Did you know that the current eCommerce market is worth nearly $1 trillion? As you might guess, you can’t expect to succeed in the space unless you use the right eCommerce fulfillment partner.
Whether you sell on Shopify or Amazon, working with a reputable third-party logistics (3PL) provider is something you cannot overlook. The good news is that taking your order fulfillment to the next level is easier than it seems.
Let’s explore how to find the ideal 3PL provider.
1. Be Sure to Ask Questions (and Plenty of Them)
as you might expect, not all 3PL providers are created equal. You need to ask the right questions to ensure you’re working with a reputable company that will fulfill your orders correctly, on time, and without incident. Some key questions to ask include:
- What types of clients does the 3PL provider typically work with?
- Do they have experience in your industry?
- What are the provider’s core services?
- What value-added services do they offer?
- What is the provider’s history?
- How long have they been in business?
You could also consider the following:
- Does the provider have any industry accreditations or memberships?
- What are the provider’s warehouse locations?
- Do they have multiple warehouses in strategic locations?
- What are the provider’s shipping options?
- Do they offer domestic, international, and expedited shipping?
- Do they have experience with Shopify fulfillment?
- What about Amazon FBM (Fulfilled By Merchant) or Amazon FBA?
You should also take into account how easily your potential 3PL partner is able to answer questions like these. A reputable provider should have no problem providing you with detailed answers and data to back up their claims.
2. Get Referrals From Other Businesses in Your Industry
One of the best ways to find a reputable eCommerce fulfillment partner is to ask other businesses in your industry for referrals. Chances are, if they’re using a 3PL provider they’re happy with, they’ll be more than happy to pass along the name. You can also use online directories, such as Capterra, to find eCommerce fulfillment providers that offer services in your industry.
Once you have a list of potential providers, you can start reaching out and asking questions.
3. Make Sure the Rate Quotes Are Transparent
When you’re considering different eCommerce fulfillment providers, it’s important to get rate quotes from each one.
However, you should be sure that the quotes are transparent and easy to understand. The last thing you want is hidden fees or surcharges popping up later on down the road.
In addition to getting rate quotes, you should also ask about the provider’s billing and invoicing process. You need to be sure that you’ll be able to track your shipments and orders easily, and that you understand how you’ll be billed for services.
4. Ask About the Provider’s Scalability
If you’re planning on growing your eCommerce business, it’s important to find an eCommerce fulfillment provider that can scale with you.
You don’t want to have to switch providers every time your business grows and your fulfillment needs change. When you’re considering different providers, be sure to ask about their scalability.
Do they have the ability to increase their shipping volume as your business grows? What types of changes can they make to their services to accommodate your needs?
5. Check Out the Provider’s Website and Social Media Presence
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to get a sense of a company by checking out its website and social media presence. A reputable eCommerce fulfillment provider should have a professional-looking website that’s easy to navigate. In addition, take a look at the provider’s social media channels.
Are they active? Do they seem to have a good relationship with their customers? What kinds of things are they saying?
This feedback will help ensure you stay on the right track.
6. Request References and Case Studies
If you’re still on the fence about a particular eCommerce fulfillment provider, one of the best things you can do is request references and case studies.
A reputable provider should have no problem providing you with contact information for some of their past or current eCommerce company clients. In addition, ask to see case studies that show how the provider has helped other businesses succeed.
These studies will give you a good idea of what to expect if you decide to partner with the fulfillment provider. This will allow you to avoid encountering unexpected scenarios.
7. Visit the Provider’s Facility
If you’re seriously considering an eCommerce fulfillment provider, one of the best things you can do is visit their facility in person.
This will give you a chance to see first-hand how they operate and what kind of technology they use. In addition, meeting with the provider’s team in person will give you a good idea of the kind of people you’ll be working with. Are they friendly and helpful? Do they seem to know what they’re doing?
Your visit to the facility should be able to answer these questions. At the very least, you can use this experience combined with other information to help you make your decision.
Choosing an Ecommerce Fulfillment Partner Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult
By following these seven tips, you can be sure that you’re choosing an eCommerce fulfillment partner that will be a good fit for your business. From here, you’ll have no trouble catapulting your business performance to new heights.
Looking for other ways we can help you out in the future? Be sure to reach out to us today and see what we can do!