A Beginners Guide to 3PL Fulfillment

Beginners Guide to 3PL Fulfillment

Beginners Guide to 3PL Fulfillment

To help you evaluate whether or not a 3PL partnership is right for you, we have developed this beginners guide to 3PL fulfillment. We will discuss what a 3PL is, the pros and cons of using a 3PL, and questions you should ask before selecting a partner.

What is a 3PL

Third-party logistics, or 3PL for short, is a company that offers outsourced logistics services. 3PL services encompass everything from procurement to last-mile delivery. A 3PL provides the staff, space, and transportation network required for order fulfillment. They can manage receiving, inventory warehousing, packaging, and shipping services, letting businesses focus on other essential areas of their company. Some 3PL businesses offer additional logistics services known as value-added services. These include inventory management, kitting and assembly, and more. Furthermore, some 3PL companies specialize in specific product types such as:

  • B2B
  • Ecommerce
  • Retail
  • Apparel
  • Health & Beauty
  • Frozen Foods
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Beer & Wine

Pros of Working with a 3PL

In this beginners guide to 3PL fulfillment, we will focus on the most relevant benefits, although there are many more.

Industry Expertise

Streamlining and managing supply chains, transportation, and new market compliance can be overwhelming. When partnering with a 3PL, you gain the advantage of industry experts with insider knowledge. They can help facilitate imports, exports, international shipping compliance, and economic regulations. This is incredibly valuable as you consider launching new markets or expanding overseas.

Cost Savings

Businesses often partner with 3PLs to save money and boost profitability. 3PLs consistently improve efficiency in the order fulfillment process. They reduce shipping costs by leveraging their collective order volumes to negotiate better rates. Furthermore, they typically provide faster delivery times.


Another benefit is the ability to scale your business with a 3PL. It is easier to navigate sales peaks and valleys when warehousing, staffing, and transportation needs rise and fall in step with demand. 3PL fulfillment companies give their clients the ability to scale quickly without significant capital investment in fulfillment infrastructure.

Customer Satisfaction

Working with a 3PL can significantly improve your overall customer satisfaction. They help provide quicker delivery options with more consistent results. The inventory management technology used by most 3PLs allows for fewer stock-out situations. Lastly, many 3PL companies handle reverse logistics, or returns and refunds. All of these create happy customers.

Cons of Working with a 3PL

There are clear advantages of working with a 3PL. However, you should also know the common drawbacks you might encounter. Here are a few complications you should consider especially if you are trying to determine whether to continue dropshipping or transition to 3PL fulfillment.

Loss of Inventory Control

Many business owners want to maintain a high level of control over their inventory. Rightfully so, your business can suffer if products are not packaged and shipped correctly. Releasing inventory management and fulfillment to a 3PL can be unsettling and detrimental if the right partner isn’t chosen. Finding a logistics partner you can trust is a process.

Higher Up-Front Costs

Saving money with a 3PL is a long game. Setting up your 3PL warehousing and distribution requires an initial investment. Your storage needs and order volumes will determine the necessary upfront cost. Companies with high order volumes and flexible storage space will benefit most from a 3PL partnership. An excellent 3PL will tailor costs around actual needs.

Loss of Control over Customer Experience

When you entrust a 3PL to fulfill your orders, you have to give up some control about how and when those products will be delivered. When a 3PL performs or handles a customer poorly, that reflects on your business directly. This is why choosing a trustworthy and competent 3PL is crucial.

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a 3PL

  • Will your technology integrate with your sales channels and inventory management platforms?  (Omnichannel technology)
  • How does your pricing model work? I.e., do you charge separate fees for receiving, picking/packing, and warehousing, or do you provide an all-inclusive option?
  • What types of products are your specialty? If your product is outside of their wheelhouse, how will they accommodate it?
  • What is their experience with peak seasons? Can they handle fluctuations in order demand easily?
  • Do they provide same-day order fulfillment, and can they offer competitive 2-day shipping for most of your customers?

We have scratched the surface in this beginners guide to 3PL fulfillment, but we hope it has shed a little light on the topic. No matter where your business is in its life cycle, there will come a day when partnering with a 3PL will become a viable option. If you have more orders than you know what to do with and your inventory is spilling out of your current space, it might be time to consider a 3PL option. Chat with one of our specialists today to find out how Falcon Fulfillment can help.

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ways to make your ecommerce stand out

Ways to Make Your eCommerce Stand Out

Ways to make your eCommerce standout 

Online shopping is at an all-time high. Every niche is saturated with eCommerce brands that are nailing the basics. They have fulfillment and distribution locked down, and they know how to meet the needs of picky customers. People want to differentiate between products and brands quickly. Knowing where to invest valuable time and resources can mean the difference between a converted consumer and an abandoned cart shopper. What are some of the best ways to make your eCommerce stand out?

Narrow and Nail your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

eCommerce brands that stand out in the market understand what makes them better than their competition. This is their unique selling proposition. They exhibit this USP every chance they have, from marketing to packaging. Establish a narrow and clear USP, so you don’t fade into the eCommerce ether of the internet. What is it that your business does best? 

Updated and Streamlined Website 

More than 90% of buyers say they pay more attention to visual appearance over other elements when making a purchase. Furthermore, consumers will leave if your website is outdated or clunky before they even consider purchasing. You cannot afford a website that doesn’t have great UI/UX and funnels customers to a CTA. A few of the most crucial elements of a great eCommerce website are: 

  • Clear Calls to Action
  • Multiple, Large, High-Quality Images on Product Pages
  • Lifestyle Versus Product Imagery
  • Recommended Related Products
  • Customer Reviews and Ratings for Products
  • Intuitive and Useful Site Navigation
  • Easy Checkout

Adapt and Reinvent 

Your products cannot go stale. Stagnant fashion ends up in the thrift store, and unsold products collect dust and are liquidated or incinerated. Continually update your offer according to trends, tastes, and TikToks! Your company cannot afford to stay where they always have been.

