TikTok isn't just for dance challenges and viral trends anymore. With over 1 billion users worldwide, people of all ages are now using the app, and it's quickly becoming a bustling marketplace where sellers can reach millions of potential customers. In fact, TikTok users are 1.5x more likely to buy something they discovered on the app than any other social media platform.
At Delta Fulfilment, we've seen firsthand how TikTok Shop is changing the game for online sellers. But with great opportunity comes great responsibility, especially when it comes to shipping and handling. That's where a reliable 3PL partner comes in handy.
What is a 3PL?
Third-party logistic companies, or 3PLs, take care of all the logistics for you, from storing your products in a warehouse to packing and shipping them out to customers. Essentially, a 3PL acts as the middleman between you and your customers, ensuring that orders are fulfilled accurately and on time.
As any eCommerce business owner knows all too well, speed and efficiency rule over everything else. Customers expect their orders to arrive quickly and without any issues. A 3PL can help you meet these expectations by streamlining your supply chain. They use technology to track inventory levels, manage orders, and even handle product returns, making the entire process smoother for both you and your customers.
Why TikTok Sellers Need 3PL
TikTok is a unique platform that offers a different set of challenges and opportunities compared to traditional eCommerce sites. The fast-paced nature of TikTok means trends can change in the blink of an eye, and as a seller on the platform, you need to be able to adapt quickly. Working with a 3PL can help you do just that and let you focus on creating content and products without the added pressure.
For example, say a video of one of your products goes viral on TikTok. You could suddenly find yourself with hundreds or even thousands of orders to fulfil. A 3PL can scale with you, ensuring that you can meet this sudden demand without compromising on quality, speed or customer satisfaction levels.
For TikTok Shop owners, these are the key benefits you get when working with a 3PL to support your business.
Professional Packing & Shipping
Shipping is often the first physical touchpoint between your business and the customer. A smooth, hassle-free shipping experience can leave a lasting impression and encourage repeat business. Alternatively, a poor shipping experience can turn customers away for good. Not to mention, the negative reviews can have a knock-on effect on new customers to your TikTok shop.
A 3PL ensures that the shipping process is as smooth as possible for your customers, helping you to meet delivery deadlines and stay on top of order fulfilment. A lot of brands feel nervous about outsourcing this, especially if they started their TikTok Shop from home, but if you want to scale your business and be prepared for viral success, you can’t do it all alone.
At Delta Fulfilment, we offer branded packaging and custom inserts as part of our order fulfilment solutions to help meet this need, adding a personal touch to each order with on-brand unboxing experiences for your customers.
Prep for Sales Spikes
Being prepared for sales spikes that come from viral videos is essential for maximising sales on TikTok shops. A reliable 3PL should act as your safety net to handle this increased volume of orders, ensuring that even when things go crazy, your orders are processed and shipped accurately and on time.
They can also help oversee inventory management to alert you when stocks are low so you can place orders for any goods you need to avoid out-of-stock products stopping your success in its tracks.
This ability to scale when needed is not only ideal for TikTok Shop owners experiencing a viral video but also for when they’re ready to scale operations to meet consistently higher demands.
Fast & Cost-Effective Shipping
Fast shipping isn't just a nice-to-have feature for TikTok shop owners; it's a must. And with the high competition on TikTok Shop, you need to make sure you can offer fast shipping options without tearing down your profit margins. Ideally, your 3PL should offer a range of shipping options to meet customer expectations and fit within your budget.
At Delta Fulfilment, we have a network of couriers we work with to ensure our customers get the most cost-effective shipping options without being tied to a specific courier. For TikTok Shop owners who are used to being at the mercy of one or two local courier options, this is a game-changer!
Must-Have Features in a 3PL Partner for TikTok Sellers
Choosing a 3PL is a big decision, and you'll want to make sure you pick one that offers all the features you need. From inventory management to cost-effective courier solutions and done-for-you returns management, these are the must-have features you should look for when choosing a 3PL partner for your TikTok Shop business.
