Top 3PL Ideal Partners for eCommerce Fulfillment

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Third-party logistics (or 3PL) is one of the most cost-effective and popular ecommerce fulfillment methods. This involves the merchant partnering with a third party logistics provider. They will only focus on fulfilling logistical tasks such as order management and inventory storage.

This reduces or eliminates the cost of paying for warehouse workers, packaging materials, and warehouse space. You can also save money, get faster shipping rates, and focus on other areas of your business, such as marketing and product development. What do you need to know before you begin looking for third-party logistics providers? This article will outline the top 3PL companies according to their reputations, prices, offering, shipping speeds, and other factors.

Continue reading to learn more about the top 3PL fulfillment firms for ecommerce.

Which 3PL Company is Best for Your Online Store?

Our analysis of top 3PL companies reveals the details such as pricing, features and shipping times. These details are crucial when choosing the right partner for your company. We hope that the reviews have helped you narrow your search. If you still have trouble deciding between two or three logistics companies then take a look below at our final recommendations.

ShipBob

ShipBob is our preferred 3PL company because of several reasons. It offers solid software for managing inventory and orders. You can also sync with your online shop to notify ShipBob about your orders and keep track of the logistics management. You can also reduce shipping costs by partnering with shipping couriers. With ShipBob software, you can reduce shipping costs and enjoy lower abandonment rates.

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The ShipBob logistics process involves connecting to your online shop, accepting truckloads to be stored in its fulfillment centers and then shipping the products out to customers who have placed orders through your integrated shop. ShipBob is an end-to–end fulfillment solution that has centers in multiple locations, 2-day shipping at a reasonable cost, and pricing that is both affordable and simple to understand. Its majority of shipping centers are in the USA and Canada. However, it also has warehouses in Ireland or the UK to serve European customers.

The ShipBob 3PL fulfillment system looks great for all kinds of stores, large and small. It offers top-notch customer service, scale options, and price listings.

Integrations

ShipBob’s REST API allows you to create your own integration. ShipBob’s REST API allows you to integrate any ecommerce platform and business software in the ShipBob workflow.

ShipBob also has integrations built for these ecommerce platforms:

Shopify

WooCommerce

Bigcommerce

Amazon

Walmart

eBay

Squarespace

Wix

Square

Cart Rover

Happy Returns

DHL

FedEx

UPS

USPS

ShipStation

Klaviyo

Privy

TaxJar

There are many more…

Warehouse locations

ShipBob boasts a strong network in fulfillment centers across the United States, Canada and Ireland. Its headquarters are located in Chicago, IL. One of its busiest fulfillment centres is also there.

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Other locations include:

Woodridge, Illinois

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Grapevine, Texas

Ontario, California

Chattanooga (Tennessee)

Budd Lake in New Jersey

Louisville, Kentucky

Phoenix, Arizona

Kilkenny, Ireland

Ottawa, Canada

Feltham (UK)

Melbourne, Australia

This is just a small selection of ShipBob’s warehouses. All locations can be viewed here.

ShipBob has locations all over the United States, including the Midwest, East Coast and West Coast. You can also send to customers in Australia, Canada, the UK and Ireland from these locations and in the surrounding areas.

Highlights and Offers

You have a vast network of fulfillment centers and warehouses that can store your products close to your customers. This allows you to spread your inventory and place products closer to people who are most likely to purchase them. You might find that one product is most popular in the UK. To make it easy for those customers to receive your products, you can send large quantities to the UK ShipBob centres.

There are many integrations available with the top ecommerce platforms such as Squarespace, Bigcommerce and Shopify. It is possible to link to other software and apps for your business, including options for marketing, accounting, and shipping.

You can get steep discounts from major shipping companies like FedEx, UPS, and USPS. ShipBob integrates with all major couriers to make sure your store is connected with them.

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There are many options to sell on third party marketplaces and other channels, such as Walmart’s website, Amazon and eBay.

This software allows you to manage your inventory, place it where you want, and see how the logistics process is progressing. It works seamlessly on mobile devices.

To give your customers the best possible shipping experience, ShipBob offers a 2-day express shipping option. ShipBob generally offers fast shipping. However, this is an additional bonus even if you charge more for it.

