This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
ShipBob and Red Stag are both small business-friendly third-party order fulfillment solutions primarily used by ecommerce sellers. Both companies work by handling product storage, inventory management, order processing, shipping, and returns on your behalf.
We compared ShipBob vs Red Stag Fulfillment based on price, functionality, ease of use, and special services to identify the differences between the two and help you choose the best option for your business. In particular, we recommend:
- ShipBob: Best overall order fulfillment solution for small businesses (our top-recommended fulfillment service)
- Red Stag Fulfillment: Best order fulfillment solution for special-handling needs—including oversized, heavy, high-value, or fragile items
If you’re currently performing fulfillment in-house, consider strengthening your operation with shipping software. These platforms allow you to efficiently manage orders from all of your sales channels and compare shipping rates with added discounts.
- ShippingEasy: Best overall shipping software
- OrderCup: Best for small-scale sellers and those seeking a starter plan
Red Stag vs ShipBob Quick Comparison
Monthly Minimum Requirement
∼200 orders (flexible)
US Warehouse Locations
International Warehouse Locations
Shipping Partner Options
FedEx, UPS, USPS, Amazon, OnTrac
FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, OSM, CDL Last Mile, UDS, LSO, OnTrac
with $50 payment guarantee for every error
Amazon Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP) Eligibility
When to Use Each
Most Affordable: Varies
Onboarding and Implementation
Or $0 on the Growth Plan
Discounted rates available
Discounted rates available
$25 first two hours, $40 per person-hour after that
$14.25 per pallet
$40 per pallet/month, $10 per shelf/month, or $5 per bin/month
75 cents per cubic foot
Calculated per-package based on weight and shipping distance
Charged as separate cost centers
Pick and Pack
$0 for the first item,
20 cents per additional item
$1.80–$2.25 for the first item,
32 cents per additional item
Discounted rates available with major carriers
Discounted rates available with major carriers
$3 per order
$6 per order
Each company’s fulfillment pricing is based on usage, so you only pay for the services you use. Additionally, they both offer deeply discounted shipping rates. But ShipBob and Red Stag each structure their fees differently.
Ultimately, ShipBob charges higher storage fees, but Red Stag is more expensive for pick and pack, returns, and receiving. This makes each solution more economical for different sellers.
If you deal in standard, small and midsize goods, ShipBob is the more affordable option. Although its storage fees are steep, they’re typically balanced by the company’s low-cost receiving, virtually-free pick and pack, and impressive shipping discounts.
For large, oversized goods, Red Stag’s affordable storage costs can help you save significantly. Plus, the company automatically provides specialty services for fragile and high-value items that would cost you extra elsewhere—like liability insurance and custom-fitted boxes. These benefits make Red Stag the more affordable choice for products with many kinds of special-handling needs.
Take a look at our ShipBob vs Red Stag comparison of each major cost center below.
There’s no onboarding fee required to start using Red Stag, and your account representative will assist you with stock migration, platform integration, and account setup.
ShipBob’s Growth Plan (which aims to be a cheaper option geared toward startups) also offers free onboarding, but many of the tasks involved in the process must be handled by the seller independently.
ShipBob’s standard service charges a $975 implementation fee, which employs a dedicated “Implementation Engineer” who stays with you for 30 days to facilitate the onboarding process. This option is less affordable but can create a more hands-off experience and help avoid bumps in the road.
Both ShipBob and Red Stag charge for receiving, whereas some of their biggest competitors (like ShipMonk and FBA) perform receiving for free.
Free receiving services typically have strict guidelines for packaging and organization of the shipment, and don’t include quantity/quality checks or sorting goods. It’s a helpful way to save if you have consistent, reliable suppliers and/or low-cost goods—but the model leaves you vulnerable to the risk of being short-shipped without realizing the error until months down the road.
ShipBob and Red Stag both offer full-service receiving, but the two companies charge for it differently.
ShipBob charges $25 for the first two hours of receiving, and $40 per man-hour for any additional needs beyond that. Company reps report that the majority of their clients don’t need more than the initial two hours, which makes the service quite affordable.
Red Stag, on the other hand, charges $14.25 per pallet. If your inbound shipments are not palletized, the cost is $40.00 per man-hour for unloading, sorting, and palletizing a floor-loaded or hand-stacked container.
ShipBob provides a storage-optimization service that’s included in the primary cost. Staff use Warehouse Management System (WMS) software to constantly evaluate the space your goods are occupying and how they could be most efficiently arranged.
For example, if you have a pallet of merchandise at the beginning of the month and 50% of it sells, your fulfillment partner will reorganize the remaining products into bins or shelves. This reduces your storage bill and creates more usable space for the warehouse.
Red Stag’s storage costs, at 75 cents per cubic foot, are much lower than ShipBob’s, which help make the service affordable for oversized products. That being said, products that sit in Red Stag’s warehouses for longer than 180 days incur an additional long-term storage fee.
