Third-party logistics, often known as 3PL, is a system in which a company or a third party provides inventory management and delivery services to other organizations. In this case, the client who needs inventory management and delivery usually hires a third-party logistics or 3PL firm. In exchange, the third-party logistics company conducts some or all of the client's logistics-related duties.

Here are some of the primary tasks they complete:

  • They are in charge of inventory storage.
  • Assistance with inventory management.
  • Assistance in freight forwarding.
  • Delivery and distribution are aided by third-party logistics.
  • Depending on the arrangements, there may be more tasks that they perform.

Outsourcing logistics to a 3PL organization is a good idea because it provides you with the following benefits.

  • It saves time and money by eliminating the need to find and rent your own warehouse facility. Not only does it save you money on labor, but it also allows you to use 3PL’s in-house technology for picking and shipping of the products..
  • Leveraging the gap between you and logistics operations means that while you as an e-commerce professional may not be well versed in each detail of shipping and logistics, a 3PL company would be well versed in all of these with knowledge of the latest trends as well as complications.
  • Assists in improving supply chain management by utilizing their networks for marketing etc,.

You can easily broaden your reach because it is focused on multiple regions, as 3PLs may have multiple fulfillment centers. Hence lowering shipping costs.

Any e-commerce platform, store, or industry can benefit from 3PL logistics services if they exhibit the following characteristics:

  • When you receive over 100 orders per month
  • There is a lack of storage space for your inventory.

If you want to offer free two-day shipping like Amazon, you'll have to outsource fulfillment to 3PL logistics.

Having a 3PL partner simplifies your business and saves you time, energy, and money. However, you must select them using the following criteria:

  1. Analyze your requirement: Is it only a basic traditional one or does it require more, such as retail supply chain coordination, etc. This helps your business grow and provides a better experience for your customers.
  2. What kind of software technology they have and whether or not it works for you is critical for the business. Examine how 3PL and your e-shop are integrated and how it aids in data leveraging.
  3. The total number of fulfillment centers they have. and the manner in which they are distributed across multiple locations to broaden your reach.

Once you've identified your 3PL partner, you must scrutinize each key performance indicator, such as

  • Product security
  • Delivering with precision
  • Strictly adhering to the delivery deadline
  • Ease of tracking system provided to your customers

A retail store converted as a micro fulfillment center and optimized to meet the expectations of retail demand online is called a Cloud store. These facilities are not open for shoppers thus they accommodate more inventory stocks and meet the customer demand received online.

The major benefits of the Cloud store for e-commerce are:

  • Can stock a wide range of products
  • Easy to track the inventory of your brand as it is smaller than the traditional warehouse.
  • Optimizing the stock levels by not overloading or making it little in quantity.
  • With more capacity and not open for shoppers, it can accommodate more space and meet a large number of customer needs.
  • It has the potential to turn your leads long-term once they like your product as you can provide them with more options for delivery.

The COVID pandemic has taught everyone to be prepared ahead of time, especially retailers, who are being forced to provide online ordering and contactless delivery options. The Cloud store comes in handy here, whether it's to manage a large inventory or to provide contactless delivery and pick-up options.

Additionally, also in improving order accuracy and speeding up the process of meeting the needs of the customer, it serves as a means of attracting customers by providing various delivery options.

The Cloud store is only sustainable as a strategic and profitable option for retailers if it provides the following pickup and delivery facilities.

  • Curbside pickup- This option allows the customer to quickly pick up their order in person. Typically, there would be a designated parking area where the retail employer's subordinates would deliver the order without requiring the customer to get out of the car. In this manner, the customer is provided with safety and convenience, particularly during pandemic.
  • In-store pickup- Traditional Cloud stores provide a dedicated delivery area, usually near the entrance, for customers to pick up their purchases. This saves time and reduces the cost of shipment.
  1. Home delivery- A most convenient delivery option for both retailers and customers. This is a quick method, especially for necessities. With this option, it is also possible by setting up an online store and ship orders.

Note: If you don't have the resources to build a Cloud warehouse, you can always work with a third-party logistics company to meet your shipment needs.

Freight forwarder: Works with multiple carriers, such as air, rail, and highway, to transport goods from one location to another. They are primarily in charge of managing relationships and important tasks in the shipping process, such as negotiating freight changes and preparing shipping documents. They do not transport freight as such.

3PL: A 3PL manages the entire supply chain, including picking up, warehouse storage, and shipping.

Many norms have emerged as a result of the COVID pandemic, such as social distancing, contact-less delivery, and so on. Retailers find it easier to leverage the gap between customer fulfillment and quick deliveries with this concept of Cloud warehousing because it provides the benefit of customers not entering the crowded store.

Some of the reasons why retailers are converting physical retail space into Cloud houses are as follows:

  • Fast delivery solutions: It not only paves the way for contactless delivery, but also one that is stress-free and quick. Customers do not have to waste time looking for a parking spot, scanning the store for what they need, or waiting in long lines at the checkout.
  • Efficient tracking of picking and inventory- This simplifies the process of picking the product  by storing a large volume of stocks, in a small space rather than a large warehouse. Thus warehouse picking is made fast at the same time inventory tracking is more accurate.
  1. More delivery options for customers- They offer a variety of delivery options such as curbside pickup, local delivery, and faster, more affordable shipping, primarily for necessities such as personal care items and groceries.

At the same time, they make it easy for local customers to pick up or have them delivered on the same day. As a result, this will undoubtedly be growing strong in the long run.

The major differences between quick-commerce and e-commerce can be bifurcated on the following grounds:


Delivery time- The delivery time of orders is faster with quick commerce as compared to e-commerce.

Stock availability- E-commerce has a wide variety of products whereas quick-commerce deals in a small selection of products.

Transportation- The process of delivery takes place through Delivery trucks, four-wheelers etc while with quick commerce the delivery happens mainly with a two-wheel vehicle

Warehouse type- In e-commerce the stock are stored in a central warehouse whereas in quick-commerce the goods are stored in a physical store or small local warehouse.

Quick commerce is more likely to entail impulse purchases, resulting in lesser volume in terms of both product quantity and order price. E-commerce, on the other hand, is more planned due to the lengthier shipping durations. As a result, the average expenditure per purchase is higher, and the purchases are more diverse.