As we all know, growing our online store brings us great opportunities, but it can also come with a few challenges attached.

When trying to expand a new dropshipping business, we all can face some difficulties—handling shipping, storing, and getting orders to our customers are just some of them. Managing marketing, creating products, and building relationships can be challenging when we’re busy sorting out shipping deals or handling problems.

Well, the good news is, as the world of online selling keeps growing fast, so does something called 3PL (third-party logistics), expected to hit $1.59 trillion by 2028.

There’s a good reason why 3PL services are super popular in online selling, no matter what kind of stuff we sell. We’re talking about companies that are experts in shipping and handling, store our goods in their warehouses, and then pack and send them to our customers. That’s actually a great deal of a problem solved.

If you feel ready to team up with a 3PL for the first time, here’s what you should know before picking the perfect one.

Key Takeaways

Understand 3PL as a shipping helper for online stores, managing storage and sending goods to customers.

Pick 3PL services that match your business needs, considering their delivery speed and distance to customers.

Save Time and Money: 3PL companies handle packing and shipping, letting us focus on growing the business.

Keep in mind there are three different 3PL service types that fit different needs: warehouses, shipping, and full-service options.

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What Is a 3PL Dropshipping Company?

Let’s dive into what these 3PL companies are all about. To explain it easily, 3PL is a method of order fulfillment where an e-commerce website partners with an external fulfillment company to handle warehousing, packaging, and shipping tasks for orders—picture third-party logistics companies as the ultimate helpers in our shipping adventure

You may wonder how they connect to our dropshipping gig. Well, we get to be the creators of our online store, curating and selecting fantastic products, and these 3PL superheroes swoop in to take care of all the nitty-gritty stuff—keeping our products safe, packing them up all neat, and sending them off to our customers. Imagine the peace of mind!

We focus on finding top-notch products while our third-party logistics pals handle the behind-the-scenes action, ensuring our customers receive their orders on time.

Simply put, we’re the captains steering the ship of our online store, while 3PL companies become our reliable crew, managing all the shipping and handling. They’re crucial in our dropshipping journey, ensuring smooth sailing and happy customers receiving their goodies right on time.

How Do 3PL Dropshipping Companies Work?

Third-party logistics companies manage product storage, packing, and shipping for businesses like ours. Imagine them as the expert movers, efficiently handling our inventory in vast warehouses until it’s ready to reach our customers.

Here’s how it works: as sellers, we send our goods to the 3PL warehouse. Upon arrival, the 3PL company takes charge of storing our products securely. When an order comes in, they swing into action, picking the items from their inventory, carefully packing them up, and shipping them off to our awaiting customers. It’s like having a reliable partner handling all the physical aspects of storing and shipping our products, allowing us to focus on other critical aspects of our business.

It’s important to note that this is not the same as dropshipping, although it may initially sound similar. In 3PL, we purchase and store our stock beforehand, meaning we’re investing in inventory even before making sales. However, the fusion of third-party logistics with dropshipping strategies soon demonstrates how these methods can align and complement each other for a successful business approach. We’ll dig deeper into this in the following sections.

Types of 3PL Dropshipping Services

Understanding the different types of 3PL dropshipping services is key to streamlining our e-commerce operations. These services assist in managing various aspects of our business, from storage and shipping to comprehensive logistics solutions. Let’s explore three essential types of third-party logistics services and how they significantly impact our dropshipping operations.

3PL Warehouses

third-party logistics warehouse worker

3PL warehouses are crucial hubs that do more than store items. For example, they can handle shipping and manage returns, and they come in different types. Some offer super quick deliveries in less than two days, while others help businesses reach global customers by creating a wide network.

More centers equal faster deliveries, which is important, especially for speedy shipping promises. That’s why the quantity of distribution centers in a 3PL warehouse is crucial when choosing one. How close these warehouses are to our customers is a big deal, too: The closer they are, the faster our products reach our customers’ doorsteps. Lastly, knowing the last time they fulfill orders in a day is super important. Orders placed after this time might take longer to ship, making our customers less happy.

3PL warehouses use smart systems and teams of skilled workers to organize, pack, and ship everything efficiently. These warehouses are like the heart of our operation, making sure that our goods are stored securely and sent out swiftly when needed.

Shipping 3PL

shipping 3PL

Transportation-based 3PL providers –also known as Shipping 3PL, specialize in moving items from one spot to another. We’re talking about sending products worldwide or even delivering everyday essentials straight to people’s doorsteps.

When we partner with a shipping 3PL, we must communicate the starting and ending points of our goods’ journey and the speed at which we need them moved. Also, we should always ask about their shipping methods, the service quality they provide, and how they calculate charges for handling larger quantities of items.

Lastly, it’s wise to understand the extra costs involved for international shipments to manage expenses effectively. These can be brokerage fees, import and export taxes, and duties. For instance, if we aim to transport electronic gadgets from Asia to Europe, understanding all the fees associated with the process helps us better plan the logistics and financial aspects.

Full-Service Automation Providers

full service 3PL dropshipping

If we’re managing multiple storage spaces across various locations, this is the right provider. Handling international sales can be complex. Recent supply chain issues highlighted the need for immediate inventory visibility at multiple sites.

Knowing our inventory quantity and locations is crucial for efficient operations. Shipping from the closest warehouse to customers significantly cuts shipping costs. Full-service 3PLs are super important, especially when things get tough. These companies have everything needed for quick deliveries. They have many centers all over the country, making sure our stuff gets where it needs to go fast.

