Launching and building a new ecommerce business can prove to be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor.
As a new business owner, there are a multitude of functions that you need to establish and manage, like product development, sales, marketing, and logistics. To optimize their operations in the latter area, many entrepreneurs engage third-party logistics (3PL) providers like Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF).
We talked with merchants like you to learn about their business journeys, get advice on what you need to succeed in the ecommerce world, and learn how a 3PL can enable you to conquer your logistics challenges and fuel long-term growth.
In this blog, we share these merchants’ top tips on how to grow your ecommerce business and their insights on how a 3PL can help you conquer your logistics challenges.
Business owners should have a grasp of their entire supply chain and what it takes to deliver a quality product. Growth doesn’t necessarily need to be tied to sales. Growth can come from improvements in your supply chain from identifying efficiencies that lower operating costs. Here at Epic Water Filters, we learned that having too many touchpoints in the supply chain, across manufacturing, transportation, and fulfillment becomes time-consuming and expensive.
“Try to simplify your supply chain by having a single 3PL provider that handles your operations for you. Having a 3PL, like MCF, that helps look for ways to streamline and reduce costs can really impact your business in a positive way. MCF continues to be our first choice in third-party logistics. Being able to scale and open new stores across the globe with a few clicks has been instrumental to our mission to cut plastic waste and deliver clean healthy water worldwide.
I would encourage merchants to focus on brand building – and not just on purely selling one product. A single product play has its limitations, but a brand gives you the opportunity to really connect with customers. You should start with your brand story, and then build a portfolio of products around that narrative. That’s what we did when we established Aromatan as a global perfumery house with two brands, Aromafume and Dukhni, and the aim of helping people discover the beauty and power of scent, its applications in aromatherapy, and its ability to improve their everyday lives.
“But as Aromatan grew and expanded across different product lines, countries, and ecommerce channels, it became increasingly difficult to manage our inventory effectively – and so we decided to work with 3PLs like MCF to help us with our inventory management as well as our fulfillment operations. Working with MCF gives your business the opportunity to optimize your inventory by using it for your Amazon and off-Amazon orders and also benefit from the speed and robustness of Amazon’s network.
“MCF has been instrumental in helping Aromatan transform into a digital-first, global, multi-channel fragrance brand. I would recommend MCF to any ecommerce business as it provides a great path to reach consumers around the world, through any channel.
As your business grows and you aren’t able to handle your order fulfillment and inventory management yourself, working with a 3PL provider is helpful. But evaluating and comparing different 3PLs’ pricing structures can prove to be tricky. It’s important to take into account the total cost of fulfilling orders with each potential 3PL. For example, ask whether they use shipping zones – areas that determine the variable cost of delivery – which were one of the biggest challenges for my company, Very Special Games. You also want to ensure that the 3PL you’re selecting has locations within their network that are close to your customers, in order to avoid extra fulfillment costs. All of these uncertain or additional fees can be a headache and impact how you run your business.
“We found that MCF, after comparing to other 3PLs, is a clear winner in not only in cost, but in service. While other 3PLs hold you responsible for correctly dispensing inventory across their network, Amazon automatically distributes it across the Amazon fulfillment network. Now we only manage a single pool of inventory and have saved up to 40% in fulfillment costs.
The journey to success in the ecommerce world is not an easy one for businesses today.
Taking the time to listen and learn from other entrepreneurs – like the four featured in this blog – can provide valuable insights and enable you to identify opportunities to optimize your own operations.
And – in the area of logistics where so many new companies struggle – working with a 3PL can help you overcome your operational challenges and put your business on a path to profitability.