Analytics and reporting tools that provide transportation insight about shipping costs, days of transit for shipments, and costs per order. The analytics can be accessed from your mobile device, or integrated with your ecommerce platform to view it in one place.

You can create a customer experience program to make your customers feel special at every stage of the process. You can send out custom boxes through ShipBob or place notes or labels inside your packaging. ShipBob has many options for shipping label printing, tracking, return management, and tracking.

Shipping Times

Shipping times vary depending on the carrier. ShipBob gives estimates so that you can communicate shipping times with your customers.

The expedited shipping time takes 2 days. However, depending on the shipping zone and your carrier, it is possible to ship products in just 1 day.

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You can expect to receive your order within 3-7 business day for standard carrier options and 7-30 days for international shipping. Priority and expedited shipping options are available starting at 2 days. International logistics and shipments take between 4-12 business days.

Pricing and fees

It’s difficult to see the exact fees that you will have to pay until you speak to a sales representative, as it is with most 3PL companies. You will need to determine things such as how many products you intend to store, where your shipping address is, and what packaging materials you require.

ShipBob is able to give you a rough guideline for pricing research.

Receive $25 the first two hours. After those first two hours, it’s $40 an hour.

Storage: $40 per month for storage. Additional fees include $10 for each shelf and $5 per bin per calendar month.

Pick and Pack Fees: All orders come with four free picks. It’s $0.20 per pick after that.

Standard packing: If you intend to use plain boxes, dunnage and tape, it is free. Customizing packaging materials will incur an additional charge

Shipping: All of this depends on factors like dimensions, shipping service, destination and weight.

We recommend that you go to ShipBob to get a quote tailored to your needs after reviewing these price estimates.

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Shopify Fulfillment

Shopify Fulfillment is tied into Shopify’s ecommerce platform. This means that you cannot use it as a 3PL partner, unless you sell products through Shopify. It’s a well-respected company that is growing at an amazing rate. Shopify Fulfillment allows merchants to send all their products to Shopify Fulfillment warehouses. Shopify then picks up, packs and sends all orders received through your Shopify site. This means Shopify Fulfillment does not have integrations with WooCommerce and Bigcommerce. This is a minor drawback, but it doesn’t really matter if Shopify Fulfillment is already in use.

We like the fact that Shopify Fulfillment has a wide range of locations. It syncs well with Shopify as all your analytics, transport management, order routing, and transportation management are logged in the Shopify dashboard. This allows you to work from one location and eliminates any integration questions. It all fits together in Shopify’s ecommerce platform, which is why Shopify is the best option. Shopify Fulfillment is a top 3PL company, thanks to its custom branding, order management and data control. However, this recommendation is only for Shopify users who are currently using Shopify.

Integrations

Shopify Fulfillment is a Shopify-only ecommerce platform. This means that Shopify Fulfillment cannot be integrated with any other website builder or ecommerce platform. This is not an issue for Shopify users. However, if you use Bigcommerce or WooCommerce, Shopify Fulfillment may be of interest to you.

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Shopify Fulfillment is integrated into Shopify Dashboard for order and inventory management. You also have access to thousands of Shopify Apps, including options for marketing, accounting, and sourcing.

Warehouse locations

Shopify Fulfillment centres are located only in the United States or Canada.

Although the list is growing, Shopify Fulfillment currently offers fulfillment centers in these areas.

California

Georgia

Nevada

New Jersey

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Texas

Ontario, Canada

Shopify Fulfillment is a good choice if you intend to ship to the US, Canada, Mexico, or other parts of South America. Although you can still ship internationally without any additional shipping costs, the shipping time will be much longer if you send to Europe, Asia, or another faraway location.

Highlights and Offers

There are a number of fulfillment centers available in the US and Canada. This allows you to store your products anywhere in the US, and Shopify will help you determine the best distribution.

Shopify dashboard stores inventory and order management. This allows you to manage all aspects of your business from one place. It also streamlines your workflow by integrating with order management software and fulfillment companies.

You have complete control over all data coming in from sales. This allows you to make informed decisions for the future. You can monitor things such as sales, inventory, customer growth, and more.

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You can sell through Shopify and a variety of other channels, such as Amazon, eBay, POS (point-of-sale), Amazon, eBay and many more. You can also sell and advertise via social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram.

