ShipBots Review: A Highly-flexible Ecommerce Fulfillment Company?
ShipBots is an order fulfillment service for ecommerce stores with standard storage and shipping needs. It also offers unique fulfillment options for subscription boxes, retail, Amazon FBA prep, merchandise, and apparel. In the booming industry of 3PL (3rd-party logistics), is ShipBots right for your online store’s needs? In this ShipBots review, we take a deep look into the company’s primary features, services, pricing, and customer support. This way, you understand if it’s a viable solution for storing products and getting orders to customers in an efficient manner.
Shipbots Review: The Main Features and Services
To give you an idea of how ShipBots works, we want to walk you through the entire fulfillment process; the tools used throughout; and which options you have while working with ShipBots.
Here’s what to expect:
- ShipBots onboards you as a new client with training, installing its online inventory management portal, syncing with your online store, and importing products.
- Your company chooses fulfillment requirements and sends products for storage to ShipBots.
- All inventory gets stored in one of the three ShipBots fulfillment centers located in Kansas City, Los Angeles, or Rocky Mountain, North Carolina. Their main fulfillment center is in Los Angeles, it’s 15 minutes from Long Beach and 10 minutes from LAX. They also have limited warehouse availability on the east coast and mid-west.
- ShipBots receives a notification when you accept an order in your store. They pick, pack, and ship the required items.
- The customer gets a tracking code; the merchant sees information about the shipment on their dashboard; and the customer is given details about potential returns.
Our testing and analysis of this process brought us to the conclusion that these are some of the best features and services to look forward to:
- Services for regular ecommerce fulfillment, subscription boxes, Amazon fulfillment prep, retail, and more. They even have unique storage and fulfillment capabilities like delivery duty paid, temperature controlled storage (for perishable items), and more.
- Transparent warehouse storage and receiving pricing.
- Options to list 2-day and express shipping for customers on your website.
- Options to offer one day shipping and international shipping to your customers
- Discounted shipping options from the top carriers like USPS, Fedex, and UPS.
- Receiving photos in the warehouse to see the when, how, and where of your inventory storage and fulfillment.
- Order and inventory software with four modules: inventory, orders, shipping, and warehouse.
- Tools to identify the best SKUs, block SKUs, and get low stock alerts.
- Order features for accepting returns, automating the fulfillment process, and syncing with your online store.
- Real-time shipping quotes and discounted rates. You also receive tracking codes that are sent to your customers, along with tracking reports to make stronger decisions in the future.
- Three warehouse and fulfillment center locations spread throughout the US for fast shipping anywhere in the country. ShipBots also helps with distributing your inventory between those locations.
- Customer support through the phone, email, and live chat, along with plentiful online resources to learn about fulfillment and guide you through the process.
- An address validation tool to minimize fraud and keep an eye on people targeting your store.
- A claims management function for checking in on chargebacks.
- Integrations with top ecommerce platforms like Magento, Bigcommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce.
- Integrations with marketplaces and other sales channels like Etsy, eBay, and Walmart. They even tap into alternative marketplaces like Jane, Storenvy, and Jet.
- Integrations with physical and online retailers like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and QVC.
- Integrations with shipments tools like Returnly, ShipStation, and Skubana.
- Integrations with business solutions like TradeGecko, Stripe, Salesforce, and ChannelAdvisor.
- International shipping options to get products overseas in a reasonable amount of time and at a decent price.
- Free basic packaging and custom packaging for a fee.
- A complete returns management system where the customer can print out a return label and send it back to the ShipBots warehouse of your choice. This way, you don’t have to accept returns to your own office.
From kitting and bundling to the temperature controlled storage, ShipBots handles several fulfillment elements that you either can’t find anywhere else or end up being far too expensive. These ShipBots services and features seem flexible, customizable, and like an all-around solution to ecommerce fulfillment. With the various integrations, 2-day shipping, and wonderful online platform, you can’t go wrong with ShipBots for order storage and fulfillment.
ShipBots Fulfillment Center Locations
We found three warehouses while conducting our ShipBots review:
- Los Angeles, CA, which is the main facility
- Kansas City, MO
- Rocky Mountain, NC
These locations allow for fast shipping times to all parts of the “lower 48” of the US, since the LA location covers most of the west, southwest, and northwest, while Kansas City has the Midwest and some of the south, and the North Carolina location handles the east coast and southern states.
As with most fulfillment companies, shipments to Hawaii and Alaska are bound to take a little longer. ShipBots doesn’t have any centers outside of the United States, but it still provides international shipping. That means you can offer reasonably quick shipping to Canada and most of North America. You’ll have to opt for international services from FedEx, USPS, or UPS if shipping to other countries, but it’s still a possibility to fulfill your products through ShipBots. Shipments simply won’t get to your customers as fast as a fulfillment center near them in their own countries.
They even have a video to tour the main Los Angeles warehouse locations, giving you an idea of how the operation works, the types of storage and tools used, and other visuals like packaging materials, workers, and machinery.
As for the distribution of your products, ShipBots asks you to send items to their warehouse for stocking. You can choose the locations at the beginning (based on your own information) but ShipBots eventually offers insights into product shipments and provides recommendations on where to move inventory to improve efficiency and decrease costs.
