3rd Party Fulfillment for Online Sellers: Matrix of Leading 3PL Service Providers
Are you interested in working with a 3rd Party Logistics provider to assist with your multichannel fulfillment?
Our most successful sellers actively simplify their operations. They tend to focus all of their efforts and resources on product merchandising, listing, branding and customer service. Accordingly, many high volume sellers outsource their supply chain and fulfillment. This allows them to avoid the operational distraction and considerable overhead associated with warehouse costs, carrier negotiations, packing materials and labor.
As we continue to build out an ecosystem of leading service providers, we aim to educate sellers on the available 3PL integrations we offer as well as other ways that our sellers enlist the support of 3rd party fulfillment partners.
Here's an overview of the 3PLs that are deeply integrated into Zentail and how they compare:
|Service Provider||Reserve Inventory (via API)||Pricing API||Inbound Shipment API||Monthly Minimums||FBA Inbound||Branded Packaging||Pricing|
|Rakuten Super Logistics||No||Yes||Yes||250 orders||Yes||Yes||$|
|ShipBob||No||No (Expected Summer 2017)||No (Expected Summer 2017)||250 orders||Yes||Yes||$|
|FedEx Supply Chain||Yes (In the form of a hold date)||No (Expected 9/2017)||No||No minimums||Yes||Yes||$|
Reserving Inventory (via API)
A crucial defense against backorders and overselling, this programmatic capability allows Zentail to tell the 3PL to reserve inventory for orders that are pending payment. Once the status changes upon payment confirmation from the channel, Zentail allows the 3PL to fulfill the order.
Can the 3PL tell us how much a specific order costs to ship? It's important to know exactly how much each order costs to ship. This allows you to track your profitability accurately in Zentail and adjust pricing on SKUs that cost more than expected to ship.
Inbound Shipment API
At Zentail, we want sellers to be able to manage everything centrally. Can the user generate inbound (bulk) replenishment shipments from Zentail (or other 3rd party web service)? Can the 3PL tell Zentail (or other 3rd party web service) how much inventory has been sent to the 3PL?
A major concern of smaller sellers and sellers that are primarily selling on Amazon with FBA is the ability to meet minimum monthly order requirements. 3PLs want sellers with high order volumes, and some are more willing to take on smaller sellers that have potential for growth.
Does the 3PL offer the service of labeling and shipping bulk quantities to FBA? In our opinion, this service is critical to freeing up your resources as a seller and simplifying your supply chain.
Does the 3PL allow you to modify your packing slips and packaging appearance based on channel? Compliance with packaging requirements of each major marketplace channel is extremely important. You may also want to have fancier branding and packaging presentation for orders shipping to your own website.
How much should I expect to pay for warehousing, picking, packing, transportation? This is on a scale of $ to $$$.
ShipStation as a Bridge to Smaller 3PLs
Smaller 3PLs commonly use ShipStation as a bridge to connect between Zentail and their systems. This arrangement has worked well but there is one important limitation; ShipStation does not allow the 3PL to communicate inventory to Zentail via API.
Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)
One thing we're keeping an eye out for is the ability to have your 3PL ship Seller Fulfilled Prime. As of right now this is not an offering available from any of the 3PLs we integrate with and we have not heard of any 3PLs that reliably offer this service.
Let us know if you have any questions and feel free to request a demo and free 3PL consultation: