No matter how good your product is or how competitively you price it, it’s your order fulfillment experience that can make or break you. The pandemic leveled the playing field, justifying chaos and delays in fulfillment for everyone. But, we have also seen performers excel, leaving the rest of the pack behind. Lockdowns caused a dramatic rise in online shopping volumes, with sales rising as much as 50% in a matter of days. Order fulfillment companies were there to help.
As a business owner looking for help with order fulfillment, you are likely aware that late delivery is a major factor in high customer turnover rates. It’s no surprise that you don’t want to take chances when it comes to this aspect of your business. To help you successfully delegate this, here are three of the best order fulfillment companies that will allow you to focus on other aspects of your business.
When it comes to choosing an order fulfillment company, you can’t go wrong with ShipBob. This company invests heavily in cutting-edge technology to evolve the order. They’re among a handful of operators with their own fulfillment centers, both inside and outside the fulfillment process. While ShipBob provides cut-rate services, it is a far more sophisticated player compared to most others. Their use of technology automatically enhances their reliability and provides transparency with easy online tracking. ShipBob uses a third-party logistics model (3PL), which means your inventory can sit in their warehouses. Your stored inventory is picked, neatly packed, and then directly shipped to your online customer when an order is placed.
ShipBob works with most e-commerce platforms, including Squarespace, Shopify, Woocommerce, Wix, etc. You can also use the developer-friendly REST API if you have to develop around your custom sales solution.
Even if your business is at the micro-level, ShipBob makes it easy to start taking orders. The shipping options are robust and cover nearly every use case. Every aspect of your business, including inventory loss and management of returns, is carried out with data analytics. With ShipBob, you can subscribe to the parts of information management that help you run your operations smoothly. You can even bring your own inventory management system or logistical integration, including PackageBee, Returnly, etc.
Properly managing returns can make a massive impact on your bottom line. ShipBob understands this and has an industry-leading return management system. If you suddenly start to experience a lot of returns in certain SKUs, you deploy analytics to figure where the problem may lie. While there is an extra cost to this, in the end, you come out winning. ShipBob’s account dashboard lets you track all aspects of your returns management, including return inspection, disposal, quarantining, and restocking. You can even develop custom optimization best suited for your product lines. The main idea is to restock what has been returned efficiently, helping you cut down losses.
With industry-leading offerings and rapid technological evolution, ShipBob is certainly not the cheapest option out there. There is a one-time fee for onboarding your business. Subsequent pricing includes total order fulfillment. When you first get started, you get 30 days of free support, as well as inventory transfer, warehouse and catalog initialization, etc. For this period, even order shipping is included, so you can log onto your dashboard and watch your orders leave the warehouse straight to your customers. Your shipments will even go out the very same day if the payment is completed before noon.
Note that inventory management, stocking the warehouse, etc., are highly particular to the business and the use case. You pay by the man-hour, depending upon your need. These man-hours are also billed very nominally ($25 for the first two staff hours). There are additional fees associated with storage, depending on your needs. But all packaging is included in this price. Finally, shipping rates depend upon the end destination, item characteristics as well as the priority chosen.
When it comes to features, ShipBob excels because they control every part of the supply chain process. With their own warehouses, they know exactly what is going on with a particular order. They even have a company delegate at every fulfillment location to manually follow up if there is a glitch. The quick and definitive nature of support means that you will have a quick resolution for any problems. You only have to click the help button in your account dashboard or use the phone, live chat, or email options during regular business hours.
If the date of delivery is super important, Rakuten Super Logistics is another brilliant option. Rakuten has a comprehensive, head-to-tail fulfillment and management system developed around aggressive delivery. With 12 fulfillment centers, it is more than capable of delivering within a single business day to clients across the United States. Rakuten also services the international market, with a major presence in Europe.
Rakuten helps manage shipping costs for merchants by providing an optimizing tool that takes merchant and customer needs into account when calculating the most affordable shipping while also ensuring delivery by a specific date. Of course, apart from same-day delivery, Rakuten also offers a 1 to 2 day delivery for 98% of all US customers via ground shipping.
