Modern Retail

Online Retailers: How do you choose a 3PL partner for your ecommerce business?

As an online retailer, you need to provide flexibility for your customers, but as more venture into ecommerce, how can you make sure that your 3PL partner has the tools in place to help you have the competitive edge? Ecommerce is a 24/7 market, and you need to make sure the systems you and your 3PL partner have in place can handle customer order demands.

Existing systems and processes

Many 3PLs operate with a WMS already in place – helping them take care of purchase orders, picking orders and general route picking. However, lots of ‘out of box’ WMS solutions don’t come with the ability to integrate with a customer’s online marketplace platforms. This is where something like an Order Management System (OMS) would be perfect. These can usually integrate with their existing WMS to allow seamless integration with these platforms.

For 3PLs that don’t currently have warehouse management software in place, an Order Management System with warehouse map capabilities helps them get a foot in the door of ecommerce without large upfront costs.

Choosing a 3PL that has an OMS means that you can be safe in the knowledge that your stock levels are accurate, order labels are automated and that couriers are booked, with dispatch updates automatically going to the end consumer.

Win the online business

Searching for a 3PL partner that has the correct warehouse infrastructure for ecommerce is vital. Traditionally, 3PLs fulfil orders by the pallet, whereas ecommerce orders usually require several pallets being broken down to fulfil an order. 

Fulfilling ecommerce orders can take up to 4 times longer than whole pallet orders. To make sure your business not only fulfils on time, but still turns a profit, a 3PL with an Order Management System means they automate the paperwork and customer communication for you. Not having to manually choose and distribute tracking information or updated comms means that your business, alongside your 3PL partner, can fulfil more orders. 

Why wait?

Expanding your online business shouldn’t be difficult. Check with 3PLs to make sure they have an OMS, such as Access Mintsoft, as it ensures they can efficiently manage your stock management, courier relationships and order processing.

Luke Groves

Luke Groves is the founder of Access Mintsoft, a cloud-based order management, marketplace and courier management tool designed to make online retail simple. Find out more at mintsoft.co.uk