You’ve created a unique product, built some buzz about it, and are now scoring so many orders that it’s getting hard to keep up. You need help, especially if you’re going to meet holiday rushes.
You might be attracted to the idea of a traditional third-party logistics (3PL) service. These companies run networks of giant warehouses. Their proposition: All you need to do is send your products in advance, and they will pack and ship them to your customers as orders come in. Fulfillment by Amazon offers this service to Amazon sellers, and there are dozens of other 3PL companies offering to work with companies that sell through other channels, such as Etsy and Shopify.
After your business really takes off and you are shipping truckloads of products each week, one of these 3PL providers may be exactly what you need. For smaller companies, however, there are better options you should be considering. Primary among them? Shared warehouse space and more specialized 3PL services that offer the control they need at a price they can afford.
Here are three questions that any growing business should ask about a logistics solution:
“A lot of small businesses find 3PL companies to be a black box,” explains Paul D'Arrigo, co-founder of Saltbox, a shared warehouse provider that caters to smaller e-commerce companies. “They are not set up for businesses that ship hundreds, not thousands, of orders a week. Clients come to us because their 3PL provider kept making mistakes and wouldn’t even return a phone call to discuss it.”
What many small businesses need, then, is help with shipping where they can still supervise the process. D’Arrigo says there are two basic approaches that work especially well for growing entrepreneurs.
After all, you’ve come this far by delighting your customers—you don’t want to let them down now.
Saltbox is the Modern Warehouse for digital commerce companies. With our purpose-built network of flexible warehouses in major metropolitan areas across the country (currently open in Dallas, Seattle and Atlanta with many more about to open this year), we are powering the ecommerce economy and the next generation of entrepreneurs by democratizing access to essential operations and logistics infrastructure. From flexible and smartly designed warehouse and office suites to on-demand services like our Elastic Workforce, Fulfillment, and even photography studios Saltbox solves some of the most critical challenges ecommerce entrepreneurs face when starting, growing, and scaling their businesses.