Invest in and cultivate social proof

Consumers rely on others to determine whether or not they will purchase a product. Reviews, consumer photos, and feedback provided by real customers help conversion rates. One customer review can increase conversion rates by 10%, and multiple reviews can boost them by 44%. You cannot afford to wait for the 5-star reviews to show up. Here are a few ways to make your eCommerce stand out by investing in a social proof strategy. 

  • Showcase Reviews
  • Create User-Generated Content
  • Collaborate with Local Celebrities, Experts, or Industry Influencers 
  • Display testimonials on your website
  • Encourage mentions and be responsive 
  • Use Chat Bot Responses to Share Social Proof Content To Answer Questions

Be active on social media

Online shoppers often check out a brand's social accounts or even get targeted before they make a purchase. One big way to make your eCommerce stand out is to remain active and consistent on social media. It is also one of the best and more affordable ways to engage with your online brand advocates. Here are some posting ideas to kickstart your campaigns. 

  • Demo and How-To Videos
  • Host LIVE events on Instagram or Facebook
  • Create Curated Pinterest Boards
  • Ask Questions To Your Target Audience
  • Give Sneak Peeks Into New Products and Events
  • Host Q + A Sessions
  • Use Specific Hashtags
  • Create Giveaways and Promote User Content

Offer Subscription Boxes and Pairings

Generate consistent month-over-month revenue and wow your customers by offering a subscription box or personalized pairings and add-ons. Here are some keys aspects of creating a successful subscription box. 

Solve an actual problem for your customer avatar

Regardless of your marketing budget, website design prowess, or social media engagement, one stellar way to make your eCommerce stand out is to solve a problem. This is likely your USP, but sometimes it is a bonus that your product offers. Consider your customer avatar and create a solution for a real-life pain point. This is one of the best ways to make your eCommerce STAND OUT…it’s solid gold! 

Unforgettable Customer Service

In a saturated market of bots and automated help articles, having a personal, professional, and polite customer service situation is shocking. While it may not be feasible to hire actual people to respond to every customer request, at minimum, try to ensure a real person solves the most challenging situations. According to Brittany Hodak, the 3 P’s of customer service are professionalism, patience, and a people-first attitude. Having a people-centric customer service model will beat the competition without much effort. 

Be charitable

It’s no surprise that people like to buy stuff from companies that help others. Whether your philanthropic outreach is for children, pups, or people struggling with addiction, adding a charitable cause to your business is a great way to set you apart. 

If you want to make your eCommerce stand out, it takes work, time, and resources. From redesigning websites to partnering with a local charity, there are many ways to differentiate your business from the crowd. Falcon Fulfillment ensures your product arrives but can also expand your network through a 3PL partnership. We can handle the nitty-gritty stuff so you can focus on building the best stand-out eCommerce brand out there. Get in touch with one of our agents today to see how we can help. 


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Common and costly shipping mistakes

6 Common and Costly Shipping Mistakes

Common and Costly Shipping Mistakes

Shipping products is a necessary component of running a business. According to a new report from Pitney Bowes, parcel shipping exceeds 131 billion in volume globally and is likely to double by 2026. Companies must correctly manage shipping and delivery expenses to prevent negative effects like slowed productivity, dissatisfied consumers, and burgeoning shipping budgets. Unfortunately, these six common and costly shipping mistakes affect even the most diligent organizations. The good news is that all of them can be limited with a few simple changes. 

Invoice Errors

Invoice errors or miscalculations are more common than you might expect. Nearly 2% of all shipping invoices contain errors. The most common inaccuracies include: 

  • Fuel and Shipping miscalculations - Fuel prices fluctuate, so it’s no surprise that miscalculations happen regularly. Make sure shipping contracts clearly state acceptable margins of error on fuel charges. In addition, shipping miscalculations are related to inaccurate weights and dimensions of packages. 
  • Accessory Charges - relate to special instructions or tools required for delivery. For example, charges can be added to access a gated community or deliver a heavy load up or down stairs. Another common accessory charge is for unique tool usage, like lift gates, forklifts, etc. These charges are hard to know whether they are legitimate. Ensure you trust your carrier and have the relationship to question when something seems out of the ordinary.
  • Detention - occurs when your shipment isn’t ready for pickup during the allotted time. Often these terms are set beforehand, but you can be overcharged for the time the carrier waits.  

The best way to avoid common shipping mistakes is to audit invoices. Whether you take the time to review them or invest in automated invoice technology, it is crucial to double-check for accuracy. Given the numbers, you could save your company 2% on shipping costs annually.

Incorrect Measurements and Dimensions

Incorrectly measuring or weighing parcels is probably one of the easiest shipping mistakes, yet it is one of the most costly. Shipping charges are calculated based on actual dimensions, density, weights, and volumes of parcels. If an estimate is off by even a few ounces, it can result in thousands of dollars of surcharges, especially when shipping more than a few daily orders. 

Depending on the carrier, they could even return the package to the warehouse and make you pay for redelivery at the correct amount! This delays the package, costs your company double the shipping, and doesn’t provide your customer with a good experience. 

Ensure your packages have precise dimensions and weights, using a tape measure and calibrated scale. It is a simple step that busy entrepreneurs often miss. 

Improper Packaging

Packaging your products in a box that is either too big or too small can cost you money. Improperly packaged products are prone to damage and breakage. Furthermore, you could be overpaying for shipping using an oversized box (albeit standardized). Here are four ways right-size packaging can boost profitability. Packages that are delivered that have sustained shipping damage also do not showcase your brand well. Utilizing packaging and materials that protect your product and showcase your brand saves you money long-term.

