Talk about skyrocket growth; over the last six years, direct-to-consumer (also known as DTC or D2C) ecommerce sales have more than tripled. Having your direct-to-consumer brand experience exponential growth is a good problem to have – but it can be a problem nonetheless. That’s why finding the right 3PL partner to support your growth is crucial to your success.
As your DTC sales grow, you may face issues you didn’t experience in the beginning. You spend more on staffing, product development, and marketing. And managing the shipping and fulfillment side of your business can start to cause a major headache when the orders show no sign of slowing down.
So how do you tackle these growing pains without compromising other areas of your business? Finding the right 3PL (third party logistics) partner to help you scale will take some of the hard work off your plate.
What Are the Signs Your Direct to Consumer Brand Needs a 3PL Partner?
Looking for a sign it’s time to shop around? Well, here’s one. And another, and another….
1. You’re Running Out of Storage Space
Running out of storage space is a great problem on one hand. It shows that your business is succeeding. You don’t have enough space to hold all the orders coming in, but it can also become a logistical nightmare. You quite literally cannot grow your business anymore – there’s nowhere to go. If this is the case, looking for a 3PL that can handle your volume is a natural next step.
2. Shipping Issues Take Up All Your Time
You know firsthand that direct to consumer brands have demanding shipping needs when they take off, and you may find that you’re spending a good chunk of your day tackling shipping issues. When shipping errors become the norm, it may be time to source a new 3PL to take over.
3. Shipping Also Eats Up Your Budget
There are ways to offset shipping costs, of course, like charging customers the cost. But in a space where over 60% of shoppers will abandon online carts due to shipping costs, you want to avoid passing huge shipping costs on.
So, How Can a 3PL Help DTC Brands Scale Up?
Here are a few ways a 3PL partner can help support the growth of your direct to consumer brand.
1. Fulfillment Needs of All Sorts
It sounds general, but a 3PL partner helps with all of your fulfillment needs. Receiving orders? Yes. Picking and packing purchases with accuracy? Yes again. A lot of features you need to keep up with the ecommerce boom (like free shipping, same day or next day shipping, and simple returns) are responsibilities that you can rest easy knowing your 3PL provider will own – and continually optimize.
2. A 3PL Owns the Post-Sale Process
To run an ecommerce business, you have to take care of everything before and after the purchase is made. Before the purchase includes making a product, building a website, marketing, and more. The process after the purchase includes shipping, packaging, and dealing with returns. And as your business booms, owning the post-sale process (especially returns) can be a huge time drain.
When you partner with a 3PL service, you don’t have to worry about the post-sale process. If an order needs to be packed, they pack it. If there are issues with tracking or shipping, a 3PL takes care of it. And when returns come in, it’s processed entirely by a 3PL provider.
3. 3PL Providers Bring Expertise
Bringing on a 3PL provider provides expertise to a side of the business that’s hard to master on your own. Where you understand how to package your product and optimize your seasonal ads like a pro, your 3PL partner knows how to optimize your process.
That level of expertise takes years of commitment (and a ton of upfront capital!) to get to. If you bring in a 3PL partner you trust, you can leverage the expertise they have.
4. Market Expansion
If you’re an American retailer trying to ship to Canada, or vice versa, a 3PL partner can help. Expanding your direct to consumer brand into a completely new geography can hit you with fulfillment issues you never saw before. The good news is your 3PL partner definitely has seen those issues.
While it’s a new space for you, an experienced 3PL provider has done this a few times. They should be able to give you insights into your new market and help optimize shipping across the new geography.
5. Storage Space
As your business grows, it’s probably become painfully clear that space is an issue. Luckily, it’s an issue that a 3PL provider can help with.
Being a 3PL provider requires a decent amount of upfront capital. A lot of that capital for a more established partner includes storage space. When you work with a 3PL partner, you get to use their storage space.
6. Ongoing Support
Just because a 3PL provider is a third party (it’s in the name, after all!) doesn’t mean it should feel third party. A good logistics partner will function as a partner, as somebody who wants your business to succeed as much as you want it to.
The right provider won’t sign you on and then not reach out. The right provider will be there on an ongoing basis. Whether you want help optimizing your operation or dealing with lost orders, your 3PL provider will be there every step of the way.
It’s an ongoing relationship that sees your business thrive, not a signature on a contract that leads to radio silence.
An Ecommerce Partner Takes Your Direct to Consumer Brand to the Next Level
Want to learn more about partnering with GoBolt? Reach out to email@example.com.