Choosing to use an order fulfillment service can be an effective way for businesses to reduce operating costs. With so many options available, choosing the right service will depend on your specific needs. Two popular order fulfillment services are ShipBob and Deliverr. While they both help with managing orders, the two tend to operate in separate niches. We will compare the two services over their applicability, technologies, fulfillment cost, ease of use, and various other characteristics to help you make the best decision for your business. Keep in mind that it may even be practical for some readers to work with both services for different requirements and channels.
While both services offer excellent service, ShipBob is often the more popular option. This is because ShipBob invests heavily in order fulfillment, having its own fulfillment centers operating across the world. Even though you may end up paying a bit more upfront, you’ll get peace of mind and transparency in the entire process. Here’s what you need to know about ShipBob and Deliverr so you can make the right choice for your business.
ShipBob is more sophisticated, deploying cutting-edge technology to power their entire fulfillment network. This brings reliability in services that are fast, accurate, and reasonably priced (though certainly not the cheapest). ShipBob is built upon the third-party logistics model (3PL), involving an efficient engagement between the business, the logistics provider, and the carrier services to take the headache of order fulfillment away. For instance, if you chose basic delivery, your order will be picked out from their warehouses, packed, and then directly shipped to your e-commerce customer.
E-commerce Platforms and ShipBob: Delivery Integrations
ShipBob works with nearly every e-commerce platform you can find for your product. This allows even micro-level businesses to start taking orders using ShipBob’s shipping options quickly. Examples include Woocommerce (that you will use for your typical WordPress website), Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, etc. ShipBob also provides a developer-friendly REST API that even lets you integrate your own custom sales solution.
Returns management and inventory loss are also helped along using analytics. The entire workflow is based upon information management, allowing you to choose what you need for your product. We found that ShipBob partners with several other well-known logistical and inventory management systems during our trial, including Packagebee, Returnly, Skubana, etc.
Tackling Returns with ShipBob
Efficiently managing returns is often one of the top value-added services for any small business. Imagine a service where you do not get this option, and one of your products suddenly sees a high frequency of returns. With a provider like ShipBob on your side, you can use their analytics to understand where the problem may lie. For example, punctuality can be a critical factor for anything perishable, including products geared toward birthdays or special occasions.
At a nominal cost, you can entirely delegate the returns process to ShipBob. You can use the ShipBob dashboard in your account, and everything will be taken care of for you. Keep in mind that there is a processing fee for ordinary returns. If you want to track your returns, you can also purchase return labels directly from ShipBob. The return process can also entail inspection, disposal, quarantining, or restocking. For an extra fee still, you can tweak the process to your satisfaction. The idea is to efficiently restock returned products back into inventory to minimize your losses.
Pricing at ShipBob
ShipBob’s pricing is definitely higher compared to Deliverr. Their pricing includes total order fulfillment directly to your consumer. You also have a one-time implementation fee to get your business on board. Through this process, you receive 30 days of paid support, transfer of inventory, warehousing and initializing your catalog, and any order shipping fee.
The process is pretty standardized from the point of view of the consumer. Their orders are shipped out the same day if the payment is completed before noon. ShipBob ships all products using standard stationery, boxes, packaging supplies, and mailers. As the seller, you can keep a hawkeye on the process using your merchant dashboard. You can also access information on your inventory or bring in new integrations beyond regular order management.
Receiving products is billed by the man-hours you use. ShipBob charges $25 for anything up to two staff hours, with all subsequent time charged at $35 an hour. This only gets your inventory over to ShipBob. Storage is billed additionally. For pallets, it is $40, for shelf storage it is $10, and for the smallest bins it is only $5, all on a monthly basis. All forms of packaging are included in this price. However, shipping rates will vary based upon the end destination, the characteristics of the item, and even the service that you choose.
ShipBob has an Excellent rating at TrustPilot.com.
ShipBob excels at customer support since they manage every link in the supply chain in-house. The support is quick and definitive (to end your problem right away). For this, you can tap the help button in your dashboard. Otherwise, there are email, phone, and chat options. They operate during usual business hours, CST. As part of its integrated supply chain, ShipBob will have a company delegate at every fulfillment location to sort out any logistical issues that may arise locally.
Deliverr is a cheaper solution that works across multiple sales or e-commerce platforms and is geared towards marketplace sellers. Everything is made simple and cheap. Once your inventory is with Deliverr, you’ll get fast shipping labels to various selling platforms. The best part about Deliverr is that it works with Walmart’s Two-Day delivery, eBay’s fast N free, Wish Express, etc. This allows sellers to succeed in the fiercely competitive online marketplace by focusing on the product rather than logistics. Many search engines also classify products based upon delivery times, and fast delivery usually takes precedence. Given the faster delivery times of Deliverr, search engines tend to prefer results with a Deliverr option, giving them a higher rank in their indices.
