3PL or Bunzl Retail Services? Which is Better for Retailers? 

What is the difference between a 3PL and Bunzl Retail Services (BRS)? We get this question a lot.

What is a 3PL?

The term 3PL stands for third-party logistics. A 3PL is a vendor that is engaged to receive, store, and distribute goods. Some of the major industries that rely on 3PL vendors are manufacturing, hospitality, and retail. 3PLs may be engaged to receive, store, and distribute merchandise as well as supply items for retailers.

Is Bunzl Retail Services a 3PL?

The short answer is no. While Bunzl Retail Services offers all of the services that a 3PL provides, BRS performs many more services beyond receipt, storage and distribution of goods.  While 3PLs are also frequent partners to retailers,  BRS specializes in providing a much broader full-service partnership that allows a retailer to access a “one-stop shop” experience. 

What does BRS Specialize in? 

Bunzl Retail Services acts as a supply partner to retailers for any products not for sale. This includes all of the day-to-day items a retailer needs to operate in all aspects of their store including the storeroom, breakroom, and sales floor.  

Our mission is to provide a tailored solution for clients leveraging our expertise in visual decor, packaging, and customized distribution support (new store programs, seamless global programs, store remodels, and “just in time” replenishment of chosen supplies). 

As a one-stop shop for all retail supplies, BRS offers demand planning, sourcing and procurement, online ordering, logistics, customer service support at the individual store level as well as corporate level, and comprehensive program reporting and analysis. BRS provides the highest value to retailers who choose to use all of BRS’s available services together.

Bunzl Retail Services Offerings:
  • Demand Planning
  • Sourcing 
  • Consolidation 
  • Customized Kitting
  • Customized Logistics (Pooling)
  • Online Ordering Platforms
  • Program Reporting and Analysis
  • Packaging Design & Sourcing 
  • Visual Décor Design and Sourcing


What are the differences between BRS and a 3PL? 

 The main distinction between BRS and a 3PL is that Bunzl Retail Services provides additional services to what 3PLs offer.  BRS acts as a full-service partner versus a vendor and provides insights and guidance to clients.  


Another aspect that sets BRS apart is that BRS offers value-added specialized services such as coordination of new store openings, store remodels, and store closures. BRS  acts as a single point for consolidation and distribution to streamline these processes that can otherwise be chaotic for retailers and risk disruption to store operations and sales.  

 The BRS  team also offers demand planning, sourcing, and procurement services for retailers. BRS can relieve retailers of the administrative burdens related to forecasting needed supplies, PO issuance to relevant vendors, management of inbound product, etc.  Because Bunzl Retail Services regularly audits its domestic and international suppliers to ensure that all businesses are ethically compliant and all products are sustainably sourced, retailers can trust that their supplies are coming from an audited supply chain without spending their own time and due diligence.  

Bunzl Retail Services also designs and creates customized branded packaging  and  manages production with dedicated staff members located in Asia. The BRS  packaging and visual merchandising design teams can deliver a huge range of standout visual displays, props, décor and more. 

CTC Keenpac Bunzl Retail Services retail display showroom  

CTC-Keenpac Bunzl Retail Services Showroom retail display decor

What is the value BRS provides to retailers?

BRS maintains a global supply chain and retailers can leverage BRS sourcing capabilities to ensure competitive pricing for necessary supplies that includes a commitment to social and corporate responsibilities.

Using one vendor to handle all these processes related to supplies not only increases efficiency but reduces risk related to managing multiple suppliers. This increased efficiency means fewer shipments, less waste, and ultimately, a smaller environmental footprint.

On average, customers who engage BRS reduce their deliveries for new store openings and remodel projects from 68 to just 3. This corresponds to real dollars in cost savings.

Overall, a partnership with BRS puts more time back into retail associates’ days as they aren’t disrupted from facilitating sales or bogged down coordinating various vendor shipments and answering multiple deliveries.

Do you currently use a 3PL? 

Are you interested in learning more about the additional services Bunzl Retail Services can offer and what your cost savings could be? Contact us at sales@bunzlbrs.com to see how we can help your retail team reduce waste, lower costs and work more efficiently.