How to Choose the Best 3PL for Your Amazon Business
Looking for a 3PL partner that can set you up for success? In this post, we will walk you through the complexities of choosing the best 3PL partner for your Amazon business. As an Amazon vendor, it is essential to find a logistics partner who understands the strict preparation requirements prior to injecting your goods into an Amazon fulfillment center. The right 3PL can set you up for success. Making the wrong choice can end up costing you a lot of time and money.
What Is a 3PL Fulfillment Service?
A fulfillment company stores, prepares, and ships goods for e-commerce businesses. A good fulfillment company has the infrastructure and expertise to help you get your products to the right place quickly. As an Amazon vendor, you have a lot to worry about. You're already busy with managing inventory limits, responding to customer requests, marketing, and the list goes on (SellerCandy.com can help in this area!). Partnering with the right 3PL allows you to offload the storage and prep work so you can focus on your products and your customers.
5 Key things to look for in a 3PL service
While it sounds simple, choosing the right 3PL partner is tricky business. Here are a few things to take into consideration:
- Reputation: The best 3PL partners have a proven track record. It's ok to ask for references! Read their reviews and look for highlights that are important to you. 3PLs are notorious for terrible customer service, so keep that in mind while you're doing your research.
- Ask to see the warehouse. If they're organized and clean, they'll have no problem giving you a tour during a video meeting. Ask to see the perimeter of the facility as well. If the warehouse is in a high-crime area, you run the risk of your goods being stolen. Remember, you get what you pay for!
- Call them and see who answers the phone. Ask if the representative is in the warehouse or if they use an answering service. This is really important! Should you run into an issue with a shipping plan or a product, you'll need to get ahold of someone who has access to your products. Steer clear of 3PLs that use answering services or outsource their advertised services to other businesses. Also, ask who your primary contact will be and how you can get in touch with them as needed
- Shipping methods: The best 3PL partners have competitive shipping rates they have negotiated with various carriers. While Amazon offers partnered carrier rates, they often take weeks to pick up your products from your 3PL. A good 3PL will have other options for you to get your goods into Amazon quickly, affordably, and safely. Make sure your 3PL understands Amazon requirements for carton size, pallet size, weight, carton labeling, etc. One wrong label can mean endless returns which is terrible for your score.
- Warehousing facilities: Ask the 3PL partner how many pallets they can accommodate and their plans to increase the capacity of their warehouse. As your business grows, you'll need a 3PL that can grow with you.
Which 3PL is Best For Your Specific Products?
Your products are unique and the Amazon preparation requirements are likely pretty specific. Whether your items are oversized, liquid, perishable, fragile, or any other possibility, make sure the 3PL you choose understands the requirements and has the necessary infrastructure to accommodate them. If your 3PL is unfamiliar with your product requirements and they fail to ask you the right questions, it can result in some big penalties or fees from Amazon that are easily avoidable. Also, ask what materials your 3PL uses for product prep. Low-quality, cheap materials can also land you in hot water. For example, if your products require poly bags, and the poly bags arrive at Amazon damaged, you could get hit with unnecessary fees and penalties. A good 3PL uses high-quality materials.
As an Amazon vendor, you need to focus on expanding your product catalog and delighting customers. You cannot afford to be bogged down by logistics tasks such as warehousing and shipping. To avoid these issues, it is essential to find the best 3PL partner for your Amazon business. The best 3PL partners are those who have a proven track record, have knowledge of Amazon requirements, use quality products, and can help you to get your products into Amazon in the best way possible.
-3PLzen offers these services and more! Check them out at 3PLzen.com