Deliverr was made for direct sales eCommerce places such as Amazon, Wish, Walmart, eBay, etc. In this sense, it only integrates with Shopify as a platform. However, other inventory and logistics management solutions, such as Skubana, EcomDash, ChannelAdvisor, etc., work well with Deliverr. Deliverr or FBA are both great choices for the Amazon marketplace.
Cost Savings at Deliverr
By employing a variety of techniques, Deliverr offers lower prices than competitors like ShipBob. For example, Deliverr does not run its own fulfillment locations but instead contracts with various warehouse managers across the United States. Making use of the inefficiency in the storage industry, Deliverr improves its bottom line. However, doing so implies that there is less than direct control and engagement in the supply chain. As a result, other processes like support suffer.
Deliverr also saves costs by not being as well-rounded as ShipBob. Unlike ShipBob, Deliverr has a slightly different business model, which is to quickly deliver products, banking on the success of the process because of the number of times it has been carried out. Extreme use cases will not find traction with Deliverr because exceptions are handled poorly.
Another great cost-saving tactic is focusing only on the United States. At the time of this writing, there are no international operations. On the flip side, renting space here and there has meant that nearly 95% of all US customers are served with fast shipping times. Many merchants will provide three or four location preferences to spread their inventory for fast access.
Returns at Deliverr
As surprising as this may sound, Deliverr does not offer or process customer returns. Their focus was never on providing comprehensive services but on efficiently providing one-way, fast delivery of products. Even if the product gets returned to Deliverr warehouses, Deliverr does not attempt to include it into the inventory because of fraud concerns. Merchants may also incur a disposal fee after they have been notified of an item’s return.
Pricing Policy at Deliverr
Deliverr thrives on penetrative pricing by undercutting the second tier of services such as returns, fulfilling inventory from bad products, etc. The fulfillment fee applied to items is based on characteristics like dimensions and weight. Further, the price reflected is inclusive of all possible expenses, including handling, picking and packing, shipping, box costs and other stationery.
Prices will also vary by the quality of service. There is the two-day due date, the three-day, and the 5-7 days standard service. To give you an idea, fulfillment starts at $3.99 for the smallest items and reaches $20 for the larger ones. There is a helpful cost calculator on the website that can help you assess your item pricing.
Deliverr has a Great rating at TrustPilot.com.
The onus upon cutting down costs translates into poorer service responses. It’s important to remember that Deliverr does not outrightly rent out fulfillment centers, and the information flow may be disrupted out of such warehouses. It may take sorting things out with third-party logistical contractors engaging with Deliverr, but not simply Deliverr itself.
That said, there is documentation online, or you could write an email or fill out a support ticket. No phone or chat support options are available, though. To get started, you just give Deliverr your email address to begin a one-on-one onboarding process.
Decision-making: ShipBob vs. Deliverr
Deciding which order fulfillment service is right for you depends on your desired delivery window and the level of service you need. For people who want products delivered in a two-day window at a low price, Deliverr is the rational option. Especially if the merchant wants to appeal to users on Walmart, eBay, Wish, or Amazon. Not only is the shipping fast, but the prices are also low in comparison to ShipBob. In rapid succession, merchants can start to offer fast shipping. These shipping badges and tags also make for good search engine optimization. One can’t help but think that Deliverr takes from the merchants and hands it to the customers at a significant detriment to the merchant. There is no handholding or even so much as a return option, perhaps antagonizing a customer that does not retain confidence in the first engagement. There is also no international option. Further, there are no possibilities for customizing an aspect in the engagement. So you can say goodbye to your marketing inserts, custom branding, or even packaging. Your word does not matter against the customers, who just want their purchases fast.
On the other hand, ShipBob is going to be a bit more expensive. But, you get cutting-edge technology managing every aspect of your delivery. Plus, there are accurate updates that are frequently refreshed across systems. Additionally, there are many customization options available so you can bundle better deals to your customers (all the while your inventory sits with ShipBob). With ShipBob, you get total transparency, and given the extreme scalability, you finally have someplace to put all of that analytical information that ShipBob provides for free. For example, analytics will tell the merchant which warehouses may be more suitable for a specific product for faster deliveries. The emphasis is always on saving the merchant money without hidden costs while helping them deliver orders faster. Of course, the nerdy aspect of ShipBob does not help when it comes to integrating with platforms like Wish. They also do not support Walmart’s Two-Day delivery. Expectedly, ShipBob also does not transmit Amazon Prime benefits even though they do integrate with Amazon. The benefits of ShipBob are slow and continuous, but you pay upfront for them.
In the end, order fulfillment is the merchant’s responsibility, and they should lean toward a service that empowers them. Unless you exclusively deal with marketplaces, we believe that ShipBob would be indispensable. Your competitors will use it with an ever-increasing information differential, and you will start to see them speed ahead if you look away from data tools at your disposal. If you have to deal with marketplaces and can figure out how to process returns, Deliverr can help with those platforms. But, if we had to choose, we would recommend ShipBob for the long run.