It is not easy to build a successful ecommerce business. Not just because you’ll need to source high-quality products, build a functional website, and market your products to an audience…
However, you must also ensure that your products reach their intended destination — and quickly!
Customers dislike waiting for their orders, and slow shipping may be one of the reasons that one-time customers do not return to your store. So, as a small business, what can you do to expedite the shipping process?
You may believe that you should handle all order fulfillment in-house — but what if your business expands? How would you meet increased demand while maintaining quick shipping times?
Outsourcing order fulfillment to a third-party logistics provider is a popular and successful strategy (in other words, 3PL).
What exactly is 3PL?
The primary goal of 3PL providers is to free up your time so you can focus on growing your business and on the big picture — without breaking a sweat picking, packing, and dispatching parcels.
However, 3PL costs can be intimidating for newcomers, especially when minimum order quantities and high-cost warehousing are factored in.
THE ADVANTAGES OF 3PL
3PL firms handle all or a portion of the following tasks on your behalf:
- Warehousing your products (either centrally or across the country or globe). These warehouses are occasionally referred to as fulfillment centers.)
- Keeping track of your inventory
- Order preparation, packing, and dispatch
- Orders are transported from the warehouse to their final destination.
- Consider a 3PL as the go-between for your online store and the customer.
The Top Ten Third-Party Logistics Providers for Small Businesses
Now, let’s dive in and see which 3PLs made our top ten list.
We specifically looked for 3PLs that have low or no minimum order requirements, are friendly to small businesses, and have a positive reputation among other small businesses and entrepreneurs.
The order fulfillment service offered by Saltbox is well-suited for small businesses and start-ups.
Simply connect your online store to your Saltbox account, ship your inventory to them, and they’ll take care of the rest!
Saltbox appeals to SMEs because it offers discounted shipping rates via UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL, as well as flat-rate pick-and-pack services.
However, the best part is that there are no monthly order minimums or onboarding fees!
Additionally, we appreciate that Saltbox not only fulfills orders, but also provides workspace and warehousing services. Additionally, it integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce, and Etsy, as well as a variety of other popular ecommerce platforms.
Shopify’s Network of Fulfillment Centers
The Shopify Fulfillment Network is a relatively new option for Shopify users in terms of ecommerce fulfillment.
Shopify created the Shopify Fulfillment Network to assist start-ups and small businesses that use the Shopify platform. You can ship as few as ten orders per day or as many as thousands, which makes it an excellent in-house solution for smaller operations while still allowing for enterprise growth.
Simply select which products you want the service to ship on your behalf and send them your products using the Shopify Fulfillment Network app. The remainder is handled by Shopify.
The service recommends the best location for your inventory based on your customers’ locations in order to achieve the quickest shipping times. It’s critical to note that storage is provided through Shopify’s 3PL network, not through its own warehouses. These facilities have been vetted by Shopify and comprise a network of fulfillment centers located throughout the United States and Canada.
Pricing structures are tailored to your specific requirements, and your contract is flexible enough that you can opt out at any time.
The provider’s accuracy rate for picking, packing, and dispatching was 99.5 percent at the time of writing.