Offering Free Shipping When You Cannot Afford It

common and costly shipping mistakes - free shippingA common and costly shipping mistake is offering free shipping when it doesn’t make financial sense. Of course, customers want free shipping but do not offer it if it will place your business in a financial bind. A quick evaluation of your accounting records will tell you whether or not it is viable. Here are a few “free-shipping” options that might still allow you to offer it as a special event without breaking the bank.

No Shipping Insurance

This is an easy mistake, especially when you want to cut corners. Unfortunately, the sender covers any shipping damages or losses. This is why it is crucial to insure your products. Regardless of shipping insurance, you can recoup losses and damages when the unexpected occurs.

Incorrect or Incomplete Delivery Details

A silly but common and costly shipping mistake is inaccurate or incomplete delivery details. From incorrect addresses to vague delivery details like the floor or suite number can cause delivery delays, returns and cost you money. Double check address details and ensure if there are special delivery instructions that either the customer covers the expense or verify you can absorb the cost. Invest in online address verification technology. When a customer inputs their address it will confirm the details by cross-referencing them against known addresses. If there is a mistake, it can autocorrect at the input point. 

With shipping costs rising, it is vital to ensure you are saving as much as possible by avoiding these common and costly shipping mistakes. By steering clear of a few of these mistakes, your company can see a little boost to your bottom line. By double-checking the accuracy of invoices, addresses, dimensions, and weights, your company can save a lot of lost revenue. Even though package damages cannot be avoided altogether, using the right-size packaging limits damage and ensures you are only paying for the shipping, you need. Falcon Fulfillment can help you reduce shipping costs, improve shipping invoice transparency, and provide the right-size packaging. Learn more and get in touch with one of our agents today.

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fulfillment challenges and solutions

2022 Fulfillment Challenges and Solutions

Fulfillment Challenges and Solutions

It’s old news that eCommerce continues to grow and outpace brick-and-mortar retail sales. By 2040, 95% of purchases will be made online, so it’s time to face eCommerce challenges and solve them. Fulfillment and logistics play a crucial role in the success of an eCommerce brand. This article focuses on the main eCommerce fulfillment challenges and solutions. 

fulfillment challenges and solutions - logistics


Getting orders delivered to customers is sometimes more difficult than attracting them to your eCommerce site. There are multiple facets to logistics; therefore, various fulfillment challenges and solutions are linked to this aspect of eCommerce. 

Challenge: Tracking Orders

Tracking orders is one of the main challenges facing companies. Consumers are expecting real-time updates on when and where their purchase is. They have grown accustomed to a steady stream of communication outlining when the package has left the distribution warehouse when it is in transit, and even images of the parcel and where it was left. 

Solution: Automated order tracking

Transparency tracking is critical whether you self-fulfill or use a third party to fulfill orders. Leverage an automated communication system to notify consumers of purchase and delivery status. Most white-glove 3PLs offer system integrations that provide reliable order fulfillment details. Furthermore, you improve customer retention by using an automated order tracking system. Streamline the process by investing in a platform or partner that integrates with your customer communication system.

Challenge: Scaling Up and Down

eCommerce brands that want to differentiate themselves in the marketplace must be ready to fulfill demand, especially when launching new products or offering special sales promotions. The ability to scale up and down during busy seasons is a significant challenge. It is difficult to spin up enough staff, product, and fulfillment staff to accommodate a massive influx of orders.

Solution: Flexible Scaling with a 3PL

eCommerce brands rely on flexibility as they scale. For example, during the peak holiday sales season, they made need 3x the staff and order fulfillment capacity as during slower periods. Most successful eCommerce brands rely on a 3PL partner to help manage these resource fluctuations. Leveraging a 3PL affords your brand flexible warehousing space, fulfillment staffing, and kitting services. Your company only pays for what they need, so they have flexible options to grow incrementally.

Challenge: Warehouse Space

Scaling includes the need for flexible warehousing space. As eCommerce brands scale, they need affordable warehousing facilities.

Solution: Pay-for-what-you-need warehouse space

A significant overhead cost for eCommerce brands is warehousing space. Only so much product will fit into your Uncle’s basement. At some point, warehouse space must be rented or purchased. Owning a warehouse outright has high upfront costs and high risks. Renting space can also be costly, depending on the contract lengths and total space usage. The most flexible and cost-effective solution is a 3PL partner who charges you only for the space you use.

fulfillment challenge - shipping cost

High Shipping Costs

The high shipping cost is one of the most significant fulfillment challenges, with various solutions. Although there isn’t a quick fix, there are several ways to reduce shipping costs and boost profitability.

Challenge: High Costs

By March of 2021, shipping costs had skyrocketed. The estimated increase in shipping costs was 350% higher than the previous year. Shipping container shortages, COVID-19 lockdowns in Asia, and a global supply chain staffing shortage have contributed to the higher shipping costs. There have been slight indications that the supply chain bottleneck is loosening, but high shipping costs remain. This is a significant challenge to SMBs that must choose whether to pass these added costs to consumers or suffer lower profitability. Whether you ship t-shirts or TVs, shipping is an unavoidable expense that directly affects your bottom line.

Solution: Diversify Manufacturers

If your primary or only manufacturing vendor is in China, you already know the potential for disaster. An excellent option to improve your supply chain resilience and decrease shipping costs is to partner with a local manufacturer.  Reducing the distance will automatically reduce the shipping cost. 

