Your company’s shipping operation may have started in your basement or garage, and that worked fine for a while. Then you had to move on to a local warehouse with a few workers to handle order fulfillment.
It wasn’t long before your hard work started to pay off and your company grew. Now you have some decisions to make. To handle the next phase, you are going to need to find an order fulfillment company that can handle your growing business.
Why should you use an order fulfillment company? Because you have better things to do than to pack boxes. Your time is better spent developing your business, finding new market opportunities and driving growth. You will also benefit from not having to store your inventory on-site, or bury yourself in boxes and packing material.
What’s more, finding the right order fulfillment company can help you quickly achieve eCommerce nirvana – the ability to offer free shipping. That’s because these companies work with you to achieve scale while helping reduce the costs of shipping through the use of localized warehouses and zone skipping strategies.
Let’s talk about some of the questions you need to answer about your business needs:
- Do you want to ship in your own packaging? Brown box packaging is generally included as part of the service, but some order fulfillment services also offer you the option of using your branded packaging.
- What are you shipping? Some products may have special needs, such as refrigeration or other special handling requirements. Make sure that the order fulfillment service you select can meet the needs of your customers.
- Where are you shipping? Whether you are shipping just domestically or around the world, look for a service with established channels with international carriers. Having international capacity will allow you to grow your business around the world without having to find another company to work with.
- What is the user experience for your business? What is the experience going to look like for your customers? You want your order fulfillment service to be stress-free and easy to manage. Look for a service that offers real-time data and analytics that will keep you up to date on inventory and order management. On the customer side, look for a product that will offer your customers a seamless checkout experience with upfront shipping costs and delivery windows.
- What if something goes wrong? There is nothing worse than having to wait until Monday to get an answer to your urgent question. Choose an order fulfillment service that offers 24/7 customer service so you can fix small problems before they become big problems.
- What about onboarding? Getting set up with an order fulfillment service can feel overwhelming. The best order fulfillment services offer free training and onboarding to help you get up and running fast.
- Does this solution integrate seamlessly with your eCommerce platform, or will you need a custom API? Most of the major eCommerce platforms have seamless integrations with shipping fulfillment services, but some still may not. If that is the case, make sure that your service has experts who can work with you to create a custom API.
Best Order Fulfillment Services Fees
|Fulfillrite||ShipBob||Red Stag Fulfillment|
|Receiving||Free||$25 per hour||$13.25 per pallet|
|Inbound Shipping||Discounted select carriers||Discounted select carriers||Discounted select carriers|
|Monthly Storage||22 cents per cubic foot||$5 per bin||$2 per bin|
|$40 per pallet||$15 per pallet|
|Pick & Pack||$1.90 per order + 60 cents per item||Included in shipping fee||$2.25 to $2.65 first item + 30 cents per item|
|Outbound Shipping||Discounted rates with USPS, FedEx, DHL, and ZoneJump||Discounted all carriers||Discounted all carriers|
|Core Strength||Get a dedicated account manager that knows every detail of your account.||Startups & batch shipping||High-value, large & oversize items|
|Order Minimums||$199 minimum pick and pack fee per month||100 per month||100 per month|
|Specialty Services||Kitting, bagging, labeling, and assembly||Specialty kitting & FBA stock prep||Light assembly, branded packaging|
Tip: Get quotes from many different fulfillment companies at once by filling out a single form here.
Perhaps most importantly, you should choose an order fulfillment service that meets the needs of your business today and tomorrow. As the saying goes, you should dress for the job that you want. In this case, you should ship for the business you want. Look to your goals for the future of your business and find a tool that will help you get there.
ShipBob is a technology-based order fulfillment service with the capacity to help you scale your business. Its web-based shipping platform allows you real-time data and analytics that let you see your inventory levels and respond quickly and efficiently to changes.
ShipBob will save you both time and money. They will help you reduce your cart abandonment rate by as much as 18% while giving you cost savings up to 13%. Using their network of fulfillment warehouses, ShipBob’s dashboard algorithms choose the closest fulfillment center at the point of purchase and routes the order directly to that location for fulfillment.
Their dashboard offers integrations with most common eCommerce platforms. Is your platform not included? Contact ShipBob to arrange for a custom API so you can get up and running quickly.
Your business may also have other needs. Maybe your product needs to be refrigerated, or maybe your customers are business customers. ShipBob offers additional services to create a customized shipping experience for you and your customers.
With transparent pricing, ShipBob makes it easy to project shipping costs and find ways to create savings. They have negotiated bulk discounts with UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL, allowing them to offer you and your customers low shipping costs.
They offer free brown box packaging, or you can use your own branding materials, paying only for the cost of storing them. Want a unique unboxing experience for your customers? ShipBob can provide kitting and packaging services that give your products a distinctive look.
ShipBob can also help you grow your Amazon business. With their Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) prep services, they can handle your orders straight from the checkout. They will prepare, label and label your items, and ship them to the FBA facility for processing. This makes working with Amazon a breeze.
With two fulfillment centers strategically located east and west of the Mississippi River, Red Stag can guarantee shipping to 97% of America within 1-2 days.
