When you are successful in selling online, most likely your growth will put pressure on your supply chain. Although most warehouses look the same from the outside, 3PL are successful when having similar profiles on one plant.
B2B and B2C sales have different dynamics. This also counts for supply chain. Where B2B can be palletized bulk shipments, B2C requires a completely different flow, including Pick&Pack, labelling, boxing and wrapping. In the case of Purchasing in Asia, your warehouse may need to facilitate bonded warehousing.
A very simple interface can work perfectly when your start. When growing IT is a must have. Connecting your e-Commerce application, Shopify, Magento, Hybris, Sitecore, Salesforce, requires a clear understanding of all the interfaces that need to be build allowing both companies to exchange critical, realtime data.
3PL have great understanding of your business, they deal with exceptions daily. Leveraging their knowledge and experience will help you to grow your business. Proper forecasting is critical for a peak season.
A warehouse partner is part of the total chain, each part has to work optimal. Be mindful that a 3PL and a 4PL have to match your strategy. When it comes to data, consumer services teams will need access to the systems of the 3PL to improve each part continuously. A 3PL has to comply to your overall story.
Although part of the backend processes, a 3PL selection starts with defining the consumer experience you wish to offer. Experience has to meet Expectation. If you wish to sell Same Day shipping, needless to state that your 3PL plus 4PL have to be able to deliver this expectation.
In many cases being close to your consumer does not perse mean that you can deliver the same day. In todays logistics world borders are no showstoppers for same day delivery.