This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
Red Stag Fulfillment is a third-party logistics (3PL) company geared toward ecommerce merchants and retailers. It provides warehousing, order fulfillment, and shipping solutions to small and midsize businesses.
In our review of the best order fulfillment companies for small businesses, Red Stag scored 4.12 out of 5 based on our evaluation of 23 data points. Its special handling capabilities, excellent customer support, and industry-leading accuracy guarantees set the provider apart from the competition.
Our Red Stag Fulfillment review shows that its operations and pricing are tailored to work for retailers dealing in goods that require special handling. This includes oversized and/or heavy items (like flat-pack furniture or large recreational equipment), high-value merchandise (like fine jewelry or watches), and fragile goods (like televisions and other electronics). Additionally, Red Stag is an industry leader for fulfilling hazardous merchandise such as ammunition.
This specialization makes third-party fulfillment and logistics cost-effective by reducing spend on packing, shipping, and storing these high-maintenance goods, along with eliminating losses due to mishandling and damage during transit.
The company charges higher pick and pack fees than many competitors and also charges a Small Package Fee for parcels weighing less than 16 ounces. These extra costs would add up fast for sellers dealing in small, lightweight goods with low-to-moderate margins—making the provider a poor fit. Moreover, Red Stag lacks an international warehouse network to support foreign expansion, and it can’t perform fulfillment for crowdfunding campaigns.
Red Stag Fulfillment Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Small to midsize businesses, startups, ecommerce stores, retail stores, DTC sellers, B2B sellers, subscription-box services
Minimum Order Requirements
∼200 orders (flexible)
Setup and Onboarding Fees
US Warehouse Locations
International Warehouse Locations
Shipping Partner Options
UPS, USPS, FedEx, Amazon Logistics, OnTrac, smaller regional carriers
Via phone, email, and live chat 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday
Red Stag Fulfillment Alternatives
Best for: Ecommerce fulfillment for small to midsize, lightweight goods
Best for: On-demand services, labor, and space for scaling in-house fulfillment
Best for: Amazon fulfillment for small and manageable goods
Best for: Combined fulfillment and full-service marketplace management
Monthly minimum: None
Monthly minimum: None
Monthly minimum: None
Monthly minimum: 1,000 orders
Since many fulfillment companies offer pricing on a custom-quoted basis, we couldn’t fairly compare the specific costs of each provider. So, our evaluation of the top fulfillment companies considered pricing transparency, billing transparency, and billing predictability.
Red Stag’s pricing follows a simple, clear structure, and each client is protected by the company’s “No Hidden Fees” guarantee. This contributes to high levels of pricing transparency and billing predictability.
Unfortunately, Red Stag lost points for its lack of billing transparency. As compared to companies like ShipBob, which have a detailed billing report available daily and itemized down to the individual process, Red Stag only provides itemized invoices upon request. Moreover, the act of preparing itemized invoices is charged at a “special projects” rate.
For large, oversized goods, Red Stag’s affordable storage costs can help you save significantly. But, it’s important to note that the company charges a $1 Small Package Fee for parcels weighing less than 16 ounces.
The company automatically provides specialty services for fragile and high-value items that would cost extra elsewhere—like liability insurance and custom-fitted boxes. These benefits make Red Stag the very affordable choice for products with many kinds of special-handling needs.
Red Stag Fulfillment Itemized Pricing
What It Covers
Onboarding, account setup, stock migration, and platform integration
$14.25 per pallet
Inbound stock receipt, unpack, and check-in
75 cents per cubic foot
Climate-controlled storage, advanced security, and inventory management
Pick and Pack
$1.80–$2.25 for the first item, 32 cents per additional item
Picking items from inventory and packing them for shipment
Custom-fitted boxes and cushioning
Discounted rates available with four carrier partners
Shipping costs vary depending on the size, weight, and destination of your goods
$6 per order (plus shipping cost)
Return processing, quality check, and restocking
Versatile labor to handle open-ended additional needs, such as product labeling and supplier management
With excellent accuracy, connectivity, and operational speed, Red Stag scored highly in this category. It only lost points for its small warehouse network, which provides plenty of storage capacity but isn’t ideal for strategic distribution.
Click below to expand on the features that contribute to Red Stag’s score for quality and functionality.
Red Stag’s fulfillment services come with access to its proprietary cloud-based dashboard, called RSF OPS. The software is mobile-friendly (which is a rare feature in its arena), and all info is updated in real time.
Users criticize the software for being less user-friendly than they would like. It’s sometimes described as too data-forward, with an interface that prioritizes function over form.
RSF OPS’s data-heavy performance does provide helpful reporting capabilities, including demand forecasting, inventory planning, shipping stats, and upstream production.
