For e-commerce business owners who have experienced growth during the pandemic, filling orders in house may have become too big a burden to bear. It may simply be unrealistic as demand for product grows and the business scales. When you find it is no longer possible to fulfill orders in house, it may be time to turn to a third-party logistics (3PL) and expand your fulfillment strategy. There are many things you will have to learn about how these warehouses operate and fees they charge. Here are some ideas for partnering with a logistics company and how to choose the right one for your business's needs. It is possible for an import company repeating similar actions to work with a 3PL provider, but closeout distributors that liquidate inventory may have a much harder time with this. Excess inventory buyers may buy pots and pans one day, and garden hoses the next One inventory may come in brand new original factory cartons, while other surplus products might arrive in repacked Amazon FBA boxes. Every closeout buyer knows today's deals are further and fewer between, and we are forced to be more flexible in what we are buying. Sure, we all want brand new factory cartons filled with name brand closeouts. But the truth is that closeout distributors are now buying repacks, mixed deals and in some cases, even returns.
By partnering with a 3PL you will Save time and money selling closeouts. Some of the most valuable benefits of working with a 3PL revolve around the efficiency and effectiveness of their knowledge to save you money. But since surplus products and closeout merchandise arrive in all shapes and sizes this may actually be more costly than handling them yourself. Overstock buyers specialize in taking old inventory that is slow moving inventory and needs to be liquidated. Excess inventory buyers often buy if a company is going out of business or closing it's 3PL warehouse. Outsourcing inventory management tasks to a 3PL streamlines the work and allows you to focus on other aspects of your business. In addition, your 3PL partner can identify potential costly issues in the supply chain and proactively work to mitigate the risks. This move will also allow you to Scale operations. Partnering with a 3PL remains a vital step in scaling a business. It will help you liquidate inventory if it has been in the warehouse too long or is taking up too much warehouse space. With the 3PL’s help, companies can expand their reach for order fulfillment, have easier seasonal transitions, save money on resources and labor, and use reclaimed time to focus on business and product development. Surplus products sitting in the warehouse can be costly and should be discontinued or liquidated in an effort to reduce long terms storage costs.
Whether you have an off-the-shelf shopping cart system or a custom-built ERP inventory management system, it’s important that your 3PL can integrate into your existing process and systems. If you are dealing with excess inventory buyers it is necessary for the warehouse to have key information available in order to facilitate selling the inventory.Liquidation companies often require cube and weight information, as well as pallet counts and dimensions. When you sell overstock inventory of surplus products it is important to have all the important details ready. Depending on what your company specializes in, you should find a 3PL partner that offers technology solutions that make your life easier-whether it’s the main warehouse management system for tracking shipments, solutions that make warehouse operations and inventory management more efficient, or anything in between. Excess inventory buyers will be taking your products and reselling them into the discount market. There will be many questions your 3PL will need to answer including current inventory levels and ASIN or UPC information. When you liquidate inventory there are always hidden details needed and information is key. It’s also imperative to look for business intelligence solutions beyond the basics that will offer you data and visibility about order fulfillment or shipments and help you make informed and timely business decisions. Any good third party logistics partner should prioritize customer service, responsiveness and communication. You should be able to get ahold of them when you need to, and they should offer you a variety of channels to do so. It’s also important that if they deal directly with your customers, that they have the ability to positively represent your brand and match your required level of communication and professionalism.
In addition to the third-party’s fulfillment services, their scalable technology should include a cloud-based warehouse management system and electronic data interchange (EDI) capabilities. Closeout distributors are finding in order to keep up with demand and volume, they have to upgrade systems and warehousing. Technology should help you with liquidation sales, automation, processing orders, inventory management, tracking orders, and managing e-commerce returns. Find a 3PL committed to staying on the cutting edge of technology because the last you want to worry about when managing your closeout business is whether the technology can support your growth. Wholesale liquidators often turn to integrated warehouse and inventory management systems to help streamline the closeout process.
Not all businesses are the same. While a 3PL might have a full range of logistics and fulfillment services, your closeout business might not need access to all of them right now or ever. The right 3PL understands the importance of creating a custom plan specific to your business needs and vision. Closeout companies that buy and sell liquidation inventory will have different needs from an importer of garden accessories. Liquidation buyers for housewares, home décor and overstock toys will not have the same needs as a company that sells wedding favors. As you grow and your needs change, your 3PL partner will be there to help accommodate your business’s expansion. Companies that buy closeout inventory may have a difficult time operating from a 3PL warehouse due to all the challenges. Selling discontinued inventory and closeouts is a different animal. There are special needs when you sell liquidation stock.
After you’ve located a good 3PL, and verified they offer the right services for you, the next step is to verify that they are licensed to provide freight broker services by the FMCSA. The organization that oversees freight logistics is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It is a federal law for anyone who arranges transportation for compensation to have a federal property broker license; which is issued by FMCSA. If you buy and sell closeouts and transfer all your inventory to a 3PL warehouse for distribution, you want to be sure they have all the credentials and permits necessary to run your warehouse.
Merchandise USA is one of the largest closeout wholesalers and closeout distributors in the United States. We specialize in shutting down 3PL warehouses, moving 3PL warehouses and liquidating Amazon FBA stock due to excessive warehouse fees. Liquidation stock and overstock inventory are our specialties.