Top 10 Best 3PL Fulfillment Companies (third-party logistics) | ShipHero

In a fast-paced, increasingly digital world, businesses require robust and efficient logistic services to thrive. From small Shopify shops to global e-commerce empires, the right 3PL fulfillment company can revolutionize your operations, driving sales and elevating customer satisfaction. But, in a sea of options, how can you find the right solution for your business? Never fear! We can help. 

What is a Fulfillment Company?

A fulfillment company plays a pivotal role in e-commerce businesses. It manages inventory, packs orders, and handles shipping so that businesses can focus on their core operations. These companies utilize a network of warehouses around the world to store goods, ensuring speedy delivery to customers, wherever they may be located.

What is 3PL?

3PL, or Third-Party Logistics, refers to companies that provide a variety of logistics services to businesses. These services range from warehousing, transportation, freight forwarding, to order management and much more. Essentially, a 3PL company handles everything related to the supply chain, freeing up valuable resources for businesses.

What is Outsourced Fulfillment?

Outsourced fulfillment refers to the process where businesses entrust their inventory management and order fulfillment to external companies, or 3PLs. This approach provides an effective solution for businesses to meet customer demands without the burden of managing warehousing, packing, shipping, and delivery.

Understanding Fulfillment Centers

What is a Fulfillment Center and How Can it Help Your E-commerce Sales?

A fulfillment center is a warehouse facility equipped to handle all stages of order fulfillment – from receiving and storing inventory to picking, packing, and shipping orders. For e-commerce businesses, these centers enable efficient delivery, thus boosting sales by enhancing customer satisfaction.

How Does a Fulfillment Center Operate?

A fulfillment center operates on a simple, yet efficient process. It starts when the inventory arrives at the facility. The items are then stored until an order comes in from an associated e-commerce platform, such as Shopify or eBay. The order is then picked, packed, and shipped to the customer.

What is a Fulfillment Center, and How is it Different From a Warehouse?

While both fulfill the function of storing goods, a fulfillment center and a warehouse serve distinct roles in the supply chain. Warehouses primarily serve as storage locations, often for a longer duration. Fulfillment centers, on the other hand, are bustling hubs of activity, where goods constantly move in and out to meet customer orders.

The 3PL Fulfillment Process

The 3PL fulfillment process is a sequence of actions that starts when a product arrives at a 3PL company’s fulfillment center and ends when the product reaches the customer. It’s a vital part of e-commerce operations and covers several steps.

  1. Receiving: This is the first step of the process where the 3PL company receives goods from the business or their suppliers. 
  2. Inventory Management: Once the products are received, they are stored in the fulfillment center. 3PLs often use advanced inventory management software to monitor stock levels, manage warehouse space, and avoid issues like overstocking and stockouts.
  3. Order Processing: When an order is placed on the e-commerce platform, it’s transmitted to the 3PL. The fulfillment center’s employees then pick the items for the order from the storage area.
  4. Order Fulfillment: After picking, the items are then packed safely for shipping. 
  5. Shipping: Once the order is packed, the 3PL selects the best shipping option based on factors such as cost, delivery speed, and the customer’s location. 
  6. Returns Management: If for any reason a customer needs to return an item, 3PLs accept the returned goods, inspect them, and restock items if they’re in sellable condition.
  7. Reporting and Analysis: 3PLs provide businesses with reports on various aspects of the fulfillment process, like shipping times, return rates, and inventory levels. 

Request Fulfillment Pricing

To engage a 3PL company, businesses first request fulfillment pricing. This includes cost estimates for warehousing, inventory management, order packing and shipping, and returns handling. The pricing often varies depending on the volume, weight, and nature of the goods.

If you would like to get a fulfillment pricing quote, we can help you here

The Role of a 3PL Company

What Do 3PL Companies Do?

From storing goods in warehouse locations, managing inventory, handling order fulfillment, providing freight forwarding services, to arranging customs clearance in various countries—a 3PL company does it all. They integrate with multiple e-commerce platforms and manage the logistics operations so businesses can focus on product development, marketing, and sales.

How is a 3PL Different from a Fulfillment Company?

While these terms are often used interchangeably, there’s a subtle difference. A fulfillment company typically handles specific tasks such as warehousing, order packing, and shipping. A 3PL, on the other hand, provides a wider range of logistics services, including freight forwarding, customs clearance, and even supply chain management.

What are Third Party Logistics or 3PL Fulfillment Companies?

3PL fulfillment companies are providers that offer comprehensive logistics services. They are essentially a one-stop solution for e-commerce businesses, offering everything from inventory management, packing and shipping orders, to even handling returns. They provide businesses with the capabilities to scale operations, expand into new markets, and enhance customer service.

The Top 10 Best 3PL Fulfillment Companies

#1 ShipHero

A leader in the 3PL landscape, ShipHero is renowned for its comprehensive suite of services tailored for e-commerce businesses. Boasting cutting-edge technology, ShipHero integrates seamlessly with popular e-commerce platforms and marketplaces. Their services extend beyond just pick, pack, and ship, offering top-notch inventory management, returns handling, and even kitting services. Their commitment to operational excellence and customer satisfaction sets them apart in the industry.