On a platform where one of your videos can unexpectedly go viral overnight, you need to know how much stock you have at all times to avoid overselling or running out of popular items. A good 3PL partner should offer real-time inventory tracking so you can keep an eye on your stock levels and even set up stock alerts for when levels are running low.
Nobody likes dealing with product returns. They’re time-intensive and admin-heavy, which takes time away from profitable tasks you could be actioning in your business. Your dream 3PL partner should handle product returns as part of their service for you, including inspecting returned items and restocking them if they're in good condition.
Integration with TikTok Shop
Your 3PL should easily integrate with your TikTok Shop. This means that orders, inventory levels, and shipping details should sync automatically between your 3PLs systems and your TikTok Shop. This saves you time and reduces the risk of errors. At Delta Fulfilment, our systems integrate with TikTok Shop so we receive our client’s orders to our warehouses as soon as they’re placed. This makes it a hands-off process for our clients and means we can start fulfilling their customer’s orders right away.
Word of mouth is still one of the most reliable ways to gauge the quality of a service. When researching 3PL partners, look for client reviews or case studies that can give you an idea of what it's like to work with them. Checking out their social media platforms is also a good way to gauge this. You can also ask them for references from other TikTok Sellers they work with.
Green Shipping Methods
Offering eco-friendly shipping and packaging can make your TikTok Shop stand out and attract more customers who share these values. So these features not only help the planet but can also be a selling point for your TikTok Shop. When it comes to choosing a 3PL partner, their sustainable order fulfilment solutions could include paperless operations, using couriers with electric vehicles or using sustainable packaging materials.
Most TikTok sellers don’t consider that but insurance is another important factor to consider in your e-commerce business. A great 3PL partner should have insurance to cover any damage or loss of your products while they're in the warehouse or in transit. Make sure you check what their insurance covers and whether you need to take out additional coverage for your specific products to save yourself a headache later down the line.
Why Your 3PLs Location Matters
TikTok is a global platform, which means your TikTok Shop has the potential to reach customers all over the world. So, you need to choose a 3PL provider who can supply global order fulfilment for your business to streamline operations, costs and admin, particularly in these two areas:
Customs and Duties
When you're shipping products across borders, you and your customers may need to deal with customs and duties. These are taxes and fees that vary by country and product type, and they can get incredibly confusing to keep on top of. Your 3PL will help you with these, ensuring that your customer’s orders clear customs quickly and without any issues.
The closer a 3PL warehouse is to your customer base, the faster customers receive their orders. If you're shipping products worldwide, a 3PL with warehouses in multiple countries can help you save on shipping costs and reduce delivery times. This doesn’t mean they need a warehouse in every country. A strategically placed network of warehouses can significantly reduce shipping timelines and cover all your bases when it comes to global customer bases.
As an extra touch, your 3PL should also offer tracking so customers can follow their order's journey and know when to expect it, freeing up your DMs from customers asking for order updates.
Choosing Your 3PL Partner
Choosing the right 3PL can make a world of difference in your TikTok Shop success. From handling the nitty-gritty details of shipping and returns to helping you scale during viral success, a good 3PL is an invaluable partner for your business.
Before you sign on the dotted line with a 3PL partner, make sure you’re happy that they:
- Fit within your budget and have no hidden costs
- Leverage technology to improve operations
- Have a good reputation
- Have clearly outlined their terms
- Can scale quickly and efficiently with your brand
- Have warehouses to accommodate fast global shipping
You may want to add a few more things to this list that we’ve mentioned in this guide, but these are what we consider the bare minimum essentials for TikTok Shop owners looking to outsource their order fulfilment.
If you're looking for a UK-based order fulfilment partner with warehouses to accommodate global shipping, contact our friendly team at Delta Fulfilment to discuss how we can become your TikTok Shop’s secret weapon to success!
Dani Mechlowitz is the Founder & Managing Director of Delta Fulfilment. When you're ready to expand into new markets, Dani and the Delta Fulfilment team are here to help guide you every step of the way. Request your quote today for UK and EU fulfilment solutions.