Sellers also have the ability to create and edit products/SKUs, return merchandise authorizations (RMAs), advance ship notices (ASNs), and manual orders. Plus, its web-based WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) allows you to see the location of any item or order in Red Stag’s facility in real time.
Red Stag maintains three warehouses in two general locations: Knoxville, Tennessee, and Salt Lake City, Utah. There are no international warehouses at this time.
The company’s third warehouse launched in Sweetwater, Tennessee, (about 40 miles from Knoxville) earlier this year. It brings an additional 4.5 million square feet of space and 3,500 employees to Red Stag’s infrastructure, significantly expanding its capacity.
Each client’s inventory can be distributed across the two locations depending on geographical demand. Red Stag has plans to open additional fulfillment centers in Los Angeles, California, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, although no further progress on those sites has been reported.
This small warehouse network isn’t ideal for distribution or expansion, but it achieves two-day ground shipping to 96% of US addresses and three-day ground shipping to 99%.
Red Stag boasts one of the lowest error rates in the industry—only 0.02%, which breaks down to just one mistake in every 5,000 orders. Furthermore, 99.96% of orders ship on time. The company has a robust employee incentive program to drive these high levels of accuracy, plus integrated automation to rule out human error in many areas.
Regardless of its accuracy rates, Red Stag offers a 100% guarantee on its services. For every mistake it makes, it pays to fully correct the problem plus issues a $50 penalty payment to the client.
This guarantee can make a big difference in your bottom line—especially when dealing in high-value merchandise. Most fulfillment providers, such as ShipBob, have a policy that reimburses the cost of their errors up to $100 per order. In that case, if a mis-pick or shipping error squanders a valuable product, you’re either left with a hefty deficit or a complicated and lengthy claim process.
Other companies, such as ShipMonk, don’t insure your goods in their care. Your options are to add their warehouse(s) to your own policy and eat the expense or risk financial loss. Red Stag is fully insured, protected, and guaranteed to cause zero shrinkage or error.
Same-day fulfillment is available with Red Stag with a highly competitive cutoff time of 5 p.m. Orders received after that time are fulfilled the next day.
Inbound order receiving has a 48-hour guarantee, which is significantly speedier than competing fulfillment providers. For comparison, ShipBob promises to receive inventory within five days of arrival, and FBA has been known to delay receiving for multiple weeks. Red Stag also offers cross-docking to speed up processing for items on backorder.
Each account with Red Stag is serviced by a dedicated representative available by phone or email. The relationship between each customer and their rep begins with a thorough training period to establish the specific needs of the client and their inventory.
Red Stag’s customer service facility is open 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday. My test calls were all answered promptly (without being put on hold) by a helpful representative based in Tennessee. Many competing providers outsource their customer support staff to call centers in India or South America, which often leads to difficulties with communication and issue resolution.
Clients also have the option of visiting and touring Red Stag’s facilities in person, which is a unique offering.
Red Stag offers turnkey integrations with many of the leading ecommerce tools. These direct integrations are free and initialize quickly, and most are two-way compatible. The company also offers API capabilities for custom connectivity with platforms it hasn’t yet developed turnkey integrations for. This process takes longer and incurs an additional cost.
Here’s a current list of Red Stag’s available integrations:
- Ecommerce platforms, marketplaces, and shopping carts: 1ShoppingCart, 3dcart, Adobe Business Catalyst, Amazon, BigCommerce, Buy.com (Rakuten), Choxi, Ecwid, FoxyCart, Goodsie, Linio, Magneto, Newegg, Nexternal, OpenCart, Overstock, PrestaShop, Sears, Shopify, UltraCart, Volusion, Wayfair, Weebly, WooCommerce, Yahoo Stores, eBay
- Freight, shipping, and supply chain solutions: CommerceHub, ReadyShipper, ShipStation, SPS Commerce
- Multichannel software: Brightpearl, ChannelAdvisor, Linnworks, Monsoon, Solid Commerce, TradeGecko
- Operations, inventory, and order management: hybris, OrderMotion, osCommerce, Spree Commerce
- Payments, accounting, tax, and financing: Celery, NetSuite, PayPal, QuickBooks
- Marketing and CRM: Brandboom, ClickBank, Keap (Infusionsoft), Salesforce (Demandware)
Red Stag offers robust specialty services that mainly cater to specialized product handling. The company provides advanced security, liability insurance, custom-fitted boxes, and more.
Furthermore, Red Stag is open to customizing its facilities and services to suit the needs of customers. If your goods require particular security measures, temperature control, storage amenities, or other special handling, Red Stag will accommodate the right client.
The company is eligible to send Amazon Seller-fulfilled Prime (SFP) orders as an alternative to using Fulfillment by Amazon. Not every 3PL has this capability, making it a major advantage in this category. But, Red Stag doesn’t provide batch fulfillment services, making it incompatible with crowdfunding campaigns.