Overall, we enjoy the current locational setup from ShipBots. It’s well thought out, allows for excellent shipping times to most of the US, and you’re able to shift around inventory based on your own needs. International shipping is still available, and it appears that ShipBots is rather transparent about its operations. In fact, it’s a smaller, boutique fulfillment operation with faces to the company. You can contact a real person who’s knowledgeable about the business, and they even have videos to check out the facilities.
Shipbots Review: Pricing
During our ShipBots review, we found that pricing varies based on your type of fulfillment requirements. You’ll also need to speak with a customer representative to get a stronger idea of what to expect to pay.
Having said that, we have some insights into what you pay for with ShipBots and if it’s expensive or affordable.
First, the pricing depends on your fulfillment solution. ShipBots offers the following options:
- Standard ecommerce fulfillment.
- Subscription box fulfillment.
- Amazon FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) preparation.
- Merchandise fulfillment.
- Retail fulfillment.
- Apparel fulfillment.
We don’t have details as to which of the listed solutions are most expensive. We would assume that extra fees pop up once you stray away from the standard ecommerce fulfillment services. For instance, most 3PL providers charge extra for packaging together subscription boxes when compared to regular ecommerce fulfillment.
One impressive part about the ShipBots pricing is that they actually list estimates on their website; that’s not always common for fulfillment providers, since they want to get you on the phone and sell their services.
You’re able to look at these pricing estimates to get an idea of what you’ll spend prior to contacting ShipBots. Furthermore, ShipBots has no hidden fees and no contracts, so you’re aware of your expenses at all times and can cancel at any time.
Here are the pricing projections for standard ecommerce fulfillment (the other fulfillment methods have different prices, but they may align in some way with the following prices):
- Receiving: They include standard receiving for all merchants. Any special receiving projects have extra costs. Many other 3PL competitors charge you to receive products, so this is a significant upside.
- Storage: ShipBots charges on a monthly basis per storage unit used. Each pallet costs $36 per month. Each shelf costs $10 per month. Each bin costs $5 per month.
- Picking and packing: This is all free for the first 4 picks in one order. After that, a charge of $0.20 is implemented for every additional pick.
- Standard packing materials: All basic boxes, dunnage, tape, and mailers are free for ShipBots merchants. Specialty packing materials, custom inserts, and anything outside of the standard packing items costs extra. We love this about ShipBots.
- Shipping: This all varies on the order, which does not differ from any other fulfillment provider. Shipping carriers dictate fees based on dimensions, weight, destination, and other factors. The good news is that ShipBots has partnerships with the major carriers and passes on steep savings to its merchants.
What’s more is that all ShipBots merchant partners receive these for free with your warehousing services:
- The order and inventory management software.
- Dedicated customer support.
- Discounted shipping.
- Warehouse receiving photos.
- Freight coordination.
- Address validation.
- Claims management.
- Order prep and processing.
Overall, ShipBots looks like an affordable, reasonable fulfillment service, particularly because of its no-fee, receiving, picking, and packaging materials. You’ll also save on shipping. Just remember that all of these fees change once you add custom fulfillment elements to the mix.
Shipbots Review: Customer Support
Customer support is essential for a functional merchant/3PL relationship. You need to get someone on the phone if an order goes missing. You must have someone to talk to if you have a problem with billing. It’s nice to have flexible customer service reps who will work with you on setting up a pricing structure for unique fulfillment situations.
That was all apparent during our ShipBots review, seeing as how it’s a boutique with in-house customer care specialists, transparent information about the business online, and plenty of free offerings for all merchants.
First of all, we like that all merchants gain access to dedicated customer support. This means you can call or email someone at ShipBots if something goes wrong with an order or if you have a question about the process. They also give you peace of mind with a warehouse receiving photos, order processing information, and claims management.
In terms of contact options, you’re able to get in touch with ShipBots through the phone or email. They even list their headquarters address if you need to send something to the company or schedule a face-to-face meeting. ShipBots has a social media presence as well for following along with its posts or reaching out for quick questions. You can find them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
As for online resources, ShipBots has you covered in more ways than one. To begin, you can read the ShipBots blog to learn about topics like retail warehousing, managing 3PL relationships, and best practices for supply chain management.
The ShipBots Support Center serves as the go-to place for searching informational articles, where you type in a keyword and discover resources for returns, shipping, Amazon FBA prep, and more.
You can also go through the online FAQs to learn more about the ShipBots fulfillment process or send them a message through the contact form. In general, we can’t find many flaws in the customer service side of ShipBots’ operation. They have a chat box to get in touch with someone right away, all the resources online cover the right topics, and the direct contact methods make you feel like a VIP client.
Is Shipbots Right for Your Ecommerce Order Fulfillment?
ShipBots has a lot going for it as an ecommerce 3PL company. First, it’s a boutique business with resourceful client support representatives and personal account managers. You can see videos of its warehouses and speak with people who actually know what they’re talking about. It’s also great because of its low pricing, convenient warehouse locations, and shipping discounts.
Overall, we recommend ShipBots to any ecommerce store, big or small. We also suggest ShipBots if you’re interested in special types of fulfillment, like for subscription boxes, retail, Amazon Fulfillment prep, or if you need temperature controlled storage.
If you have any questions about this ShipBots review, or if you’d like to share thoughts on your past experiences with ShipBots, let us know in the comments section below!