Smart tech to adjust where and how inventory is distributed across the Shopify Fulfillment network. Shopify Fulfillment will tell you where to store your products, taking the guesswork out. It makes sense to store some products in Kentucky, as they might be most popular there. This is something you don’t need to do by yourself. Shopify will do the analysis.

Shopify offers solid customer support and online resources. There are many forums and blogs that discuss Shopify. Shopify provides general support as well as dedicated support to help your business get started with the fulfillment program.

Support for unique selling and fulfillment processes such as wholesale flash sales, wholesale and B2B sales.

Shipping Times

Shopify Fulfillment shipping times vary depending on the shipping carrier. Standard packages will be shipped within 2 days. However, standard packages can take 3-5 days to arrive. It is possible to choose the carrier and pricing rules that you prefer, making it a flexible option where you can offer anything you like.

Pricing and fees

Fees will vary depending on the type of store you have, the product that you intend to sell, and other factors such as shipping speeds and weight.

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We love that Shopify Fulfillment Fees are logged in to your Shopify invoices. This allows you to see a complete picture of your expenses.

Shopify does not list any pricing information for its fulfillment services, but it does give you an indication of what to expect to pay:

Picking and packing: Based on your volume, a daily charge.

Daily Charges for Packing Supplies – This depends on the packaging material you choose and how many products are being sent.

Transport solutions: Shopify charges daily fees to transport your products.

Storage: Monthly fees which can change depending on storage rate and cubic feet used.

Shopify Fulfillment Special Project: A monthly fee to cover any request you make of Shopify Fulfillment, that isn’t covered by the standard pick-and-pack fee.

Wholesale orders can be set up with a pricing plan.

Red Stag Fulfillment

Red Stag Fulfillment offers ecommerce fulfillment 3PL and general order fulfillment services from two warehouses located in the United States. Although it is a smaller company than others, you have the opportunity to partner with a dedicated team who will be more focused on your business’ success. Red Stag Fulfillment offers same-day shipping for all customers. However, you may need to request additional payment from customers. Red Stag Fulfillment can also support special fulfillment requirements such as subscription boxes, crowdfunded projects and marketplace selling. Red Stag Fulfillment partners directly with top carriers such as UPS and USPS to offer you a range of attractive shipping rates.

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Integrations

Red Stag Fulfillment provides a cloud-based platform that allows you to manage your entire inventory and order process. The system can be integrated with almost any software, provided you have access to the API.

You can integrate Netsuite with Opencart, Opencart and OS Commerce.

Warehouse locations

Red Stag Fulfillment has two fulfillment and warehouse locations: Salt Lake City (UT) and Knoxville (TN).

Although it may not seem like there are enough warehouses compared to other top 3PL companies, when you take a look at their locations, you will see that they are strategically located to serve the entire United States. Red Stag claims that over 99% of Americans receive their products within 1-2 days after they are shipped to them by fulfillment companies. Since Alaska and Hawaii are more likely to take longer, we assume that the additional 1% refers to Hawaii.

The Salt Lake City warehouse is easily accessible to the West Coast, as well as some northern states such Montana and Wyoming. It also has access to the South and Southwestern states of Texas and New Mexico. This warehouse covers approximately half the country. Knoxville, TN would be able to provide rapid shipping to the entire Southeast and Northeast coasts, as well as the Midwest with states such Illinois and Wisconsin. Red Stag covers the entire United States for fast fulfillment and shipping. This makes it a reliable, trustworthy fulfillment solution.

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Red Stag’s primary purpose is fulfillment in the USA. Red Stag is not able to ship products internationally. However, it will take longer than other options that have fulfillment centers and warehouses in other countries. Red Stag is a good option if your customers are primarily in the US or if you intend to partner with an international fulfillment company.

Red Stag fulfillment also provides fulfillment services for Amazon orders as well as purchases made through other marketplaces such as eBay. These marketplace sales should only be made through Red Stag if customers are in the United States or a nearby country like Canada or Mexico.

Highlights and Offers

There are options for same-day shipping across the United States. Nearly 100% of US addresses can choose 1-2-day shipping. There are other options available depending on the type of shipping you offer.

Kitting and subscription fulfillment services are available for multi-product bundles or subscription boxes that are sent out on a monthly basis to customers.

