Ecommerce is emerging as the mainstream requirement in modern times. With increasing technological penetration and fast-evolving online shopping, India stands at crossroads – facing enormous opportunities for expansion to match the growth trends.
As a viable option and sustainable solution, outsourcing ecommerce and fulfilment operations has taken the market by storm. Studies suggest that India’s 3PL (third-party logistics) market is poised to grow by US$10.74 billion in 2021-2025, driven by behavioral shifts in consumer patterns and the need for a better supply chain.
Let’s unravel what promise it holds for ecommerce brands. In this blog, you will learn what is a 3PL, what services 3PL providers offer, and why ecommerce brands need 3PL services.
A 3PL (third-party logistics) is a service that allows ecommerce brands to outsource their fulfilment processes, such as order processing, warehousing and managing returns, to a third party. A 3PL unlocks various benefits for ecommerce businesses because it aims to ensure seamless order fulfilment while reducing logistics costs.
For instance, Eshopbox is a 3PL provider that offers ultra-fast and affordable fulfilment to ecommerce brands.
Let’s have a brief look at the ecommerce fulfilment and logistics services offered by 3PL providers :
1. Ecommerce warehousing
Inventory is stored in ecommerce warehouses till an order is received. Products are stored safely and in an organized manner to facilitate streamlined order processing while ensuring proper warehouse management.
2. Inventory management
Inventory management is the process of receiving, storing, and tracking inventory levels across the logistics chain. Proper inventory management can help ecommerce brands accurately track stock levels and prevent situations like stock-outs through replenishment.
3. Order processing
Once an order is received from a customer, the next service consists of picking the product from its designated shelves in the ecommerce warehouse and packing it properly. The packed order is then marked ready to ship.
4. Ecommerce shipping
Ecommerce shipping refers to the process of delivering orders from an ecommerce warehouse or fulfilment centre to the customer’s location. Multiple courier partners can help brands ensure affordable and fast delivery of orders.
5. Returns management
If a customer initiates a return for a product, ecommerce sellers have to pick the product from the customer and then asses its quality and restock or refurbish it, if possible. Returns can be a revenue driver for your ecommerce brand if managed effectively by the 3PL provider.
6. Value-added services
3PL providers offer various custom services to address the unique needs of brands, such as kitting (pre-built kits and virtual kits), quality control, bagging products, de-kitting or any other generic task.
7. Post-purchase services
Tech-enabled 3PLs also offer services that are targeted at enhancing the customer experience. These include real-time order tracking, notifications for order updates, custom packaging and a self-service tool for customers to resolve unforeseen order issues on their own.
Here are some advantages your ecommerce brand can reap while using 3PL services:
3PL services will enable you to focus on improving and expanding your online business. You can ensure seamless ecommerce logistics without deploying any internal resources. Thus, you can manage high-priority business objectives while a 3PL service provider like Eshopbox delivers online orders much faster, safer, and more accurately.
3PL service providers have an extensive logistics and fulfilment network. A 3PL service provider like Eshopbox has strong tie-ups with shipping carriers that enable you to take advantage of negotiated pricing and bulk order volume. It can significantly minimise the shipping costs for your ecommerce brand. Additionally, by outsourcing your fulfilment operations to Eshopbox, you can save on making huge investments in infrastructure, technology, manpower, and more.
Nowadays, ecommerce brands are keen to split their inventory in multiple fulfilment centres across India rather than keeping all the inventory in one location. With 3PL services, you can reap the benefits of multi-warehousing—help you offer lightning-fast shipping to your customers while saving shipping cost.
Moreover, a 3PL service provider like Eshopbox follows a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to streamline order processing and optimise shipping. You can achieve maximum fulfilment efficiency with an automated pick and pack process with an order accuracy rate of 99.75%.
In today’s ecommerce landscape, it isn't easy to manage all business functions single-handedly. A 3PL provider can offer you knowledge, experience, and expertise.
For example, if you want to expand your customer base across new regions, a 3PL service provider like Eshopbox can help you enter new geographies without hiccups. It can provide you with logistics support, ideal inventory allocation and technical know-how to take strategic steps.
One of the best advantages of a 3PL service is that they utilise fulfilment resources based on your current needs. It helps you manage the fluctuations in order volume effectively—without incurring additional costs or compromising on high fulfilment standards.
When your order volume is low, you don’t have unutilised resources. Moreover, when the demands surge again, you don’t need to hire additional resources. For example, if you run a flash sale, everything is taken care of by the 3PL.
Delighting customers is the fundamental goal of all businesses that drive loyalty. With improved logistics services, you can easily delight your customers. With Eshopbox, you can create an Amazon-like experience by offering real-time order tracking, sending proactive shipping notifications, and curating an exceptional unboxing experience with custom packaging.
Keeping your ecommerce and fulfilment operations in-house can risk your business in the long run. 3PL providers can help ecommerce brands turn order fulfilment into a revenue driver and succeed in the ever-growing and competitive ecommerce landscape.