ShipBob charges $40 per pallet/month, $10 per shelf/month, or $5 per bin/month for storage. If a pallet averages 31.1 cubic feet of space, this evens out to a cost of about $1.29 per cubic foot.
Fulfillment Fees (Pick and Pack, Packaging Materials, and Shipping)
ShipBob charges a single fulfillment fee for each order, which includes pick and pack (up to four items), basic packaging materials, and shipping costs. Red Stag, on the other hand, charges for each of these cost centers individually. Both companies offer volume discounts.
Overall, the total fulfillment fees from each company work out to be somewhat comparable for standard orders. Red Stag’s pick and pack fees are pretty steep, which reflects the company’s focus on special handling. Plus, each item in an order incurs a pick and pack charge, whereas ShipBob’s pick and pack is $0 for the first four items.
Red Stag charges a Small Package Fee of $1 for parcels that weigh less than 16 ounces. This cost would add up fast for sellers dealing in small, lightweight goods with low-to-moderate margins, making the provider a poor fit.
Both companies provide similar discounts for major shipping carriers, although ShipBob delivers consistently more aggressive two-day rates.
Easiest to Use: ShipBob
Liability Insurance on Inventory
Flexible Special Services
Software Functionality and Interface Usability
Monthly invoices, visibility by line item
5-6 invoices per month, unitemized
Hidden Fees Reported by Users
Termination of Services
Ease of use is a focus for ShipBob and Red Stag alike, but user-friendliness is executed very differently by each company.
ShipBob delivers sophisticated fulfillment software packed with easy-to-use features as well as a wide range of integrations. In the modern ecommerce landscape, this earns the provider a lot of points.
Red Stag also provides its clients with multipurpose fulfillment software. It’s even mobile-friendly (which is a rare feature in its arena), and all info is updated in real time. But users criticize the software for being unintuitive and less user-friendly than they would like. It’s sometimes described as being too data-forward, with an interface that prioritizes function over form.
Both fulfillment companies boast excellent operational accuracy. At less than a 0.05% error rate on either side, the difference between the two providers is marginal. But Red Stag takes accuracy a step further by guaranteeing zero-shrinking, while nearly every other provider in its class (including ShipBob) has a small allowance for shrinkage.
Furthermore, for every mistake that Red Stag makes, it pays to fully correct the problem plus issues a $50 penalty payment to the client. ShipBob also reimburses for errors, but the claims process is not as efficient nor user-friendly.
Billing is more transparent with ShipBob, and generally easier to manage. Your monthly statements are accessible from an online portal and automatically itemized down to the individual charge. Conversely, Red Stag only provides itemized invoices upon request, and the act of preparing itemized invoices is charged at a “special projects” rate.
That being said, Red Stag has a “No Hidden Fees” guarantee, whereas a small number of ShipBob users report being hit with occasional unexpected charges.
On top of the features detailed above, ShipBob has extended customer service hours and no order volume requirements, making it easier to use than Red Stag by a small margin.
Best for Scalability: ShipBob
Both companies are capable of promoting and facilitating growth. They each offer features such as EDI compliance for B2B fulfillment, numerous sales channel integrations, and volume discounts that increase as your business scales.
But ShipBob is the better choice for scalability, offering a platform with no minimum or maximum order volume and a wide, global warehouse network.
Red Stag has just three warehouses in two general locations (Salt Lake City, Utah, and Memphis, Tennessee). While it achieves two-day ground shipping to 96% of US addresses, it’s not ideal for distribution or expansion.
ShipBob clients can use 23 US fulfillment centers to distribute their inventory in strategic locations near existing or target customer bases. This results in low shipping costs and fast delivery times, which reduces fulfillment spend, appeals to a broader audience, and facilitates growth.
Additionally, sellers can expand into foreign markets much more effectively by offering local fulfillment through ShipBob.
Best for Amazon Sellers: Red Stag Fulfillment
Selling Amazon Prime-qualified products opens you up to a customer base of 200 million Prime subscribers, and for many Amazon sellers the Prime badge is crucial to staying competitive. But for your orders to qualify for Prime, they must be shipped through either Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or a service with Seller-Fulfilled Prime eligibility.
Red Stag is a qualified Amazon Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP) provider, making it the better option for Amazon sellers or multichannel merchants that rely on Amazon for a significant portion of their sales.
ShipBob is not SFP-eligible. To sell on Amazon, its users must either
- Participate in the Fulfillment By Merchant (FMB) non-Prime program for their Amazon sales, or
- Have ShipBob prep and send a portion of their inventory to FBA, where it can be fulfilled for Prime orders.
ShipBob has an official partnership with Walmart and is eligible for the site’s “2-Day” badge, which can be a viable alternative to selling on Amazon Prime.