Cloud-based warehouse management software that syncs your orders and tracks all logistics.

Dropshipping is a service that allows you to store a small number of products from one supplier and have them shipped only on-demand.

Rapid onboarding allows you to be transferred from another fulfillment company into the Red Stag environment.

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Inventory and order monitoring tools are all accessible via a web-based interface.

Red Stag will process returns where the customer sends in the items to Red Stag and not your home or office. Red Stag offers the option to provide customers with prepaid shipping labels. They will also take back any returns and place them on the shelves for future shipments.

The promise to reduce or eliminate inventory shrinkage. This is basically the fulfillment company stating that they are allowed to damage or lose a percentage of your inventory because of standard operational errors. Red Stag does not have an “inventory shrinkage” clause in their contract, so they appear to take full responsibility for any damage or loss.

Red Stag initiates all the picking, packing and shipping processes.

Excellent customer service team, more helpful than other 3PL companies such as Amazon FBA and Shopify.

You can use demand planning to make sure your company has enough products in its warehouse before there is a spike in sales.

A great packaging process that improves consolidation (sending smaller and more efficient packages), optimizes for cost savings, and allows for custom packaging when needed.

Tracking and shipment notifications sent to customers and business.

Integrations with the top ecommerce platforms such as Bigcommerce, Volusion, and Shopify. Software like Netsuite, as well as marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are some other integrations.

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Cratejoy, Etsy and Groupon offer Omnichannel fulfillment services with no hidden fees and low storage fees. They also have a direct sync process that allows them to see which products have been sold.

Shipping Times

Red Stag offers the possibility for customers to receive 1-day shipping. Standard shipping can take 1-2 days depending on which mail carrier they choose. This expedited shipping is available as long as the order is placed before 5 pm (we assume that the customer uses the local time at the closest warehouse).

There are three options: USPS, UPS and FedEx. Red Stag ships primarily within the United States. They don’t provide any information about shipping products abroad or how long it takes. Your shipments are usually more expensive due to the speed at which they arrive, but this also depends on how far the product has traveled. You can provide transparency on your website regarding shipping costs and speeds. Integrating with real-time carrier shipping calculators within your store makes this possible.

Red Stag offers overnight shipping as the fastest option. Alternatively, you have the option of 1-2 day shipping. This is dependent on the product type, the time it was ordered and where it is going. The shipping process can also be slowed down by weekend orders. The carrier is the key factor in shipping times.

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Standard USPS shipping takes between 2-8 business days. Although UPS and FedEx may be quicker depending on the destination of the product, this is also dependent on how fast they are shipping. All of these carriers offer fast shipping options for customers (or your company) who want them. Red Stag has all of the options you need.

Pricing and fees

Although pricing and fees for top 3PL companies are custom-made based on each operation, Red Stag provides guidance about what to expect.

You can view the shipping rates for USPS, UPS and FedEx, as well as how to calculate shipping costs for you business, on the Red Stag website.

Red Stag requires that you contact a sales representative to determine the best pricing plan. They also offer initial guidance on the standard fees for fulfillment.

What fees does Red Stag charge?

Receiving and transport services: This includes the delivery of inventory to the warehouse. Red Stag does not charge a flat intake fee, unlike many other top 3PL companies. The company charges by the pallet for incoming inventory. The company also moves the products to shelves and enters them into inventory without charging extra.

Special storage: There may not be any fees for special storage. It all depends on what products are being stockpiled. As an example, assembly and kitting can be more expensive. This is also true for items that need to be unloaded manually, rather than using pallets. Red Stag charges an additional fee for items that require extra protection or cold storage, or are hazardous.

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Warehousing Fee: This includes shelf space at Red Stag facilities. Red Stag charges per cubic foot instead of setting a monthly fee. This makes it easier and often cheaper. Some fees for specialty warehousing may be charged for perishable foods (cold chain supply chains), lithium-ion battery packs, and larger products.

Picking and packing: Red Stag workers will pick up your products from the shelves and pack them with the correct materials. Then, they will send them to you. Red Stag charges an hourly rate for this service. This is an improvement on what other fulfillment companies charge, which are based on a flat rate per order. There’s a small fee for the first pick and a larger fee for each pick thereafter. Red Stag also already includes the cost of packaging materials in its pick-and-pack fees.

