Fulfillment and 3pl have a lot in common, but they also have differences before, this article will help you understand more clearly the differences between them, now let’s learn together!
What Is 3PL?
Third-party logistics (3PL) is the process of outsourcing logistics services, This includes anything that involves the management of one or more elements of a business’s procurement and fulfillment activities, including storing and shipping items around the world. E-Commerce businesses can outsource the following tasks to 3PLs： Warehousing, Inventory management, Shipping and Receiving, FTL and LTL freight shipping, Picking and packing, Kitting and customization, and Reverse logistics (returns).
What Is E-Commerce Fulfillment？
Fulfillment in e-commerce is the process of delivering an order to a customer after the customer has ordered online, independent of the sale itself. The fulfillment process includes receiving and storing inventory, processing the order, picking the items, packing the boxes, and shipping the items to the customer’s shipping destination.
E-commerce fulfillment services are often handled by third-party fulfillment companies that charge by the weight, size, and volume of the package. Third-party fulfillment services are helpful for e-commerce businesses that do not have warehouse and storage facilities.
What Is the Difference Between 3PL and Fulfillment?
In supply chain management, 3pl and fulfillment seem very similar at first glance. However, there is a difference between 3pl and fulfillment. In particular, the recent emergence of “3pl fulfillment” may further blur the distinction between these two terms, here are the differences between them.
The scope of 3pl and fulfillment is different
What are the services offered by 3pl? 3pl Logistics receives products and stores them, picks them, and ships them according to the order requirements. Some companies handle their own internal orders when they first start up, but as business gets better and they are unable to fulfill internal orders in a timely manner they work with a 3pl company. For example, 3PL services include: Warehouse storage, Inventory management, In-time shipping
3pl is helpful for e-commerce owners who do not have warehouses to store and package their products. Working with a 3pl company can increase the efficiency of business operations and rapidly expand the industry.
Fulfillment centers offer more services than 3pl, and the efficiency of order fulfillment depends on the smooth and timely exchange of information between the parties. In the fulfillment center, a dedicated team can fulfill online orders from e-commerce retailer customers quickly and efficiently. In addition, the fulfillment center can both ship directly to customers and handle large volumes of products for B2B.
The fulfillment center is an integrated service center staffed with professionals to receive, package, label, and ship orders, as well as manage returns. A list of integrated fulfillment services includes:
Product Sourcing: Just send us photos or the URL of the product you want, and we will source it from anywhere in China, leaving no stone unturned.
Packaging, Branding & Assembly: Enhance your brand value with customized products, card inserts, stickers, packaging, and digital photos.
Product Photos & Videos: Sell more with high-quality product photos taken by professional photographers highly skilled in eCommerce product shoots.
3PL Worldwide Fulfilment: Reduce order processing time and delayed delivery costs with our proven 3PL fulfillment strategy with global bulk freight solutions.
Dropshipping App: Focus on finding new products, creating ads, and scaling campaigns while we automate sourcing, fulfillment, and delivery.
Storage & Warehousing: In need of emergency, short-term storage to then forward on? Or maybe long-term? We offer really competitive rates!
Product Inspection & QC: From a simple, visual inspection to a complete and detailed stress test, we can assist with your quality concerns.
2PL International Logistics: Require bulk shipments to be sent via air, sea, road, or rail. Within China or globally? We have you covered, just get in touch for a quote!
Dropshipping Services: Explore the advantages of having a single partner for all your dropshipping needs and requirements!
The integration of 3pl and fulfillment is different
As mentioned, fulfillment centers can provide faster order processing and delivery and can deliver goods directly to customers. Picking, packing, labeling, returns, and customer relationship maintenance are also part of the fulfillment center’s services. Thus, the main difference between 3PL and full-service fulfillment is that fulfillment offers a dedicated team that can consistently provide flexible solutions, customer support, and significant marketing resources.
The cost of 3pl and fulfillment is different
The cost of 3pl
Third-party logistics (3PL) companies charge businesses, such as e-commerce companies, a variety of different fees based on the services provided to fulfill orders. These fees consist of four different main categories.
Warehousing and storage
Picking and packing
Outbound shipping costs
The exact cost of these services depends on the volume of your orders and any special services your e-commerce business may require, such as handling and shipping oversized items, and shipping items that require refrigeration. Your logistics partner can also provide upgraded services such as custom branded or environmentally friendly shipping boxes. And, as with most services, the larger the order volume, the lower the cost per item usually is. Partnering with 3PL can significantly reduce your e-commerce company’s expenses in many key areas, allowing you to focus on expanding your market and growing your product line.
The cost of fulfillment
Whether a company chooses to fulfill the order itself or outsource to a third party, there are several fulfillment costs：
Receiving, segregating, and storing the product
Picking, packing, and shipping
Reverse logistics (handling customer returns)
Depending on the contract between the e-commerce company and the fulfillment provider, fulfillment costs may include receiving, storage, picking and packing, and shipping costs. Additional costs depend on the services provided by the fulfillment provider.
Our company offers 3pl and other fulfillment services if you would like to work with 3pl or the fulfillment center, please click here to get in touch with us.