There is no doubt big online retail companies like Amazon have influenced the current logistics industry and will continue to do so. Consumers can do one-click shopping for just about anything and have it delivered to their door steps. However, many logistical steps happen before that package ever makes it to the buyer. This is why it is so important to have a well-oiled supply chain management system. With endless product lines and delivery times that are faster than ever, online only retailers have become the one-stop shops for many companies and individuals. To ensure timely deliveries e-commerce stores need to handle issues of inventory, packaging, warehousing, shipping, and tracking. Choosing the right 3PL is imperative for this process to be successful.
Logistics are crucial for online shopping where the complexities can easily happen, and this is why online retailers are required to have a reliable third party logistic providers (3PLs). Outsourcing logistical requirements to a service provider that specializes in different areas such as handling inventory and delivering products.
3PL services include things such as supply chain management, warehousing, consolidation service, load transfers, and order fulfillment. Most smaller E-tailers cannot afford to have an in-house logistic department to have all the above functions performed for the e-fulfillment of an order or transaction. The e-commerce apparel sites promote their ability to deliver as quickly as they can and at the same time ensure the product to be in a sound state during transit. The following are a few services 3PL chiefly concentrate in:
Warehousing: The number of online only stores are on the rise in the apparel e-commerce scene, which makes having a physical space to store products essential. 3PL services provide warehousing requirements without having to invest in a physical location and take care of the technological needs of running such a place. Processing transactions with 3PL companies are profitable since e-tailers can spread their overheads over multiple clients.
- Consolidation Services: One of the many services third party logistics providers of freight, cold load, or cargo consolidation, where in many small packages are clubbed into one big package. This process lowers the cost of shipping significantly. It is done mainly when orders to a particular location are large in numbers. ECT is very adept at figuring out the best way to get shipments from point A to point B using consolidation techniques with their drivers.
- Order fulfillment: In online shopping, the key to customer happiness and satisfaction is order fulfillment. Third party logistics make sure the package reaches at the right place, at the right time, and in appropriate condition, especially when perishables are transported.
- Value Added Services: 3PL channels often offer facilities for repacking, sub-assemblies, and especially for the just-in-time services to adequately support the retailer’s supply chain needs. Advanced logistics provider use latest technologies like Warehouse Management Systems software for tracking loads and data processing of orders. Likewise, the returns management is an area that 3PLs handle by providing the facilities of reverse logistics and product lifecycle management services.
Amazon and Walmart are forcing small and medium scale online apparel retailers are forcing them to ensure the delivery of their packages on time. If an ecommerce company cannot fulfill the order in 48 hours, customers find another website offering the same type of product with faster delivery. E-tailers are offering the privilege of faster delivery by allowing buyers to receive products ordered on the very same day. These conditions create an extremely competitive environment in ecommerce and require e-tailers find partners such as ECT offering professional 3PL services.