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3PL: A General Guide

Image by Clark Street Mercantile

3PL Basics


What is Third Party Logistics? 

A third-party logistics company, or 3PL for short, is an outsourced business that partners with ecommerce companies to provide storage, fulfillment services, inventory management, distribution, exchanges and returns, shipping coordination, and wide array of services that provide operational logistics. 

Why use 3PL? 

So you can do what you do best! Continue to create your products, develop your brand, grow your business, connect with customers, and follow your passions.

Instead of warehousing your own stock, picking and packing, creating distribution channels, and shipping to your customers, you can utilize a 3PL business to do all that for you. With the foundational infrastructure and integrated systems of a dedicated 3PL, the process is simple and seamless. 

How it Works

The 3PL team receives your stock at its warehouse, organizes and integrates your stock into their inventory system.

When an order is placed on your ecommerce site, it’s either manually forwarded to the 3PL or automatically pushed though software of platform integration.

Once the order is received by the 3PL team member picks the items.

The products are then packed with the receipt and order details. 

The 3PL team prints the shipping label or uses one of its shipping carrier partners.

The shipping carrier collects the package from your 3PL’s distribution center and delivers it to your customer. 

Tracking information is uploaded to the 3PL system and synced with your ecommerce site.

If necessary, reverse logistics, or a return or exchange of the items, will be facilitated in the same manner.

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