Like ShipBob, Rakuten easily integrates with most e-commerce platforms, shopping carts, and software. In this case, however, you also get pickup service if you decide not to use Rakuten warehouses. When you work with Rakuten, you’ll have an excellent technology suite to manage inventory, track shipping, and learn more about process efficiency using analysis tools. The company’s tech solution is cloud-based and takes care of all aspects of e-commerce fulfillment.
Their Webgistix SmartSuite includes the SmartShip organizer, an advanced analytics tool for efficient shipping, and SmartFill, which focuses on order management and inventory tracking. You’ll also get SmartFreight, which efficiently manages inbound shipments to warehouses, and SmartStock, for efficient inventory processing and management. Finally, you’ll have access to SmartSupport to ensure you are not stuck at any stage of the process.
For times when you are stuck, Rakuten has terrific, responsive client support. If you don’t already have another arrangement, Rakuten offers additional traction in their marketing offerings and marketplace induction, while rewarding customers through their loyalty program. Rakuten takes great pride in their work. Their unique service guarantee promises 100% accuracy of all your orders as they go through three different quality checks. If they mess up, you don’t pay.
Customer support is handled on priority, with a response promised within three hours of the query being made. You can also rest assured that there is a solution to your problem as the warehouses are entirely under company management, with a manager at every fulfillment location for personal intervention.
Another fantastic option for order fulfillment, especially if you only operate in the US, is ShipMonk. Specializing in working with small and medium-sized businesses, ShipMonk simplifies the process of order fulfillment. The most promising offering is a fully integrated cloud solution for inventory management, order processing, tracking and shipping, plus warehousing.
It is an information game if you want to stay ahead of your competition. ShipMonk helps you do just that with cutting-edge analysis. For example, you can get highly particularized information on stock levels divided across channels. You can also quickly track the most promising SKUs or make sure you are alerted if a particular inventory is running low. ShipMonk’s shipping management is unique in that shipping rates, available discounts, etc., change on a real-time basis. Also, between their hands-on warehouse management system that lets you manage locations and optimize business processes and unique order management module, you can personalize your customer experience from the time of the order to delivery.
With ShipMonk, you also get highly individualized attention. A ‘Happiness Engineer’ will ensure your fulfillment experience matches the guidelines you have laid down. This could include something as simple as customized packages or high-quality shipping that reflects a premier relationship. Other examples include gift messaging, superior packing material, deploying marketing campaigns including promotions and giveaways – all as part of your fulfillment experience. You can even customize your unboxing experience with ShipMonk.
ShipMonk reviews have raved about transparency in the whole interaction, support for multiple locations, industry-leading security, excellent freight management, calls to action in information reports, and superior returns management. Satisfied users are also impressed by their other project management integrations that improve your bottom line. Needless to say, as a formidable competitor, ShipMonk integrates very well with PayPal, eBay, Shopify, Weebly, etc. But here is a surprise, the pricing is quite nominal for everything being offered. It’s $2.50 for the first item and an extra $0.50 for every additional order up to 200 fulfillments.
ShipMonk also makes your life easy if your inventory is geared toward Amazon Services. ShipMonk systems seamlessly integrate with the “Fulfillment by Amazon” program and relay Amazon Prime benefits. The ShipMonk service can tackle 10,000 orders each day, and the cross-docking experience will improve efficiency and reduce costs for your business. There is also an option to blacklist a particular SKU when there are no other options!
You can’t go wrong with any of these order fulfillment services. But, deciding which is best for you depends precisely on what you want. Certain order fulfillment companies are geared toward consistency in delivery dates. Meanwhile, others are focused on helping you provide a specific experience for your customers. You don’t have to worry about customer support, orders getting mishandled or lost, or even delays with any of these companies. They have all invested in ownership over warehouses so they can service most of your customer base within a day or two at max. Whether you choose ShipBob, Rakuten, or ShipMonk, you will definitely be in good hands.