#2 Red Stag Fulfillment

Known for their reliable order fulfillment, Red Stag offers high-quality services, including high-value and heavy goods handling. They ensure fast and accurate deliveries, strengthening your relationship with your customers.

#3 eFulfillment Service

This company is well-regarded for its flexible pricing and commitment to serving small to mid-sized businesses. They offer storage, order processing, shipping, and returns handling.

#4 Whiplash

Known for its scalability and API capabilities, Whiplash provides flexible logistics solutions, from warehousing to shipping. They handle everything in-house, ensuring quality control at every step of the process.

#5 ShipNetwork

ShipNetwork is celebrated for its national and international freight services. Their robust infrastructure supports e-commerce businesses with scalable and reliable order fulfillment solutions.

#6 Whitebox

Whitebox provides a unique blend of logistics and sales services. In addition to managing inventory and fulfillment, they also offer services like listing optimization and customer service.

#7 Fulfillify

Renowned for its user-friendly software, Fulfillify provides real-time inventory tracking and rapid order processing. They also offer custom packing solutions for a personalized unboxing experience.


This global company is known for its wide range of services, including pick and pack, shipping, returns management, and kitting. They also provide advanced reporting and analytics.

#9 Easyship

Easyship stands out for its wide array of shipping solutions and transparent pricing. They integrate with popular e-commerce platforms and provide access to 250+ shipping solutions.

#10 EasyPost

This company provides a straightforward and flexible API for businesses, making it easier to streamline and manage their shipping and logistics processes.

The Benefits of Using 3PL Fulfillment Companies

Fulfillment centers run by 3PL companies offer businesses the advantage of expert logistics solutions without having to manage everything in-house. These centers provide ample space for storage, reducing warehousing costs for businesses. Additionally, they handle all aspects of order fulfillment, including pick, pack, and ship, returns management, and even kitting and assembly.

The Benefits of Using Third-Party Logistics

Third-party logistics providers offer businesses access to a vast network of resources and they have numerous benefits. They have established relationships with carriers, allowing businesses to benefit from reduced shipping rates. With their expertise in logistics, 3PLs can help businesses improve their supply chain efficiency, reduce transportation costs, and enable faster delivery times.

How Can 3PL Fulfillment Companies Help with Logistics Management for eCommerce Businesses?

For eCommerce businesses, 3PL fulfillment companies can be instrumental in managing the entire order fulfillment process. From warehousing and inventory management to shipping and handling returns, 3PLs offer a one-stop solution for eCommerce logistics. Their integration with eCommerce platforms simplifies order management, while their advanced reporting tools provide valuable insights into inventory levels, shipping performance, and more.

How to Choose a 3PL Fulfillment Company

Choosing a 3PL fulfillment company is a critical decision that can significantly impact your business’s operations and customer experience.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a 3PL E-commerce Fulfillment Company

There are several key factors to consider when choosing a 3PL company. These include:

  • Range of services offered
  • Pricing
  • Integration capabilities
  • Reputation
  • Scalability
  • Warehouse network’s reach
  • Availability of stock 
  • Fulfillment centers in your target markets 

Businesses should also look for 3PLs that understand their specific needs and can provide tailored solutions.

What to Look for in a 3PL Company

When evaluating 3PL companies, look for those that offer: 

  • Flexibility in their services 
  • Good reviews from other clients 
  • Easy integration with your eCommerce platform
  • Comprehensive reporting and analytics
  • High level of customer service provided 

Addressing Misconceptions about 3PL Fulfillment Companies

Many businesses harbor misconceptions about 3PL fulfillment companies, thinking they’re only for large businesses or that they lack flexibility. In reality, 3PLs cater to businesses of all sizes and can offer customized solutions based on individual business needs. They can provide a wide range of services beyond order fulfillment, such as freight forwarding and reverse logistics, making them a versatile partner for managing your supply chain.

Key Takeaways

Partnering with a 3PL fulfillment company can provide eCommerce businesses with distinct competitive advantages. The benefits extend far beyond just cost savings. Choosing the right 3PL, however, is not a decision to be taken lightly. Every eCommerce business has unique needs, and the best 3PL partners are those that understand these needs and can offer customized solutions. With their help, you can focus on what you do best—building and marketing your brand—while they take care of the rest.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Fulfillment Center a 3PL?

A fulfillment center can be part of a 3PL’s operations. It’s a warehouse where a 3PL stores inventory, picks and packs orders, and handles returns.

What Does Fulfillment Mean in Logistics?

Fulfillment in logistics refers to the process of storing inventory, processing orders, packing items, and shipping them to the customer. It may also include handling returns.

Is 3PL the Same as a Fulfillment Center?

While a fulfillment center is part of a 3PL’s operations, 3PL companies offer a wider range of services, including transportation, warehousing, inventory management, and more. So, while all fulfillment centers can be part of 3PL operations, not all 3PL services are limited to fulfillment centers.

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