How To Select A Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Service for Cosmetics

If you are spending most of your time fulfilling customer orders, you don’t have much time to focus on creative work, such as developing new products. If you’d like to free up more time for yourself and your business, you need a third-party logistics service to handle your e-commerce cosmetics business.

This article focuses on all you need to know about 3pl cosmetics services and outlines the steps you should take to pick the right service for your product.

Do Cosmetic Products Have Expiration Dates? If So, How Should They Be Handled?

Yes, all cosmetics eventually go bad, but their shelf life depends on numerous factors, such as the ingredients and storage. The dates mentioned on makeup packaging refer to the time it takes for the product to expire after you’ve opened the package. It is difficult to know when unopened cosmetic products expire since the manufacturers don’t print this information on their products.

In general, if the makeup is properly sealed and stored, it can last for 2 to 3 years. However, products that contain butter or oils (liquid blushes, cream concealers, etc.) expire earlier. If the makeup has a natural formula without the addition of preservatives, the ingredients can go bad.

It is important to note that products other than makeup are also categorized as cosmetics. Some of them are mentioned below.

  • Haircare
  • Skincare
  • Color Cosmetics
  • Oral care
  • Personal care
  • Fragrances

Depending on the ingredients, the shelf lives of some beauty products can be as short as 3 months. This is why it’s essential to manage them accordingly.

How Does a 3PL Provider Handle Cosmetics?

The best way to handle cosmetic products is through inventory management. A warehouse management system allows you to track availability of products. If a product constantly needs to be replenished, its expiration date isn’t a concern.

Warehouses store and distribute cosmetics according to their expiration dates. A consistent supply chain ensures that the products expiring first are shipped out first. Our experts at the MacMillan Supply Chain Group have years of experience, and make customer service their priority. By ensureing proper handling, we ensure that the end customer has sufficient time to use the item.

Some products are shipped more at specific times of the year. For example, there’s a high demand for moisturizers during the winter and sunscreen sells out faster in the summer.

Our fulfillment technology informs us to restock product so that we can distribute new stock at the right time.

How Does The Beauty Industry Fulfill Cosmetics Through 3PL?

3pl cosmetics

The cosmetics industry has significantly grown with time. It now fulfills cosmetics through 3pl by outsourcing its products to them. This allows beauty brands to:

  • Ensure the proper storage for cosmetics
  • Management of expiry date for skincare and makeup products.
  • Save time and money
  • Create a sustainable and customized unboxing experience

A research paper by Management Research News highlights how 3PL customers can benefit from them:

“This study provides evidence from customers of logistics service providers indicating that 3PLs provide them with a means for competing through greater flexibility, at the same time as enabling better‐cost management. In this sense, customers see 3PLs as providing them with a potential pathway to more innovative business models.”[efn_note]Power, D., Sharafali, M. and Bhakoo, V. (2007), “Adding value through outsourcing: Contribution of 3PL services to customer performance”, Management Research News, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 228-235. [/efn_note]

5 Steps To Selecting A 3PL Service For Your Cosmetics Product

1.    Do Your Research

Every 3PL company offers different services according to their specialties and expertise. If you’re looking to select one, you need to make sure that:

  • They are reliable
  • Can handle inventory
  • Have a broad scope of services
  • Have satisfied clients

You also need to know if they can accommodate your requirements (gift notes, branded packaging, etc.). At the MacMillan Supply Chain Group, we promise excellent customer experiences. Our experts are happy to answer any questions you may have.

2.    Ensure They Can Scale 

You shouldn’t commit to a company that won’t scale along with your growth. If you select a logistics service provider according to your current size, the storage facility may not be sufficient if your business grows fast. You should pick a 3PL company with the abilities and space to handle your business.

3.    Look for Temperature-Controlled Storage

Some cosmetics contain natural ingredients that require extra care. These products need to be stored and fulfilled properly to reach the customer in excellent condition. Most of the time, they need to be stored in a cool area, similar to fresh goods.

Nail polish or perfume can last longer than other natural beauty products if stored in a cool, dark place. Select a logistics service provider that has the equipment to fulfill these needs.

4.    Pick an Experienced Partner  

Experience is essential when it comes to handling products from cosmetic brands. For customer satisfaction, your partner needs to know how to manage inventory and fulfill cosmetic products.

5.    Customer Service

Your 3PL partner should prioritize customer service through an appropriate order fulfillment process, as well as proper communication and responsiveness. You should be able to contact them at any time, and it’s best if they can deal with your customers directly and positively represent you.[efn_note]Qureshi, M.N., Kumar, D. and Kumar, P. (2008), “An integrated model to identify and classify the key criteria and their role in the assessment of 3PL services providers”, Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 227-249.[/efn_note]

At the MacMillan Supply Chain Group, we are striving to provide the best customer service. We can store, manage and package products from the beauty sector and can handle cosmetics fulfillment. If you have any questions, you can call us at 416-941-2759.

MacMillan Supply Chain Group Elevate Your Logistics Experience

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Meet the Author:



Kate Nowak isn't your typical author. With a career that's as diverse as the landscapes she's traversed, Kate embodies the spirit of the Canadian supply chain and transportation industry. Her passion for global trade burns brightly, fueled by firsthand experience across every facet of the logistics world.
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