Order fulfillment services handle key inventory management, order packing, and shipping operations for ecommerce businesses. Outsourcing these time-consuming tasks to a fulfillment company lets small business owners focus on growth drivers like product development, marketing, and multichannel expansion. Since fulfillment services differ in strengths and costs, selecting the right partner depends on your unique business needs.
To find the right fulfillment partner fast, we recommend starting your search with the free fulfillment matchmaker FulfillmentCompanies.net. This service matches your stock storage, order packing, and shipping requirements to over 600 pre-screened fulfillment companies to find you the perfect fit for your needs and budget. Click below for free quotes.
Best Startup & Crowdfunding Fulfillment Service: ShipBob
ShipBob is laser-focused on giving small businesses, startups, and crowdfunders top-notch fulfillment services and fast delivery times. ShipBob is one of a few small business-friendly fulfillment services that operates several warehouses nationwide. This lowers shipping costs and provides one- to three-day delivery nationwide. ShipBob also fills a niche for crowdfunding fulfillment with affordable, as-needed batch fulfillment services.
Best Multichannel & International Fulfillment Service: FedEx Fulfillment
FedEx Fulfillment delivers the most comprehensive set of small business fulfillment services at surprisingly competitive rates. Its nationwide network of warehouses ensures one- to two-day delivery across the U.S., and 220 global distribution locations support unlimited international expansion. Specialty packing, B2B bulk freight, and white-glove gift services are available as needed, and order minimums are startup-friendly.
Best Fulfillment Company for Special-Handling & High-Value Goods: Red Stag Fulfillment
Red Stag Fulfillment services specialize in storing and shipping high-value goods and products that require special handling—like oversized and heavy items. Its cutting-edge quality control system video-tracks warehouse and packing areas to prevent shrink, packing errors, and shipping damage. It also negotiates exceptionally low oversize rates with FedEx to ship bulky items at significant discounts.
Best Fulfillment Services for Amazon Sellers: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) caters to Amazon sellers and multichannel merchants. FBA-fulfilled items feature the sales-driving Prime badge on Amazon listings—and there are plenty of added benefits beyond Prime, like no order minimums and low shipping fees. Users must understand FBA’s detailed fees and requirements, but managed right, FBA is an economical fulfillment option.
How We Evaluated Order Fulfillment Services
Businesses looking to outsource fulfillment need to focus their search on providers that can handle their unique mix of stock storage, order handling, shipping, and sales channels. Some businesses simply need economical fulfillment services for large inventories and reliable pick-and-pack services. Others might be looking for Amazon Prime support, international expansion, or specialty packaging services.
“Fulfillment services vary as much as the businesses that use them,” says Will Schneider, CEO of FulfillmentCompanies.net, “so the perfect fulfillment fit is generally found in the details.”
“All fulfillment services stock inventory and pull, pack, and ship orders, but service strengths vary among providers. Some are great for shipping a lot of one or two items, while others excel in shipping orders with multiple SKUs or specialty packing,” says Schneider. “A few fulfillment companies even offer unique services like batch shipping for launches or crowdfunding, meet Amazon Prime-eligible requirements, or pack subscription boxes.”
Since businesses have a variety of fulfillment needs, we reviewed top small business fulfillment services based on these key factors:
- Costs – How each fulfillment service structures their fees and their basic and specialty service costs.
- Order or Account Minimums – Some fulfillment services are startup and small business-friendly with low order minimums. Others have higher minimums and base monthly charges if minimums aren’t met.
- Core Strengths – Each fulfillment service’s core service offering and particular strengths.
- Specialty Services – Extended services such as order kitting, product assembly, subscription box sales, customization services, and more.
Using these criteria, we identified our four top-rated ecommerce fulfillment companies that service a full range of small business needs and offer budget-friendly pricing. Here’s a quick look at the services each provides and their costs.
