X icon: Close window symbol .
Get a quote

Looking for pricing?
A team member will be in touch to build a personalized quote.

Thank you! You’ll receive an email with your promotion credit soon.
Thank you! You’ll receive an email with your promotion credit soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
All Blogs
3PL Fulfillment for Shopify: 9 Alternatives with Comparison (2023)

3PL Fulfillment for Shopify: 9 Alternatives with Comparison (2023)

December 21, 2022
Posted By
Austin Kreinz
Title asset to the "Summer Shipping" blog post from Atomix Logistics. A small green 3D truck with a small sun floating above it portrays the hot summer sun during order transport. KW: Ecommerce, 3PL, order fulfillment, fulfillment center, summer order fulfillment, new orders, new customer, temperature, protection, packaging, eco-friendly, sustainability

If you are on the hunt for finding the right fulfillment partner, you’ve come to the right place. Further, if you’ve already begun the search, you’ve probably seen the overwhelming amount of 3PL options.

But good news - most 3PLs share similar attributes and can be broken down into 3 types. We’ll break down the most important questions, features and benefits to help streamline the process of the most important question - 

How do you find the right 3PL for your brand's needs? 

That takes a deeply intimate level of understanding your business’ needs, and making sure your ideal fulfillment partner aligns with your brand’s core values.

There’s a reason why high-growth brands outsource fulfillment and other business functions as displayed and executed by PrettyLitter's 9-Figure Exit: Case Study.

While it sounds easy to hire a fulfillment partner with a big name and tons of outreach, how can a business owner be sure they will receive the same treatment as a multi-million dollar brand? In short - they simply cannot (as Adam, a Founder of a 7-Figure Supplements Brand, shares his unspectacular experience here with Ship-).

Large 3PLs like ShipMonk and ShipHero, or 4PLs like Deliverr and Flow Space, all have massive reach with billions of dollars of investment capital and/or outsource warehouse operations to a a different 3rd-Party. Unless you are a 100 million+ brand, we’ve heard and seen first hand how easy it can be to get “lost in the shuffle” amongst the big fish of the ecommerce world. For this reason alone - many of the fastest-growing emerging consumer goods and shopify brands are opting to use small, boutique 3PLs with more specialized services like Atomix

Tabble of Contents:

  • What makes Atomix “unique”?
  • A 3PL for ecommerce owners
  • Exceptional Communication
  • Personalized Accommodations
  • Technology Driven
  • Alternatives
  • Additional perks with Atomix

What makes Atomix “unique"?

Atomix continues to come out on top of US-based fulfillment companies with over 100+ DTC & CPG customers that fulfill omnichannel orders from Shopify direct-to-consumer to local retailers, big-box retailers w/EDI and Faire. They’ve successfully carved out a niche in the ecommerce industry as a leading 3PL in customer obsession with their unique micro-warehousing model where brands can speak with on-floor managers and receive responses in under 15 minutes.

We’ve talked about what to look for in an ideal 3PL partner, but what is it exactly that makes Atomix unique? What are other 3PL fulfillment and warehousing solutions? What types of questions should a brand ask and attributes to look for? How does Atomix make commitments to you (the architects and leaders of your businesses)?

Well - we did some introspection, and wanted to share how we are dedicated to growing your brand with a unique approach!

Gone are the days of the “one-size-fits-all” approach to fulfillment partnerships, the world of ecommerce is simply too diverse to rely on such a dated philosophy involving order minimums (looking at you, Ship-insert name). 

Understanding that every business has its own set of expectations and practices is the pinnacle of our success.Traditional 3PLs offer storing, packing, and shipping - while Atomix also offers the following services to any clients who may need them: 

A 3PL for Ecommerce Owners

Similar to other modern and growing business, we not only state in our mission we are obsessed with our customers, but live this daily with our clients and team. But, who exactly are our customers in the grand scheme of things? 

For most larger 3PLs (ShipBob, ShipMonk, etc.), their main customers are the larger, enterprise accounts that can meet their growth targets to hit their next funding round. After all, our customers have been told “$20,000 isn’t a big deal,” which may be true for venture-backed business that has raised $300 million+ but most likely not shared by early-stage consumer brands.

At Atomix, we believe that maintaining healthy relationships with business partners is essential. But at the end of the day, your 3PL must function as an extension of your ecommerce brand, not just a business partner. 

The success of your ecommerce business is not only measured by the amount of items sold, but also by the positive experiences you provide your customers. It’s well understood by our team that the customer experience is primarily led by the unboxing experience - anything that hinders that experience reflects negatively on the brand themselves. 

