Third-party logistics companies, or 3PL companies as they’re often called, are businesses that help ecommerce companies fulfill the many steps of logistics and delivery.
As many ecommerce businesses only handle the online aspect of sales, these business owners need to hire companies to take care of the other aspects of selling online. This is where a 3PL company enters the picture.
So, what is a 3PL company, how can their services make the job easier on ecommerce sellers, and what are the top third party logistics companies?
Read on to find out!
What Is a 3PL Company?
A 3PL company is a third-party logistics company that fulfills your online orders for you. As an online vendor, you’ll take the orders and by using a 3PL company you can leave the rest up to others.
The 3PL company will handle the distribution, warehousing, fulfillment, and other aspects of online sales.
By using a 3PL company, online sellers can focus on the selling part and leave all other aspects to other individuals. Learn more about how fulfillment works.
How Do 3PL and 4PL Companies Differ?
And now that you know what a 3PL company is, you might have heard of a 4PL company and wonder what that is.
So, how do 3PL and 4PL companies differ?
Well, a 4PL company does everything a 3PL company does but a lot more, too! The 4PL companies also handle resources, technology and infrastructure. They may even manage external 3PLs and help those companies achieve their goals for the greater good of the ecommerce merchant.
What Are the Elements of Logistics with 3PL Providers?
The elements of logistics are wide and varied. They range from managing the inventory to making sure the products get to your customers quickly and efficiently.
It’s important to note that not all third-party logistics companies are alike. Some will provide every possible task you could imagine for the ecommerce seller while others may only offer a few job duties.
In general, the logistics cover preparing the product, shipping the product, and then handling customer service duties after the fact. But, that’s not all.
Here are some of the main elements of logistics:
- Regular storage/cold storage
- Supply chain management
- Materials handling
- Shipping and receiving
- Customer service
- Reverse logistics
There are a lot of moving parts that go into running a successful online business. With the help of a 3PL company you can take some of the obligations off of your plate and have other companies handle these aspects for you.
Another reason to use a third-party logistics management company is to provide you with access to distribution areas you might not have had access to prior. This could be due to your current location, your inability to get the products to certain countries, or just the timeliness of the transactions.
Plus, a 3PL company is a business that is well-versed in this area of industry. They know exactly what it takes to get your products where they need to go as well as handle other aspects of the ecommerce selling process, such as customer service, reverse logistics, and more.
Is Amazon a 3PL Company?
Although Amazon doesn’t label itself as a 3PL company, it has many features similar to what 3PL companies offer.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) services that the company offers to its marketplace sellers takes on the form of a 3PL company.
When a marketplace seller uses the FBA services, they will receive warehousing, packing, and distribution of the items along with customer service assistance. All of this is very similar to what third-party logistics companies offer to ecommerce store owners.
Even though Amazon isn’t labeled as a 3PL company, many of the traits are eerily similar to those associated with third-party logistics providers.
3PL Company Options by Region
In order to find the best 3PL company for your needs, it’s important to know where they operate out of as well as where they will offer their services.
When you choose a 3PL company based on the region, you know that the business you select will be able to accommodate your logistics needs and get your products to the territory that they need to go to.
Also, with certain areas, it’s more difficult to distribute your products and there may be cross-border restrictions in place.
When you choose a third-party logistics company based on location, you can rest easy knowing that the deliveries will be made easily and properly.
The list below provides information on the 17 best 3PL companies. The options are grouped by by region, so you can narrow down the options to a company that works in your territory and offers the services you need.
Once you find a provider that you like and will work wonders for your company, make sure you thoroughly research the chosen company before hiring them as your third-party logistics provider to ensure that they’ll be the best option for your ecommerce business.
If you’re in need of a global logistics and supply chain management, kudos to you! Lets go worldwide, baby! A global third-party logistics company is one you can use to help you manage your sales and distribution services across the globe.
These global companies have an expansive reach and will provide you with the logistics 3PL services you need to complete your orders and make money.
ShipBob is an extremely popular 3PL company, both in the United States and globally.
Its popularity exists for many reasons. First, it has a large reach, both in the U.S. and across the globe.
Secondly, the services ShipBob offers to online vendors make it a good choice.
Also, other favorable aspects such as a specialized fee structure, tailored to suit the individual client, and all-in-one shipment charge which includes multiple 3PL tasks.
ShipBob offers the following 3PL services:
- Standard packing
ShipBob is available in the United States and internationally and works with the following integrations:
- ShipBob Developer APIs
And, another excellent aspect about ShipBob? The guaranteed Express 2-day Shipping Program! Also, ShipBob can ship orders to 220+ countries and territories, so no matter where your products are going, chances are good that ShipBob can get them there!
If your ecommerce company is searching for an all-in-one logistics company, WhiteBox is the answer.
From your factory floor to your customer’s front door, WhiteBox can handle all of the relevant duties.
Some of the services offered by WhiteBox include the following:
- Applies shipping labels
- Product description optimization
- Professional photography for the products
- Quality assurance
WhiteBox is a good choice for small and medium-sized businesses.