Best Order Fulfillment Services & Fees At-a-Glance
|Receiving||Free*||$35 per shipment||$13.25 per pallet||Free*|
|Inbound Shipping||Discounted FedEx rates||Discounted select carriers||Discounted select carriers||Discounts via partners|
|Monthly Storage||19 cents per cubic foot, billed weekly||$5 per bin|
$40 per pallet
|$2 per bin|
$15 per pallet
|48 cents to $2.40 per cubic foot|
|Pick & Pack||$1.80 per order + 40 cents per item||Included in shipping fee||$2.25 to $2.65 first item + 30 cents per item||$2.41 to $137.32**|
|Outbound Shipping||Discounted FedEx and USPS||Discounted all carriers||Discounted all carriers||Included in pick & pack fee|
|Core Strength||Growing businesses, B2B, & international||Startups & batch shipping||High-value, large, & oversize items||Amazon sales|
|Order Minimums||100 per week**||100 per month||100 per month||None|
|Specialty Services||Specialty packaging, kitting, & gift||Specialty kitting & FBA stock prep||Light assembly, branded packaging||Amazon Prime-eligible|
*If inbound shipment requirements and documentation are met
**No minimum during the four-month onboarding/ramp-up phase
Clearly, there are many things to consider when vetting fulfillment services. “Business owners first need to match their growth priorities and specialty service needs,” says Schneider, “then pull out a calculator and compare storage costs for inventory plus order packing and specialty fees.”
To give you a head start on your fulfillment services search, below is a detailed look at the service strengths and costs of our five top-rated fulfillment service providers.
Best Order Fulfillment Services for 2019
|FedEx Fulfillment||Growing multichannel sellers and international expansion|
|ShipBob||Startup ecommerce sellers and crowdfunding programs|
|RedStag Fulfillment||Ecommerce sellers with special packing and handling needs|
|Amazon FBA||Amazon sellers and multichannel sellers focusing on Amazon|
|FulfillmentCompanies||Matching business needs to the most appropriate fulfillment services|
FedEx Fulfillment: Best Fulfillment Service for Multichannel & International Sellers
FedEx Fulfillment boasts a global fulfillment network that’s surprisingly accessible to small businesses—even startups. It services all types of businesses with economical storage, pick-and-pack, and return services, and minimums are just 100 orders per week. It delivers an array of specialty packing services, helps sellers expand internationally, and supports B2B sales and freight shipping.
FedEx Fulfillment Service Costs
FedEx Fulfillment service fees are very transparent and competitive with other small business providers. The only notable difference is that FedEx Fulfillment’s storage fees are based on the cubic foot—similar to Amazon FBA storage fees—though far lower. Most fulfillment services charge by the pallet or bin.
FedEx Fulfillment Basic Fulfillment Services & Costs
|Fulfillment Service||FedEx Fulfillment Service Fee|
|Inbound Shipping||Discounted FedEx rates based on overall shipping volume|
|Receiving||Free if FedEx inbound shipment standards are met|
|Inventory Storage||19 cents per cubic foot, billed weekly|
|Order Pick & Pack||$1.80 per order, 40 cents per unit in the order|
|Outbound Shipping||Discounted FedEx shipping rates based on volume|
|Returns||$2.50 per order, includes processing and restocking|
|Gift Services||From 40 cents for messages, to $3.50 or $5 for gift bagging or wrap|
|Subscription Boxes||Kitting per quote|
|Palletizing||$19.50 per pallet for bulk or B2B orders shipping via freight|
For a full list of FedEx Fulfillment specialty services and fees, or to learn more, complete this short form to receive a call from a fulfillment specialist.
FedEx Fulfillment Order & Account Minimums
FedEx Fulfillment has a 100 weekly order minimum. However, clients have a four-month ramp-up period to meet that order volume. After the four-month onboarding period, FedEx Fulfillment charges a $250 account management fee each week the 100-order minimum isn’t met. This is something to consider when reviewing your fulfillment service options.
FedEx Fulfillment Core Strengths
FedEx Fulfillment offers a wide range of small businesses fulfillment services, plus supports virtually unlimited expansion. Since FedEx Fulfillment is the small business division of FedEx’s enterprise Supply Chain services, you simply will not outgrow its capabilities. From specialty packaging for branded goods to B2B bulk sales to international expansion—FedEx Fulfillment covers it all.
FedEx Fulfillment’s core strengths include:
- Unlimited Multichannel Integrations – FedEx Fulfillment connects with virtually all ecommerce platforms and seller marketplaces.
- Fast Delivery Within the U.S. and Worldwide – With over 130 U.S.-based fulfillment warehouses, plus distribution centers in 220 countries, orders typically deliver within one to two days.
- B2B Bulk Orders – Packs bulk orders and pallets and coordinates with FedEx hundredweight and freight shipping services.
