Third Party Warehousing and Fulfillment for The Holidays and Beyond
Outsourcing your logistics will make your holiday season simpler and more successful. Santa doesn’t make and package all the presents himself, and he should probably look into third-party shipping as well.
Some of the most successful e-commerce sellers outsource warehousing and fulfillment, so why shouldn’t you?
Make your warehousing and fulfillment more cost-efficient this holiday season by outsourcing to a third party logistics (3PL) company. It’s time to hire some elves and reindeer to make sure your goodies are wrapped and delivered down the chimney in time.
Why outsource to a third party?
A lot of small online retailers do fulfillment themselves. This may work for the majority of the year, but it is usually too much to handle during the holiday season. Self-fulfillment can waste time and resources, which may lead to higher expenses than if you were to outsource.
What are the benefits of outsourcing to a third party?
1. It’s Easier to Scale.
If you keep logistics in-house, you’re likely stunting your ability to grow. You are limited by the number of people you have on staff, and you may get locked into a long-term lease for a warehouse.
Working with a 3PL means you can scale up or down as necessary. If you anticipate massive growth for the holidays, you can work with your 3PL to rent more warehouse space and have more fulfillment, labeling, and shipping services. If you’re downsizing the rest of the year, you can work with them to scale down your operations as well.
Additionally, most 3PL companies are constantly innovating to match the competition in the transportation world. This means you can leverage their technology systems for logistics management, which further helps to streamline your operations. You don’t have to worry about staying updated with the hottest trends in shipping because your 3PL will do that for you.
2. You’re not dealing with overhead.
One of the hardest parts about in-house logistics is overhead. Owning or renting warehouse space, employee payroll, and paying for utilities, insurance, and shipping materials can all be incredibly costly. Even if you’re packing boxes in your garage, you’re paying for the lights, the packing materials, and the time of labor. This can quickly rack up the bill and drive up your business expenses.
A 3PL will take on overhead costs for you. The fee you’re charged to work with a third party is usually a fraction of what you’d spend in managing the logistics process yourself. Plus, you’re given access to more services and space without worrying about how that will impact your overhead. Most 3PLs also have partnerships with shipping companies, so you may get lower shipping costs thanks to bulk delivery discounts.
You can typically scale at an exponential rate without an exponential increase in costs.
3. Focus on what You do Best.
Outsourcing puts your fulfillment processes in the hands of experts who do it for a living. They’ve got the know-how to streamline your operations for increased efficiency.
Entrusting your logistics to 3PL saves time and resources that you can use for other aspects of your business. Outsourcing gives you the opportunity to focus on those business processes that push your business forward, like product development, marketing, sales, and customer service.
Outsourcing gives you the opportunity to streamline operations, meet your logistics needs, reduce your costs, improve your customer service, and best utilize your resources. If you want your business to grow, outsourcing is usually a strong option. Learn more about which business processes to outsource here.
Where should you outsource?
You’ve decided to outsource your warehousing and fulfillment. What are some strong 3PL companies to consider?
1. Fulfillment by Amazon
If you’re selling on Amazon, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) should be your first consideration. They not only take care of your Amazon orders, but you can consolidate all orders and logistics from any platform (including your own website) through FBA. FBA is especially known for their fast service, and they’re even able to turnaround packages in less than a day for some Amazon Prime users.
FBA is also one of the most renowned logistics companies overall. They have a global network of 140 warehouses, and they handle everything from storing and inventory to payments and refunds to 24/7 customer service. You don’t have to touch any of the operations processes, so you can focus on marketing and selling. They’re especially known for their easy returns process, which customers appreciate during the holiday season.
FBA has a selection of seller benefits as well. Using FBA can help you win the Buy Box and optimize your listings on Amazon. It also opens you up to the high-profit Amazon Prime customer, which FBM (fulfill by merchant) sellers don’t typically have access to.
Get more info on FBA with our resource FBA 101: How & When To Start Using Fulfillment By Amazon.
2. FedEx Fulfillment
FedEx Fulfillment is only a year old, but it has FedEx’s extensive support and network behind it. They offer an integrated supply chain system that includes warehousing, packaging, fulfillment, and transportation. One of the best parts about FedEx Fulfillment is the emphasis on fast shipping. They also offer strong reverse logistics, making the returns process a breeze for consumers after the holidays are over (a win for your customer service department).
Their technology and infrastructure are especially user-friendly for businesses. You have transparency into all of your logistics start to provide an in-depth breakdown of your tracking processes. Strong analytics also allow you to evaluate trends and spending behaviors. FedEx Fulfillment is more than just a logistics system—it helps take your business operations to an entirely new level.
VelocityShip has built its own advanced software suite that allows you to manage your entire supply chain start to finish. Their technology integrates with over 60 marketplaces, automating the entire process from checkout to shipment. They’re incredibly high tech, even using smart storage warehousing.
They have a global network of warehouses, which makes delivery fast and international expansion a breeze. We especially like that they allow branded packaging and slips, so your customers feel the package is coming directly from you. If you’re looking for a simplified service, especially globally, VelocityShip is a great option.
Fulfillment.com is a worldwide logistics company known for its ability to reduce shipping costs. Their warehouses are strategically placed around the nation to reduce transit times and minimize the number of spokes in the last mile hub-and-spoke model. They also use group orders to make shipping more efficient and cost-effective.
Fulfillment.com’s warehouses are also designed with commercial-grade equipment and technology to handle even the most complicated orders. This automated system helps you manage your logistics process with inventory alerts and depletion date estimates. Align your production and warehousing accordingly with Fulfillment.com.
Although Skubana doesn’t offer warehousing and logistics services, they’re one of the strongest integrations with your fulfillment options. They function as the “central nervous system” of your operations, automating all of your tasks and providing in-depth data you need to grow. Their customizable software has unlimited integrations so high-volume sellers can manage inventory and process thousands of orders daily.
If you’re looking to grow your business, Skubana is the best way to consistently make smart strategic moves and push your operations to the next level.
Other 3PL options to consider
Outsourcing to a third party logistics company is the best way to streamline your operations this holiday season and beyond. They can help you track inventory, store goodies in warehouses, package and label your goods, and ship out your packages in a timely manner. Some companies even handle customer service and returns for you as well.
Don’t do it all by yourself. Get a quality logistics team behind you to help you this holiday season.
How do you handle your warehousing and fulfillment during the hectic holidays? Let us know in the comments below.