Ecommerce Order Fulfillment: The Advantage of Outsourcing to a 3PL

October 3, 2023 | eCommerce, Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

Ecommerce has brought robust growth and exciting new opportunities for many companies, but it also has ushered in new, complex challenges. One of the key places where those challenges fall is fulfillment. Customer orders come in faster than ever, and those customers’ expectations for rapid deliveries have intensified in recent years. That puts pressure on a company’s ecommerce order fulfillment operation to quickly handle a large volume of business without sacrificing service and accuracy in the process. Customers will judge your business on how well you manage this.

Many businesses are faced with the question of whether to attempt to manage ecommerce order fulfillment themselves or to outsource the work to a third-party logistics provider. For most businesses, working with the right 3PL is a key step to take in order to excel in the ecommerce space.

An experienced 3PL such as Distribution Technology can help your business ensure that it embraces the ecommerce era and takes advantage of the opportunities it represents – transforming your business and setting the stage for long-term success. Here are some of the key advantages to working with a 3PL.


For most businesses, self-fulfillment will prove to be more expensive than outsourcing ecommerce order fulfillment to a 3PL, particularly as order volumes increase and the demands to manage the process grows. The reason is that the larger your ecommerce store is then the larger the costs associated with running it are, including expenses associated with warehouse space, insurance, utilities, labor, packaging materials and administration.

When a 3PL with an ecommerce order fulfillment center takes on a new ecommerce client, it has the advantage of economies of scale to spread these expenses across its clients and bundle their savings. This keeps their costs down – and yours. In this way, your growth and expansion will not come with fulfillment costs that undermine that growth. You will be able to scale effectively and maximize your opportunities.

Avoid warehouse complexities

Running a warehouse is complicated. For instance, efficiently managing inventory storage, including how much space you will need depending on the ebbs and flows of demand, is an ongoing logistical puzzle that a 3PL is much better equipped to navigate than most businesses. A good 3PL will partner with you and act as an extension of your business, providing frontline insight into what works and what does not work, and offer guidance to facilitate growth. 

Similarly, an experienced 3PL such as Distribution Technology excels at optimizing the pick-and-pack process to ensure orders are handled quickly, accurately and securely. Securing and paying for the expertise, labor and technology necessary to excel in ecommerce fulfillment is a daunting prospect. However, when you hire a 3PL to manage ecommerce fulfillment, it becomes simple – they bring it, and you benefit from it.


No business wants to see their growth held back by unnecessary obstacles. When a business with an ecommerce component handles fulfillment on their own, they are taking a risk that their inherent logistical limits will put a ceiling on their success. A major challenge for any growing business is simply keeping up with demand and finding ways to scale as that demand builds. Ecommerce has supercharged that demand for some businesses.

Some businesses are forced to turn down opportunities to grow because they are not prepared to take advantage of those opportunities due to an inadequate fulfillment operation and the costs involved with strengthening it on their own. Or they try to keep up with demand but fail, leading to slow shipments, errors and unhappy customers unlikely to return for another order. Outsourcing ecommerce fulfillment to a 3PL allows a business to scale faster and to secure and serve more customers.

Strengthened customer experience

Among its most important advantages, a 3PL can bolster your company’s customer service throughout the fulfillment process, even handling tasks such as managing returns, exchanges and refunds. When a 3PL manages fulfillment, it can limit the negative customer experiences – including delayed shipments and mistakes in orders – that devastate brands. Instead, online shoppers will receive the kind of positive experiences that help them view a brand favorably.

Focus on your business

One of the most impactful advantages of outsourcing ecommerce order fulfillment to a 3PL is the time savings that it will bring to your business. By shifting that fulfillment component to an experienced 3PL, shippers will give themselves more time to focus on the core components of their business rather than struggling to keep up with the complex logistics of fulfillment. When fulfillment demands a company’s time and focus, it often will mean missed opportunities, weighing down growth and creating a stagnating brand. With a 3PL managing fulfillment, you can focus on the intricacies of building your brand, strengthening your products and services and creating long-term value in your business – and truly taking advantage of the many opportunities that ecommerce has to offer.

Distribution Technology has been offering integrated logistics and transportation solutions for more than 50 years. We can enhance your fulfillment operation and accelerate your company’s growth with inventory storage capacity, processes that improve efficiency, and technology that enables innovation. For more information, contact us today.