Red Stag’s specialty services include:
Special Handling, Packing & Shipping
Red Stag’s operation is focused on oversized, heavy, high-value, and/or fragile items—providing the best processes and tools for handling these high-maintenance goods.
Its warehouses are designed, laid out, and priced for bulky merchandise (which contrasts with most competing fulfillment companies that excel in working with small, lightweight products). Employees are specially trained to handle goods of this nature, and they’re equipped with high-tech tools to aid in intake, picking, and packing.
The standard materials offered by Red Stag at the packing phase are composed of heavy-duty cardboard—fortified to be supportive and protective for large, fragile items. A variety of tape and dunnage is also available to optimize packaging. Each order is measured with a dimensional scanner that creates a custom-fitted box to ensure safe transportation.
Red Stag works with four shipping couriers and offers discounted rates. This is typical of a fulfillment provider since shipping companies provide volume discounts to partners like them. The distinction between Red Stag and its competitors is in the type of shipping it does in bulk—oversized and heavy packages are charged at a different rate, so your discounts on these shipments will be greater.
Red Stag’s security protocols begin with background checks for each employee and metal detectors at every entrance and exit of its facilities. Once on the property, comprehensive security cameras monitor, record, and store footage from every square foot of operation.
Multiple redundant security systems are connected to numerous power source backups, creating a failsafe for any circumstance. Plus, the company’s website, software, and stored data are protected by advanced web security with 100% uptime, maintained by a dedicated team.
Red Stag scored moderately in our ease of use category. It was awarded points for its scalability and impeccable operation transparency, but the company’s 200-order minimum and business-only customer service hours are substantial drawbacks. We also took into account user reviews describing Red Stag’s fulfillment software as unintuitive and not user-friendly.
Here’s a summary of the factors we considered:
- Risk-free Trial: You can use Red Stag’s services for 30 days to test the waters and determine if it’s a good fit for your needs. If you decide against continuing, you won’t be charged any fulfillment fees for services used during the trial period.
- Onboarding: Red Stag has a dedicated onboarding team to guide new clients through a seamless migration process with minimal hiccups and downtime.
- Support: Red Stag’s client support platform uses a 24/7 ticket-based system, allowing you to report issues as soon as they occur and stay up-to-date on progress toward resolution.
- Error Policies and Guarantees: The company guarantees 100% accuracy and zero shrink, backed by full compensation plus a $50 penalty payment to the client.
- Transparency: Red Stag’s operational transparency is very high—the software provides visibility into each order as it moves through the fulfillment process and allows you to track shipping with every carrier.
- Billing: Unfortunately, the company’s billing transparency is not very user-friendly. As compared to companies like ShipBob, which have a detailed billing report available daily and itemized down to the individual process, Red Stag only provides itemized invoices upon request.
Moreover, the act of preparing itemized invoices is charged at a “special projects” rate. Thankfully, the company has a “No Hidden Fees” guarantee and a crystal-clear pricing structure.
- Customization: If Red Stag doesn’t supply an amenity your products require (like climate-control or gated secure inventory storage), its team is open to accommodating the right client.
Red Stag provides hard-to-find services on top of functional fulfillment operations while staying affordable and accessible to small businesses. This value—combined with exceptional popularity among its users—earned Red Stag a perfect rating in our Expert Score category.
Through its user reviews as well as interactions I’ve had with employees throughout the company, it’s made clear that Red Stag delivers on its promise to provide superior efficiency with personalized service. We also considered the provider’s risk-free 30-day trial offer in this score, along with its compatibility with Amazon sellers.
On the other hand, Red Stag lacks many of the services offered by its competitors. Without batch fulfillment, freight management options, dropshipping services, or programs for startups, Red Stag renders itself unusable for a host of business types that are increasingly common in the modern ecommerce landscape.
What Users Say in Red Stag Fulfillment Reviews
A limited number of Red Stag reviews are available. Many of the ratings you’ll find online are assessments of what it’s like to work for Red Stag rather than employ its services. Despite the lack of quantity, the company’s existing user reviews provide a well-rounded look at what it’s like to use them as a fulfillment partner.
Many reviewers cite the courtesy, promptness, and professionalism of the client support team, applauding the company for its top-notch communication. Others mention the high accuracy of Red Stag’s services, although no available reviews describe making use of the compensation guarantee.
A handful of reviewers based in Europe use Red Stag to fulfill their US, Canada, and Mexico sales. These users expressed satisfaction with the company’s flexibility and attentiveness.
At the time of writing, nearly all of the negative reviews for Red Stag are from previous employees and truckers who were rating their experience working for the company. A few positive reviews mention being disappointed in the company’s shipping network, which was previously limited to solely FedEx. Red Stag has now expanded to shipping with UPS, USPS, Amazon, and OnTrac as well.