Solution: Invest in Delivery Infrastructure

You may want to invest in your in-house delivery infrastructure if you are sick of being at the mercy of carrier inconsistencies and constant price increases. This requires a significant amount of up-front capital, but it puts you in control of all aspects of shipping and delivery services.

Solution: Ensure Right-Size Packaging

Ensure that your package and packing materials are as small and lightweight as possible without sacrificing the protection of the product. Reducing the dimensions and overall weight of a package will reduce shipping costs. You can also investigate alternative shipping materials like poly mailers instead of corrugated boxes.

Solution: Partner with a 3PL

A competent 3PL partner has relationships with a broad network of shipping carriers. They benefit from economies of scale for reduced shipping costs and lower packaging material costs. They share that benefit with their clients. Furthermore, they can offer a variety of shipping options that will help customer retention

Solution: Offer Shipping Alternatives

Offer shipping alternatives like BOPIS (buy online pickup in-store), locker pickup, or direct delivery to local customers. Investigate all the shipping alternatives that work for your brand to help reduce shipping costs.

Product Returns and Refunds

Challenge: High Return Rates

Consumers are buying more and returning more. In 2021 retailers expected a return rate of around 16.6%, which jumped from 10.6% in 2020. Products purchased online have a higher rate of returns than those purchased in-store. It is easy to toss a product into the virtual cart and have a very unclear picture of what those items will look like in your home or your body.  The more generous or flexible the return policy, the more likely a consumer will over-purchase.

Solution: Invest in Visualization Technology

Many eCommerce retailers have started to invest in 3-D visualization tools to help customers make better choices when making a purchase. Virtual reality software has grown in popularity, especially with large or bulky retailers like furniture retailers, to help consumers visualize what pieces will look like in the space. Investing in technology that allows a customer to envision the product can help reduce the number of returns.

Solution: Beef Up Product Descriptions and Specifications

Adding more details to your product descriptions is a simple yet often overlooked solution. Ensure all appliances, furniture, and other bulky items have precise dimensions in the product details. Create accurate and detailed size charts that correlate directly to body measurements. Give your customers every opportunity to make a fully informed choice.

Solution: Clear and Easy Returns Policy

A survey by comScore and UPS showed that 63 percent of American consumers check the return policy before making a purchase, and 48 percent would shop more with retailers offering hassle-free returns. Consumers will buy more if the process of returning is as easy as it is to buy. They have confidence that getting their money back won't be a hassle if it doesn’t work. Start by reverse engineering the purchase journey. A few best practices for your returns policy: 

  • Be transparent. 
  • Use plain easy to understand language.
  • Educate staff on the policy and how to handle everyday return situations
  • Be prepared to issue refunds

Many eCommerce brands outsource the returns and refund process to a logistics partner who can handle receiving, inspecting, and adding back to inventory. Regardless, it is crucial to focus on a strategy for returns and refunds that is sustainable and protects profitability.


Challenge: Cost and Confusion of Sustainability

Nearly 60% of consumers are ready to alter their purchase patterns to lessen their impact on the environment. Consumers are looking for brands that prioritize the environment, reduce carbon emissions, and have a clear sustainability plan. However, the upfront costs of switching supply chain processes to more environmentally friendly sources can disintegrate profits. Determining what types of sustainability to invest in can also be confusing because there isn’t a single definition of what makes a company fully “sustainable.”

Solution: Start with Swapping Packaging

Even though sustainability can be confusing and costly, a quick win is swapping packaging materials for sustainable options. It can be as simple as replacing polystyrene packing peanuts with green cell foam or custom biodegradable shapes. Bonus: biodegradable shapes provide a personalized touch to your unboxing experience too!  Making a small start is better than nothing at all.

Solution: Reduce Transportation Emissions

Optimize your transportation schedule to fill every container to minimize the wasted space and lower your CO2 emissions. The more boxes in a load, the fewer trips it takes to reduce emissions. Partnering with an environmentally-focused 3PL can help you create a sustainable business


In 2022 ECommerce businesses are facing some complex fulfillment challenges. From logistics to sustainability, companies are working hard to find solutions that meet growing customer demand without losing profitability. Fortunately, partnering with a quality 3PL can help alleviate several of these challenges. Falcon Fulfillment specializes in logistics, reverse logistics, and sustainability. If your eCommerce faces any of these challenges, see how Falcon might be able to help. Get in touch with one of our helpful agents today. 

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Kitting and Assembly

Kitting and Assembly

Kitting and Assembly - What It Is And Why You Need It.

Companies utilize kitting and assembly services to streamline order fulfillment and expedite product delivery. Kitting is the process of arranging separate items into a “kit.” More specifically, kitting is where a product requires a particular order and arrangement as they are packaged and shipped. A good example of items or products that benefit from kitting is subscription boxes and furniture that requires assembly. Assembly arranges the individual components in the packing box that make up the kit. Any company that sells ready-to-assemble products, subscription boxes, or bundled items can benefit from kitting and assembly services. 

What does kitting and assembly service consist of? 

  • Construct custom packaging
  • Select individual components for the kit
  • Arrange items in packing boxes, standard, and custom
  • Affix branded stickers/labels/barcodes to items
  • Close package and prep for shipping
  • Add promotional flyers, inserts, and assembly instructions 
  • Utilize and install custom dunnage to packing boxes
  • Wrap items
  • Inspect and seal the final box
  • Update SKU to reflect “Kit” SKU in the inventory management system
  • Add custom numbers, logos, and personalization to items or packaging
  • Procurement of right-size packaging
  • Combine multiple items in a single shipment to create a bundle
  • Retail kitting to follow routing guides
  • FBA Kitting
  • Bottle re-labeling - small quantities
  • Bag and tag apparel
  • Construct medical kits prebuilt for immediate lab shipment.