So, to facilitate harmony between your ecommerce business and customers - our #1 priority is to learn your brand standards, implement SOPs and enforce them throughout the order fulfillment process. Not to mention, barcoding every item and providing in our SLA 100% order accuracy (which must be nice!). Thus, creating a smooth and stress-free shopping experience for your customers helps build stronger relationships between an owner and their clientele, leading to increased customer loyalty, higher LTV, and ultimately - higher revenue.

P.S. If you don’t know where to begin with finding a 3PL and you’re more comfortable with speaking with a 3rd Party Matchmaker for DTC & CPG Brands, reach out to the Fulfill.com team here.

Exceptional Communication

A core pillar of Atomix’s belief system is transparent, direct, and deliberate communication. You might be saying “okay, transparent and direct I’ve heard before..but isn't all communication deliberate?”  Well, yes - but we don’t simply aim to meet communication quotas based on company policies. 

We’re here to be your “friendly neighborhood 3PL;” learning the ins and outs behind every aspect of you and your business to optimize for the best possible growth. To ensure we stand by our clients, we implement the following communication strategies:

  • Dedicated Account Manager
  • Dedicated Warehouse/Pod Manager
  • Personal Slack channel with the aforementioned team members
  • SLA including 15 minute response times

Now, these bullet points are not a “quota” or “policy;” they are a framework on which we built our CX team. Because we are considered a boutique startup 3PL; our Account Managers are able to establish much more intimate relationships with our clients. 

Some of our clients have 15+ Dedicated Slack Channels - from urgent tasks to billing and returns. Not only does this directly integrate your existing communication stack, it makes the process organized and efficient so you have insight and a hands-off approach with operations.

As opposed to 3PLs like ShipHero and ShipBob, you will never need to worry about sending another email into the void with Atomix. Our team goes above and beyond typical expectations by providing insights for your future business plans - we’re here not only to handle order fulfillment, but to build your business alongside your fulfillment team! 

Personalized Accommodations

As we mentioned earlier; we strive to function as an extension of your business. To us - that means that the “static pricing model” goes out the window, replaced by a completely personalized service proposal for each of our clients. The a la carte model only works with a powerful system that accurately checks and catches pricing errors (as opposed to $1,000+ billing errors we’ve seen other places!)

During the onboarding process, our team listens closely and learns about your business, carefully crafting the best “bang-for-your-buck” solution to maximize your growth potential. This ensures each of our partners only pay for the services they need, and can scale their operations up or down as their business needs change.

Technology Driven

In today’s competitive ecommerce marketplace, we understand that you value technology and innovation as much as we do. Much of the current market in the 3PL space relies on off-the-shelf SaaS platforms to manage their inventory and order management, however we’ve found that existing solutions simply don’t cut it for our business model. So what did we do? We went and built our own!

As a startup 3PL, we have the flexibility to innovate and develop cutting-edge solutions tailored to your specific needs. This sets us apart from larger, more traditional 3PLs like ShipBob and ShipMonk, who often rely on existing software solutions that may not be as customizable or adaptable to the unique needs of your ecommerce business.

With features such as real-time inventory management, automated order fulfillment, and comprehensive reporting - our platform provides business owners with the tools they need for success. Using the latest technology, we streamline fulfillment processes and improve overall performance, delivering a more fulfilling (haha - get it?) experience for your customers. 


Small/Regional 3PLs

Using a small, “mom-and-pop” 3PL can offer several benefits for small ecommerce businesses. With a more personalized approach to customer service, they can provide tailored services to match your business needs (a lot like us!). Depending on relative location, these 3PLs can also be a more cost-effective solution than larger 3PLs, as they tend to have lower overhead costs and may be willing to negotiate pricing. 

However, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks of using small 3PLs as well. Because they are also a small business, a mom-and-pop 3PL may have limited resources and capacity, which can be detrimental to their ability to scale with your brand as you grow. Due to smaller networks, they may also have a more limited geographic reach, further limiting your brand’s potential to expand to new markets. 

Additionally, small 3PLs rely on external Warehouse Management Systems. At Atomix, when we first started we relied on these and had rough experience due to the limitations of the functionality and customization. We took it upon ourselves to build a Warehouse, Inventory and Order Management System from scratch by eCommerce founders for eCommerce founders. The enhanced user interface is built with DTC and CPG Brands in mind and similar to Shopify. Here’s a 5-minute video to learn more about it!

