Order fulfillment services handle key inventory management, order picking, and shipping operations for ecommerce businesses. Outsourcing these time-consuming tasks to fulfillment companies 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 prescreened fulfillment companies to find you the perfect fit for your needs and budget. Click below for free quotes.
Top 5 Order Fulfillment Services & Companies 2019
(Best overall) Growing multichannel sellers and international expansion
Startup ecommerce sellers and crowdfunding programs
Ecommerce sellers with special packing and handling needs
Amazon sellers and multichannel sellers focusing on Amazon
Matching business needs to the most appropriate fulfillment services
Which Order Fulfillment Company is Right for You?
How We Evaluated Order Fulfillment Services
Businesses looking to outsource order 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, 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.
“A few fulfillment companies even offer unique services like batch shipping for launches or crowdfunding, meet Amazon Prime-eligible requirements, or pack subscription boxes.”
– Will Schneider, CEO, FulfillmentCompanies.net
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 five 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.
FedEx Fulfillment: Best Multichannel & International Fulfillment Service
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, business-to-business (B2B) bulk freight, and white-glove gift services are available as needed, and order minimums are startup-friendly.
ShipBob: Best Startup & Crowdfunding Fulfillment Service
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.
Red Stag Fulfillment: Best Fulfillment Company for Special-handling & High-value Goods
Red Stag Fulfillment services specialize in storing and shipping high-value goods and products that require special handling, such as 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.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): Best Fulfillment Services for Amazon Sellers
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) caters to Amazon sellers and multichannel merchants. FBA-fulfilled items feature the sales-driving Prime badge on Amazon listings. There are plenty of added benefits beyond Prime, like no order minimums and low shipping fees. Also, you can easily find order management system add-ons for FBA to help streamline your inventory. Users must understand FBA’s detailed fees and requirements, but managed right, FBA is an economical fulfillment option.
Fulfillment Companies: Best for Matching Business Needs to the Most Appropriate Fulfillment Services
FulfillmentCompanies.net specializes in helping businesses find the perfect fulfillment services for their unique needs. Fulfillment Companies helps you reduce the amount of time you invest in looking for the services you need while providing you with affordable options that you might not find on your own.
Best Order Fulfillment Services & Fees at-a-Glance
$25 per hour
(first 2 hours)
$13.25 per pallet
Discounted FedEx rates
Discounted select carriers
Discounted select carriers
Discounts via partners
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, billed monthly
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**
Discounted FedEx and USPS
Discounted all carriers
Discounted all carriers
Included in pick & pack fee
Growing businesses, B2B & international
Startups & batch shipping
High-value, large & oversize items
100 per week**
100 per month
100 per month
Specialty packaging, kitting & gift
Specialty kitting & FBA stock prep
Light assembly, branded packaging
*If inbound shipment requirements and documentation are met
**No minimum during the four-month onboarding and ramp-up phase
Clearly, there are many things to consider when vetting fulfillment services. 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.
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 business-to-business (B2B) sales and freight shipping.
FedEx Fulfillment Service Costs
FedEx Fulfillment service fees are extremely 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 are far lower. Most fulfillment services charge by the pallet or bin.
FedEx Fulfillment Basic Fulfillment Services & Costs
FedEx Fulfillment Service Fees*
Discounted FedEx rates based on the overall shipping volume
Free if FedEx inbound shipment standards are met
19 cents per cubic foot, billed weekly
Order Pick & Pack
$1.80 per order, 40 cents per unit in the order
Discounted FedEx shipping rates based on volume
$2.50 per order, includes processing and restocking
From 40 cents for messages to $3.50 or $5 for gift bagging or wrap
Kitting per quote
$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-order weekly 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 business 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: FedEx Fulfillment 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.
When you consider FedEx’s core strengths, it’s not surprising it is the top fulfillment services provider for multichannel sellers. FedEx also has considerable capabilities to help small businesses with their international expansion, which is another big advantage FedEx Fulfillment brings to the table.
What FedEx Fulfillment Is Missing
Unlike some other fulfillment service providers, FedEx Fulfillment does not offer batch fulfillment as a product-based service, though it can provide batch fulfillment services for daily shipper clients on an as-needed basis. Not surprisingly, while FedEx Fulfillment offers shipping discounts on FedEx and USPS shipping, it does not offer discounts for other shipping carriers that are competitors with FedEx.
What Users Think About FedEx Fulfillment
Since FedEx Fulfillment is still relatively new, online reviews are still sparse. In general, businesses find working with FedEx Fulfillment to be a seamless experience. In FedEx Fulfillment user reviews, those who post negative comments cite ineffective interdepartmental communication at FedEx as a negative, as the lack of clear communication can lead to inventory being misplaced or improperly processed.
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
ShipBob Fulfillment Service Fees
Discounts available with ShipBob’s common carriers
$25 per hour (first 2 hours)
$5 per bin, $10 per shelf, $40 per pallet; billed monthly
Order Pick & Pack
Combined with shipping fee
Quoted rate includes order pick-and-pack services
Processed and restocked for free
Kitting and specialty packing per quote
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 no-surprise 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 excels at serving batch shippers and startups. If this sounds like your business, then you’ll want to consider using ShipBob for your order fulfillment needs.
ShipBob Fulfillment 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 most specialty services is available via quote. ShipBob also offers bulk order packing and Amazon FBA stock prep with reasonable fees starting at 25 cents per packed item. For more on added services, contact a ShipBob pro today.
