How can 3PL e-commerce fulfillment empower your business in Japan?

By Macy
13/10/2023 UTC.

E-commerce is booming in Japan. With more and more consumers shopping online, businesses are recognizing the need to sell their products through online channels. However, managing e-commerce operations in-house can be complex and costly. This is where third-party logistics (3PL) providers that specialize in e-commerce fulfillment can help.

What is 3PL e-commerce fulfillment?

3PL e-commerce fulfillment refers to outsourcing order processing, warehousing, and shipping to a specialized third-party logistics provider. The 3PL provider handles receiving and inspecting inventory, picking and packing orders, shipping them out, and providing customer service on behalf of the e-commerce business. This allows online sellers to focus on their core competencies like marketing and product development while leaving the operational aspects to experts.

3PL-Service Fulillment in Japan.jpg
3PL e-commerce fulfillment handles all fulfillment process

Key services offered by 3PLs for e-commerce include:

  • Warehouse storage and inventory management

  • Order processing - receiving, picking, packing and shipping orders

  • Customer service - handling returns and exchanges

  • Offering real-time inventory visibility and order tracking

  • Value-added services like gift wrapping, custom packaging etc.

So in short, 3PL e-commerce fulfillment provides a one-stop solution to manage the entire post-purchase customer experience.

Compare the 3PL e-commerce fulfillment and traditional fulfillment

Here is a comparison chart highlighting the differences between 3PL e-commerce fulfillment and traditional fulfillment:



3PL E-commerce Fulfillment

Traditional Fulfillment

Ownership of Warehouses

Typically third-party providers own and manage warehouses.

Retailers or businesses often own and operate their own warehouses.


Easily scalable, accommodating fluctuations in demand.

Limited scalability and may require capital investments for expansion.

Initial Capital Investment

Lower initial capital investment as warehousing costs are shared among multiple clients.

Higher initial capital investment due to warehouse ownership.


Specialized expertise in e-commerce logistics and order processing.

May require the retailer to build in-house logistics expertise.

Geographic Reach

Wider geographic reach and often international fulfillment capabilities.

Limited to the geographic locations of the retailer's warehouses.

Technology Integration

Typically have robust technology platforms for order management, inventory tracking, warehouse management systems. 

May require the retailer to invest in and manage its technology infrastructure.

Seasonal Flexibility

Can easily adapt to seasonal demand fluctuations and scale accordingly.

Traditional fulfillment may struggle with sudden peaks in demand.

Shipping Cost Efficiency

Often have negotiated shipping rates and can offer competitive shipping costs.

Retailers may pay higher shipping costs unless they can negotiate competitive rates.

Inventory Management

Advanced inventory management and real-time tracking capabilities.

Retailers may need to invest in sophisticated inventory management systems.

Focus on Core Competencies

Allows businesses to focus on core activities like marketing and product development.

Retailers may need to allocate resources to manage fulfillment operations.

Risk and Liability

3PLs share some of the liability for lost or damaged goods.

Retailers bear full responsibility for any fulfillment errors or issues.


Can offer customized solutions and adapt to unique business needs.

Traditional fulfillment may have limited flexibility for customization.

Benefits of using 3PL for e-commerce fulfillment in Japan

Japan has specific requirements for e-commerce fulfillment, including: 

  • High customer expectations - Japanese customers expect fast and reliable delivery with perfect orders. A 3PL helps meet customer expectations.

  • Returns management - Japan has a high product return rate. A 3PL can seamlessly handle returns and reshipments.

  • Storage needs - Seasonal amplitude in Japan is significant. A 3PL provides storage scalability.

  • Multichannel capabilities - Orders from diverse channels like Amazon, Rakuten, social commerce need consolidation. A 3PL provides a centralized hub.

  • B2B and B2C capabilities - E-commerce in Japan spans both B2C and B2B. A 3PL can handle the diverse order profiles and packaging needs.

  • Languages and payment methods - Listings, packaging, instructions and customer communication needs localization. Accepting diverse payment types is also essential. A 3PL with local expertise provides this.

  • Compliance - Japan has complex compliance needs for labeling, restricted items etc. A local 3PL ensures compliant fulfillment.

