Today marks another exciting day for Extensiv, but today’s announcement is very special to me personally. The Extensiv Solution Provider Program marks me coming full cycle in my professional career in a way. My second role as a CEO (my first was a company I founded, so that was a bit of a gimme) was at an interactive agency specializing in ecommerce, called Fluid (now part of Astound Commerce).
In addition to building some incredible interactive experiences, we always played an advisory role to our customers regarding their broader ecommerce strategy. Like many service providers, we were rarely paid directly for these advisory services. We did it because it was an opportunity for us to deepen and solidify our relationships with our customers and help them succeed. The truth is, ecommerce is an industry that seems simple on the surface (put up a Shopify Store, how hard could it be!?), but excelling requires years of experience and a cadre of trusted advisors with expertise in the space.
Admittedly, at Fluid we were much more focused on the front-end shopping experience than on fulfillment strategies. When customers would ask us for advice on their shipping strategy, we almost always deferred, which was a disappointment for them. The reason we did not engage in this area was because, at the time, there was a wide range of solutions that forced a very consultative approach and, frankly, we didn’t even know where to start. Should they do fulfillment in house (which was much more common back then)? Should they outsource to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider? Should they implement order management and multi-node shipping? What carriers should they use? Should they charge for shipping (this was before Amazon made fast, free shipping an expectation), and how fast did it need to be?
The biggest issue we had was that there was no single provider that could present the full spectrum of options in a balanced way and then engage with the customer in a consultative manner to find the right fit. Now, 15 years later, Extensiv is the first fulfillment platform to offer the full array of options from in-house to 3PL to fourth-party logistics (4PL), with the expertise and patience to guide brands to the right strategy for their business.
In announcing the Extensiv Solution Provider Program, we are signing up to work with the agencies and solution providers brands trust, to give their customers the guidance they need to build the best fulfillment strategy for their needs. If they simply need all their orders to flow into ShipStation from Amazon and Shopify, we have a solution for that. If they have their own warehouse and need enhanced order management, we offer those capabilities. And, obviously, for those looking to work with a 3PL, we have the broadest array of offerings with 1000+ 3PLs leveraging our technology. In fact, if brands want a hands-off approach, we also have a growing range of 4PL partners that are building their businesses on our platform and partnering with our 3PL customers. Perhaps best of all, whatever strategy they choose, our platform will adapt and grow along with their needs. No solution lock-in, and no more painful software migrations.
If you are an ecommerce solution provider, whether your customers are shipping dozens of orders a week or they are nationally known brands, our platform will scale to meet their needs. So, the next time one of your customers asks, “Can you help me with my fulfillment strategy?” please point them to us and we’ll be happy to help. We’ll even share the upside with you.
Finally, for those of you that are experts in fulfillment and want to take advantage of our platform and ecosystem, give us a call. Extensiv is an open software platform that allows anyone to build a fulfillment strategy using our technology. We have hundreds of 3PLs using our platform that are ready to partner with you as you build out your network. Even better, when you build your 4PL on Extensiv, there is no software development cost and no cost for a warehouse build out. You own the relationship with your customer, you control the pricing, and you work with whatever 3PL partner is right for you. We currently have about 20 customer/partners building the next generation of 4PL fulfillment network on our platform, and that number is growing every day. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.