Besides fast and cost-effective shipping, they offer:

  • Optimized Inventory: Help locating inventory closer to customers.
  • Fulfillment Control: Customize delivery speed and add marketing inserts. Packaging is included or can be customized.
  • Seamless Integration: Simplified setup and ongoing support for integration.
  • Same-Day Fulfillment: Orders received by a particular time are shipped the same day.

These top-notch services are now accessible and affordable for high-volume brands, making them invaluable partners in business growth.

Why You Should Consider Working With A 3PL Dropshipping Company

Proof is clear: Teaming up with a third-party logistics dropshipping company is a smart move. Now, let’s dive into why working with them can be a game-changer for our business.

  • 3PL Companies Can Save You Money: The truth is that 3PLs can be real money savers. How? Think about it this way: they handle the warehousing, packing, and shipping. Those things save us from investing in our warehouses or hiring extra staff for these tasks. Plus, their expertise in streamlining logistics often leads to reduced shipping costs, especially when they can negotiate better rates due to handling larger volumes of shipments.
  • No More Inventory Issues: Say goodbye to inventory headaches! With third-party logistics, we don’t have to worry about stocking and tracking our inventory constantly. These companies are pros at managing inventory levels. They keep a close eye on stock, letting us know when it’s time to reorder, preventing us from overstocking or running out of products. This way, we keep a healthy balance in our inventory without stressing over it.
  • You Get More Time to Work On Other Tasks: Working with a 3PL frees up our schedule! When they take over the logistics side, it gives us more time to focus on other essential business aspects. Instead of spending hours managing shipments, we can concentrate on growing our business, enhancing customer experiences, or even exploring new product lines. It’s like having extra hands to manage the tedious tasks.
  • Avoid Delayed Orders: Late shipments? Not anymore! With a 3PL, we significantly reduce the chances of delayed orders. These companies excel in efficient order processing and shipping. They work diligently to ensure orders are picked, packed, and shipped quickly. By meeting shipping deadlines consistently, we keep our customers happy, prevent negative reviews, and build a strong reputation for timely deliveries.

AutoDS – The Best 3PL Dropshipping Tool 

autods marketplace platform

At AutoDS, we offer the perfect dropshipping solution for automating your product management, monitoring prices, and fulfilling orders. But did you know AutoDS is more than just a regular dropshipping tool? It’s also an outstanding third-party logistics solution.

Our AutoDS Warehouse, based in China, works as our hub, storing thousands of carefully chosen products. Continuously updated, it remains the cornerstone for your thriving dropshipping business. It houses our selected products and showcases items from private suppliers partnered with AutoDS, ensuring an ever-expanding and unique inventory for your business.

The AutoDS Warehouse boasts speedy shipping, surpassing the conventional AliExpress shipping times. We aim to make companies grow by accelerating shipping processes, ensuring faster deliveries, boosting satisfaction, and elevating your business’s reputation.

Collaborating with AutoDS suppliers offers a multitude of perks. You can access various unique, high-quality products, often coupled with exclusive discounts tailored for AutoDS dropshippers. With opportunities to brand packaging with your logo, you can establish your brand identity, increasing customer trust. Additionally, streamlined payment processes and rapid shipping timelines enhance your dropshipping experience, ensuring efficiency and ease.

How To Start 3PL Dropshipping

Starting 3PL dropshipping with AutoDS is straightforward. Follow these simple steps to connect, set up, and activate your dropshipping store with our efficient third-party logistics solution.

  1. Sign up to AutoDS: To begin, sign up for an account on AutoDS—it’s free and easy to get started. Enter your details and create an account to access our platform.
  2. Connect your dropshipping store: After signing up, link your dropshipping store with AutoDS. Our platform supports several e-commerce platforms like eBay, Shopify, and more.
  3. Filter by AutoDS Suppliers: Navigate to the AutoDS Product Research Marketplace and filter your search to view products exclusively from our trusted AutoDS suppliers.
  4. Add products from the AutoDS Marketplace: Explore the catalog provided by the AutoDS Marketplace. Browse and select products that align with your business niche and customer preferences, provided by private and retail dropshipping suppliers.
  5. Activate order automation: Activate the order automation feature within AutoDS. This ensures that once an order is placed in your store, the system automatically fulfills the order, streamlining the process.
  6. When an order comes in, it will be fulfilled automatically by the AutoDS 3PL Warehouse! Orders will be seamlessly processed. Enjoy the ease and efficiency of automated order fulfillment, reducing manual effort and improving customer satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use AutoDS As A dropshipping 3PL?

Yes, AutoDS offers a 3PL service for dropshipping, allowing automated order fulfillment through our platform.

Does AutoDS Have A Warehouse Service?

Yes, AutoDS provides a Warehouse service, known as the AutoDS Warehouse, stocked with various products for dropshipping purposes, with the possibility of branding your products or printing on demand.

How Does A 3PL Dropshipping Company Work?

A 3PL dropshipping company manages warehousing, packing, and shipping of products on behalf of online sellers, ensuring efficient order fulfillment and delivery to customers.


Navigating the complexities of online business can be tricky, but embracing third-party logistics services can be a game-changer. At AutoDS, beyond our dropshipping solutions, our AutoDS Warehouse offers lightning-fast shipping and a vast product range for successful dropshipping.

Teaming up with a 3PL company makes operations smoother, saves time, and empowers business growth. With efficient order fulfillment and a reliable partner, success in online business becomes more attainable.

If you want to keep learning about how to take your dropshipping business to the next level, check these articles out: