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Streamline Inventory with Shopify 3PL Warehousing!

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Streamline Inventory with Shopify 3PL Warehousing!

As businesses expand, strategic decisions and adjustments become crucial to sustain growth while maintaining a sense of sanity. Partnering with a reliable order fulfillment service can play a transformative role, especially for those utilizing Shopify. Shopify serves as an exceptional platform that enables eCommerce entrepreneurs to run their stores with ease. Moreover, it offers the flexibility to integrate various third-party logistics (3pl) solutions. This is how Shopify 3pl helps in boosting operational efficiency.

Identifying the optimal time to enhance Shopify by integrating additional tools and outsourcing order fulfillment is a common dilemma among entrepreneurs. Often, there comes a point where managing and dispatching orders single-handedly becomes a challenge.

The volume of orders that signify this threshold varies but may range from 10 to 50 new orders per day. At this scale, it becomes challenging for small businesses to handle their order processing tasks effectively.

Understanding 3PL Logistics Providers & Shopify

When managing an eCommerce store on Shopify, there are three primary strategies for logistics:

  • Opting for the Do-It-Yourself approach
  • Collaborating with a Third-Party Logistics Provider
  • Utilizing Dropshipping, which has become a popular option for entrepreneurs wanting to start their businesses without the heavy initial investment of stocking inventory. This model enables the sale of products without having to physically hold the inventory. When a customer places an order, the request is forwarded to a third-party supplier who then directly ships the product to the customer. This method greatly reduces both risk and cost, while opening up numerous opportunities for those looking to enter the e-commerce space.

Choosing the DIY method means taking on the responsibility of reviewing orders, packing items, and managing the shipping process independently.

When opting for a partnership with a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) provider, they take charge of storing, shipping, and tracking orders. A reliable Shopify 3PL partner facilitates a smooth integration with the Shopify account, ensuring an efficient setup.

In the dropshipping scenario, the partnered supplier is responsible for sending products directly to the customers upon receiving orders. Similar to working with a 3PL provider, integrating dropshipping into a Shopify store is crucial for operational efficiency.

Does Shopify Have 3PL Integrations

Shopify offers integrations with Third-Party Logistics (3PL) providers, simplifying operations and enhancing business efficiency. The integration process begins by configuring order fulfillment settings within the Shopify admin dashboard.

This step involves selecting the fulfillment option that aligns with the business’s needs, including in-house (with choices between automatic or manual fulfillment), dropshipping, or opting for third-party logistics (3PL).

Upon choosing a Shopify 3PL provider for order processing, the Shopify account is linked with the 3PL’s system. This integration ensures that orders are quickly forwarded to the 3PL for prompt and efficient processing, while also maintaining transparent inventory statuses for both the business and the 3PL.

Understanding Shopify Order Fulfillment Options & Integrations

As highlighted previously, there are three main options available for fulfilling orders on Shopify.

Certain orders, such as PDFs, can be automatically sent to the customer’s email upon order placement. This feature eliminates the need for additional time to be spent on sending out those digital files.

For Shopify owners, the most commonly used method of order fulfillment is packing and dispatching items to customers personally. This process can be both time-consuming and challenging for many entrepreneurs to maintain consistently.

When utilizing a dropship partner to fulfill orders, this option allows the connection of the Shopify store with the dropshipping platform, enabling the partner to receive alerts about new orders.

Similar to dropshipping, this method involves syncing the Shopify account with third-party logistics (3PL) software, which then allows them to commence handling and fulfilling orders the moment customers place them.

What Is a 3PL Integration for Shopify?

The Shopify 3PL integration is crucial step that enhances various aspects of business operations, making it an indispensable part of achieving efficiency and profitability.

For businesses collaborating with third-party logistics (3PL) fulfillment centers, compatibility is key. It is essential that these centers support:

  • Optimizing Order Management on Shopify: Streamlining order management is central to maintaining operational efficiency.
  • Inventory Management Accuracy: Ensuring inventory accuracy is fundamental. Maintaining exact stock levels prevents overstocking or understocking, directly influencing the business’s efficiency and profitability. An effective inventory management system acts as the backbone of a streamlined supply chain.
  • Integration with Order Processing Software: The partnership’s effectiveness is enhanced by software used for order processing, tracking, or other relevant operations.
  • Warehouse Management System Compatibility: For businesses with an existing system, compatibility is crucial, though many 3PL providers offer their warehouse management systems (WMS) to meet inventory needs.