Red Stag has a proprietary cloud-based shipping dashboard. This dashboard allows you to manage your account from anywhere, with a mobile-friendly interface and real-time data. That gives you the peace of mind to know that you can see what is happening with your business at any time.
You can seamlessly integrate with Red Stag’s technology dashboard. They offer integrations with many common platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Wayfair, Newegg, and others. If you have your own platform, you can work with Red Stag’s outstanding tech team to develop a custom integration.
They offer same-day order fulfillment at discounted shipping rates. Their logistical experts work hard to find ways to cut your costs, negotiating competitive rates and coordinating zone skipping strategies that save you money.
Red Stag is so confident that you will love their services that they offer a 30-day, risk-free trial at no cost, allowing you to experience it for yourself. Send them some of your products, send them some orders, and see what you think!
How can they be so confident? The data shows that in 2019, 100% of orders were shipped on time and 99.997% of orders were shipped accurately. Imagine the peace of mind that such a service could provide.
The average fulfillment service promises 98% inventory accuracy. Sounds great, right? Not so fast. That would mean that out of every $500,000 in inventory, you will lose $10,000. Red Stag won’t let this happen to you. They will reimburse you for the wholesale cost of any inventory that is damaged in their care.
Loss of inventory isn’t the only cost of working with a fulfillment service. You can also lose money from mispicks or other packaging or shipping errors. Red Stag has an error rate of 1 out of 5000 orders, but that’s not all. If an order is handled incorrectly, such as with the wrong number of items, they will fix the mistake, not charge you for that shipment and pay you $50 to compensate for the error.
Learn more about Red Stag Fulfillment and start a free 30 day trial on their site.
From small businesses to one-off crowdfunding projects, Fulfillrite offers an order fulfillment service that will meet the needs of your business. With a high-tech client portal, twenty different shopping cart integrations, and 24/7 access to customer service, they have the tools you need to take the hassle out of shipping.
Are you an Amazon retailer? Fulfillrite can handle all the prep, packaging, labeling and shipping your items to the FBA hubs for processing. While they generally do not handle large, heavy or bulky items, they are experts in handling promotions and small product lines with limited SKUs.
With a special focus on smaller retailers, Fulfillrite does not require you to sign a long-term contract to work with them. This flexibility works especially well for crowdfunded projects of limited scope and size. They offer custom labeling for your products, or you can send your product to their warehouse in your own ready-to-ship packaging.
Nobody wants their inventory to languish in the box. When Fulfillrite receives your inventory, they are unboxed, inspected, counted and ready to go the same day they arrive. Throughout the process, Fulfillrite will send you email updates to keep you informed.
Returns can be a real hassle. Fulfillrite handles them for you. They will receive the return, evaluate the condition of the product, and then let you decide if you want to issue a refund or a replacement.
Fulfillrite takes pride in offering these services to small businesses, and although there is no maximum volume, you should reach out to their customer service if you are expecting volume over 5,000 pieces per month. This will ensure that the warehouse is properly equipped to handle your shipping needs.
Does your company need help with bagging, kitting, labeling or assembly? Fulfillrite offers standalone services to help get your product ready to ship.
They have negotiated steep discounts with carriers such as USPS Commercial Plus Pricing (CPP), UPS, FedEx, DHL, Asendia, and ZoneJump, and pass these savings on to you.
Get an exact pricing quote from Fulfillrite by filling out this simple form on their site.
Choosing a Company
When it comes to order fulfillment services, you will find many options available. Choosing the wrong service can cost you money, frustrate your customers, and stifle your growth. Evaluate each service based on your company’s needs both now and in the future.
How do you choose an order fulfillment company? There are several things for you to consider, including cost, location and shipping time. Some companies use multiple warehouses to help you save shipping costs and shorten delivery times.
Here’s some of the important questions that you should consider in your decision-making process. As you evaluate different fulfillment services, ask yourself:
- What are your goals? Consider the current state and ideal future state of your business.
- What are the physical characteristics of your product(s)? Are your items large, fragile, or need refrigeration? Having special handling needs could limit your choice of order fulfillment services.
- What are your shipping expectations? Do you need a company that can guarantee 2-day service anywhere in the country?
- What is your expected order volume? Some fulfillment services have minimums and maximums for shipping volume. Remember to think about your future volume as well.
- How can you protect yourself from losses? Look for services that have proven track records with inventory and order accuracy.
- What if I need help? An order fulfillment service should allow you real-time access to your inventory and shipping dashboard and support you with 24/7 customer service.
- What if my needs change? Some fulfillment services don’t have the capacity to support future growth. If you expect to grow your business, choose a service that will grow with you.
- What does it cost to get started? You may be able to get a free trial of an order fulfillment service that interests you. Before signing with a service, you should ask about startup costs. Will you need to pay for the initial software? Will you need to sign a long-term contract? Are free training and setup included?
- Will my customers be safe? The security of customer information must be taken very seriously. Ensure that the order fulfillment service that you are using is invested in information and inventory security, taking appropriate measures to keep both your data and your product safe.
You will know that you have chosen the right service when you stop worrying about customer orders. The right service will give you a reliable, low-cost, seamless order fulfillment process that gives you peace of mind, freeing you to devote your time and energy to growing your business.