- Returns Management – Most fulfillment services handle returns management, but FedEx Fulfillment also supports international returns for international sellers.
FedEx Fulfillment Specialty Services
FedEx Fulfillment offers a wide range of specialty packaging services from simple tissue wrap to complicated branded or gift packing programs. It can also help with subscription box product kitting and developing specialty packaging. These specialty services help brand-focused businesses deliver the white-glove experience to their customers. If a branded unboxing is an important factor in your business, FedEx Fulfillment is one to consider.
ShipBob: Best Fulfillment Service for Startups & Batch Shippers
ShipBob operates several nationwide warehouses and, like FedEx Fulfillment, can deliver to most U.S. addresses within one to three days. ShipBob also supports international shipping, but this service isn’t as complete as FedEx Fulfillment’s global distribution and reverse logistics offering. ShipBob really shines in startup-friendly features like 100-order monthly minimums and batch fulfillment services.
ShipBob Fulfillment Service Costs
ShipBob charges flat fees for storage and receiving. However, order packing and shipping costs are combined in an overall “fulfillment fee” based on the goods you ship, average order size, and overall volume. For detailed pricing, complete this short form and a ShipBob representative will compile a quote based on your specific needs.
ShipBob Basic Fulfillment Services & Costs
|Fulfillment Service||ShipBob Fulfillment Service Fee|
|Inbound Shipping||Discounts available with ShipBob’s common carriers|
|Receiving||$35 per shipment|
|Inventory Storage||$5 per bin, $10 per shelf, $40 per pallet; billed monthly|
|Order Pick & Pack||Combined with shipping fee|
|Outbound Shipping||Quoted rate includes order pick-and-pack services|
|Returns||Processed and restocked for free|
|Specialty Kitting||Kitting and specialty packing per quote|
|Batch Fulfillment||Batch shipping programs priced on a project basis|
ShipBob Fulfillment Order & Account Minimums
ShipBob has startup-friendly minimums of just 100 orders per month. This low threshold is designed to help growing businesses outsource time-consuming fulfillment tasks so they can focus on growth-driving activities. The standard minimum for crowdfunding and batch fulfillment is 100 orders as well. However, ShipBob is happy to discuss your program without ready orders.
ShipBob Fulfillment Core Strengths
ShipBob delivers a good set of core fulfillment services with minimums and prices that are small business-friendly. It integrates with all top ecommerce and online sales marketplaces, provides user management portals, and helps with stock forecasting. ShipBob also shines in project-based batch fulfillment, which is an ideal solution for product launches and crowdfunding campaigns.
ShipBob’s core fulfillment service strengths include:
- Large U.S. Warehouse Network – ShipBob operates more than five warehouses, so your goods can be positioned within one- to two-day delivery of most U.S. locations.
- Predictable Pricing – With flat-rate storage and quoted, no-surprises fulfillment fees, you can run the numbers to ensure ShipBob’s fulfillment service is an economical solution.
- Returns Management – Unlike many fulfillment services, ShipBob doesn’t charge for processing standard returns.
- Batch Fulfillment – This specialty feature is also a core strength since ShipBob connects to Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms to efficiently receive and process batch orders.
ShipBob Specialty Services
Like FedEx Fulfillment, ShipBob helps clients develop specialty packaging for branded programs and subscription boxes, and offers a full range of kitting services. Pricing for specialty most services is available via quote. ShipBob also offers bulk order packing and Amazon FBA stock prep with reasonable fees starting at 25¢ per packed item. For more on added services, contact a ShipBob pro today.
Red Stag Fulfillment: Best Fulfillment Service for High-Value & Special-Handling Products
Red Stag Fulfillment offers stellar fulfillment services with a focus on goods that require special handling. Valuable watches and jewelry, large office desks and flat-screen monitors, and fragile goods like crystal or potters are ideal candidates for Red Stag Fulfillment services. Plus, its low storage fees benefit businesses with large inventories and slow turnover.
Red Stag Fulfillment Service Costs
Like FedEx Fulfillment, Red Stag Fulfillment service fees are very transparent. Storage and pick-and-pack fees are published, so it’s easy to run the numbers against your own in-house operation. It also works closely with FedEx and negotiates extremely low rates, especially for oversized items, and passes these savings on to its clients.
