When to Use Red Stag
Red Stag’s 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 items (like televisions and other electronics).
This specialization makes fulfillment and logistics cost-effective by reducing spend on packing, shipping, and storing these high-maintenance goods—as well as eliminating losses due to mishandling. In our evaluation of the best order fulfillment services, Red Stag earned a 3.64 out of 5 largely because of its special handling capabilities, customer service, and industry-leading order accuracy rates.
In particular, we recommend Red Stag for:
- Oversized and/or heavy products: Red Stag was founded in response to the lack of options in the fulfillment market for large and unwieldy products. The company’s average order weight is over 20 lbs., so everything in its facilities is centered around accommodating bulky items. This includes fortified packaging, reduced oversized shipping costs, knowledgeable staff, and specially designed warehousing.
- High-value merchandise: Red Stag pulls out all the stops to make its facilities as secure as possible to benefit all of its clientele—but the added security measures make Red Stag a great match for sellers dealing in luxury or other high-value goods.
- Fragile goods: Storing, processing, and shipping fragile items requires high levels of attention and expertise, plus special packing materials to ensure your customers receive their orders intact. Red Stag not only specializes in handling these types of goods but covers any damage to your inventory that occurs on its watch.
- Guaranteed accuracy: Red Stag boasts the highest accuracy rates in the industry, driven by advanced warehouse automation and employee incentive programs. It guarantees everything it does with a promise to reimburse the cost of any mistake, plus a $50 penalty payment to the client. This makes the company a good solution for retailers who want to minimize the impact of shrinkage and incidentals on their bottom line.
- B2B sellers: Many fulfillment providers offer bulk order capabilities that are limited to CSV-file entry, which is cumbersome and only meant for occasional use. In contrast, Red Stag’s software and services have robust compatibility with wholesale and B2B (business-to-business) orders.
- Amazon sellers: Red Stag is eligible for Amazon Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP) orders, which allows you to display the sales-driving Prime badge on your Amazon listings without having to deal with FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). Though we recommend FBA for Amazon sellers, if you need an alternative, Red Stag fits the bill.
- Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands: Today’s online shoppers expect to get their orders fast, and their buying decisions often hinge on delivery dates. Red Stag offers same-day fulfillment with aggressive cutoff times (as late as 5 p.m.) and a strong shipping network for two-day delivery to most of the country.
When to Use an Alternative
- Small, lightweight goods: Red Stag’s facilities are equipped to handle heavy, bulky products, and its shipping rates are geared to work for oversized packages. This means sellers dealing in manageable, lightweight items would be paying for solutions they don’t need. In these cases, ShipBob is a better fulfillment option.
- Global distribution: Some fulfillment providers, such as FedEx and ShipBob, have international fulfillment centers to optimize global distribution—whereas Red Stag’s warehouses are solely located in the US. Although Red Stag can ship internationally, retailers with an international customer base may find its fulfillment network to be lacking.
- Young, developing businesses: A minimum requirement of 200 orders per month makes Red Stag’s services inaccessible to many newly formed or developing small businesses. We recommend ShipBob for its Growth Plan, which has no order minimums.
- Crowdfunding ventures: Red Stag doesn’t offer programs for small-batch goods like product launches or crowdfunding fulfillment. For these purposes (and other nontraditional business models) we recommend ShipBob.
- Tight budgets: Red Stag’s fulfillment fees are pricier than many competing fulfillment providers, largely due to its special-handling expertise. Retailers on a tight budget may benefit more from ShipMonk or FedEx’s pricing model—or from fulfilling their orders in-house.
Red Stag Overview
|Excellent operational transparency||Only two warehouses—not ideal for high-volume sellers|
|Built to accommodate special-handling needs for oversized, heavy, or fragile goods||No international fulfillment centers|
|Two-day shipping to 97% of US residents, three-day shipping to 99.9%||Dashboard and user interface are not user-friendly|
|Low order minimums and no long-term contracts||Costly fulfillment fees|
|Fast turnaround times with affordable shipping and handling for oversized items||Lack of billing transparency|
|100% guaranteed accuracy and zero-shrink||No climate control, refrigeration, or frozen warehousing for cold chain compliance|
Since our last update:
Red Stag has begun construction on a new development in Sweetwater, Tennessee, with the first building scheduled to be completed in early 2022. The mega site is expected to occupy 4.5 million square feet of space and bring 3,500 new jobs to the area—vastly expanding the company’s capacity to store and fulfill orders.
Red Stag maintains plans to open additional fulfillment centers in Los Angeles, California, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, although no further progress on those sites has been reported.
Red Stag’s specialized services, cost-effective shipping options, best-in-class accuracy, and exceptional client support make it our top recommendation for small businesses in need of special-handling fulfillment. However, it does have pricey fulfillment fees, minimum order requirements, and lack of billing transparency.