This 3PL company charges $3,000 upfront and 10% of total sales.
Omni Logistics offers end-to-end solutions for ecommerce companies of all sizes.
From warehousing and distribution to freight forwarding and everything in between, you can put the 3PL duties in the hands of Omni Logistics and they will handle the job for you.
When you hire Omni Logistics as your 3PL provider, you can enlist their services for the following roles:
- Global distribution
- Freight forwarding
- And more!
Best of all, Omni Logistics has a large number of locations across the globe and many individual locations on various continents and regions including:
- North America
- Central America
Pricing varies depending on the services needed for your ecommerce company.
In addition to being a well-known name in the shipping industry for individuals making personal shipments, FedEx is also a well-known logistics provider as it pertains to ecommerce companies.
FedEx Fulfillment offers all the logistics services an ecommerce company owner could want in a 3PL company including:
- Warehouse management
- Order fulfillment
- Reverse logistics
Small business owners will like working with FedEx as they offer quality customer service and will help you through the various stages of logistics.
Pricing is based on current rates, size of package, and number of units for various aspects of logistic companies.
Shipwire has a large global reach, with more than 145 warehouses spanning the globe, in locations such as Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States.
One feature that sellers really appreciate from Shipwire is the same-day shipping option.
Shipwire is an Ingram Micro company which helps with the commerce and fulfillment services.
With Shipwire, ecommerce site owners can enjoy the following services:
- Sell through retail
- Commerce EDI
- Global fulfillment
- Dropshipping for retailers
There are many 3PL companies that focus their services directly on U.S.-based businesses and customers.
From delivering to fulfilling orders, you can find many options for U.S.-based logistics solutions.
Red Stag Fulfillment is a specialty ecommerce order fulfillment provider that’s focused on working with retailers and ecommerce businesses who ship larger and/or heavier parcels shipments (typically 20-150 pounds), as well as orders that require assembly or kitting before shipping. Red Stag Fulfillment provides same-day order fulfillment with as late as a 5pm EST order cut-off, discounted shipping rates, and 24/7 video security on all stages of fulfillment.
With fulfillment warehouses located centrally to both coasts, Red Stag Fulfillment provides full coverage to the US and reaches 97% of Americans within two days. The company focuses its efforts on fast and accurate order fulfillment, guaranteeing 100% of orders will be shipped according to your chosen service level (Next Business Day, 3 pm cut-off, or 5 pm cut-off).
Pricing varies depending on volume, weight, and required services. Red Stag Fulfillment charges month-to-month, without any lengthy contracts or commitments.
FreightPros will handle the shipment and delivery duties for you.
If you need a logistics company that delivers your products nationwide, FreightPros is a shipping provider that many companies use to make their deliveries happen.
FreightPros is a freight management company that works with many different delivery providers and helps you find the right shipping provider for your individual needs.
In addition to excellent customer service, FreightPros also offers affordable prices and easy access and availability for smaller businesses that may not have as many shipments as their larger counterparts.
FreightPros operates nationwide, so wherever you need to ship in the U.S., FreightPros has you covered.
Redhawk Logistics offers 3PL services within the United States and Canada. Although not entirely global, this company is able to cross borders between these two countries and get the shipping services done with ease.
Ideal for small businesses, Redhawk Logistics offers the following services to its ecommerce customers:
- Freight services
Redhawk Logistics works with regional and national shipping companies to ensure your products reach their intended destinations quickly and properly.
The cost of Redhawk Logistics service is based on freight service and shipping rates.
DCL Logistics is your North America-based logistics and fulfillment company.
With North America locations in the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Louisville, DCL Logistics is situated in all the right places for helping you with your logistics needs.
Services offered by DCL Logistics include fulfillment, shipping, delivery, and more.
The company also offers bulk shipping discounts for larger ecommerce companies.
DCL Logistics ships throughout the country but offers a global fulfillment partnership as well if you ever want to take your product offerings outside of the United States.
If you’re a larger ecommerce store with a high volume of sales, Rakuten Super Logistics could be the answer to your third-party logistics needs.
Rakuten Super Logistics has seven warehouses throughout the United States, so you can be assured that your products will be delivered in a timely manner, no matter where they’re headed.
Since this company does operate on a larger scale, you do have to produce a minimum of 250 orders per month. However, if your business can handle this volume requirement, you’ll get a lot from your dealings with Rakuten Super Logistics.
With regard to price, the amount you pay will depend on your order volume, services needed, and other factors.
Europe is home to various logistics companies that help ecommerce companies achieve their multifaceted sales goals.
With such a large area, you want to be sure you choose a third-party logistics provider that will cater to your desired region.
Deutsche Post DHL is a worldwide logistics group that can get your products shipped and to their destinations in no time!
With its eCommerce Solutions division, Deutsche Post DHL links Europe to the rest of the world with ease, ensuring that customers who buy your products will receive them quickly, no matter where they may live.
Some of the benefits that go along with using Deutsche Post DHL for your logistics company include the following:
- Product diversity
- Sensational customer service
- Simple handling concepts
- Low prices
With DHL on your side, national borders no longer restrict you from selling your products abroad.
