Omnichannel Commerce & Drop Shipping Fulfillment in the Retail Industry
Implementing a drop shipping solution comes with its share of challenges for a 3PL provider, as these types of orders differ from a standard parcel shipment. Here’s what to consider.
Q. What is drop shipping?
A. Drop shipping is the process of selling product and passing the sales order along to a third-party who then fulfills and ships the order to the consumer. The third-party logistics (3PL) provider fulfills the order on behalf of their client who sold their product on a third-party marketplace. Goods are often stocked at the 3PL's warehouse and shipped direct to the consumer, cutting out intermediary steps.
Q. What should you consider in offering a drop shipping solution for clients?
A. Implementing a drop shipping solution comes with its share of challenges for a 3PL provider, as these types of orders differ from a standard parcel shipment. Here's what to consider.
- Order Acceptance. Orders have to be able to be accepted from many different sources and translated into a "language" that both your WMS and team understand.
- Quality & Branding Guidelines. Client branding requirements must be upheld and maintained with every order that is fulfilled. These guidelines are maintained and updated appropriately by the seller of the goods.
- Labeling for Distribution. Labeling on drop shipments varies for a number of reasons. Employing a WMS which is able to store these requirements and print the applicable paperwork is key.
- Collaboration & Cost Savings. Drop shipping was built as a result of collaboration in the supply chain. There is an opportunity to realize and share potential cost savings with those closest to you in the supply chain process.
Q. What are the benefits of utilizing a 3PL for drop shipping?
A. A 3PL has a foundation in nimbleness, responding to the needs of their customers and the greater industry. Below are a few foundational benefits to utilizing a 3PL.
- Flexibility. At the core of every 3PL provider is the need to remain agile to the evolving needs of the industry and their client base. As your business needs grow, your 3PL is poised to evolve with you.
- Knowledge. A 3PL's experience and expertise in the industry have equipped their team with the knowledge and skill set to deliver the solutions to meet your business needs.
- Technical Capabilities. A 3PL provider has a WMS in place to handle the volume of orders that currently enter their warehouse for fulfillment. The WMS also has the capabilities to hold any branding, labeling, and packaging requirements.
- Brand Representation. Ensuring that your brand is represented cohesively from order placement to fulfillment to delivery, is of upmost importance to a 3PL provider.