“If you are a retailer without logistics and delivery capability, you have to decide what omnichannel means to you,” says Ram Ganeshan, a professor of business at the Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary.
It’s imperative to determine the ordering avenues a company wants its customers to have, says Ganeshan. Then, if the company can’t provide those sales opportunities to its customers, then it should turn to a 3pl capable of fulfilling those different ways of shipping products to their final destinations.
Companies providing 3pl, the acronym for third party logistics, provide fulfillment and logistic services to retailers, wholesalers and distributors needing help to get their product to their customers. In fact, they also house your operation’s inventory and fill orders, so you don’t need to worry about renting a warehouse to store your goods
Tapping into 3pl to omnichannel sales and deliveries
Before determining whether utilizing 3pl will support a company’s interest in providing omnichannel sales to its customers, a retailer needs to decide how those sales would look. For example, does the retailer want customers to be able to buy products in brick-and-mortar locations that will be shipped to the purchaser? Perhaps the vendor seeks to allow customers to buy products online that are then shipped somewhere. If the retailer does not have the wherewithal to fulfill those sales themselves, a company providing 3pl services is the answer.
The Amazons of the world already have their 3pl figured out. The company maintains enormous warehouses for storing inventory and taps into its own 3pl to fulfill orders.
While few companies are Amazons, many still want to provide their customers different options for making their purchases and receiving their products. That’s where 3pl comes in.
If you are a retailer without logistics and delivery capabilities, you need to determine to overcome this shortcoming. Ganeshan cautions that whatever resolution a retailer comes up with to resolve its omnichannel delivery challenges should be able to fulfill the various ways customers make their purchases using today’s technologies.
“You have to find 3pl capable of integrating delivery channels you want your customers to have,” says Ganeshan.
Depending on the retailer, “3pl can enable a seamless order management and fulfillment,” sums Ganeshan.