Best for International Sellers: ShipBob
Both providers are capable of fulfilling international orders through cross-border shipping from their US warehouses. But ShipBob boasts a wide global footprint that supports local fulfillment in foreign markets, as well as better tools for fulfilling international orders domestically.
For your international orders, ShipBob offers Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) shipping services that display shipping, tax, and duty costs at checkout—eliminating unexpected fees upon delivery.
Additionally, merchants can use any of the company’s global warehouses to provide their target foreign markets with fast and affordable shipping through local fulfillment.
ShipBob operates fulfillment centers in the following regions:
- Melbourne, Australia
- Ottawa, Canada
- Toronto, Canada
- Western Poland, Europe
- Heywood, UK (near Manchester)
- Kilkenny, Ireland
Best Customization & Branding: ShipBob
ShipBob and Red Stag offer many of the same basic customization options. They both allow you to use your own custom packing materials and inserts, and both companies charge storage costs for your provided packing elements. But Red Stag charges an additional pick fee for custom packaging you provide, whereas ShipBob doesn’t.
An advantage that Red Stag has in this category is its ability to create custom-fitted boxes in-house. The process is even included in the low packaging cost (80 cents per order). That said, these custom boxes are designed to ensure safe transit of the merchandise—not to convey branding or provide a unique unboxing experience.
ShipBob allows you to train fulfillment staff by sending videos demonstrating how you want each custom-packed order to be done. Additionally, for 50 cents, ShipBob can supply branded gift notes that display custom messages written by your customers.
For the purpose of brand-focused customization, ShipBob is the overall better choice.
Best Special Services: ShipBob
Red Stag offers robust specialty services that cater to specialized product handling. As mentioned above, the company provides advanced security, liability insurance, custom-fitted boxes, and more.
But ShipBob trumps Red Stag in this category thanks to its specialty services that support a wider range of business needs.
ShipBob delivers FDA-certified handling, batch fulfillment programs for crowdfunding campaigns, and dropshipping services, in addition to more commonplace special services like FBA prep and subscription fulfillment.
Plus, ShipBob recently launched a full-service freight management and inventory distribution program for sellers importing from China.
ShipBob is also superior in its reporting and analytics services. Its fulfillment software can generate reports on peak fulfillment times, promotional impact, expense breakdowns, revenue of orders shipped by day, sales by channel, forecast demand, sales and quantity of orders by zone, and much more. In addition to helping you track your stats, it maintains up-to-date reports on the company’s own performance and that of major shipping carriers for accountability and market research purposes.
You can use Red Stag’s cloud-based dashboard for insights into demand forecasting, inventory planning, shipping stats, and upstream production.
Best Customer Support: Red Stag Fulfillment
Phone, live chat, and email
Phone, live chat, and email
Hours of Availability
8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday–Friday
Phone: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Central time Monday–Friday
Live chat: 6 a.m.–10 p.m. 7 days/week
Average Response Time*
Dedicated Account Service Rep
*As recently published by the provider
ShipBob has the makings of a high-powered customer service setup. Its support hours are much better than that of Red Stag, and average response time is incredibly fast.
But a disappointing theme in some of ShipBob’s user reviews is poor issue resolution from the provider’s client support team. Users report that customer service is partially outsourced and communicating with ShipBob’s hired call center (allegedly in India) is often difficult.
On the other hand, Red Stag’s customer support is available during business hours only, but that doesn’t appear to stand in the way of quality. User reviews commend Red Stag for its impressive customer service team that achieves great communication, response time, and issue resolution. At time of writing, there isn’t a single criticism of Red Stag’s customer support in any published review.
It also helps that Red Stag pairs each account with its own dedicated customer service rep. This allows the employee to get to know your business, inventory, staff, and customers, which encourages smoother interactions.
Best Connectivity: ShipBob
Both Red Stag and ShipBob deliver a wide range of integrations with plug-and-play connectivity requiring no technical skill to use. They also offer API capabilities for custom integrations with new platforms.
ShipBob has a larger number of prebuilt native integrations, including many connections with ecommerce platforms and marketplaces. This is especially helpful for sellers wishing to branch out into additional marketplaces.
Overall, ShipBob gives you free access to turnkey integrations with over 85 partners, whereas Red Stag offers just under 50 integrations.
ShipBob and Red Stag both provide fulfillment services for small to midsize businesses, and there are many similarities between the companies’ pricing, features, and services. But ultimately, each platform is built to accommodate different business needs, which makes a direct comparison tricky.
Red Stag is the true industry leader when it comes to special-handling fulfillment, with robust and affordable services for oversized, heavy, fragile, or high-value goods. On the other hand, ShipBob offers outstanding value for standard small to midsize merchandise, as well as products that need FDA-certified handling.
To find more fulfillment options that fit your business, visit WarehousingAndFulfillment.com. It’s a brokerage service that matches you up with compatible providers, and it’s completely free to use.