There is a general shift among consumers from retail stores to online stores, as the conventional brick and mortar stores are being replaced by e-commerce stores with of their easy accessibility and convenience. However, managing an e-shop is no bed of roses as it comes with its own sets of concerns, one of them being logistics management. Since efficient logistics management warrants a professional approach, it has become more common to outsource the logistical activities to companies offering third-party logistics for E-commerce.
What is third-party logistics for E-commerce?
When an E-commerce company outsources its logistics to a third-party, also known as 3PL or TPL, the company takes care of procurement, transportation and distribution activities for its client companies. In the scope of their work, 3PL companies could be limited to performing functions such as freight and shipping or it could include more duties such as warehousing and distribution.
Based on the services they provide, there are different types of Third-party logistics companies for E-commerce:
Standard 3PL servicies
These 3PL companies perform basic 3PL functions such as inventory management, warehousing, packaging and distribution.
These 3PL companies offer their clients value-added services to their clients in addition to the basic services that are provided. These services include functions such as product tracking, cross-docking, specific packaging and customized security systems. This in order to ensure that the orders of your customers are being delivered safely and in a timely manner.
These types of third-party logistics companies usually grants more comprehensive logistics services by taking full control over the logistical activities. This option may improve the logistical process drastically, through their own experience in the field. In other words, the 3PL company inherits the clients’ logistics management instead of creating its own.
A customer developer logistics provider is a company that integrates itself with the hiring customer and takes over the entire logistics functions of the client. As opposed to the customer adapter, the developer becomes the logistical department of the client rather than just running the department. These types of 3PL providers perform more detailed tasks for their clients.
When you are looking for third-party logistics services for your E-commerce business, you should be sure about the services that you require and be aware of what the customers expect of your business. With this in consideration, you could select a 3PL provider accordingly.
Today, many e-commerce businesses are only serving their products to customers within domestic markets. However, with globalization, it possible to spread your business to remote countries using 3PL companies that have established networks abroad.
How does logistics abroad for E-commerce work?
If you need to supply products to customers located in foreign countries, you will need a third-party logistics partner that has a global distribution network. The 3PL companies offering logistics abroad for E-commerce will have multiple warehouses in different countries, where you are given the option to choose a warehouse anywhere in the world that is located close to your customers. Your inventory will be sent to the warehouse of your choice and then later shipped by your third-party logistics partner to your customers. Since the warehouse is located close to your customer, the environmental impact will be reduced and the deliveries will be done in a timely manner.