Ecommerce order fulfillment requires a wide array of supply chain entities, operations staff, and detailed systems to come together. In truth, there are more moving parts within an omnichannel ecommerce order fulfillment operation than there are in an intricate, self-winding watch. But the beautiful secret that allows ecommerce order fulfillment to run accurately, on time, and with perfect precision actually comes down to one thing: software.
Amazing 3PL software streamlines every aspect of your ecommerce order fulfillment operation so that you, the ecommerce business owner, can manage with ease and devote more focus to tasks past ensuring every gear, nut, and bolt of your brand is firing on all cylinders every hour of every day.
ShipMonk stands out in the industry for having advanced, proprietary 3PL software, so we know a thing or two about the subject. For all ecommerce business owners, we’d like to walk you through the seven pillars of strong 3PL software so you know that you’re getting the best for your brand before you commit to a 3PL services partnership.
Why Do I Need 3PL Software?
Newer ecommerce business owners may find themselves asking this when they are beginning to grow and planning to scale. Before we look at the seven pillars of strong 3PL software, let’s briefly highlight why this ecommerce order fulfillment solution makes a difference in the first place.
People are great. ShipMonk, for example, employs some of the most talented ecommerce order fulfillment folks in the industry, who provide exceptional customer service at every turn. However, when it comes to an ecommerce business, there are so many elements to inventory management that having access to premier 3PL software ensures you’re avoiding errors related to manual data entry and constant manual updating as orders come in and are fulfilled or returned.
3PL software is very customizable. ShipMonk’s, for example, includes 75+ integrations that allow you to connect your ecommerce business to all kinds of marketplaces and applications. Additionally, if you operate out of multiple regions/fulfillment centers, 3PL software syncs up all your SKUs and orders so everything is run through, and managed, by one cohesive system.
Make Better Decisions
Inventory management can feel like walking a tightrope as you balance between ordering too much and paying more for fulfillment center space vs. ordering too little and dealing with backorders, stockouts, and unhappy customers. 3PL software offers incredible inventory management tools related to real-time, fully transparent data and reporting tools that you can use to deduce the best insights for how to proceed with ordering.
Save Time and Money
That’s the main reason to utilize strong 3PL software, and it’s what ecommerce business owners hope for in every aspect of their operations. 3PL software can (in addition to the inventory management advantages described above) save you time and money by automating tons of daunting and repetitive tasks, procedures, and warehouse management to-dos. That means less of your time used personally managing things and less money devoted to hiring people to do those things on your behalf. Presto—lower operating costs and less of your life absorbed by the monotonous!
So What Should I Look for in 3PL Software?
Good question! That brings us to the seven pillars we mentioned, which we’ve already started to segue into with the above 3PL software benefits.
#1 Order Management
The root of a successful ecommerce brand is swiftly and perfectly processing every order that comes in. From the moment that your customers click BUY to when our 3PL order fulfillment staff and Automated Mobile Robots team up to pick, pack, and ship your products. From sending that order message to our team, to providing special instructions about packaging, dunnage, kitting, and more. Advanced 3PL software safeguards and optimizes all processes, taking care of things and providing total visibility on all orders.
Additionally, the order management aspect of 3PL software can smoothly handle reverse logistics—ensuring returns, refunds, and exchanges are issued accordingly. ShipMonk 3PL software even comes with the option of our post-purchase suite MonkProtect, which offers package protection, has an automated claims portal, and branded tracking.
#2 Inventory Management
In order to make the best decisions for your budget and customer well-being, you need to be able to order inventory shrewdly. Strong 3PL software provides the real-time visibility and historical data you need to assess things and make informed inventory ordering decisions. You can get alerts when you are running low, check out trends from past seasons, adjust quantities based on upcoming sales and promotions, AND SO MUCH MORE! Basically, everything you need to ensure you’re doing accurate stock forecasting, not spending money you don’t have to, and keeping clientele happy should be embedded in the possibilities of your 3PL software.
#3 Warehouse Management
ShipMonk has 12 state-of-the-art facilities that are all equipped to quickly and accurately fulfill orders. Many growing ecommerce business owners choose to split inventory across different fulfillment center locations so they can reach customers faster and at less cost thanks to few shipping zones needing to be traveled per delivery.
3PL software simplifies this process so whether you’re keeping inventory in a single location or 12, your software will easily assign an incoming order to the facility that makes the most sense for the customer’s location, your inventory, and budget. No intervention on your part required.
#4 Fulfillment Automation
ShipMonk is known for having industry-leading ecommerce order fulfillment technology in all of our facilities, like high-speed sortation systems, Cubiscans, conveyors with automatic dividers, and Locus Automated Mobile Robots. This is all enormously helpful to the ecommerce business owner’s bottom line, but 3PL software automation means that basic, but continuous and critical tasks, from processing orders to printing labels to customer order status notifications, are done automatically too! Ask yourself, how much time could you save by having all these tasks automated?
#5 Market Integrations
The best 3PL software needs to be able to sync directly with an abundance of shopping carts, storefronts, marketplaces, and solution providers so your ecommerce business can fully thrive. ShipMonk software has 75+ integrations that are 100% plug-and-play — no tech skills required. You can apply them all easily through our software so you can sell across any number of platforms and manage your operation all in one place.
Furthermore, with 3PL software your ecommerce business should be able to ascend to new heights by easily integrating with B2B retail distribution and wholesale options. With ShipMonk 3PL software, for instance, it’s only a matter of connecting retail partners through EDI and your ecommerce marketplaces, storing your products in one of ShipMonk’s first-party fulfillment centers, and receiving orders. Your merchandise will reach retail partners without problem so you can continue to grow in additional channels!
#6 All-Around Transparency
It can be difficult for ecommerce business owners to hand over large portions of the operational day-to-day. ShipMonk recognizes this challenge and soothes entrepreneurial worries by maximizing transparency within our 3PL software. We do that on three fronts—your data, your customers, your billing.
As noted, we provide real-time, detailed data on every aspect of your inventory so you are always in the know about what you need, what you have, where it is, where it’s going, and when it was ordered. In terms of the customer, our 3PL software allows you to set up automated order status notifications for every level of the order fulfillment journey so your customer is always in the know. Lastly, ShipMonk has no hidden fees and line-level billing so you’ll always feel in control of your finances.
#7 Easy to Use
3PL software simplifies the complex world of ecommerce order fulfillment by offering ecommerce business owners ways to handle their order, inventory, and warehouse management with automation, data, integrations, and transparency. But the real kicker in terms of easing the woes of the over-burdened ecommerce business owner is consolidating these tools in one place. The strongest 3PL software is designed as a one stop shop so you can oversee every aspect of your operation. Wherever in the world you have inventory, and no matter how many SKUs you sell, an advanced 3PL software platform like ShipMonk’s puts everything you need at your fingertips IN ONE PLACE so you don’t have to rely on a bunch of different tools or applications.
Software That Gives You A Soft Landing
The realm of ecommerce order fulfillment can be hard; amazing 3PL software like that which ShipMonk offers to every client makes things easier. If you’re looking to simplify your order, inventory, and warehouse management, save time and money, and automate your operations without costing you any accuracy, speak with one of our Client Experience team members today.
We would love to talk with you about how our proprietary 3PL software has saved and simplified so many ecommerce businesses, and how this can help your brand grow and scale to achieve your goals and beyond!