Kitting vs. Bundling

Kitting and bundling are used interchangeably; they are slightly different. Bundling involves adding unrelated products into the same package. Bundles may include all varieties of a product or items that are often bought together but are not a kit. Bundled items can help keep shipping costs down and reduce carbon emissions. On the other hand, kitting requires a specific order and arrangement of those products within the container. Kitting service providers are highly skilled, detail-oriented, quality control experts. Some of the same components and elements are used for bundling and kitting, which is why they can be confused. 

Common Items that Require Kitting and Assembly

  • Subscription Boxes
  • Furniture requiring assembly
  • Promotional Sales Bundle
  • Seasonal Gift Baskets
  • Complimentary products received from multiple manufacturers.
  • Medical kit components

Benefits of Using Kitting and Assembly Services

The time-consuming task of arranging, assembling, and packaging component parts is costly. Using kitting and assembly services of 3PL can save your business time and money. It is also worth mentioning that manufacturers may also offer kitting services. Here are some of the main benefits:

  • Shorter order fulfillment times 
  • Offer more packaged promotions
  • Easier time moving low-selling stock or dead stock
  • Lower overhead costs from warehousing and labor
  • Higher profit margins 
  • Access to cost-effective labor management
  • Flexible package options
  • Custom, sustainable, and memorable unboxing experiences
  • Reduced cycle times
  • Adaptable response to customer demand or preferences
  • Access to economies of scale on packaging materials

Using a kitting and assembly team to prep your packages for maximum customer impact at Falcon Fulfillment, our highly-skilled teams take care in preparing your packages for maximum customer impact. One of our fortes is helping create successful subscription boxes requiring kitting. Let us manage the details of kitting and assembly for your eCommerce business. Get in touch with one of our agents today.

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Ways to Reduce Inventory Shrinkage

Ways to Reduce Inventory Shrinkage

What is inventory shrinkage? How does it affect your bottom line? What is an acceptable percentage of inventory shrinkage? How can I prevent it?

Inventory shrinkage occurs when the physical inventory levels do not match the accounting records. The accounting data says you should have a specific number of physical products available, but after an actual count, there is a difference. No matter the inventory management systems or processes in place, shrinkage occurs.

There are many reasons why shrinkage occurs, from human errors to theft. Inventory shrinkage affects retailers' bottom line. According to the National Retail Security Survey, inventory shrinkage accounted for 1.38% of all retail sales. This represents a significant loss of revenue for retailers and eCommerce businesses. This article will discuss the leading causes of inventory shrinkage, how to calculate it, and ways to reduce shrinkage.

Causes of Inventory Shrinkage

Causes of Inventory Shrinkage

Employee Theft

Employee theft accounts for nearly 42.7% of all inventory shrinkage. Whether from a brick-and-mortar shop or the warehouse, human beings are the most significant threat to increasing inventory shrinkage. Petty theft is stealing something that doesn’t have a high value. Taking a few pens, copy paper, or a coffee mug from the office isn’t a big deal, right? It becomes a big deal when you have 300 employees doing the same thing. Bolder employees find ways to steal much higher ticket items. 

Skimming fraud is another form of theft that is much more challenging to detect. Employees pocket cash payments without ever adding the transaction to the system. This is where regular audits come in handy. Whether your staff is committing petty theft or skimming fraud, all forms of employee theft will adversely affect your bottom line.


The ugly step-cousin of employee theft is consumer theft. Shoplifting has become a greater risk in the post-pandemic era due to staffing shortages across all retail outlets. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce discovered that employees quitting retail are only outpaced by the Leisure and Hospitality industries. Currently, less staff are responsible for managing more square footage in almost every retail outlet. According to a report released by the Council on Criminal Justice, shoplifting accounts for the largest portion of thefts next to motor vehicles. With less staff, it means fewer eyes watching and profiling potential shoplifters.


 Human error is another cause of inventory shrinkage. Albeit less than employee theft, it is still significant. Reporting errors, data input errors, and problems reconciling the accounts contribute to administrative inventory shrinkage.

Vendor Fraud

Vendor fraud occurs when the vendor or manufacturer sends a different amount of inventory than is stated on the invoice. This is relatively easy to spot when you only receive 10-20 boxes in a shipment. It becomes almost impossible when your shipments are 100s of packages.

Lost Shipments

 Misplaced goods or lost shipments are another one of the most common causes of inventory shrinkage. Busy distribution and fulfillment centers are loading and unloading thousands of parcels a day. Warehouse crews move pallets from receiving to their warehousing space quickly to make room for the next shipment. Most shipments receive proper barcodes and are stored properly. However, some packages loose their barcode, are mislabeled, or are improperly stored. That package is lost.

Reducing Inventory Shrinkage

Inventory Shrinkage higher on average

Calculate Inventory Shrinkage Rate

Before reducing your shrinkage, you need to know how to calculate it. The acceptable level of shrinkage is less than 1%,  but many companies experience much higher levels. Here is the industry formula for calculating your inventory shrinkage rate. 

One of the major contributors to reducing inventory shrinkage is simply measuring it. You cannot fix what you don’t know is a problem! Once you have a baseline rate, you can implement the following processes to measure accurately and reduce inventory shrinkage effectively. 

Track Every Item - Barcode and SKU

Every product needs to have a unique identifier. This enables inventory management systems to track in real-time effectively. It provides the data to quickly highlight inventory shrinkage and insight into where products are being lost or stolen. Many fulfillment companies and suppliers can add unique barcodes or SKUs to products before or during the receiving process. Which reduces human error and increases the ability to track inventory as it moves through the sales process.

