As your eCommerce business expands, your 3PL should grow with you and eliminate the heavy burden of shipping and fulfillment. Unfortunately, many online retailers have experienced nightmares when partnering with an unreliable shipping partner. While their relationships may have started out strong, they quickly caused endless logistics issues. Here are five common problems retailers experience with bad shipping companies and signs you should look out for with your own partners.

Damaged Products

“75% of the packages my 3PL sent were damaged and very poorly packed.” – Retailer

When choosing a professionals logistics company, you expect that your merchandise will be handled with care. However, this is not the case for many eCommerce retailers working with the wrong partner. Damaged products are a huge red flag. If not resolved quickly, it may cost your business thousands of dollars to replace these items. Don’t be held back by an unreliable partner. If your customers are receiving damaged products and your shipping company is not properly packaging and securing your orders, it’s time to break up your 3PL!

Lost Merchandise

“My 3PL simply lost products worth over $1,000 and then still charged me a storage fee.” – Retailer

As an eCommerce business owner, every piece of product matters. Your 3PL should be able to accurately track every item that comes in and out of their warehouses. Lost merchandise can set your business back days and dollars and result in very unhappy customers. Losing your incoming or outgoing orders is another red flag that you’re working with the wrong shipping company.

Late Deliveries

“Our 3PL made us miss our Black Friday and Cyber Monday deadlines.” – Retailer

Late deliveries are not just unpleasant for customers, but they are a nightmare for online retailers. As a business owner, you work hard to ensure your customers have a smooth shopping experience. Your 3PL should also be supporting this by adhering to all of your deadlines, especially those during the holidays. If your shipping partner can’t keep up with your growing business and is affecting the success of your sales, it’s time to switch 3PLs.

Mixed Up Orders

“Their mistakes cost me $1,800 worth of product.” – Retailer

We’ve all experienced the annoyance of receiving the wrong order. It feels like the store we shopped from didn’t pay enough attention to our requests. When your customers receive the wrong orders, especially if they are from a completely different company, it could impact their loyalty to your business. It’s crucial that your shipping partner can ensure that 100% of your orders are accurate and delivered to the correct person. Continuous mistakes like these negatively impact your business.

Unreachable By Phone or Email

“It took nearly a month to get a hold of someone and resolve our 3PL’s mistake.”

Although eCommerce fulfillment errors do happen from time to time, it’s important that your shipping partner is available to quickly remedy the mistake. Unfortunately, some 3PLs providers are unavailable to their clients. Their terrible customer service puts sellers in difficult positions. The longer it takes to resolve issues for online shoppers, the more likely it is they will cancel future orders. Ensure the shipping company you partner with has a client services team readily available to support all of your business’s needs. No retailer wants to deal with shipping and fulfillment issues as a result of an incompetent 3PL. It’s important to choose the right shipping partner that can meet all of your needs now and can grow with you in the future

This guest blog post was provided by Jason Chan at Rakuten Super Logistics, an eCommerce order fulfillment service and freight brokerage company. Rakuten Super Logistics has a network of 15 US fulfillment centers. To get more information on how Rakuten Super Logistics can help your business, contact them at