Shipping: The shipping costs vary depending on many factors, as we have already mentioned. There are still costs to consider when selecting a fulfillment company. Red Stag is a partner with major carriers, which allows you to receive steep discounts from the likes USPS, UPS and FedEx. Shipping costs are also affected by factors such as product weight, product dimensions and fragility, shipping zones and the carrier used.

Red Stag handles all returns processing. The return processing fees are included in the initial fulfillment costs. This includes everything, from receiving the items to examining them for damage and placing them back on the shelves.

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ShipMonk

ShipMonk is a 3PL company that offers complete order fulfillment and shipping scaling solutions for all ecommerce companies. ShipMonk’s software is great for managing inventory, monitoring its progress, and selecting the best storage solutions. You can also integrate with many different sales channels and marketplaces to sell to multiple customers online.

ShipMonk is a combination of order management software with shipping software, inventory software, warehouse management software, packaging suppliers, and many other elements into one software and logistics operation. It is a cloud-based 4-in-1 software that stores your products, moves them to the order queue and then ships them when you need them. It can also help you deal with expeditors and forwarders by managing your warehouse. ShipMonk also offers multiple warehouse locations across the US and a European one. ShipMonk offers great shipping discounts and top-notch customer service. You can also set up fulfillment for your store with just one click. ShipMonk clearly outlines its pricing so that there are no surprises once you get started.

Integrations

ShipMonk is one of the top 3PL companies. ShipMonk supports almost all major shopping carts as well as ecommerce platforms. ShipMonk supports a variety of ecommerce platforms, with all integrations being one-click. Shopify, Volusion, WooCommerce and 3dcart are just a few of the many ecommerce platform integrations available.

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ShipMonk integrates with many marketplaces, including eBay, Bonanza and Groupon. Even more marketplaces can be tapped like Sears, Reverb, and OpenSky.

ShipMonk integrates with physical retailers who sell online. This is a unique feature of ShipMonk. You can either sell your products through the Best Buy website, or tap into other marketplace sellers like Target, QVC or TJ Maxx.

Integrations with third-party solution providers such as Tradegecko, Stripe, or Salesforce are also a favorite feature. These integrations are crucial for combining your fulfillment process and any other current business operations.

ShipMonk also integrates with popular ecommerce tools such as Returnly, ShipStation and Skubana.

ShipMonk can also be reached if you don’t see the tool you are looking for. This will send your integration request to ShipMonk developers. It also raises the possibility of that integration being added in the future. They may also be able to offer a solution for you to integrate a specific tool or tap into the API.

Warehouse locations

ShipMonk currently has the following US-based warehouses:

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Los Angeles, CA

Pittston, PA

ShipMonk plans to open two additional warehouses in the near-future (as stated on the ShipMonk site as 2021). ShipMonk has a Texas warehouse and fulfillment centre in the works, as well as one in Europe (the exact location is not mentioned) to ship to customers outside the US.

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ShipMonk is currently a top 3PL company for shipping within the United States. It has customers on the East Coast, Midwest, and South with its Pennsylvania and Florida locations. You can also get products to the South and West of the United States with the California and Florida warehouses.

The Texas warehouse should allow for some flexibility with the Southern states.

Highlights and Offers

Integrations directly to the most popular and trusted ecommerce platforms, as well as third-party sales channels and ecommerce software.

Predefined packaging guidelines and custom packaging options for adding specific items to your boxes, or branding.

Combination of major carriers such as FedEx, DHL and UPS. ShipMonk calculates automatically the best shipping rate and speed for each customer.

You can automate your email messages for shipping, and you can also track numbers to keep customers informed.

This cloud-based software includes four in one modules that can be used to manage warehouse, order, and shipping fulfillment.

All major carriers offer discounted shipping rates

Customer support via email, chat, or phone.

FBA Prep Services and Seller Fulfilled Prime Service

Fulfillment services available for unique ecommerce businesses that use crowdfunding or send out subscription boxes.

This tool allows you to sell internationally while collecting shipping and duties payments in one place in your shopping cart. This can also be used to assist with customs brokerage.

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Picking up and packing orders of up to 10,000 per day. Custom pricing is available if you require more. ShipMonk supports small businesses even if you only send one order per month. You will need to pay a $250 minimum pick-and-pack fee per month.

