Choosing a 3PL Partner – Factors to Consider

For e-commerce business owners, fulfilling orders in-house might be feasible for a short time. As sales increase and warehouse space become sparse, it might be time to outsource fulfillment. Choosing the right 3PL partner for your fulfillment needs can help your business become more strategic, increase customer satisfaction, and scale. Here’s what you need to understand about choosing a 3PL partner and factors to consider.

Questions to Ask and Answer Before Choosing a 3PL Partner

choosing a 3PL parter
  1. What are your company’s shipping and packaging priorities?
  2. What are your company’s marketing priorities?
  3. How will these priorities change over the next 3-5 years?
  4. What is the projected growth you expect over the next year or two?
  5. What qualities do you expect your 3PL partner to have?
  6. What services do you want your fulfillment partner to offer?
  7. Is sustainability important?
  8. How communicative do you want your 3PL partner to be in the relationship?
  9. Do you want your fulfillment team to handle returns and restocking?
  10. Where are the majority of your customers? Countries, regions, towns, etc.
  11. Is offering free shipping to your customers a priority?

11 Factors to Consider When Choosing a 3PL Partner

choosing a 3PL parter


Almost every 3PL company will provide an expanded network of transportation carriers, warehousing, and expertise in the logistics industry. These are the foundational requirements. Therefore to understand which 3PL partner will work best with your company, you need to understand what other services they provide. For example, can they help you with kitting, pick and pack, and returns management? Selecting a 3PL provider that can offer various services will help you offload more logistics management as you grow.


Don’t go with a newbie. Fulfillment companies popped up like dandelions during the COVID-19 pandemic and have subsequently withered just as fast. Choose a 3PL partner with an established track record for superior service and exceeding industry service standards. The supply chain continues to fluctuate rapidly. Selecting an experienced and stable 3PL partner can help you preempt shifts in the supply to ensure minimal disruptions to your business operations and inventory.

Reputation & Reviews

3PL partners that go above and beyond to care for their customers, carriers, staff, and vendors will have a solid reputation in the industry. Fulfillment companies leverage their relationships in transportation, manufacturing, and marketing to help their clients. Trust reviews from multiple sources to determine what you can expect working with them.

Safety & Security

Amazon lawsuits are multiplying daily from accounts of negligence and safety concerns. While no warehouse is perfect, it’s vital to ensure your 3PL partner is demonstrating a high level of safety for staff and products. Look for providers that have PCI certification and a HAZMAT shipping certification. Furthermore, they should safeguard financial information.

Customer Service

Excellent customer service is a vital part of running a successful business. When customers have a good experience with your company, they share it with others. 3PL companies that exhibit excellent customer service respond quickly to requests, provide clear and helpful communication, are adequately trained, speak with customers directly, and are present in the warehouse. When choosing a 3PL partner, evaluating their customer service offering and quality is crucial.


One of the benefits of partnering with a 3PL is the ability to scale your business. The partnership allows you immediate access to flexible storage space, expertly trained fulfillment staff, and a broad network of transportation carriers. Most 3PL companies offer some level of scalability for your business. However, not all 3PLs are created equal. You don’t want to discover after you have onboarded that your plans to 10x are impossible. Ensure your fulfillment partner can provide storage, shipping, and fulfillment solutions for your business today and in the future.


Inaccurate data, inventory, or tracking details can affect your bottom line and customer satisfaction. A solid 3PL partner will have a 99% or higher accuracy rate. This is the industry standard, so anything below that is a red flag. Most 3PL companies utilize high-tech inventory management systems and real-time tracking and delivery programs. This reduces human error and increases insight.


One of the main complaints of customers about 3PL partners is the need for more responsiveness. In general many fulfillment companies don’t have the human resources to provide a dedicated account manager. They correspond with customers “when they can.” With Falcon Fulfillment, you always have a dedicated account manager. This has enabled our customers to get the answers they need to make crucial business decisions and keep their clients happy. Ensure you are satisfied with the level and consistency of communication your 3PL offers.

Omnichannel Expertise

Retailers who desire to meet and exceed customer expectations strategically offer an omnichannel experience. Find a 3PL provider that has expertise in streamlining sales, inventory management, and fulfillment across all platforms. They can make recommendations to expand your sales funnel without jeopardizing brand continuity or diminishing customer service.

Multi-site Distribution

Unless you sell to customers in a single location, having a 3PL partner with multi-site distribution centers is a significant benefit. This significantly allows you to offer your customers lower shipping costs and faster delivery. Multi-site distribution is essential when competing with the “Prime Effect,” of lightning-fast fulfillment.

Compatible Technology

Every 3PL partner will have slightly different integrations that are turnkey. Select a fulfillment company that already has compatibility with your systems or is willing to customize integrations. Disjointed systems are one of the significant causes of frustration and miscommunications in logistics and shipping so discuss this issue early in conversations. Here is a short list of the integrations Falcon currently offers:

  • Shopify
  • ShipStation
  • WooCommerce
  • Infusionsoft
  • ClickBank
  • OrderBot
  • Click Funnels
  • Zapier

In addition, our Shipstation partnership allows us to integrate with more e-commerce shopping carts like:

  • Amazon UK, Canada, Mexico, USA
  • UltraCart
  • eBay
  • Walmart
  • and more

Lastly, Falcon Fulfillment offers our API, allowing seamless custom integrations.

Beginner’s Guide to Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

The world of e-commerce is always changing, therefore understanding the roll of Third-Party Logistics is integral to keeping up. In light of this our beginner’s guide to third-party logistics (3PL) will delve into the essential aspects, offering insights into fulfillment services, warehousing, and much more.

Read More…

Selecting a 3PL partner doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does require strategy and intentional investigation. When choosing a 3PL partner, consider these factors to ensure a good fit. In short, remember that your fulfillment team is an extension of your business and should exhibit similar cultures, values, and quality. Cost is a driving factor, but it shouldn’t be the only factor.

If you want to learn more about the Falcon Difference, contact one of our specialists today.

Let’s Talk!

Connect with us!