The growth of an online business brings more than higher revenue and a larger customer base. In most cases, business owners also have to tackle the difficulties of ramping up order fulfillment activities to ensure on-time delivery of products and services even as order volume grows. Here’s where third-party logistics (3PL) companies can help.
By partnering with these companies, businesses can save time and money on the labor and technology required by in-house fulfillment. These 3PL services also combine the functions of warehouse management software and similar solutions in one platform, further reducing the costs of software implementation.
To help businesses find the best 3PL provider for their needs, we’ve listed down the top 10 third-party logistics companies today. We’ve also included the specific solutions that these companies provide.
All over the world, online businesses and retailers rely on 3PL companies to get orders to customers on time. And while these services have proven to be effective in streamlining order fulfillment, studies indicate a growing need for 3PL companies that can provide more advanced IT capabilities. For instance, the 2021 25th Annual Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Study has revealed that 72% of business owners need logistics technologies that allow for more efficient transportation scheduling.
Source: Infosys, Penske, Pennsylvania State University
Third-party logistics companies that can provide such advanced services become even more useful in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed supply chains to become more flexible and transparent.
In this article, we’re putting the spotlight on 10 companies that provide the most efficient 3PL services for businesses. Many of these 3PL companies offer advanced technologies and intelligent systems that automate inventory management, reporting, and other key ecommerce functions, along with intuitive web-based portals for managing customer orders.
ShipBob gets the top spot on our list for its powerful, innovative features for efficient inventory distribution, real-time order tracking, and in-depth data analysis. The web-based ShipBob platform also offers easy onboarding to ecommerce merchants through assistance from an implementation team and out-of-the-box integrations with all major ecommerce platforms and marketplaces. In this way, business owners can quickly get started in organizing their order fulfillment activities, whether they own one or multiple stores.
An analysis of the pros and cons of the ShipBob platform reveals that one of the software’s strengths is its ability to maximize its network of fulfillment centers across the country. It has eight centers in the U.S. straddling the stretch from the East Coast to the West Coast, from Pennsylvania and Florida to Illinois and to Texas and California. Plus, it has one fulfillment center in Ottawa, Canada and another one in Ireland.
When an order is placed, the system automatically selects the warehouse and carrier that can provide faster turnaround times at the best prices. This automated algorithm for selecting warehouses can also support businesses in offering two-day shipping. With these features, businesses and customers benefit from fast, low-cost shipping methods.
Another advantage of choosing ShipBob as a 3PL provider is that the platform comes with an intuitive user dashboard. Through this dashboard, users can manage inventory across fulfillment centers, track orders from checkout to delivery, and manage returns. Additionally, orders in the system can be filtered by status, and the information can be automatically shared with customers. And since ShipBob offers end-to-end order fulfillment solutions, the same platform can be used to manage the returns process
Moreover, ShipBob offers a free analytics tool that businesses can use to track and analyze key metrics, such as fulfillment centers that need stocking, average cart value for different shipping methods, and fulfillment cost per order. With these reports, businesses can make data-driven decisions when optimizing their supply chain activities.
Detailed ShipBob Review
Aside from a warehouse management platform, ShipHero also offers order fulfillment services for ecommerce businesses. Using data from sales forecasting and sales history, ShipHero helps business owners figure out the best plan for distributing products across the company’s network of warehouses. Orders are also routed to the nearest warehouse for fulfillment and delivered through national, regional, and local carriers. As a result, business owners avoid shipping delays and reduce customer complaints.
One of the main benefits of choosing ShipHero’s fulfillment services is that the company offers a single flat rate for orders shipped out, unlike other fulfillment services that offer different shipping rates based on shipping zones. The single shipping rate also covers picking, packing, packaging, and postage, making it ideal for businesses new to using 3PL warehouse services.
In addition to a single shipping rate, ShipHero’s fulfillment services come with a user dashboard. Through this dashboard, users can connect ecommerce software and sales channels to ShipHero’s services and access reports for more accurate order tracking.