Intelligent storage systems that determine the best places to store your products. This will reduce costs over the long-term.

Customers can exchange their products and return them using our complete return management software. ShipMonk receives the products, inspects them for any problems and then restocks them on the shelves.

Shipping Times

ShipMonk offers overnight shipping, which is the fastest shipping option. Customers can choose between 1-3 shipping via USPS, 1-5 days shipping with FedEx and 1-3 days shipping with UPS.

ShipMonk uses an algorithm to determine the fastest and most cost-effective shipping method for every package you send to customers. Shipping times will vary depending on the carrier selected, the product and the location of your customer.

ShipMonk provides some estimates for the most common carriers.

USPS: First Class Mail takes 1-4 days, Priority Mail Express takes 1-3, and international mail takes 5-14 days (depending on the method chosen).

FedEx: Most methods take 1-5 days. However, some methods can take up to 7 days. You can choose between an overnight delivery option and Priority International speed for 2-4 day shipping to overseas.

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DHL: 2-7 days for domestic shipments International packages take 6-30 days.

UPS: ShipMonk does not have UPS shipping speeds, but they are similar to FedEx. They offer overnight shipping and domestic shipping starting at 1-5 days.

Pricing and fees

ShipMonk’s unique advantage is its Pricing Calculator. This calculator will give you an accurate estimate of potential transport costs and storage costs compared to top 3PL companies. Although you will eventually need to talk with a ShipMonk representative about pricing, the price shouldn’t be much different from what you see in the calculator.

These are just a few examples of what you can expect from ShipMonk pricing

For Ecommerce Fulfillment

Monthly orders of 0 to 500 items: $2.50 for the first item, $0.50 for each additional item. For promotional inserts, it’s $0.20 and for returning items, it’s $2 + $0.50.

Monthly orders of 501 to 1,000: $2.25 for the first item, $0.50 each additional item. For promotional inserts, it’s $0.20 and for returns processing, it’s $2 + $0.50 for each additional item.

Monthly orders from 1,001 to 2,500: $2 for the first item and $0.40 for each additional. Promo inserts and return processing are the same as before.

You can see that general fulfillment pricing for ecommerce shops gets less expensive per order if you sell more products per month. The price of promotional inserts and return processing is always the same. Up to 10,000 orders can be placed per month. Anything beyond that will require custom pricing.

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Then you need to factor in storage pricing.

All small bins are $1 each month

Medium bins cost $2 per month

$3 per month for large bins.

$4/month for XL bins

All pallets $20 per month

There may be some additional costs that you have to incur depending on the operation.

Special projects: $45 an hour

Container loading: $300 for 20-foot containers, $500 for 40-foot containers

A minimum pick-and-pack fee of $250 per calendar month is required.

Packaging materials: $0.15 – $2.00

Unique ecommerce stores, such as subscription boxes companies or physical retailers, have unique pricing.

Subscription boxes: Box assembly and kitting fees are charged in addition to the standard fulfillment costs.

Retail: There are fees for pick ups, wholesale and special requests.

FBA Prep: Pick-up fees and charges are based on the number of units that need to be prepared and how long it takes for each unit to be prepared. This prep time is calculated by the second.

ShipMonk offers all the following features and fulfillment services for no cost:

Management and freight forwarding

Management of Claims

Receiving

International order processing

Software for inventory and order management

Validation of address

Reception of photos

Customer support

Unlimitless integrations

Shipping rates discounted

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Fulfillment by Amazon

Merchants who sell through Amazon often use the Fulfillment by Amazon program. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a cost-effective and efficient way to fulfill orders on the popular marketplace. If you don’t have products listed on Amazon, Fulfillment by Amazon is an option. It’s one of the top 3PL companies. FBA allows you to store your products, have them packed and shipped to customers without any Amazon branding.

Integrations

Fulfillment by Amazon integrates well with many ecommerce platforms, if you use the Amazon API. You can also integrate with popular platforms such as Bigcommerce and Shopify.

To find out if your ecommerce platform has Fulfillment by Amazon integration, it is best to contact them. You can also speak to a developer or use Zapier to connect your platform with the fulfillment service.