DHL offers deliver to more than 35 countries.
Pro FS is based in the United Kingdom and has warehouses both in that region and mainland Europe.
This company offers end-to-end supply chain solutions for your ecommerce company to use.
Technology plays a big part in all that Pro FS accomplishes and this third-party logistics company offers various platform integrations, such as Amazon, Magento, Shopify, and more.
Here are some of the services Pro FS offers ecommerce sellers:
- Freight services
- Inventory management
- Order processing
- Courier and delivery management
- Customer service and support
- End-to-end services
- Consulting services
- 4PL services
EasiLogic is based in the U.K. and offers logistics services for ecommerce businesses.
Although EasiLogic can handle the logistics services for companies of all sizes, small and medium-sized businesses will really flourish with the help of the EasiLogic team.
Services offered by EasiLogic include the following:
- Amazon prep
Best of all, there are no setup costs or minimums!
With more than 4.6 billion individuals calling Asia home, you’re going to want to look into 3PL logistics companies in that area.
Many third-party logistics companies offer global services, including Asia, while others focus strictly on serving the community in Asia.
BoxMe is an ecommerce fulfillment solution provider in Southeast Asia and is ready, willing, and able to help you with all your logistics needs.
The company offers cheap and fast shipping, both local and cross-border, thanks to its network of 50+ couriers.
BoxMe offers a menu of ecommerce solutions you’re sure to put to good use, such as the following options:
- Ecommerce fulfillment
- Cross-border fulfillment
- Global dropshipping
- Cross-border shipping
- Last mile delivery and CoD
- Import and export
Plus, BoxMe offers regular storage and cool storage, depending on your product needs.
And, BoxMe integrates with top ecommerce platforms and marketplaces so you can easily have their services work for you.
BoxMe offers a presences in five Southeast Asia countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Phillipines, and Indonesia, plus a sourcing hub in China along with a fulfillment network in the United States.
International Press Softcom Limited (IP Softcom) is based in Singapore and has been in business since 1968.
IP Softcom offers logistics services for ecommerce business owners among many other offerings.
With end-to-end solutions to quick shipping capabilities, IP Softcom can get your products where they need to go fast!
Logistics services are available throughout Asia with minimal turnaround time thanks to their many inventory hubs placed around southeast Asia.
Ecommerce is booming in Latin America and, for this reason, logistics companies are even higher in demand.
J. Cain & Co. is one of the top Latin America logistics companies and has its headquarters in Panama.
With the help of J. Cain & Co., ecommerce businesses can have their items shipped cross-border and enjoy other logistic benefits.
This 3PL company offers the following logistics solutions:
- Courier delivery in one to two days; Postal delivery in six to eight days
- Order fulfillment to last mile delivery
- 24-hour order processing
Shipping is available to all of Latin America and the Caribbean, too.
SkyPostal helps ecommerce sellers reach customers in Latin America and have their products delivered there.
The facilities of SkyPostal will store the products, handle the inventory, take care of pick and pack orders, and then ship to Latin America.
The professional team at SkyPostal knows how to properly handle customs clearance as well as the final mile delivery.
Plus, SkyPostal services will help you to reduce your first mile transport costs and also your last mile transit time.
If you’re looking to sell your products to Australian consumers, make sure you choose a reputable and professional logistics company to help you achieve your sales goals.
Fulfilio is a well-known third-party logistics provider in Australia. With multiple warehouses throughout Australia, located in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, you can rest assured that your products will get to their destinations with ease.
And, if you’re selling through eBay, you’ll be happy to know that Fulfilio is a top eBay fulfillment partner.
How to Choose a 3PL Company
Now that you have some options as to the top 3PL companies for handling your ecommerce logistics, the next step is to choose a company to help you with your business needs.
As mentioned above, you want to pick a third-party logistics provider that services your desired geographical territory. If you want to sell products in more than one location, it’s best to go with a global 3PL company that will be able to handle the logistics for all of your sales.
Once you have a territory in mind, check out the different options offered by each company. Pick the company that offers the most inclusive services, lowest price, and best customer service.
Also, you may want to deal with a third-party provider that is well-versed in your product niche. For example, if you mainly sell electronics in your ecommerce store, you may want to choose a third-party logistics company that handles electronic products often (it doesn’t have to be exclusively).
After you’ve narrowed down the options, speak with the company representative to ensure that you’ll be getting a logistics company that covers everything you could possibly want or need with your logistics provider.
A 3PL Company Will Make Your Job Easier
Whether you sell electronics, fashion products, or any other ecommerce item, hiring a 3PL company to help you handle your orders is a wise move to make.
When you hire a logistics company, you know that your orders will be fulfilled quickly, shipped safely, and arrive at your customer’s location in a proper manner.
And, when you execute high-quality delivery and fulfillment for your customers, you’ll be that much more likely to turn one-time customers into repeat customers.
No matter whether you ship within the country or do so globally, you can find an affordable company that will help you with your logistics needs.
You don’t have to handle the ecommerce duties by yourself. Not when you have plenty of 3PL companies that can complete the multifaceted duties for you!