Red Stag Fulfillment Basic Fulfillment Services & Costs
|Fulfillment Service||Red Stag Fulfillment Service Fee|
|Inbound Shipping||Discounts available with Red Stag’s common carriers|
|Receiving||$13.25 per pallet|
|Inventory Storage||Pallet: $15; ½ Pallet: $7.50; ¼ Pallet: $3.75; Shelf Location: $2|
|Order Pick & Pack||$2.25 - $2.64 first item + 30 cents per added item|
|Outbound Shipping||Discounted carrier rates, extra savings on FedEx|
|Returns||Return and restock fees based on returns plan|
|Specialty Kitting||Light product assembly and kitting per quote|
|Specialty Packaging||Specialty branded packaging per quote|
Red Stag Fulfillment Order & Account Minimums
Like ShipBob, Red Stag has startup-friendly minimums. Depending on the items shipped, minimums can be as low as 50 order per month, but 100 orders is the more common startup level.
Red Stag Fulfillment Core Strengths
Red Stag Fulfillment delivers fulfillment services that are rather specialized, and does it very well. According to Jake Rheude of Red Stag, its founders “uncovered this niche in the fulfillment industry when trying—unsuccessfully—to source efficient fulfillment services for their own large, bulky goods.”
“Shipping items like Herman Miller desk chairs, custom-ordered mailboxes, luxury watches, and computer monitors are Red Stag’s focus,” says Rheude. “From video-monitored storage and large packing spaces to heavy-duty boxes and deep shipping discounts, everything about our operation caters to sellers of large, bulky, or valuable items.”
Red Stag Fulfillment’s core strengths include:
- High-Value Goods – Storage, packing, and shipping areas are video-tracked to prevent theft, packing errors, and shipping damage, and help protect sellers from losses due to customer fraud.
- Large and Heavy Products – The bigger and heavier the product, the bigger your shipping bill. Red Stag works with FedEx to negotiate extremely low rates on oversized and heavy parcels, which can be a gamechanger for these sellers.
- Affordable Inventory Storage – At $15 per month per pallet, plus low-priced partial pallet and bin options, Red Stag Fulfillment’s affordable, flexible storage is hard to beat.
- Kitting and Light Assembly – Red Stag offers light assembly services and item customization, along with custom-branded packaging. It even conducts efficiency studies on required work to ensure profitability.
Red Stag Fulfillment Specialty Services
In some ways, every aspect of Red Stag Fulfillment’s offering can be considered “specialty.” Its standard storage, tracking, and packing services are considered above-and-beyond in most other fulfillment companies. Kitting, branded packaging, and gift services are readily added to any program. Beyond that, Red Stag can handle an array of product preparation tasks, including light assembly and customization needs.
To learn how Red Stag Fulfillment can deliver economical solutions for your business’s specialty needs, request a call from a Red Stag professional using this short form.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): Best Fulfillment Service for Amazon Sellers
For many Amazon sellers, Amazon FBA is the classic “no brainer” fulfillment solution. Products fulfilled via FBA display the Amazon Prime badge, which is a powerful sales driver on the Amazon marketplace. Managed correctly, FBA can save sellers money compared to in-house or other fulfillment solutions. However, there are many details to master to optimize FBA profitably.
Amazon FBA Fulfillment Service Costs
FBA fees are published and transparent, but they are also rather cryptic. FBA uses a complex matrix of storage and combined fulfillment and shipping costs based on type of item, item size, and order quantity. Below is a snapshot of general FBA fees; for more, visit our guide to Amazon FBA fees and services.
Amazon FBA Fulfillment Basic Fulfillment Services & Costs
|Fulfillment Service||FBA Fulfillment Service Fee|
|Inbound Shipping||Discounts available with FBA-approved carriers|
|Receiving||Free if FBA inbound shipment guidelines are met|
|Inventory Storage||48¢ to $2.40 per cubic foot, based on items and time of year|
|Order Pick & Pack||$2.41 to $137.37, based on item size and quantity ordered|
|Outbound Shipping||Included in pick-and-pack fees|
|Returns||Returns are processed for free|
Amazon FBA Fulfillment Order & Account Minimums
There are no FBA minimum orders or stock levels, but you must have an Amazon Pro Seller account to use Amazon FBA. Individual Amazon sellers cannot use FBA.