Warehouse locations

This is the main advantage of Fulfillment by Amazon. It boasts more fulfillment centers than the FedEx Logistics program.

Amazon is always growing. Amazon currently has 110 fulfillment centers in the US, and 185 worldwide centers. Amazon centers are located in the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany and Spain. They also have global centers in France, Italy, Spain, France and Poland. These numbers will continue to grow in the near-term.

Highlights and Offers

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Customers can access the tried-and true Amazon returns system, which is often free and painless, when they drop off returns at Amazon, UPS and Kohl’s locations.

With over 300 warehouse locations, you can take advantage of fast shipping to the USA and worldwide.

It is a trusted brand that customers know. Customers will feel at ease with the packaging and can complete returns easily.

All fulfillment costs are consolidated into one price for picking, packing and shipping.

You can ship many of your products to Amazon with the Amazon carrier. This means that you are storing your products with Amazon and not waiting for them to arrive at UPS or USPS.

Your website can let people know that Amazon has fulfilled your products. This will give them an idea about how fast you ship.

Amazon packages all your products. While this has its pros and cons, we expect to see more custom packaging in future.

High-quality customer service via email, phone and live chat

Possibility to send products via Amazon’s free two-day shipping.

Shipping Times

FBA customers are eligible to receive free 2-day shipping on all products. This option is only available to Amazon Prime customers. If you are only selling products through your website, this is not always possible.

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Amazon is well-known for its carrier service, which offers two-day shipping, and its partnerships and alliances with major carriers such as UPS and USPS. You still have options for 1–5 day shipping with these. Amazon is a top 3PL company for fast shipping, with its shipping times unrivaled.

Pricing and fees

Amazon has a very precise pricing schedule for FBA fulfillment. Fulfillment fees start at $3.99 per unit. Storage fees start at $0.75 a cubic foot

Pricing can fluctuate depending on the shipping weight, fee category and product size. There are several calculations and estimates for product fulfillment that can be found on this page. A small, standard-sized product will typically have a fulfillment fee of $2.70. However, an object larger than that could be fulfilled would cost $76.

Amazon Fulfillment Fees are pay-as you-go. You’ll be charged for storage space and may have to pay additional fees for selling on Amazon.

Other potential fees include:

Removal fees

Returns processing fees

Unplanned fees

Storage fees for long-term storage

What is 3PL Fulfillment?

A method for ecommerce fulfillment that uses 3PL, or third party logistics, is known as 3PL. This is where the merchant or website owner works with a third party logistics service to store and package its products. Self-fulfillment is when the merchant stores its products in their own warehouses, at home, or in an office. Self-fulfillment also requires that the merchant packages and ships the products to customers. The 3rd party logistics service outsources logistics for ecommerce to reduce its labor force, money spent on that category, and the need to manage warehouses, packing material, and inventory.

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It all depends on your situation. However, the following pros and con’s can be expected when you partner with a top 3PL company:

Pros

  • Merchants will have lower costs for labor, warehouse, packing materials, and shipping.
  • Inventory management takes up less time.
  • The merchant maintains an important level of quality control.
  • To reduce costs and increase profits, the merchant can still purchase products wholesale.
  • The top 3PL companies charge per month based on how much space you need and how much you sell, which is often more affordable than managing logistics in-house.
  • All customers can track codes and messages that are sent to them.

Cons

  • The merchant has limited control over the entire process, so some control is lost. The merchant might want special paper inserts to be placed in the boxes. However, a reputable 3PL company can do this for you but it is not guaranteed.
  • Even if you have a lower overhead like labor and warehousing, there is always the possibility of an additional expense that could reduce your profits.
  • If you want to use all of them, you may need to manage multiple carriers dashboards.

As a way to store and ship products to customers, 3PL fulfillment has become more popular. Even if it was more costly than managing your own warehouse, you can save time and be able to concentrate on other aspects of your business. These tasks are often completed by top 3PL companies, which is likely because they handle the same type of work regularly.

