A complex logistics process begins when a customer clicks the submit button for an online order. ECommerce fulfillment involves receiving the order from the online store. The item must be picked from a warehouse. Inventory, accounting and tracking information is updated. Finally, the item is shipped to the end customer.
ECommerce companies can handle this logistics process on their own, up to a certain point. As a company grows and orders increase, the time and resources required to manage these orders grows as well. The benefits of using an eCommerce fulfillment company or third-party logistics provider (3PL) arise when the cost-savings of internally fulfilling orders becomes less than the time saved by outsourcing fulfillment.
Outsourced fulfillment providers get merchandise from a seller, store the merchandise, and then handle the shipping to the buyer. Fulfillment companies range in size from the smaller mom and pops, to massive international logistics providers. Each company might specialize in a certain geographic region or product type. Fulfillment companies’ strengths are in order processing, logistics, warehousing and efficient shipping, making them a logical complement to a growing eCommerce companies workflows.