What are the top benefits to using a 3PL?
- Get your time back to focus on your business
- Have access to easier and swifter flexibility & scale
- Provide more options and services to your customers
- Decrease turnaround and shipping times, increasing customer service metrics
- Reduce or eliminate overheads such as warehouse rent, staffing, packaging, health and safety and much more
- Get benefits on shipping costs with reduced courier costs and higher quality service
Can a 3PL offer a proper eCommerce service for my brand?
You’re right to check. Many 3PLs are traditional warehouses and transportation businesses that now also deal with fulfilment. However they are often using older systems and not able to adapt and grow to keep up with the fast ecommerce environment such as for Shopify stores, Instagram shops, WooCommerce websites and Amazon & eBay.
The meteoric rise in online shopping in particular since the pandemic has changed the logistics and warehouse industry. When looking for a 3PL and order fulfilment provider you check that they are truly experienced and eager to work with online brands and have suitable integrations with webstores to be able to do so. What extra services can they provide to support YOUR brand, how can they decrease customer service issues, improve service offerings and work with you to build your brand. After all, they should be your partner and want you to succeed and take them with you.
Firms such as Rapid Pack offer a wide plethora of services from the bread and butter, storage, picking and packing to personalised in-parcel cards and branding support. Not only that but a transparent and simple dashboard lets you keep an eye on every order and access the data within it.
How long does it take to get set up?
This is a very open ended question and depends heavily on how complicated your business is, such as the number and type of products, where your orders are coming from, any requirements in branding, size of the products, destinations for your orders and much more. For relatively small stores or simple product catalogues (less than 50 different SKUs) hosted on platforms such as Shopify or WooCommerce, the set up can usually be done within a matter of days. Once you have gone through onboarding, you will be provided with a login and can start adding your products and connecting up your store. Then its just a matter of sending in your products and you’re pretty much good to go.
A larger range of products or more complicated solutions can take 6-8 weeks as the process is methodical and careful. Products are individually booked in, weighed and measured, checking against your barcodes to ensure complete accuracy. The best time to get started as up until around August as after that most 3PLs will be getting very busy in the run up to Black Friday & Christmas.
Does a 3PL handle returns?
Most 3PLs will offer some form of returns service but it’s always important to check and to what scope they do. You need to be sure that if a customer returns an order back to them that they will quickly but carefully check the items and prepare them where possible for resale in the shortest time possible. If the order needs to be refunded, disposed of or other customer service queries they should pass these details on to you/your customer service team for actioning.
At Rapid Pack we aim to have returns processed within 24 hours and items that can be resold are available for sale as soon as they have been through Quality Check, they don’t have to be put away beforehand which keeps the impact of returns low.
What are your fulfilment payment terms?
We run our billing system weekly and provide a full statement of costs including storage (actually used) and orders picked and packed. This is taken weekly by Direct Debit.
What are your prices?
Our prices can be found here. It is made up of storage costs, picking fees per item, packaging costs and courier charges.
What don’t you handle?
We don’t handle hazardous, long (over 1m) or very heavy items (over 25kg). We cannot ship consumable alcohol, furniture (unless it is flat packed and weigh under 25kg) or substances/items that are deemed illicit within the UK
If your average order value is under £25 you may find online fulfilment uncompetitive compared to doing your fulfilment in house
Who are some of the top order fulfilment companies in the UK?
Now you have more knowledge on what to look for in a 3PL you can start looking for providers. Here’s some of the top ecommerce fulfilment firms in the UK
- Rapid Pack Fulfilment
- 3PL Logistics
- James and James Fulfilment
- Fulfilment Crowd
- Huboo Fulfilment
What are you green credentials?
We care passionately about our environment, that we live, work and play in.
We only use renewable energy within our company.
Our packaging is majority originally recycled and the rest is from sustainable sources. We are always working to reduce the amount of packaging of any kind used and working with suppliers to look at even more sustainable, ethically produced and bio-degradable packaging.
We work with couriers who utilise electric and green energy vehicles where they are able including DPD & Royal Mail. We promote the use of this mode of transportation and participate in any trials they offer to boost this.