Several third-party logistics providers have the capability to integrate smoothly with Shopify, supporting tasks like updating order statuses, managing refunds, or overseeing inventory counts. This integration plays a significant role in driving business growth, increasing eCommerce sales, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

3PL Process Flow

Entrusting inventory to an external party for the first time can cause apprehension among online sellers due to concerns about losing control or visibility over their stock.

However, by partnering with the right third-party logistics (3PL) collaborator, businesses are provided with additional resources and insights into their operations. The process of working with a 3PL transforms the relationship into a partnership, where supply chain challenges are addressed collaboratively.

This encompasses precise inventory control, swift order processing, and ultimately leads to customer satisfaction and repeat business.

The key stages of the 3PL process include:

  • The inventory leaving the business or manufacturer’s premises and arriving at the 3PL warehouse, logistics experts manage its reception. This involves entering the data into the warehouse management system to keep accurate records of received items.
  • After detailed entry, items are organized on designated shelves, bins, or pallets specifically allocated for the business’s stock. Proper organization ensures smooth progression through subsequent stages.
  • When an order is placed, the Shopify 3PL warehouse, through seamless integration with Shopify software, quickly prints the packing slip and gathers the items from the organized stock areas.
  • After collection, careful packaging of orders is carried out. Businesses have the option to use custom-designed packaging materials like boxes, envelopes, or tape to enhance brand recognition from the moment customers receive their package.
  • Prepared orders are then labeled for shipping and moved to a designated area for pickup by the delivery service. Partnering with a 3PL can also provide a range of shipping carrier options due to their established relationships.

Returns are an inevitable part of business. Third-party logistics providers offer return management services customized for Shopify stores, handling all aspects of the process to alleviate stress for business owners.

Benefits of Shopify 3PL Partnerships

When exploring the option of partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to manage some of their operational tasks, Shopify store owners may uncover a range of benefits that exceed their initial expectations.

There are several key advantages to adopting a 3PL order fulfillment strategy:

  1. With the use of advanced technology and efficient processes, 3PLs ensure accurate inventory tracking and stocking levels, preventing the uncomfortable situation of having to inform customers that an item they purchased is out of stock.
  2. Shopify 3PL providers can help forecast future sales spikes, allowing businesses to stock up on additional inventory in advance and avoid any delays in order processing.
  3. The main reason for online businesses to partner with 3PLs is for order fulfillment. These logistics partners are skilled in quickly and accurately managing the picking and packing of customer orders as they come in, reducing processing times and maintaining precision in order fulfillment.
  4. Businesses also have the opportunity to access additional shipping services, including expedited delivery and international shipping options.
  5. For businesses confronting issues with storage space and considering investing in additional warehouse capacity, partnering with a 3PL can offer a solution. Shopify 3PLs provide inventory warehousing as a key service, offering enough space to store goods until they are ready to be shipped to customers.
  6. A Shopify 3PL’s warehouse management system helps maintain accurate inventory counts and organization, while also delivering valuable insights into business data.
  7. Partnering with a 3PL eliminates the clutter of boxes and envelopes in the workplace and the stress of running out of packaging supplies before a surge in holiday orders. Shopify 3PLs ensure the availability of appropriate packaging sizes and types, along with the necessary packing materials, to protect products during transport.
  8. 3PL providers often negotiate deals with shipping carriers to obtain reduced rates and discounts. Companies such as UPS, FedEx, USPS, and DHL work with Shopify 3PLs to offer them bulk pricing for both domestic and international shipments, including overnight and expedited shipping options.


Q1: What is 3PL and what role does it play in shipping?

3PL, or Third-Party Logistics, is a comprehensive service that manages the shipping process from start to finish. It encompasses the reception of orders at their facilities and guarantees the timely and accurate delivery of products to customers, covering all shipping-related tasks.

Q2: How does Shopify integrate with 3PL services?

Shopify facilitates smooth integration with a wide array of 3PL services. This integration can be accomplished directly through the Shopify site or by using an API, which enables external software systems to efficiently access order information.

Q3: Why is integrating a 3PL service with Shopify beneficial for a business?

A Shopify 3PL integration empowers businesses to outsource product processing and shipping tasks. This move entrusts products to seasoned shipping professionals, which can result in considerable savings on shipping and labor expenses.

Q4: What is the difference between 3PLs and dropshipping?

The primary difference revolves around the fulfillment model. Dropshipping involves manufacturers or distributors shipping products directly to customers upon each order. On the other hand, partnering with a Shopify 3PL provider means engaging with logistics specialists who are responsible for securely packaging and quickly dispatching orders, thereby ensuring a seamless delivery experience.

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By Abhishek Sebin profile image Abhishek Sebin
Updated on
shopify 3pl ecommerce fulfillment logistics integration