like the price you paid for the product, storage and shipping.

In some cases, outsourcing order fulfillment by dropshipping may make more sense if you want to keep the cost per order low as you won’t need to worry about the additional storage or shipping costs. You will only pay for the products you sell.

When you want more control over your products, in-house order fulfillment or partnering with a third-party logistics provider may make more sense.

Types of Order Fulfillment Strategies

The fulfillment strategy you adopt depends on your unique business needs. For big and growing ecommerce companies, there are several options including in-house fulfillment, dropshipping or choosing to partner with a third-party logistics company.

In-House Strategy

With in-house fulfillment, you do everything by yourself — warehousing, inventory and order management, order fulfillment and return management. You own your warehouse, purchase the needed insurance, software and equipment and hire and manage the staff needed. This process works well for small businesses but presents challenges for big and growing ecommerce brands.

Here are some things to keep in mind with an in-house strategy for your ecommerce business:

  • Operating a fulfillment warehouse is expensive: For an ecommerce business processing lots of orders daily, you’d need significant warehouse space, warehouse staff, equipment and tools to operate an effective and smooth in-house ecommerce fulfillment strategy. You’d also need to purchase workers’ compensation, fire insurance, auto, professional insurance and other insurances to protect your workers and inventory in the event of an accident or incident. Those necessary extras require financial and managerial resources that can otherwise be used in expanding your business.
  • Running a fulfillment warehouse demands time: Receiving inventory, storing, managing stock, packing and delivering orders accurately in-house demands excess time that can otherwise be used for marketing, working on your product or hiring the best talents for your business.
  • Scaling in-house fulfillment is expensive and slow: Scaling an in-house fulfillment warehouse to meet your customer orders demands funds and takes time. To meet increasing customer orders even with a dedicated warehouse, you’d need to build or lease a larger warehouse, hire more staff and purchase the needed equipment. This process can take time and may not be fast enough to meet your growing customer orders. If sales drop, you’d end up paying for warehouse space and tools that you may never use.


Most ecommerce businesses go for dropshipping as an alternative to a self-fulfillment strategy. With dropshipping, you don’t buy or store inventory. Instead, you simply put the product up for sale on your site. When you receive an order, you channel it to the dropshipper that operates a fulfillment center and delivers the product to your customer.

Dropshipping is a very fast ecommerce fulfillment method for small businesses, but it poses various challenges for large and growing businesses. With dropshipping, you have zero control over:

  • Product quality: You do not control the quality of products delivered to your customers or the quality of services your customers receive. In cases of poor customer experience, you, not the fulfillment centers, bear the heat.
  • Customization and branding: Since another company handles the fulfillment operations, fulfillment warehousing and order fulfillment, most times you do not control the customization and branding of the product.
  • Inventory: You do not control your dropshipper’s stock level. If the dropshipper does not have the inventory needed to fulfill your customers’ orders, you may leave a lot of money on the table and grow a pile of disappointed customers.

Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

With a third-party fulfillment strategy, a 3PL provider handles all aspects of the order fulfillment process. This includes storing and managing your inventory, receiving and fulfilling customer orders and handling return logistics.

Partnering with a third-party fulfillment company ensures your inventory is properly stored and managed. You get up-to-date information on your inventory to ensure you have the right amount to meet your present and future customer demands.

Some of the common considerations when choosing a 3PL fulfillment strategy include:

  • Cost-effectiveness: With a 3PL company, you only pay for the space you use and for orders processed. All other expenses are covered by the 3PL order fulfillment center and factored into your fees.
  • Easy to scale: As your sales and inventory volume increase, you can easily pay for more space and staff. If sales decline, you can easily cut down on your expense. At every point, you pay as you use.
  • Versatile warehouse space: You can easily move from one fulfillment warehouse to another to get closer to your customers, deliver faster and operate more cost-effectively.
  • Access to skilled professionals: A 3PL company hires and manages warehouse and order fulfillment professionals so that you do not have to.
  • Time to run your business: Outsourcing your order fulfillment carves out more time for you to focus on marketing, stocking the best quality product and growing your business.


why you should choose 3pl fulfillment warehousing

Signs That You Should Outsource Fulfillment

Are you wondering if your ecommerce business could benefit from outsourcing order fulfillment? You may only need to outsource one or a few aspects. Our ecommerce fulfillment guide offers a few considerations to keep in mind.

