2020 ShipBob Inventory Management Review

If you’re looking for a company to handle your customer order fulfillment, ShipBob is a great solution. But can it replace standard inventory management software?
shipbob logo
  • Check
    Two-day shipping
  • Check
    Multichannel integration
  • X
    Not a full-service inventory management solution

If you’re trying to find a way to make your ecommerce business more efficient, you’ve no doubt heard of third-party logistics (3PL) provider, ShipBob. ShipBob is a fulfillment company, meaning it can store your inventory, then ship that inventory directly to your customers.

ShipBob’s software can potentially save your business money on storage and shipping costs, plus it elevates your customer service. And the fact that it offers inventory management services is just icing on the cake, right?

Unfortunately, ShipBob is far from being a complete inventory management system. But that doesn’t mean it can’t work for some businesses. Check out our complete ShipBob review to see if you can get away with using ShipBob instead of a standard inventory management software.

ShipBob is best for small ecommerce brands

ShipBob’s main claim to fame is its order fulfillment and two-day shipping. Essentially, when you sign up for ShipBob, you can distribute your inventory across the company’s eight warehouses in the US. That way, no matter where your customer is located, they’re close enough to a warehouse to receive their shipment within two days.

This essentially allows small-business owners to offer their customer Amazon-level logistics without having to buy their own warehouses across the country.

However, ShipBob offers only basic inventory management features. So as an inventory solution, we really only recommend ShipBob to ecommerce merchants with very basic inventory needs. If you want a solution that organizes your supply chain, purchase orders, and B2B sales orders, ShipBob is not for you.

ShipBob pros and cons

Pro Heading
Strengths
Pro Bullet Two-day shipping
Pro Bullet Multichannel integration
Con Heading
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Not a full-service inventory management solution
Con Bullet Problems fulfilling large orders
Con Bullet Expensive

ShipBob pros

If you’re a small online retailer, you may not have the physical space to store all your inventory. And if you’re making more than a couple of sales per week, it may be overwhelming trying to get customer orders sent out on time.

ShipBob addresses this by offering cheap warehouse storage and two-day order shipment. This ensures your customers get the best possible experience on your site with minimal work on your part.

ShipBob can also integrate with all your sales channels. So whether your company is selling products on social media, your website, or an online marketplace like Etsy, ShipBob can handle your order fulfillment.

ShipBob cons

The biggest downside to ShipBob is it’s just not made for inventory management. Sure, you get some basic inventory features. But those features all relate to ShipBob’s part of the process—the customer order fulfillment. It offers little to no features to help you manage supplier relations, product orders, or inventory delivery.

What’s more, ShipBob struggles to accurately process and fulfill large orders. So if your ecommerce business has customers who like to order in bulk, ShipBob likely won’t be a good fit for you.

Finally, ShipBob can be more expensive than you think. While the company claims it finds you the best deals on shipping to minimize your costs, many users report being charged exorbitant rates to ship their products even short distances. These shipping costs also aren’t listed in advance, so you may get hit with an extremely high shipping fee without warning.

ShipBob plans and pricing

To use ShipBob, you’ll first need to send your products to a ShipBob warehouse. Once they receive your items, you’ll pay a receiving fee to cover checking in and storing your items. From there, you’ll pay a monthly warehousing fee, which is based on the amount of space your products take up.

Here’s how the pricing breaks down:

Service
Cost
Receiving$25.00 for the first two hours, $35.00/man hour thereafter
Storage$40.00/mo. per pallet, $10.00/mo. per shelf, $5.00/mo. per bin
Item picking$0.00/order for <5 picks, $0.20/pick for every item in the order thereafter
Standard packing$0.00 for plain boxes, mailers, tape, and dunnage
ShippingVaries based on your order’s destination, weight, and dimensions

Data effective 7/31/20. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

After that, you’ll pay additional fees based on the orders you need fulfilled. You get free picking* for up to five items per order, and plain packaging is included. But you’ll need to cover shipping costs on top of your other fees, and you’re completely reliant on ShipBob to pick the most cost-efficient shipping methods.

Bell

*Picking: The process of physically finding a product within a warehouse and adding it to a customer shipment.

Key features of ShipBob

As previously mentioned, the key selling point of ShipBob is its distributed inventory, which allows you to offer your customers two-day shipping. When you sync ShipBob with your online store, the system can identify where customers are located and route their order to the nearest warehouse with the customer’s items in stock. If the warehouse is close enough, your site will offer a two-day shipping option.

In addition to this optimized shipping feature, ShipBob offers some basic inventory management features to complement its fulfillment solution. Using ShipBob’s software, you can view the status of your inventory and current stock levels. From there, you can request inventory transfers between ShipBob’s warehouses, bundle products for promotional deals, and set reminders to replenish your stock.

