3PL stands for third-party logistics; the singular term that encompasses e-commerce logistics distribution for companies that sell excess inventory, regular line goods or operate closeout websites.. Third-party logistics (3PL) refers to outsourcing your order fulfillment process and management to another, 3rd party company. This means companies that operate closeout websites or deal sites would take orders and an outside warehouse will ship them. There are different types of 3PL service providers, each of which serves distinct functions based on your business’s needs. As an example if you sell overstock toys, your staff will take all the orders and another company will fulfill and ship the orders.
By scaling and customizing services, 3PLs can best meet your specific needs. It’s always up to you just how much a 3PL helps. A 3PL can provide a single service for your supply chain or deliver a bundle of services that extend across multiple aspects of your supply chain. Companies that liquidate inventory can benefit from 3PL’s experience and knowledge of distribution systems. Many sellers of discontinued housewares, closeouts, obsolete inventory and overstock toys utilize 3PL warehouses. These services work with you to provide visibility to all aspects of the supply chain. Additionally, leading 3PLs create value in ways that enhance your operational, financial, and end customer performance. Closeout buyers that liquidate inventory are becoming more comfortable using 3PL’s in an effort to save on labor costs.
The primary benefit to liquidate inventory using a 3PL service and handle logistics, such as packaging, warehousing, fulfillment and distribution, is cost savings -- for example, not having to maintain a warehouse or the staff to monitor supply chain operations. The growth in online sales and closeout websites has spiked demand for 3PL services. 3PLs have also bloomed thanks to tracking technology and GPS, both of which offer extended supply chain visibility to companies that sell excess inventory and overstock toys, home decor, housewares, novelties, sporting goods, giftware and other closeouts.
A 3PL service likely offers better performance on efforts such as shipping while also enjoying an easier ability to scale its operations. For example, if a company sells overstock toys or closeouts and suddenly needs to ship more units of a popular title, a fulfillment center will have an easier time meeting that demand than if the closeout website itself had to ship additional orders.