1. Unpredictable sales cycles and seasonality

Frequent unused storage space, excess products with no room or unpredictable sales cycles can wreak havoc on your ecommerce business. Plus, an unfulfilled order could negatively impact customer retention. If it’s challenging to keep up with stock management, it may be time to consider outsourcing fulfillment with a 3PL provider.

A third-party logistics company will manage stock and track order trends to accurately predict the type and amount of stock you will need. Additionally, data insights from a 3PL provider can help you forecast sales dips so you don’t end up splurging on products you may not sell at certain times of the year.

2. Expansion of your target customer base

Nationwide and international shipping expenses can quickly add up, especially if you have a large, spread-out customer base. If you plan to expand your ecommerce business and ship across the U.S. or internationally, outsourcing fulfillment with a third-party logistics company may be the right order fulfillment solution.

A 3PL provider like Crown LSP Group can quickly and efficiently open a warehousing center nearer to your target customer base. We reduce shipping costs and ensure you have the stock available to support growth.

3. Costs that are challenging to predict or control

Most retail businesses have slower sales seasons, including ecommerce businesses. Depending on the products you sell, predicting or controlling costs associated with inventory and order fulfillment may be difficult.

For example, during slower months, you may not need as much storage space for your inventory. Unfortunately, unused warehouse space is lost money. Conversely, you may have an unexpected surge in sales without the stock, storage space or warehousing personnel you need to fulfill orders efficiently.

A third-party logistics provider can cost-effectively accommodate any unexpected dips or surges in order, storage and personnel demands.

4. Overstocking or understocking your inventory

Assuring you have the necessary kind and amount of stock at the right time is paramount to long-term business success. Overstocking could lead to increased storage costs while understocking could lead to a dissatisfied customer base if it happens too frequently.

It may be time to outsource order fulfillment if you’ve found it challenging to predict the amount of stock you need at specific points in the year. A 3PL company can monitor your inventory, track your orders and predict the amount and kind of stock you need and when.

5. Returns are becoming too hard to handle

Returns are inevitable for ecommerce businesses. There are many reasons your customers might return their products. The item could be damaged or different than they expected. Either way, if the seller is handling returns in-house, they are responsible for customer support, processing the return and restocking or updating inventory data.

Handling returns can quickly become time-consuming and unmanageable, especially if your company processes hundreds of orders or is scaling rapidly. A third-party logistics company can provide customer support, the process returns and manages inventory updates to dedicate your time to other aspects of your ecommerce business.

6. Not enough resources to handle the demand

When you can’t fulfill orders or meet customer demands, your business might suffer. Suppose you’ve found your company doesn’t have or can’t reasonably afford the warehousing facilities, technology or the number of personnel necessary to support a rapid influx of sales. In that case, it is time to outsource your ecommerce order fulfillment.

Whether you’ve experienced an unexpected surge or decline in sales, a third-party logistics provider will help you meet fluctuating storage needs, manage stock and have the staff to fulfill your orders and returns. You will only pay for the resources you need at any given time with the help of a 3PL provider.

7. You can’t focus on running your business

You must focus on the key responsibilities of successfully running an ecommerce business. Outsourcing will free up time, money and resources you can funnel into critical elements like marketing and customer relationship management. You can also maintain superior customer service.

work with a trusted 3pl provider

Work With a Trusted 3PL Provider Today!

As a leader among third-party logistics providers, Crown LSP Group is your true distribution solution company. We provide customized supply chain services like warehousing, transportation and logistics, value-added services and on-site warehouse operations for your unique business needs. Our North Carolina location ensures cost-effective inbound logistics and speedy delivery to your customers anywhere in the United States.

We have been providing the best warehousing and last-mile delivery services for retailers like you for over 30 years. We provide all the inventory management and order fulfillment resources you need to run a successful ecommerce business. Our goal is to become your long-term logistics partner.

We know your business needs are unique. We’ll work with you to provide a customer ecommerce fulfillment strategy that benefits you and your customers in the long and short term.

Contact us today to discuss your order fulfillment strategy and request a free quote.

Request a Quote Today

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