Detailed ShipHero Review
ShipHype is a 3PL provider that offers a wide range of fulfillment services to ecommerce retailers and merchants. Through these services, retailers and companies can ensure that customers get their orders on time and avoid the costs of delayed deliveries. Business owners can also optimize costs through ShipHype’s partnerships with major shipping carriers.
Aside from fulfillment services, the 3PL provider also provides a centralized dashboard for order management. Through the dashboard, retailers can integrate the software with multiple sales channels and get a single system for managing orders and viewing each order’s fulfillment status. This dashboard is cloud-based, too, so retailers can check their orders from any device.
Aside from ecommerce order fulfillment, ShipHype offers fulfillment services for subscription boxes and crowdfunding campaigns, along with FBA prep services and returns management.
Detailed ShipHype Fulfillment Review
Simpl Fulfillment is a tech-first 3PL company that enables high-growth eCommerce brands to scale their operations as efficiently as possible. Founded in Austin, Texas in 2014, the company provides fulfillment services for a range of products ranging from consumer packaged goods and toys to food items and electronics. With their assistance, businesses can rest assured they get reliable shipping solutions at all times.
Aside from their top-notch services, Simpl Fulfilment also makes it easy for users to oversee orders. It provides users with a web-based dashboard where businesses can manage inventory, track the status of all orders, as well as handle returns and exchanges. In addition, the platform can sync all your stores in one hub to streamline order handling.
The abovementioned aside, the platform can integrate with various online marketplaces, eCommerce platforms, shopping cart software, as well as crowdsourcing tools. This way, you can make sure that no order falls through the cracks.
Detailed Simpl Fulfillment Review
One of the most popular order fulfillment services today, Rakuten Super Logistics provides a wide range of 3PL services for ecommerce businesses. With its 20-year experience in the 3PL industry, Rakuten Super Logistics has the expertise and resources online businesses need to ensure prompt delivery of products and minimize disruptions to the supply chain.
For instance, Rakuten Super Logistics offers robust order fulfillment services with a 100% order accuracy and a 100% order turnaround by the next business day. Moreover, the company’s nationwide network of warehouses and fulfillment centers ensures 2-day ground shipping. Through these services, online businesses can easily scale up fulfillment activities to meet increasing customer demands.
Aside from services such as kitting and assembly and subscription box fulfillment, Rakuten Super Logistics also offers additional services such as SmartFreight, climate-controlled storage, and lot tracking. These additional services help businesses optimize shipment costs and keep products in perfect condition throughout the shipping process.
Shipwire offers cloud-based fulfillment services for businesses looking for international shipping. Shipwire’s parent company Ingram Micro maintains over 154 fully managed warehouses and fulfillment centers in 45 countries. Extensive options for shipping and delivery also ensure that each order is delivered through the fastest means available. As a result, Shipwire can easily provide tailored fulfillment services, whether for B2B or B2C sales.
Moreover, Shipwire’s fulfillment services come with a platform for managing orders, tracking inventory levels, optimizing shipping options, and creating reports on a wide variety of metrics, including sales order volume and deliveries completed. Users can also manage workflows and set business rules to ensure faster order processing and improved overall sales performance.
As a distribution software, the Shipwire platform can also be integrated with online marketplaces and ecommerce platforms. Pre-built connectors for these integrations help automate order management and ensure the accuracy of data in the system.
Detailed Shipwire Review
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) offers fulfillment services specifically to sellers on the Amazon platform. Touting itself as one of the most advanced fulfillment networks in the world, FBA provides a wide range of services, including multi-channel fulfillment, label service, inventory preparation, and repackaging. Amazon has also partnered with numerous carriers around the world to provide deeply discounted shipping rates to Amazon sellers.