Red Stag offers the following services:
- Warehousing: Inventory can be distributed across two US warehouses—in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Knoxville, Tennessee—depending on locational demand. Three additional warehouses are slated to be added to Red Stag’s fulfillment network in the coming months.
- Order fulfillment: Specialized training, handling, packaging, and shipping deals makes Red Stag’s fulfillment process the best in the business for merchandise that requires special handling. Same-day fulfillment is available with aggressive cutoff times, and heavy-duty packaging ensures your goods arrive safely.
- Shipping: Red Stag works with five shipping carriers—UPS, USPS, FedEx, Amazon, and OnTrac—most of which offer discounted rates.
- Returns processing: Returned merchandise is inspected to your specifications and satisfactory items are restocked normally. Red Stag can then create a new SKU for damaged and otherwise flawed goods, which is used to sell at a discount.
- Customer service: Each account is serviced by a dedicated representative equipped with thorough training on your store, merchandise, and SLA (service-level agreement). Red Stag charges no account management fees. The company’s standard customer service facility is open from 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- Simple onboarding: Red Stag has a dedicated onboarding team to guide new clients through a seamless migration process with minimal hiccups and downtime.
- Integrations: Red Stag integrates with top ecommerce shopping carts, seller marketplaces, and more.
- Special services: Red Stag offers kitting, bundling, reverse logistics, international shipping, and more. Custom-dimensional packaging can be created in-house, but branded packing elements must be provided by the client.
How Red Stag Compares to Other Fulfillment & 3PL Companies
Monthly Minimum Requirement
$250 in pick-and-pack fees
US Fulfillment Locations
International Fulfillment Locations
Partner Shipping Companies
UPS, USPS, FedEx, Amazon, OnTrac
UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL
USPS, FedEx, DHL, DHL Express, Passport, UPS1
UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL
Kitting / Assembly Services
Amazon SFP Eligibility
Temperature Regulation / Climate Control
Red Stag Pricing
Red Stag Fulfillment offers a risk-free trial for 30 days to see if it’s a good match for your needs. If you’re not satisfied at the end of the guarantee period, it won’t bill you for any of your fulfillment service fees.
The company’s costs are often individualized based on the client—incorporating volume discounts and service-level customizations to get the best deal for your business. Because of this, we recommend contacting Red Stag for a direct quote.
Here’s a look at Red Stag’s standard pricing.
What It Covers
Onboarding and account setup is free
Inbound stock receipt, unpack, and check-in
$15 per pallet/month, or $2 per bin/month
Storage, advanced security, and inventory management
Pick & Pack
$2.25–$2.65 for the first pick, 30 cents per additional item
Picking items from inventory and packing them for shipment
Discounted rates available with four carrier partners
Shipping costs vary depending on the size, weight, and destination of your goods
Red Stag Key Features
Red Stag is a tech-enabled specialty provider with a focus on client support and operational accuracy. Here are some of the features that set it apart from its competitors:
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 being too data-forward, with an interface that prioritizes function over form.
RSF OPS’s data-heavy performance does provide helpful reporting capabilities though—including demand forecasting, inventory planning, shipping stats, upstream production, and more.
It also gives sellers 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.
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 who 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 the packaging of each order.
Red Stag works with five 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.
Quality & Accuracy
Red Stag boasts the lowest error rate in the industry—only 0.05%, which breaks down to just one mistake in every 5,000 orders. Furthermore, 99.97% 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.
Shipping & Processing Speed
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 instance, ShipBob promises to receive inventory within five days of arrival). Crossdocking is also offered to speed up processing for items on backorder.
Despite its minimal warehouse numbers, Red Stag’s shipping network is extensive enough to provide two-day shipping that reaches the vast majority of US customers.
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.
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 also has a standard customer service facility open during business hours for more general questions. My test call was answered promptly (without being put on hold) by a helpful representative based in Tennessee.
Clients also have the option of visiting and touring Red Stag’s facilities in person, which is a unique offering.
Red Stag offers kitting and bundling at an additional charge per unit, plus free dimensional scanning to provide the best packaging for each unique product.
Red Stag can create custom packing elements, but branded packaging must be provided by the seller.
The company 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.
Red Stag Integrations
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 complete list of Red Stag’s current direct 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, Channel Advisor, 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 Ease of Use
- 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.
- 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 that 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 Alternatives
Best for: Standard small business and crowdfunding fulfillment needs
Best for: Best-in-class customer service and high-tech automation
Best for: Full-service marketplace management
Monthly minimum: ≈200 orders
Monthly minimum: $250 in pick and pack fees
Monthly minimum: 1,000 orders
Not sure which fulfillment company is best for you? Read our guide to the best order fulfillment services.
What Red Stag Users Think
Not many user reviews for Red Stag 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|
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 FulfillmentCompanies.net to compare your specific needs to 500+ pre-screened companies. It helps find the best fit for your business at no additional cost.