ShipBob also offers some basic reporting features. For instance, you can search your orders to look up the status of customer shipments—handy when you’re trying to answer customer service questions. You can also use ShipBob’s reporting tools to identify products with high cost and poor turnaround to optimize your business.

If you’re willing to pay a little extra, you can also complement ShipBob’s fulfillment solution with custom packaging. This helps build your brand and increase perceived product value. However, you’ll have to request a quote to see how much it’ll cost you.

Integrations

ShipBob is compatible with over 50 of the leading ecommerce platforms and business services, including the following platforms:

  • Accounting and tax: Taxlar, Avalara, Clearbanc
  • Custom packaging and design: Packlane, Noissue, Arka
  • Crowdfunding: KickStarter, IndieGoGo, CrowdOx, BackerKit, WeFunder
  • Ecommerce: Shopify, Walmart, eBay, Squarespace, BigCommerce, WooCommerce
  • Freight and shipping: ShipStation, UPS, USPS, DHL, FedEx, FlexPort, Freightos
  • Inventory management: Cin7, TradeGecko, Stitch Labs, Skubana, Inventory Planner
  • Marketing and advertising: Mute Six, ROI Revolution, adQuadrant, eHouse Studio
  • Marketing and CRM: Gorgias, Simplr, Privy, Zaius, Klaviyo, QuadPay
  • Returns management platforms: Happy Returns, Returnly, AfterShip, Loop Returns

We especially like that ShipBob integrates with crowdfunding campaigns, as it allows fledgling ecommerce companies to raise capital for their products while efficiently distributing rewards to donors who meet certain criteria.

Best Inventory Management Software
Cin7
Best Overall
Ordoro
Most Versatile
Fishbowl
Best for QuickBooks
Veeqo
Most User-Friendly
Unleashed
Best for Multiple Locations

Learn more about our top brands.

Customer support

One thing we like a lot about ShipBob is its dedication to quality customer service. The support team is responsive and knowledgeable, so you can quickly get resolutions to any problems you experience via live chat or email.

We also like that ShipBob provides features (like customer order management) to help facilitate your own customer communication. ShipBob gives you all the information you need to provide clear answers to customer questions so you can build a loyal customer base yourself.

ShipBob FAQ

What is a fulfillment system?

Order fulfillment refers to the process of assembling, packaging, and shipping orders to customers. So a company that offers a fulfillment system is essentially offering to store your inventory, then assemble, package, and ship orders to your customers on your behalf.

What is a fulfillment center?

A fulfillment center is the physical location where fulfillment service takes place. Often, fulfillment centers are located within the warehouses where inventory is stored. Shipping rates are often dependent on the location of your fulfillment center, so it’s important to pick a logistics provider with lots of fulfillment centers. That way, there’s likely to be a warehouse close to your customer no matter where they’re located—which helps keep your shipping costs low.

The takeaway

ShipBob is an effective fulfillment partner, but is it a good fit for inventory management? Survey says, probably not.

While ShipBob’s two-day shipping is certainly a nice perk, the service doesn’t really offer the big-picture inventory features you’d expect with a full-fledged inventory service. But if you’re running a small ecommerce store with minimal products . . . you could probably get away with the pared down inventory offerings available with ShipBob.

Not all retailers feel comfortable letting a third-party take control of their shipping. So if you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution that includes order fulfillment, check out our top-recommended inventory platforms for warehouse management.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Courtenay Stevens
Written by
Courtenay Stevens
Courtenay cut her teeth (and occasionally her tongue) on the world of business when she was eight years old, licking envelopes to help her dad mail calendars to his clients. Ever since, she has fostered a passion for entrepreneurship, which makes small business one of her favorite topics to write about. When Courtenay isn’t writing, she enjoys podcasting about pop culture and attempting to keep up with her hellspawn (aka children).
Related Articles
Feature image of a Black woman standing in a warehouse looking at her tablet
Currency Capital Equipment Financing Review: Poor Transparency and Even Worse Reviews
We suggest you avoid this equipment financing company. Fast approval process Financing for all kinds...
Feature image of a young white woman wearing a blue jumpsuit next to some cows
AgDirect Financing Review: Equipment Financing Just for Agriculture
You can get super low rates and decent terms from AgDirect―but only for agricultural equipment....
Featured image of a Black female banker showing documents to a female client
NBKC Bank Review: Online Banking for You and Your Business
NBKC’s no-fee accounts offer an affordable solution for both your business and personal banking. No-fee...
woman-sitting-on-couch-with-laptop
Best Online Business Bank Account 2020
These online banks let you get your business banking done anytime, anywhere. Best overall Small...