Train Employees

Of course, you will train your employees on how to do their job, but it is necessary to teach them specifically about employee theft. Have a clear policy and procedure regarding theft. Outline consequences for a thief and the damage it causes to the company. Implement a way for employees to report suspected theft anonymously. Communicate what is considered theft and at what level termination or legal action will be taken. Make sure every employee understands what is expected.

Use Automated Inventory Management Systems

Having a single point of truth regarding inventory levels is key to reducing inventory shrinkage. Managing all available products through a uniform system ensures accurate and up-to-date data. Administrative errors are reduced when information is not transferred from one system to another. Barcodes and SKUs have the exact details in North Dakota as they do in the warehouse in Salt Lake City. Automated inventory management systems unify the data across the fulfillment and final sales exchange.

Enhanced Security Measures

Reducing Inventory Shrinkage

Because so much inventory shrinkage is attributed to theft, it is no surprise that increasing security measures are an excellent way to reduce it. Installing cameras throughout your retail space, behind the cash register, store room, and loading dock are great ways to prevent theft. Give each employee a unique login to track voided cash transactions and irregular sales patterns. Also, consider hiring a security guard, especially for high-value items or when you notice an increase in theft in a specific area. Don’t forget about your warehouse or distribution locations. If you outsource fulfillment, ensure your partner has 24/7 security, cameras, and a regular schedule of reviewing employees.

Surprise Audits and Consistent Tracking

Surprise! Checking your inventory levels regularly and unexpectedly helps reduce inventory shrinkage. Surprise audits minimize theft and highlight admin errors regularly. When you commit to periodically updating inventory levels in real-time, the main issues will become transparent so you can begin to reduce the impact.

Partner with an Excellent 3PL

Partnering with an excellent 3PL can provide your business with many of the solutions listed here. They leverage automated inventory management systems that can provide real-time stock levels. They invest in serious security measures, including cameras, on-site security, and thorough employee training. Furthermore, a great 3PL can help implement barcoding for every SKU that syncs to the IMS. Their receiving crews are trained with double-check systems to reduce lost or misplaced products. Lastly, vendor fraud is minimized by providing accurate and detailed receiving reports. Working with Falcon Fulfillment would be a great option


Inventory shrinkage is an unfortunate reality, but it can be managed. At Falcon Fulfillment, we understand that every dollar counts when growing and building a business. Want to learn more ways to reduce inventory shrinkage for your company? Get in touch today.

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6 Ways to Scale Your eCommerce Business

6 Ways to Scale Your eCommerce Business

Starting an eCommerce business is an exciting adventure, especially given the explosive growth of online sales. ECommerce sales surged by 43% during the global pandemic. They continued to rise in 2021 and beyond. Companies that invested in building solid foundations discovered that scaling beyond a lifestyle business required new strategies and processes. Deciding to scale your eCommerce business is a significant step and can prove to be challenging. There are a few key strategies held as industry best practices regarding eCommerce growth. In this article, we will discuss six ways to scale your eCommerce business. 

Launch New Marketing Strategies

It is no surprise that if customers cannot find you, they will not buy from you. The online marketing space is cutthroat, no matter what your product or service might be. If you don’t have a substantial marketing budget, you will need to get creative with your marketing plans and strategy. Consider launching new paid campaigns like banner ads, retargeting ads, socials, and PPC (pay-per-click). Take time to review your data and decide on campaigns and ad spending based on actual metrics. Do not guess what you think might work in marketing! Critical metrics you should be tracking include; sales conversion rate, store session by device, store session by traffic source, shopping cart abandonment, returning customer rate, bounce rate, and net promoter score.

Marketing Campaign Ideas


It might be old news for some, but content still drives organic traffic. It can be difficult for an eCommerce business that is product-focused to write and maintain a blog, but it can pay big dividends long term. Blogs can be a place on your site that share your unique brand story. It is also a place to educate your customers and inform them of changes you make as you grow. For example, if you run a skincare or beauty brand, share tips on how to use your products, what science backs your ingredient choices, and customer success stories as you collect them. No matter what you sell, a blog can be a great way to drive traffic to your site. 

Invest in Automation

When you realize it might be time to scale your eCommerce business, one of the best ways is to invest in automation. What exactly should you automate? First, evaluate the areas where you spend the most time or resources managing. Then determine if those aspects could be automated. Maybe you spend hours corresponding to simple customer service requests? Perhaps it is emailing to get feedback reviews, or social media management. Whatever presents the most significant time soak is what should be automated first. One of the most straightforward automation tools to implement is email correspondence. Start there if you are not already auto-mailing order confirmations, tracking, and delivery details.

eCommerce Fulfillment

Outsource Fulfillment

As your order quantities begin to increase you will need to stop self-fulfilling. When you first launched order numbers were manageable, and self-fulfilling was doable. However, order fulfillment is one of the crucial keys in scaling your eCommerce business and one of the most resource heavy tasks too. Scale your eCommerce with a 3PL. Let them take on the job of processing, packaging, and shipping your orders. Even though the initial onboarding and investment might be daunting, it’s an investment that will allow you to scale up exponentially. It frees up time, energy, and resource to focus on your company and your core competencies.

Redesign Website for Mobile Sales

Most people are doing their shopping from their phones. If your site isn’t mobile enabled and optimized for mobile sales you will miss out. Design your site with UX that drives mobile sales. Ensure product images, CTAs, and purchase forms are easily accessible and have the fastest load times you can manage.
Build Excellent Customer Service

Build Excellent Customer Support

Automating via chatbots is one way to help scale your eCommerce business but don’t neglect the human touch either. For common support issues having a 24/7 chat feature is great but for more complex issues people want to talk to a person. Ensure that as your company grows it will be able to handle the increased volume of unique customer needs. Customer service plays a crucial role in customer retention, and the cost to keep a customer is far less than the cost to get a new one! In fact, in the ecommerce realm, retention is 5X cheaper than acquiring a new customer.