Recently, a non-employee reviewer left a 1-star rating of Red Stag, citing difficulty obtaining a quote for the company’s services. He reported having trouble working with the company’s salespeople and being handed off to multiple representatives.
|Operational accuracy||Previous shipping limitations (now resolved)|
|Responsive and courteous client support||Difficulty obtaining a quote|
|Reduced customer complaints||Fulfillment software interface not user-friendly|
Methodology: How We Evaluated Red Stag Fulfillment
In our Red Stag Fulfillment review and all 3PL reviews, we considered the factors that matter most to small retail and ecommerce businesses. We started by researching the provider through third-party reviews, user ratings, relevant articles, and the company’s own content.
For information we can’t find online, we reached out to the company as potential customers rather than reporters. We also personally assessed Red Stag’s client support services and overall ease of use.
We then evaluated Red Stag on a 23-point scale shaped by industry experience, reader surveys, and competing providers’ attributes. Our criteria weighs functionality, scalability, and transparency throughout a range of processes.
30% of Overall Score
We evaluated the quality of service and functionality of each company by weighing critical details like order turnaround time, shipping partner options, size of fulfillment center network, and accuracy rate.
We also considered how each service integrates with ecommerce shopping carts, marketplaces, operational tools, and solution providers that your online store may use.
Red Stag scored highly in this category, earning points for its accuracy guarantees, extensive integrations, and overall speed. We docked the provider for its restrictive warehouse network.
20% of Overall Score
Many fulfillment companies offer pricing on a custom-quoted basis. We assert that it’s better to openly publish pricing. This eliminates the need for potential clients to contact each company for a quote—potentially wasting both parties’ time—and promotes general transparency.
Since we can’t fairly compare the specific costs of each provider, this category examines the providers’ pricing transparency, billing transparency, and billing predictability.
Red Stag’s ‘No Hidden Fees’ guarantee along with its predictable pricing structure helped the company score well here, but it lost points for billing transparency.
15% of Overall Score
This score considered customer service accessibility—prioritizing companies that provide a dedicated service rep for each client and weighing their support center’s hours of availability.
Each service was also evaluated for software usability and operational transparency. Companies were awarded points for having highly functional software that allows users to see where each order is within the fulfillment process and warehouse space.
Lastly, order minimums and service scalability were weighted heavily to provide the best recommendation for small businesses that need a fulfillment partner that can grow with them.
Red Stag lost points in this section for its business-only customer service hours as well as its 200-order minimum requirement. We also factored in negative user feedback about its fulfillment software. Overall, the company scored moderately well thanks to its scalability and excellent operational transparency.
15% of Overall Score
We awarded points for the availability of special services like climate control, international shipping, custom packaging elements, and different types of assembly. Being crucial to ecommerce operations, return handling and reporting/analytics were prioritized.
Lastly, we assessed whether each company was eligible to fulfill Amazon Prime or SFP (Seller-Fulfilled Prime) orders.
Red Stag was docked for its lack of climate control and international warehouses, but earned points in this category for its robust services centered around special handling.
20% of Overall Score
This score combined our retail and ecommerce experts’ final evaluation of value, ease of use, and standout features with scores from real-world users on trusted third-party review sites
We gave Red Stag high marks here for its overall value, ease of use, and robust specialty services— plus its impressive reputation among its users.
Red Stag Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who Should Use Red Stag Fulfillment?
Red Stag is a good fit for small to midsize businesses that sell physical products online. Its services are most economical for hazardous, high-value, heavy, fragile, or oversized products—which competing fulfillment companies aren’t built to efficiently handle.
The company specializes in DTC ecommerce sales, but works with brick-and-mortar retailers and B2B sellers as well.
When Should I Use a Red Stag Alternative?
- Businesses dealing in health products, food and beverage, cosmetics, or medical goods may want to partner with an FDA-certified fulfillment provider, such as ShipBob.
- Red Stag doesn’t offer batch fulfillment programs, so crowdfunding campaigns and product launches need to seek an alternative. We recommend ShipBob.
- Local international fulfillment has a number of advantages over cross-border shipping. Red Stag only has warehouses located in the US, so sellers targeting foreign customer bases may find better success with a global 3PL, like ShipBob.
Red Stag is a specialty company that was founded to fill the gap in the fulfillment industry for certain types of high-maintenance products. For this reason, it’s not the ideal solution for every retailer universally.
Outsourcing fulfillment of heavy, oversized, fragile, or high-value merchandise can be difficult, expensive, or both—which is why Red Stag is the best option for sellers in this category. Its services save clients significant money on shipping, storage, and processing costs, as well as reduce spend on shrinkage and losses.
If you’re still unsure whether Red Stag is right for you, try visiting WarehousingAndFulfillment.com to compare your specific needs to 500+ pre-screened companies. It helps find the best fit for your business at no additional cost.