The recent pandemic has undoubtedly shown that subscription service sales continue to rise and rise, especially since most consumers are looking for a convenient, safe, quick, and contact-free way to shop. Taking advantage of this online niche can be extremely lucrative, but it’s certainly not easy when you consider all the red-tape and logistics that come along with it. That’s where third-party fulfillment services come in.
For merchants in the eCommerce industry, third-party logistics services (3PL) can evolve your business and take it to the next level. As your business begins to thrive and grow, outsourcing to a 3PL is an efficient solution to help your company keep up with customer demand and rapid growth. More and more online merchants are starting to realize the unique advantages of utilizing a 3PL for fulfillment services.
What is a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Service Provider?
Any eCommerce business owners interested in fulfillment services don’t have to be mystified by how the process works. 3PL providers are a way to outsource order fulfillment logistics operations. Some of these processes include warehousing, inventory management, shipping, and fulfillment. With 3PL, your business will be able to seamlessly integrate your warehousing services and transportation, effectively completing your supply chain. Your business can expand its services since it has the tools and resources to do so. Utilizing 3PL is also a big step towards switching to full automation, which provides a host of benefits, the most crucial of which is providing more convenience for your customers.
Challenges of Subscription Order Fulfillment
Growing your eCommerce business as quickly as you can with limited tools and resources is one of the most challenging aspects of order fulfillment and logistics. This is particularly important since the pandemic has more and more people looking for an ultra-convenient and contact-free way to purchase goods and services. Taking advantage of the increased online sales while they’re still booming can be incredibly lucrative, which is why services like the ones a third-party logistics partner provides are so important.
Meeting and exceeding customer expectations for service, convenience, and efficiency is a great way to start reaping the rewards of the rapidly growing subscription service sector. One common theme through all of these challenges is effective time management and learning how to master it is critical to success. Here are some other challenges that online merchants face in the current economic climate regarding order fulfillment.
- Managing Inventory: There are always unforeseen circumstances that can affect your ability to procure new items, including manufacturer and fulfillment delays. If your company curates a new box with different products each month, then you know how difficult and time-consuming it can be. For merchants that only ship the same items every month, you can still benefit from the efficient inventory management that comes with hiring a 3PL. It gives you the ability to upgrade every aspect of your supply chain, and an experienced 3PL provider will assimilate effortlessly into your existing operations, streamlining your process right from day one.
- Assembly: Once you have all the items you need, assembling and packaging them properly can also be time-consuming. Probably the most crucial part of the assembly process is ensuring adequate quality control for your items. Customers are never happy when products show up defective or broken, which is why it’s so imperative to ensure they’re in perfect condition. A huge social media trend right now is “unboxing,” so it’s vital to give the customer a pleasing experience, even just while they’re opening the packaging. Outsourcing to third-party logistics helps streamline this process, making it more efficient and saving your company time and money. Though you will have to automate your order information systems, switching to a 3PL helps you standardize your methods and reduces turnaround times.
- Timely Delivery: Ensuring every order is delivered to your customers on time is also an essential part of successfully running an eCommerce business. A 3PL will get all the shipping labels from carriers on your behalf, eliminating one more thing you would have to otherwise take care of yourself. You’ll still be able to monitor every individual customer’s shipping process every step of the way. Find a company with the infrastructure to handle the size of your customer base, so every order is shipped promptly, delivered on time, and received by the consumer in excellent condition.
Advantages of Outsourcing to a 3PL Fulfillment Service Provider
There are some clear benefits to outsourcing your subscription fulfillment services to a 3PL. Obviously, making and saving as much money as possible is the number one priority of any retailer. Switching to a 3PL saves money, yes, but it also offers some other unique advantages to further refine and simplify your ordering and fulfillment process.
Ability to Scale: Running a flourishing and rapidly growing business is a good thing. However, all that progress requires more space, money, time, and labor. Utilizing an experienced 3PL for fulfillment means they can scale their operations to match your growth. They should have the staff and warehouse capacity to keep a larger number of products in stock as you continue to thrive and expand into new markets.
Reduce Overhead: When you outsource your fulfillment, you eliminate the need to pay rent to a landlord and salaries for the employees you would need to hire. This also eliminates all the bureaucratic red tape that goes hand in hand with running warehouse operations. It will drastically reduce storage fees and the cost of packing supplies, and it entirely eliminates paying astronomical utility bills for a large commercial space. Instead, you only have a single expense every month covering all the critical aspects of ordering and fulfillment.
Reduces Delivery Costs: Outsourcing to a 3PL for subscription fulfillment can reduce the amount you have to fork over for carrier costs. 3PLs have contracts with all the major shipping companies, which means they can shop around to get the quickest delivery times and the lowest prices. Look for a 3PL strategically located near the majority of your customer base to cut down on the amount of time your orders spend in transit.
Outsource Your ECommerce Subscription Fulfillment to a Third-Party Logistics Company
With the pandemic forcing more and more people to purchase products online, the importance of keeping your subscription service running smoothly cannot be understated. People everywhere are spending more money and ordering more goods, mostly since they are generally stuck at home, bored on their computer, smartphone, or tablet. Outsourcing your subscription order fulfillment to a third-party logistics company is a smart business move to make, as it saves you effort, time, and most importantly, money.
With the demand for subscription boxes growing every day, outsourcing to a 3PL with the infrastructure and experience necessary to grow with your business, keep your delivery times low, and save you money on carrier costs is a wise investment for any online merchant. Partner with a 3PL fulfillment service today and enjoy the unique advantages they offer your eCommerce business.