Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
So, you’ve recently found out about 3PL partners like Warehow and learned about the benefits of using them – great! There’s just one problem though: how do you choose the right one to make sure you get the best value for money?
Well, we’re here to help you make the right choice! In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the most important factors you should take into account when choosing a 3PL partner. There are several things to consider when making your decision, but ultimately your ideal partner will be a company that can meet the specific needs of your growing business.
We’ll have a look at important criteria to consider when choosing the right third-party logistics provider. The first is having upscaling capabilities to facilitate the growth of your business. The second, offering flexibility in order to handle varying levels of demand. Finally, the 3PL partner should have references from existing clients, acting as case studies that proves the potential advantages of the partnership.
One of the fundamental capabilities that you’ll want your 3PL partner to have is the ability to upscale operations when needed. This might seem obvious, but the last thing you want is for your sales to be booming, demand growing and your third-party logistics partner being unable to support your needs quickly.
With this in mind, ideally you should choose a company that can meet your current requirements, but also one that has the capability to upscale logistics operations as your brand grows and expands. Receiving a large volume of orders that you can’t fulfill or will arrive late will damage your business’ reputation, and you’ll potentially lose the trust of your valued customers.
By choosing the right 3PL partner such as Warehow, you can grow your business at both low risk and at low cost. You don’t want to be locked into a ‘one size fits all’ model offered by many 3PL partners.
Instead, Warehow’s flexible subscription-based pricing model allows you to meet new supply and distribution requirements following any large surges in demand.
This takes some of the weight off your shoulders – and crucially, you can gain upscaling capabilities without a large upfront capital expense, or recruiting extra people or finding your own additional warehouse space.
As mentioned above, the ‘one size fits all’ model is unlikely to always be the best solution for your business. Therefore, you’ll want to consider whether or not your potential 3PL partner offers sufficient flexibility to support your unique requirements.
Although it is important to be able to respond quickly to any surges in demand, it is equally important to be prepared for a downturn in sales, and not be tied into long term expensive contracts. Most businesses will experience their sales rising and falling at some point, which can be difficult to prepare for.
We’ve explained how a partner like Warehow can help you respond to an influx of orders, but on the flip side, with Warehow if your sales are down, you will also be able to save on costs. You won’t have any unused resources in your own warehouse or expensive supply chain investments that aren’t being fully utilised, and any short term lower sales will result in lower Warehow charges as large elements of your Warehow fees are only applied when you sell.
By working with a partner that offers this level of flexibility, you avoid the risk of over-investing capital into resources and space that you may not need.
In short, not only do you want a 3PL partner that can facilitate the growth of your business, you should also look for a provider that can match any shortfalls to your business plans and adjust your package accordingly.
Imagine the disappointment of a customer ordering an item from you and arriving damaged or dirty. What impact could that have on a customer’s perception of your brand? Would they purchase from your brand again in the future? It’s entirely possible that this experience could erode the trust in your brand. For this reason, it’s crucial that your products are handled by a team that cares.
Warehow specialises in fashion and small home products, and our warehouse is designed to keep your products secure and in perfect condition as they’re stored, picked, and dispatched to your valued customers. We can offer both hanging and flat storage, and have experience of high volume fashion fulfillment servicing clients including Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, City Chic and Evans – so you can trust us to deliver your goods in the condition they were intended.
With the environment in mind we always try to balance minimal packaging with the need to keep your goods safe. Most fashion items are dispatched in plain shipping bags, with household items boxed as required. With slightly larger household items, where the product packaging is already suitable, we will simply apply the shipping label to minimise the waste caused by unnecessary packaging, but we will always be led by our clients’ requirements.
So you’ve found a provider that can upscale the logistical resources they offer to you as your business grows, and they’re also prepared to offer flexible packages to meet your requirements at any given time – great! The final factor you may want to consider are client references.
One way to demonstrate that a 3PL partners’ services will be beneficial to your company, is by looking at the impact their relationships have had on their existing clients’ businesses, especially ones that are similar to yours. For example, Warehow is trusted by Beija London, a luxury women’s lingerie store.
Founded by two sisters Abbie and Mazie, Beija London has a really cool value proposition which is rapidly gaining popularity, (recently being 158% overfunded on a crowdfunding campaign). Believing that your cup size shouldn’t dictate how you shop for lingerie, Abbie and Mazie have created a beautiful collection that is practical without compromising on style.
In order to grow, expand and deliver to their growing base of loyal customers, Abbie and Miranda have trusted Warehow as a partner to handle their logistics. Abbie and Mazie said “As a young and growing business, we needed a logistics partner who we could grow with. Warehow has enabled us to outsource our logistics and focus our time on what we do best – winning new customers.”
All in all, as with most things, it is always good to look at reviews or existing client testimonials – a third-party logistics provider is no different. It is a partnership after all, so aside from being able to offer the resources you need, you’ll also want to work with someone you can trust.
In the UK, as many as 64% of shoppers turn to marketplaces first. If you’re a growing brand, it’s likely that you’re already selling on marketplace channels, or will look toward developing a marketplace strategy further down the road when you are ready to scale.
Whichever the case, you’ll want to make sure that your 3PL partner can support integration into multiple marketplaces. Some marketplaces have specific technical requirements that in-house teams and even the bigger 3PL’s will struggle to accommodate. Poor integration can result in problems down the road, such as inventory mismanagement, stock error and customer dissatisfaction, as well as potential penalties from the marketplaces themselves.
In short, a direct, robust integration between the marketplaces you sell on and the 3PL provider who ships your goods is mission critical. That’s where we come in.
We integrate directly with 80+ marketplace channels and retailers, through our native integration technology, Hemisphere. From Amazon, eBay, and dozens of others, we manage your stock feed and marketplace or retailer orders imports to facilitate efficient and effective storage and fulfilment. With Warehow, we store, you sell, we ship.
Warehow is part of the We Are Pentagon Group, which has managed over £1 billion worth of digital marketplace transactions for many major brands and retailers for over a decade, so you can trust that our experts understand the importance of efficient and simple integrations.
Partner with Warehow
Hopefully you now have a better idea of how to choose the right 3PL partner. Firstly, you need a company that has the resources to facilitate the growth of your business.
Equally, your partner should be able to offer flexible scaling, so that they can meet the requirements of your business and move with the inevitable peaks and troughs in sales.
Finally – and perhaps most simply – you want someone who is trustworthy and dependable; client references are a great indication of this. Fortunately for you, Warehow meets all of these criteria and more!
So, what are you waiting for? Why not facilitate the growth of your business by partnering with Warehow?
At Warehow, we can:
If you’d like to find out more about how we can support the expansion of your business, get in touch with us at https://www.warehow.com/ to book a free consultation.