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While we have already discussed the differences between self-fulfillment and 3PL, there is another method of fulfillment for ecommerce: dropshipping. Dropshipping is a newer model than self-fulfillment and 3PL, but it has the same characteristics as both. Dropshipping eliminates the middleman and allows the merchant to partner with the manufacturer or supplier. The supplier or manufacturer then stores the product and ships it on-demand as orders are received through your website. 3PL offers advantages over dropshipping, such as allowing the merchant to have far greater quality control since dropshippers don’t see the products. 3PL offers greater profit margins, allowing you to focus on custom products and easier returns management. Dropshipping does have its benefits, however. It allows merchants to get rid of any inventory. They don’t need to ship the products to a 3PL or pay a 3PL to do so.

3PL is the middle ground between dropshipping and self-fulfillment. This is the most popular form of ecommerce fulfillment. It allows the store owner to have a lot of control, maintains respectable margins, and reduces unnecessary logistics expenses such as warehouse labor and warehouse space. If you select one of our top 3PL companies, you can usually eliminate most of these “Cons”. All of them are reliable and all affordable.

How to Choose from the Best 3PL Companies

You’ve decided to use a 3PL provider for fulfillment. Now what? Find the best 3PL fulfillment company to meet your needs. There are many options. You may find that the most affordable provider is not right for you. We recommend looking through the list to determine which 3PL company is best for you.

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What should you look out for in a 3PL firm? Check out our list to see the best features and offers from third-party logistics partners.

  • Cost savings The goal is to reduce costs such as warehouse rent, upkeep and labor that goes into picking, packing and shipping products. Top 3PL companies offer subscription-type payment plans for monthly or yearly billing that covers all essential tasks. It is important to find a partner who will save you money over the long-term. Even though it is possible to break even in the logistics expense area (since you can focus on your business’s other aspects), you should try to find a 3PL company whose monthly fee is lower than the one you would pay with self-fulfillment.
  • Shipping flexibility and savings: Top 3PL companies work with shipping companies like USPS, UPS and FedEx to get access to savings that are not available to smaller businesses. Because the top 3PL companies send so much volume, it makes sense for shipping providers to make them deals. It is wise to search for the best 3PL companies that will allow you to pick the most efficient courier. Partnering with one can get you significant shipping discounts.
  • Amazon offers fast shipping Amazon is known for its 1-5 day delivery. Customers have come to expect this from every brand they order online. You want a 3PL company to guarantee fast shipping without any problems. This does not necessarily mean every package will arrive at the customer in two days. However, the customer can choose a shipping method that is significantly faster than the normal.
  • Powerful technology: Top 3PL firms offer incredible software to sync with your online shop, manage inventory from mobile devices and track how shipment progress is going. This allows you to keep track of your logistics and ensure that your inventory is always up-to-date. Basically, your logistics company should have a way to access your store and show what’s happening behind the scenes. Integration with ecommerce platforms such as Squarespace, WooCommerce or Bigcommerce is also possible.
  • Large network of locations: The best 3PL companies have the ability to claim fast shipping. However, this is usually only possible if there are multiple warehouse locations. Your products will be closer to their customers if there are many warehouses. You can store your products on both the East Coast or West Coast, just like a US company. A Midwestern warehouse should also be included in your mix. A network of warehouses will allow you to get your products closer to your customers.
  • Omnichannel Support: You want to sell products on other websites, such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy. These marketplaces have very specific shipping requirements, so make sure your logistics company is familiar with how to handle special orders.
  • Customization Every online store is different, so it’s a good idea to choose a 3PL provider who’s flexible enough to meet your needs. You should look for customizations in pricing, storage options, multiple warehousing options, customizations of the software that you use to manage your inventory, and other options. It is also important to determine if your 3PL partner supports unique shipping conditions such as subscription boxes, crowdfunding, custom-made products, and subscription boxes.
  • Scalability If your business wants to grow, the 3PL provider must be able to assist you. Is your supply chain partner planning on growing with more warehouses and employees in the future? Is your supply chain partner aware of their storage capacity and how they will accommodate your company as it grows? All these are important considerations if your company plans to expand.
  • Reporting & analytics: While this ties in with the technology aspect of the equation, it is still worth mentioning. Your SPL company should provide a complete overview of how logistics is progressing so that you can make better business decisions. Not only do you want to know the revenue, margins and costs of your company, but also unique data such as the time it takes for packages reach customers or the fulfillment cost per unit.
  • High-quality customer support: It doesn’t matter if you want to talk to someone in the warehouse, find out about a shipment or have questions about the software.