Ways Falcon Fulfillment Can Help Scale Your eCommerce Business


Whether you need a lot or a little warehouse space with Falcon you pay for what you need. This allows your profitability to stay high in and out of peak seasons. 

Higher Customer Satisfaction

Giving excellent customer experiences at scale is crucial to ongoing growth. At Falcon, we are partners with our clients and we care about your customers almost as much as you do.

Integrated Technology

Your eCommerce doesn’t have to make expensive investments in inventory management software to scale. Our proprietary IMS allows all our clients to see their detailed reports in real-time. 

Returns Management

As your eCommerce business grows, so will your returns. It’s simply a matter of numbers. Falcon can help develop and implement a streamlined returns process that keeps customers coming back.

As a growing business ourselves, we understand that growing has it’s fair share of pains. Let Falcon Fulfillment offload a few of the pivotal ways to scale your eCommerce business. From order fulfillment to customer service through the last mile, we want to help your business grow. Interested in learning more about ways we can help you scale? Get in touch with one of our team today.

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time to change fulfillment providers

5 Indicators It's Time to Change Fulfillment Providers

Indicators it's time to change fulfillment providers

If you are running a successful eCommerce, you have spent countless hours perfecting your product, brand, and user experience from purchase to return. In addition, you likely partnered with a fulfillment company to help deliver and grow your business. It's possible that you have started to feel dissatisfied with how things are going. Here are five crucial indicators it's time to change fulfillment providers. 

Limits on where orders can be shipped

Your fulfillment partner must be able to fulfill orders wherever your customers are! Ideally, your fulfillment warehouse is near your customers. This becomes difficult as eCommerce brands grow and reach a wider audience. Scaling your business with a 3PL might be a good idea. A change in fulfillment providers can help leverage a more comprehensive distribution network and ensure deliveries can be processed quickly.

Long order processing and shipping times

Customers are more demanding than ever when it comes to shipping times. The “Amazon Prime-Effect” has solidified the idea that any product ordered from anywhere shouldn’t take more than two days to process and never more than five to arrive. If your orders take more than three days to process and ship, it could indicate it is time to change fulfillment providers. Most 3PL partners that can genuinely help your company scale will be able to process and ship an order anywhere in the continently US within 2-days. Your business could suffer if your service provider cannot consistently meet this timeline.

Inventory is taking days or weeks to be stocked and added

Accurate inventory data is crucial to a successful eCommerce. Having inventory readily available within 24-36 hours is game-changing. Nothing is more frustrating for an eCommerce business than knowing a large product shipment has been received at the warehouse but is sitting on a pallet waiting to be stocked and added to the inventory management system. This is typically an indication of a lack of staff or organization. The longer this process takes, the more sales potential is lost. If it takes more than a few days to get your inventory added, it might be time to change fulfillment providers. 

Confusing invoicing or billing

Managing the financial reporting of a successful eCommerce is problematic on a good day and mind-numbing on a bad day. Top-rated 3PL providers offer complete itemized billing transparency. Having a financial report that details every charge with open-honest billing can help highlight advantages and opportunities for process change. When your fulfillment partner cannot give a detailed and accurate invoice about where their charges stem from, it is time to move on. The decisions you make are only as good as the data on which they are made. 

Negative customer reviews regarding shipping

Negative customer reviews are an obvious indicator it is time to change fulfillment partners, because  only one bad review can drive away up to 22% of potential customers. If you have noticed more than one poor review related to shipping or final delivery, your company cannot afford to ignore it. 

It can be daunting if you see that it might be time to change fulfillment providers. It is an involved process that can be confusing, overwhelming, and take a lot of resources. However, at Falcon Fulfillment, we pride ourselves on onboarding new clients in days or weeks, not months. We offer a dedicated account manager throughout the onboarding process and beyond. Let our team do the heavy lifting so you can focus on growing your business. When our customers changed their fulfillment partner, we delivered! Want to learn how working with Falcon can help your eCommerce business scale? Get in touch with one of our agents today. 

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DtC Beer Shipping

DtC Beer Shipping

DtC Beer Shipping

If you thought crafting the most delicious brew was challenging, try figuring out direct-to-consumer or DtC beer shipping. Brewmasters everywhere are considering the untapped market that delivery direct to customers provides. Unfortunately, beer shipping is as complicated as the taste profiles of beer consumers. Beer, and all alcohol, are restricted domestic items which means that fulfillment across state lines requires an expert-level understanding of compliance. Regardless of the complications, beer lovers across the country want access to their favorite brews shipped to their homes. This article is going to discuss how Falcon Fulfillment can help ease the complications of direct-to-consumer beer shipping.

What is DtC Beer Shipping?

Direct-to-consumer beer shipping is the shipping of any type of alcohol directly to the purchaser through delivery by a third-party carrier (UPS or FedEx, etc). In DtC fulfillment, the sale is made straight from the producer to the customer, who receives the order shipped to their home or other personal address. To meet compliance standards, a producer must abide by the laws and requirements of the state they ship into, which often includes getting licensed and paying taxes on their shipments. If you are curious, consumer-to-consumer beer shipping is illegal.

DtC beer licenseComplications of DtC Beer Shipping

Limited States Allow DtC Beer Shipping

Only eleven states plus D.C. permit DtC beer shipping. This is a serious limitation, especially in comparison with the wine industry. DtC beer shipping is available to 14.8% of the (21+) population compared with 96.7% available to wine consumers. The legislation surrounding shipping beer is positioned to change thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beer drinkers in both California and New York have revived interest in changing the prohibition-style laws surrounding beer delivery to consumers. This gives many brewers hope that they will soon have access to a broader beer-drinking audience.