Understanding Japanese consumer insights, a 3PL e-commerce fulfillment provider offers many benefits to help foreign sellers succeed when selling in Japan: 

  • Faster delivery - From strategically located warehouses close to population hubs

  • Supply chain visibility - Through inventory and order tracking

  • Cost efficiency - No fixed costs, pay-as-you-go model

  • Flexibility - to scale up and down

  • High accuracy - Leveraging automation and processes

  • Reduced logistics administration - By consolidating multi-channel order management

  • Peace of mind - Of reliable, compliant fulfillment and happy customers

Factors to consider when choosing a 3PL provider for E-commerce Fulfillment in Japan

Selecting the right 3PL partner is critical for success. Here are key factors to consider:

  • Location of fulfillment centers - Ensure proximity to key customer segments

  • Facilities and infrastructure - State of the art fulfillment centers designed for e-commerce

  • Warehouse management systems - Advanced WMS needed for efficiency, accuracy and reporting

  • Automation - Robotic picking, conveyors etc. for productivity and scalability

  • Courier integrations - Breadth of shipping partners with discounted rates

  • Inventory management - Capability for inventory tracking, reporting and insights

  • Account management - Dedicated representative for transparent communication

  • Flexibility - Ability to customize services and adapt to business needs

  • Additional services - Bundling, kitting, pop-ups, returns portal etc.

  • Security - Secure facilities with controlled access and protocols

  • Compliance - Expertise in labels, documentation, licenses and other needs

  • Experience - Proven track record in e-commerce fulfillment in Japan

  • Cost - Competitive and transparent pricing model

  • Scalability - Ability to easily scale up and down

Selecting a 3PL partner entails a deep understanding of both your current and future requirements. By choosing a partner that is scalable, flexible, and experienced, you ensure a long-term partnership that empowers your business for sustained success.

Top 3PL Providers for E-commerce Fulfillment in Japan

Some leading names in 3PL e-commerce order fulfillment in Japan you can trust include: 

  • Ezbuy Japan - A logistics startup and pioneer in outsourced e-commerce fulfillment in Japan since 2015. Caters to leading global brands entering Japan.

  • DHL eCommerce - A division of global logistics provider DHL offering B2C and B2B order fulfillment in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

  • Yamato Transport - Japan's largest logistics company provides third-party logistics including e-commerce fulfillment warehousing and distribution.

  • SBS Holdings - Parent company of major domestic logistics providers like Sagawa and World Supply. Provides comprehensive logistics and fulfillment.

  • Kuroneko Yamato Holdings - Operates the Kuroneko parcel delivery service. Provides third-party e-commerce fulfillment services.

  • Nippon Express - Global logistics giant offers omnichannel order processing, storage and distribution for e-commerce clients.

  • Hitachi Transport System - End-to-end supply chain management and fulfillment targeted at the e-commerce sector.

  • SBX - Specialized in fashion retail order fulfillment.

These leading 3PLs provide the expertise, infrastructure and solutions to empower e-commerce sellers in Japan. Most major players have a nationwide fulfillment network to enable next-day delivery. Services can be tailored from scalable warehousing to value-adds like gift wrapping and customized packaging needed in Japan. Choosing the right partner enables retailers to take advantage of Japan's booming e-commerce market.

Why choose Ezbuy Japan as your 3PL e-commerce fulfillment provider?

Ezbuy Japan is a leading innovator in e-commerce focused order fulfillment in Japan. Discover the reasons that make Ezbuy your ultimate choice for a 3PL partner:

  • Fulfillment centers strategically located near Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya enable fast, next-day delivery.

  • The network will be expanded to 8 locations by 2025 for even greater geographic coverage.

  • Tech-power services like order management systems, warehouse order management systems,...

  • Ezbuy Japan's solution is built from the ground up for e-commerce. Everything from the warehouse design to the WMS is optimized for direct-to-consumer order processing.

  • They offer omnichannel capabilities with seamless integration for orders from diverse channels.

  • B2C and B2B expertise with solutions for both case-level and piece-level logistics.

  • Value added services like gift wrapping, pop-up stores and managed customer returns portal.

  • Flexible and customizable solutions tailored to each client's business. Scales up seamlessly with sales growth.

  • Transparent pricing with no hidden costs. Competitive rates optimized through scale and ownership of logistics assets.

  • Supply chain insights and inventory visibility through analytics and reporting.

Wrap up

In conclusion, if you are looking for a reliable and efficient 3PL partner for your ecommerce business in Japan, Ezbuy Japan is an excellent choice. With their strategically located fulfillment centers, leading technology services and omnichannel capabilities, they can provide fast and seamless order processing and delivery. Additionally, their flexible and customizable solutions, transparent pricing, and bilingual account management ensure that they meet each client's unique needs.