E-commerce 3PL: The Combination of Third-party Logistics and E-commerce

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Hieu Tran

2023-03-27 05:06:48

gct solution e commerce 3pl

E-commerce 3PL: The Combination of Third-party Logistics and E-commerce

The e-commerce industry is growing at an unprecedented rate, and the demand for efficient logistics and supply chain management is becoming increasingly important. The integration of third-party logistics (3PL) services into e-commerce is becoming more popular as online businesses seek to optimize their operations and provide better customer experiences. In this blog, we will explore the concept of e-commerce 3PL, discuss its importance in the e-commerce industry, and provide examples of how e-commerce businesses can manage a 3PL service.


1. What is E-commerce 3PL?

E-commerce 3PL is the combination of third-party logistics and e-commerce. A 3PL provider is a company that offers outsourced logistics and supply chain management services, including warehousing, transportation, and distribution, to businesses. An ecommerce 3pl provider specifically focuses on meeting the logistics and supply chain needs of e-commerce businesses.

E-commerce 3PL providers are responsible for managing the entire supply chain of an e-commerce business, from receiving inventory to order fulfillment and shipping. They use their expertise and resources to ensure that products are delivered to customers in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

According to a report by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, businesses that use 3PL services report an average cost reduction of 11%. One example of an ecommerce 3pl company is ShipBob. ShipBob is a technology-driven fulfillment provider that helps e-commerce businesses streamline their logistics operations. ShipBob offers a range of services, including inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping. They have a network of fulfillment centers across the United States, making it easier for e-commerce businesses to reach customers quickly and efficiently.




2. Why 3PL is Important in the E-commerce Industry?

The e-commerce industry has seen exponential growth in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue. According to Statista, global e-commerce sales are projected to reach $6.5 trillion by 2023, up from $3.5 trillion in 2019. As more businesses move online, the need for efficient logistics and supply chain management becomes increasingly important.

Here are some reasons why 3PL is important in the e-commerce industry:


Cost Reduction: 

E-commerce businesses that use 3PL services can save money by outsourcing their logistics and supply chain management needs. This allows them to focus on other aspects of their business, such as marketing and product development.





E-commerce businesses that use 3PL services can scale their operations more easily. 3PL providers have the resources and expertise to handle fluctuations in demand, allowing businesses to expand without worrying about logistics and supply chain management.




Improved Customer Experience: 

E-commerce businesses that use 3PL services can provide better customer experiences by delivering products quickly and efficiently. 3PL providers can help businesses offer faster shipping options, track packages, and provide real-time updates to customers.




Access to Expertise and Resources:

E-commerce businesses that use 3PL services can benefit from the expertise and resources of logistics professionals. 3PL providers have a deep understanding of logistics and supply chain management, allowing businesses to leverage this knowledge to improve their operations.




3. How do E-commerce Businesses Manage a 3PL?

Managing a strong relationship with a 3PL provider is crucial for e-commerce businesses that use 3PL services. For example, when a large e-commerce business partnered with a 3PL provider, they were able to reduce its order processing time from 48 hours to just 4 hours (Inbound Logistics, 2017). Here are some tips on how to manage a 3PL provider:


Communication is key to a successful 3PL relationship. E-commerce businesses should communicate regularly with their 3PL provider to ensure that they are meeting their needs and expectations. Regular communication can help to avoid issues and foster trust between the two parties.


Clear Expectations 

E-commerce businesses should set clear expectations with their 3PL provider from the outset. This includes things like delivery times, shipping options, and customer service standards. By setting clear expectations, businesses can ensure that their provider is delivering the services they need and meeting their customers' expectations.




Technology Integration

E-commerce businesses should work with 3PL providers that have technology systems that integrate with their own. This allows for seamless communication and data sharing, making it easier to track inventory, manage orders, and monitor shipping. Integration can help to eliminate manual processes and reduce errors, saving time and reducing costs.




Performance Metrics

E-commerce businesses should establish performance metrics with their 3PL provider, such as order accuracy, on-time delivery, and shipping speed. This allows businesses to monitor the performance of their provider and ensure that they are meeting their expectations. Performance metrics can help to identify areas for improvement and ensure that the 3PL provider is delivering the level of service required.





E-commerce businesses should look for 3PL providers that are flexible and adaptable to their changing needs. As businesses grow and evolve, their logistics and supply chain management needs may change, and their provider should be able to adjust accordingly. Flexibility can help to ensure that the 3PL provider is able to meet the changing needs of the business and provide the necessary support.




Final thoughts

E-commerce businesses are always looking for ways to optimize their logistics and supply chain management operations. One growing trend that has caught their attention is e-commerce 3PL, which combines third-party logistics with e-commerce. By using the expertise and resources of a 3PL provider, businesses can save up to 50% on logistics costs, scale their operations more easily, improve customer experiences, and access a wealth of knowledge and experience. Real-world case studies and statistics show just how effective e-commerce 3PL can be, making it an attractive option for businesses looking to streamline their operations and improve their bottom line.

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