Amazon FBA Fulfillment Core Strengths
Prime eligibility for FBA-fulfilled items is a major plus in the FBA column. Likewise, managed well, FBA can dramatically lower overall costs thanks to Amazon’s extremely low shipping rates and free returns. That said, successful FBA sellers scrutinize their fulfillment charges, watch inventory levels, and follow up on sales rates to prevent FBA overcharges.
FBA’s core strengths include:
- Prime-Eligible Products – FBA makes your products eligible for free, 2-day shipping for Amazon Prime customers. This means your product is listed on Amazon with the Prime logo, which is a proven to drive higher sales than non-Prime products.
- Low Cost for Amazon Sellers – FBA caters to Amazon sellers and for sales made on the Amazon platform. Its storage, packing, and shipping fees are generally far less than other fulfillment services.
- Piggyback on Amazon Shipping Deals and Promotions – FBA makes your products eligible for other Amazon free shipping offers and promotional deals.
- Shoppers Trust Amazon – Shoppers trust the Amazon brand and know that a product with the Prime badge will ship and arrive as expected. This drives higher sales on the Amazon marketplace compared to non-Prime product listings.
Amazon FBA Fulfillment Specialty Services
Don’t expect specialty kitting or packaging services from FBA. You can make products eligible for Amazon’s usual gift message and wrap services with no added costs to you, which is a nice perk. However, your products need to arrive at FBA facilities ready to pack—no assembly needed.
FulfillmentCompanies.net: The Best Free Fulfillment Services Matchmaker
If your fulfillment needs don’t fit neatly into the services covered above, we suggest starting your search with the free fulfillment matchmaker, FulfillmentCompanies.net. This service matches your unique fulfillment needs to the capabilities of more than 600 providers to find you the perfect fit.
We recommend this route for a number of reasons:
- Low Fulfillment Rates Matter: There are many fees in outsourced fulfillment. If you’re new to the process, it’s hard to identify potential pitfalls. A fulfillment matchmaker can help identify your needs and the related fees to expect when searching for a fulfillment partner.
- Benefit from Free Industry Expertise: Whether you’re selling apparel, books, car parts, or nutritional supplements, you want a fulfillment service that has experience storing and shipping your products. Don’t let your business be their test program.
- Smart Shipping Is a Priority: Warehouse location is the key to economical shipping. FulfillmentCompanies.net can match your geographic needs to well-positioned providers within the U.S. as well as those with international reach.
15 Best Small Business Fulfillment Service Providers
|FedEx Fulfillment||Growing multichannel sellers and international sellers|
|Shipbob||Startups, small sellers & crowdfunding campaigns|
|Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)||Amazon sellers and multichannel marketplace sellers|
|Red Stag||High-value, oversized, heavy, or special-handling products|
|FulfillmentCompanies.net||Finding solutions to match specific fulfillment needs|
|Fulfillify||Ecommerce sales and subscription box businesses needing custom packaging|
|IDS Fulfillment||All ecommerce shippers, ideal for special handling and food-grade fulfillment|
|Ships-a-Lot||High-volume Shopify sellers and crowdfunding campaigns|
|WhipLash||Transparent fulfillment pricing for U.S. and overseas sales|
|Materialogic||Sellers with large inventories, bulk shipping, and B2B needs|
|Fulfillment.com||Companies needing a network of fulfillment centers in the U.S. and U.K.|
|Shipwire||International shippers and high volume, large inventory sellers|
|eFulfillment Service||Small business ecommerce fulfillment services|
|Rakuten Logistics||Marketplace sellers, volume, and international orders|
|Printful||Print-on-demand fulfillment for Shopify and other ecommerce platforms|
The key to finding the perfect fulfillment service is knowing what you need now, your growth goals, and what you expect from a fulfillment service. Some providers, like FedEx Fulfillment, offer a well-rounded suite of basic, specialty, and growth-driving enterprise fulfillment services. Others focus on specific solutions, like Red Stag’s special-handling fulfillment, or have unique strengths, like ShipBob’s batch services and FBA’s Amazon sales support.
If you’re looking for a tailored-made solution, the experts at FulfillmentCompanies.net are ready to match you to the perfect fulfillment partner for free. It’s the perfect way to save time in your search and get a feel for your options—no strings attached. Get your free quotes today.