Maintaining Interstate Compliance is Difficult

Every state has different laws surrounding the DtC beer shipping regulations. Even within the eleven states that allow it, there are nuances that must be observed in order to continue to maintain proper licensure. Both the producers and the shipper must have the appropriate licenses in order to ship beer. Not only that but every shipment that contains alcohol must be documented for tracking and tax purposes. Most producers partner with an approved carrier in order to alleviate some of the headaches of maintaining compliance. This leads us to why using Falcon Fulfillment for your DtC beer shipping can help.

beer fulfillment with FalconAdvantages of Partnering with Falcon Fulfillment for DtC Beer Shipping

Maintain a Quality Product

From maintaining temperature thresholds to ensuring expedited processing for your suds, Falcon can streamline order processing. This speed and accuracy keep your product fresh for your consumers. Falcon offers flexibility to modify warehouse staging spaces for promotions and ongoing quick-turnaround product sales. Furthermore, they can provide fast transport from the brewery to the distribution location via temperature-controlled FTL. We understand that certain types of fulfillment like DtC beer shipping require extra care to ensure a quality product arrives at your customer's front door.

Boost Your Brewery Bottom Line

Starting a DtC beer shipping revenue model helps to increase your customer base, build recurring revenue, and satisfy your existing consumers. Not only that but shipping directly to consumers gives your brewery higher margins than wholesale or retail options. Most brewmasters rely on taprooms to get their suds in the hands of their fans. However, the average cost of building and kitting out a taproom is nearly $500k. Bringing the bar to your customer's home is one of the most affordable ways to increase your bottom line without the capital investment of a bar or taproom. 

Falcon's Beer Distribution Fulfillment Flyer

Although the DtC beer shipping market is still greatly restricted, it represents a virtually untapped field by many craft brew makers. From our distribution center in Kentucky, we can help launch your DtC beer shipping model and satisfy your fans across the U.S. If you want to find out more about how get in touch with Falcon today.

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basics of standard shipping

Shipping 101: The Basics of Standard Shipping

The Basics of Standard Shipping

If you are an eCommerce retailer, you are keenly aware of the need to provide reliable delivery options to customers. Shoppers expect a variety of delivery options at the checkout. Shipping, while an essential requirement, can be overwhelming. One of the most popular and reliable options remains standard shipping. This article will share the basics of standard shipping, delivery times, cost factors, and improving your shipping experience.

What is Standard Shipping?

Standard shipping is regular shipping, typically the most economical parcel delivery option. It’s commonly called ground, economy, or regular shipping. Standard shipping is the lowest level of shipping typically offered at checkout. It doesn’t include overnight, 2-day, express, or special modifications. Standard shipping is the minimum expected delivery option in eCommerce. It isn’t fast, but it gets the job done.

standard shipping timelineHow long does standard shipping take?

Several factors contribute to how long a package will take to deliver using standard shipping. 

  • Distance the shipment travels
  • Processing time cut-offs 
  • Standard shipping timeline for the individual carrier 

The typical timeframe for a package delivered via standard or ground is 1-5 business days within the continental United States. Conversely, a Hawaiian customer ordering a product from Maine will experience a longer delivery timeline.

What factors contribute to shipping costs?

Similar to determining the time a package takes to be delivered, many factors contribute to the cost. The distance from the warehouse or store to the final destination will be a significant cost factor. Typically, prices are relatively stable within the continental US. Those costs will be slightly higher if you add Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska. International is an entirely different beast. Other factors that significantly impact the price are the package dimensions and weight. Most major parcel carriers now offer standard-size boxes and maximum weights for a flat rate. This is useful for smaller eCommerce businesses that don’t care about a branded unboxing experience. The carrier will also make a difference in the cost of standard shipping. The graph below compares standard shipping for the largest parcel delivery companies in the continental US.

Standard Shipping Carriers ComparisonWays to improve the standard shipping experience.

According to a study done by Accenture, effective and dependable delivery options are a priority for eCommerce brands to remain competitive. Brands that want to maintain and grow their market share will not only need to provide reliable shipping but will also need to diversify their offerings. A few ways to improve the standard shipping experience include:

Proactive delivery communication.

Giving consumers a delivery window is no longer enough to satisfy customer expectations. They want consistent post-purchase communications to plan and prepare to receive their order. This includes tracking information, delay updates when necessary, and even notifying the consumers when a package is out for delivery. Suppose your parcel delivery company can provide consumers with a preferred delivery window that can be game-changing. This is especially true for large parcel deliveries and those requiring an adult signature. This level of proactive communication improves the standard shipping experience greatly.

Upgrades and delivery alternatives

66% of consumers choose retailers based on the number of delivery options available at checkout. Offering 2-day shipping, expedited, or delivery alternatives must be available to stay competitive. Alternative options to standard shipping that won’t dramatically raise the shipping costs include; BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In-Store), Curbside, and local delivery or locker systems. If you run a brick-and-mortar store, these alternatives can improve customer satisfaction without negatively affecting the bottom line. 


Managing the logistics of shipping can become overwhelming quickly. Typically, eCommerce brands use at least three parcel carriers to mitigate the risk of lost packages and delays stemming from single carrier usage. Partnering with a 3PL is an excellent way to scale your standard shipping options. 3PL partners, like Falcon Fulfillment, are experts in fulfillment, delivery, and shipping best practices. They can help your eCommerce brand not just get a package delivered but ensure your growing consumer expectations are not just met but exceeded. Want to go beyond the basics of standard shipping? Get in touch with one of our specialists today. 

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