Through FBA’s multi-channel fulfillment program, sellers can store inventory in Amazon’s fulfillment centers and have orders picked, packed, and shipped by Amazon. Sellers can submit orders for Amazon to fill or connect FBA to shopping cart software for order syncing. Moreover, through this fulfillment program, sellers can also easily manage returns. These services help Amazon sellers scale fulfillment activities more efficiently, especially during peak seasons.
In addition, FBA offers additional services for preparing inventory for order fulfillment. Through FBA’s Prep Service, Amazon ensures that products are properly packaged and prepared before they’re shipped. Sellers can also have Amazon barcodes applied to eligible products, if needed. All these features and services ensure that Amazon sellers can focus on reaching more customers and selling more products.
A subsidiary of FedEx Corp., FedEx Fulfillment serves as an end-to-end fulfillment service for small and medium businesses. These services are designed to be scalable and modular, perfect for business owners looking for customizable shipping options to fit their unique needs.
For instance, through FedEx Fulfillment, business owners get a variety of options for getting their products to FedEx’s fulfillment centers. To help businesses save time and costs on shipping, FedEx offers one-time and recurring pick-ups for products. Business owners can also choose to drop off products at FedEx’s drop boxes, which are open 24/7. In addition, FedEx Fulfillment offers the same flexibility in delivering shipments, with services for overnight, one-day delivery, and two-day delivery.
FedEx Fulfillment also ensures that SMBs can easily adjust to using third-party logistics services. Each FedEx Fulfillment customer gets a customer success specialist who can provide support for transitioning into the FedEx Fulfillment platform.
Founded by entrepreneurs who wanted reliable fulfillment services, Red Stag Fullfillment delivers tried-and-tested third-party logistics services to businesses of all sizes. For instance, Red Stag’s robust 3PL warehouse services provide a 48-hour turnaround period for processing orders shipped to their warehouses. With no products left sitting on loading docks, the company minimizes delays in logging inventory and prevents shrinkage.
In addition to reliable warehousing services, Red Stag offers reliable 3PL fulfillment services. Through same-day fulfillment with 100% accuracy on every order, the company claims it has the highest-level 3PL fulfillment services in the industry. Aside from kitting and assembly, Red Stag also handles reverse logistics, so businesses can easily handle returns and refunds. Returns logged in the Red Stag system are processed immediately, in line with the company’s guarantee of processing orders in 48 hours or less.
Moreover, Red Stag offers a customizable dashboard for connecting ecommerce software and ERP platforms to the company’s fulfillment service. Through video monitoring features, the cloud-based dashboard also enables real-time monitoring of the entire fulfillment process.
Shipmonk offers a wide range of services to help ecommerce businesses handle growing order volumes. The Shipmonk platform automatically imports orders from online shopping cart software and, from there, Shipmonk handles pick-and-pack processes and shipping for each order. These services are also completely customizable and scalable, making them ideal for rapidly growing businesses.
One of Shipmonk’s strengths is that it offers various types of fulfillment services, from multichannel ecommerce fulfillment to crowdfunding fulfillment and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) prep services. No matter which fulfillment service businesses choose, Shipmonk ensures accurate picking and packing and charges rates only for products that have been shipped. Moreover, as a tech-forward company, Shipmonk uses an intelligent storage and inventory system to optimize storage locations and reduce costs for business owners.
To support ecommerce businesses as they grow, Shipmonk also assigns dedicated Happiness Engineers to each of its customers. These Happiness Engineers serve as shipping experts that can address business owners’ concerns with Shipmonk’s services.
Detailed ShipMonk Review
With the continued growth of the third-party logistics industry, new 3PL companies keep popping up, each offering their own mix of fulfillment services especially designed for online businesses. Here are some important factors to keep in mind when choosing a 3PL company for your order fulfillment needs:
If you’re new to outsourcing logistics processes for your online business, you can try ShipBob, our top contender for 3PL companies. ShipBob offers a free trial so you can see for yourself if the company’s services fit your needs.
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