What ShipBob Fulfillment Is Missing
When it comes to some costs, ShipBob isn’t delivering the value that other fulfillment services offer. Storage fees and receiving costs are higher than the industry norm.
If you’re an ecommerce seller that depends on Amazon Prime for your business, you’re out of luck. ShipBob is not an Amazon Prime-approved seller, which means if you’re highly dependent on Amazon Prime sales, ShipBob is not the right fulfillment provider for you.
What Users Think About ShipBob
User reviews for ShipBob are largely favorable, although there are some businesses that are displeased with the services provided. Positive reviews cite ease of use, reliable shipping, and good customer support as reasons to work with ShipBob. Negative reviews, which are in the minority, list issues like overcharging, slow delivery times, damaged products, and product overshipping as problems they’ve experienced with ShipBob.
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
Red Stag Fulfillment Service Fees
Discounts available with Red Stag’s common carriers
$13.25 per pallet
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
Discounted carrier rates, extra savings on FedEx
Return and restock fees based on returns plan
Light product assembly and kitting per quote
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 orders 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. You can ship everything from small objects to custom, large, and awkwardly shaped products with ease through Red Stag.
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 to 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 low rates on oversized and heavy parcels, which can be a game changer for these sellers.
- Affordable inventory storage: At $15 per pallet, per month, 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’s core strengths make it a great choice for small businesses that require special product handling needs. And if you’re selling high-value goods, you can rest assured that Red Stag’s security is second to none.
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’ specialty needs, request a call from a Red Stag professional using this short form.
What Red Stag Fulfillment Is Missing
Red Stag focuses on large, high-priced, and custom products, which means that they don’t offer affordable services for high-volume, lower-priced items. Red Stag is simply not focused on batch shipping.
What Users Think About Red Stag Fulfillment
Red Stag Fulfillment user reviews are generous in their praise. Users say Red Stag makes it easy to do business with them and takes the hassle out of managing logistics. Prices are competitive, Red Stag goes the extra mile to pack products safely before shipping, and Red Stag delivers packages on time.
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.
Fulfillment by Amazon Fulfillment Service Costs
Amazon 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 the type of item, item size, and order quantity. Below is a snapshot of general Amazon FBA fees.
Amazon FBA Fulfillment Basic Fulfillment Services & Costs
FBA Fulfillment Service Fees
Discounts available with FBA-approved carriers
Free if FBA inbound shipment guidelines are met
48 cents to $2.40 per cubic foot, based on items and time of year
Order Pick & Pack
$2.41 to $137.32, based on item size and quantity ordered
Included in pick-and-pack fees
Returns are processed for free
Fulfillment by Amazon Fulfillment Order & Account Minimums
There are no FBA minimum orders or stock levels. You must have an Amazon Pro Seller account to use Amazon FBA; individual Amazon sellers cannot use FBA.
Fulfillment by Amazon 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, two-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.
With FBA, you get Amazon name recognition, reliability, and competitive shipping rates. If you’re already an Amazon seller or a multichannel seller who relies on Amazon, FBA may be a good order fulfillment solution for you.
Fulfillment by Amazon 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.
What Fulfillment by Amazon Is Missing
With other fulfillment providers, your products are guaranteed to be pulled from your inventory; with FBA, that’s not necessarily the case. Amazon has fulfillment centers all over the world and, in order to meet tight shipping parameters, FBA may commingle products from different inventory sources. That means your customers could receive a product that sounds like yours but is actually a knockoff or an inferior product. The chances of this happening are low, but it does happen.
Your product shipping data is secure from competitors with most fulfillment companies. That’s not the case with FBA. Since Amazon is a huge seller, they monitor trends in FBA shipments and can use that knowledge to start competing with your business if it sees you’re doing well.
What Users Think About Fulfillment by Amazon
User reviews of FBA are quite complimentary, which is not surprising since Amazon’s logistics network is one of the most sophisticated in the world. Seamless service and good customer support are among the top reasons users like working with FBA. Overall, the reviewers feel that FBA takes the hassle out of order fulfillment and that working with FBA is easy. Users with special needs, such as large or bulky items, don’t feel FBA is a good fit for them.
Fulfillment Companies: 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 costs 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.
Alternatives: 10 More Small Business Fulfillment Service Providers
The five providers listed already are capable of meeting most businesses’ fulfillment needs. Still, there are many more fulfillment service alternatives available to you. Another great way to find the right option for you is to read through order fulfillment service reviews.
Alternative Business Fulfillment Service Providers
Ecommerce sales and subscription box businesses needing custom packaging
All ecommerce shippers, ideal for special handling and food-grade fulfillment
High-volume Shopify sellers and crowdfunding campaigns
Transparent fulfillment pricing for U.S. and overseas sales
Sellers with large inventories, bulk shipping, and B2B needs
Companies needing a network of fulfillment centers in the U.S. and U.K.
International shippers and high volume, large inventory sellers
Small business ecommerce fulfillment services
Marketplace sellers, volume, and international orders
Print-on-demand fulfillment for Shopify and other ecommerce platforms
To find the perfect fulfillment services for your business, you must be clear about what you need from a fulfillment provider. FedEx Fulfillment offers a well-rounded suite of services. Others focus on specific solutions, like Red Stag’s special-handling fulfillment. Yet others have unique strengths, like ShipBob’s batch services and FBA’s Amazon sales support.
If you’re looking for a tailored 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. Visit FufillmentCompanies.net today.