Venture-Capital Backed 3PLs

In recent years, the “big guns” of 3PL fulfillment have become increasingly popular. VC-backed fulfillment partners like ShipHero and ShipMonk offer a massive range of services and solutions to help your growing ecommerce businesses, and their sheer size enables them to have multitudes of warehouse locations with plenty of storage space.They’ve raised a whopping $500mm+ from investors and as we all know investors need returns and to grow extremely fast. Growth to onboard and scale as quickly as possible typically seems leads less than stellar experiences for customers, especially in the eCommerce industry where the value of their goods are so important and customers expect shipments to be fast, accurate and on time.

One of the primary pain points for large 3PLs in ecommerce is a lack of personalized service. Regardless of how many thousands of clients they may have, catering to every demand ultimately makes it impossible to satisfy every client. On the same token, these 3PLs tend to have more rigid pricing models with less room for negotiation, possibly limiting flexibility for your growing business.

Another point of contention for larger 3PLs is their transparency and clear communication, mainly due to the scale of their operations. Having a big team managing complex processes makes it a bit more difficult for large fulfillment partners to provide real-time inventory updates and/or proactive communication, leading to potential errors and frustration. 

Boutique 3PLs help solve these pain points by leveraging their smaller team to provide a much more personalized communication style. A smaller team gives small 3PLs the agility to be flexible and adaptive to all of your business’ specific needs, ensuring that the partnership stays mutually beneficial. In addition, most newer 3PLs tend to be extremely tech-leaning. This practically guarantees that your business will have access to real-time inventory management, and order tracking, ultimately leading to a better experience for both you and your customers.

Modern 4PLs

Modern 4PLs surfaced as an evolution of the modern 3PL partner, offering a much more comprehensive service than most other fulfillment partners. The main difference between 3PLs and 4PLs is the presence of physical infrastructure. Where a 3PL partner has warehouses to store, pack and ship your product(s), a 4PL does not. Instead, a 4PL provider effectively takes over ALL logistics operations for your business. Everything from sourcing your product to end customer delivery is handled with their widespread networks of partners worldwide.

Now, this may seem like a solution that is “too good to be true,” but everything comes with a cost. Due to the myriad of services a 4PL must provide, they usually charge a premium for their assistance without actually doing any of the work. As a result, since logistics is the “exceptions management” business, there always is something that comes up with a carrier or shipment and without having direct insight or communication to the warehouse, things often take forever to solve a problem. More than 2 days for a response is crazy to think of when customers demand responses immediately.

Additional Perks with Atomix Logistics

As a startup 3PL carving out a niche in a billion dollar industry, we knew we had to find the newest (and coolest) business partners to distinguish ourselves from the rest of the industry. We believe success is best enjoyed with the team that helped build your dream, and our partners believe the same!

Our partners enable Atomix to provide an unparalleled 3PL experience - from seamless order fulfillment, to sourcing a manufacturer for your products. Learn more about our friends below!


With Ohi, ecommerce business owners gain access to same-day delivery for their customers - with options for 2 hours or less!

Eco Cart 

By partnering with Eco Cart, Atomix is able to offer carbon-neutral delivery options to its clients, supporting the movement for environmental consciousness and corporate social responsibility.


Slippy creates custom packaging slips that enhance the post-purchase experience for ecommerce brands, helping them nurture, educate, and entertain their customers!


Need help with custom packaging? Arka’s got you covered! With their patented design process, they create fully customized packaging options for your brand - all while remaining 100% sustainable.


Gembah’s platform allows for the entire product design process to take place under one roof. From product research, to CAD, to sourcing a manufacturer, Gembah has your back.


If our suite of services just isn’t quite the right fit - Fulfill.com has an extensive directory of 3PL providers who would be happy to chat! 


Choosing the ideal fulfillment partner is usually a daunting task, but it is crucial for the growth and success of your ecommerce business. While larger 3PL options have gained recent popularity, a new wave of boutique 3PLs is beginning to take over the ecommerce fulfillment space for emerging brands.

We’re not saying that the big 3PLs and 4PLs are poor options overall, but if customer obsession is what you’re looking for - boutique 3PLs are more likely to be a suitable option. By choosing a boutique 3PL like Atomix, you can rest assured that your business will be in good hands. Small 3PLs treat their partner’s business as if they are their own, no matter the size. If you would like to learn more about Atomix and our team, feel free to reach out here!

Prev Post
Next Post
All Blogs
3PL Fulfillment for Shopify: 9 Alternatives with Comparison (2023)
Get a free fulfillment quote

E-commerce entrepreneurs partner with Atomix for a customizable and cost-effective approach to building and scaling fulfillment operations.