This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
ShipBob and ShipMonk are two of the leading third-party order fulfillment solutions for small businesses. Both companies offer similar platforms built around outsourcing your product storage, inventory management, order processing, shipping, and returns.
We compared ShipBob vs ShipMonk 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)
- ShipMonk: Best for Amazon sellers, broadening multichannel sellers, and ecommerce newcomers
If you’re looking for tools to level-up your in-house fulfillment operation to meet demand, consider using 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
ShipMonk vs ShipBob Quick Comparison
Monthly Minimum Requirement
$250 min. pick and pack fee
US Warehouse Locations
International Warehouse Locations
Shipping Partner Options
FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, DHL Express, Passport
FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, OSM, CDL Last Mile, UDS, LSO, OnTrac
B2B Fulfillment (including EDI compliance)
Amazon Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP) Eligibility
Average User Review*
4.1 / 5
3.8 / 5
*Calculated based on the total numbers of reviews of each company currently available on G2, Capterra, Shopify App Store, and Trustpilot.
When to Use ShipBob
ShipBob is the better choice for most growing small businesses, ecommerce startups, and retail stores expanding into the ecommerce space. It also offers effective programs for crowdfunding ventures, subscription services, dropshippers, and other non-traditional retailers.
|Growth Plan program designed for startups||High storage fees|
|Wide network of 23 US and six international fulfillment centers||Cannot fulfill Amazon SFP (Seller-Fulfilled Prime) orders|
|FDA-certified climate control and product handling||No refrigeration or frozen warehousing for cold chain compliance|
|Advanced reporting and analytics software||Reported billing discrepancies and hidden fees|
The provider ranked #1 in our evaluation of the top fulfillment companies, thanks to its sophisticated software, economical pricing, practical special services, and excellent ease of use.
These capabilities are supported by its robust warehouse network that spans six countries. It leads the pack in SMB ecommerce fulfillment by offering enterprise-level infrastructure and services to businesses of all sizes—while remaining highly affordable.
Read our ShipBob review to find more to like about the provider.
When to Use ShipMonk
ShipMonk is the better fulfillment service for a few specific use-cases. Amazon-focused sellers, multichannel sellers planning to branch out to new marketplaces, and ecommerce newcomers in need of high-level support would find their best fit with the provider.
|Best-in-class client support from a dedicated service representative||Restrictive fulfillment network of three US warehouses|
|Ample pre-built marketplace integrations||$250+ minimum charge in pick and pack costs|
|Robust customization & branding options||No refrigeration or frozen warehousing for cold chain compliance|
|Amazon SFP (Seller-Fulfilled Prime) eligibility||Reported billing discrepancies and hidden fees|
Shipmonk is a smaller company than ShipBob and was founded with the goal of leveraging exceptional customer service in lieu of the infrastructure it lacked. It has picked up a lot of steam (and funding) in recent years, which brought the provider up to speed with the industry’s top 3PLs.
In our evaluation of the leading fulfillment services, ShipMonk ranked #2 (with a score that clocked in just behind ShipBob). It’s a reputable provider with powerful features to tackle your fulfillment needs.
To learn more about this service, read our ShipMonk review.
Most Affordable: ShipBob
Onboarding and Implementation
Or Free on the Growth Plan
Discounted rates available
Discounted rates available
$25 first two hours, $40 per person-hour after that
$0 when guidelines are met
$40 per pallet/month, $10 per shelf/month, or $5 per bin/month
$20 per pallet/month, or $1–$4 per bin/month
Calculated per-package based on weight and shipping distance
(charged as separate cost centers)
Pick & Pack
Free up to four picks,
20 cents per additional item
$1.80–$3.00 for the first pick,
35–75 cents per additional item(cost depends on monthly order volume)
15 cents to $2
Discounted rates available with major carriers
Discounted rates available with major carriers
$3 per order
$2 per order + 50 cents per item
Both ShipBob and ShipMonk offer accessible and affordable pricing for small businesses. Each company’s pricing is based on usage, so you only pay for the services you use. But the way each structures their charges varies significantly. Because of this, the more affordable choice for your store depends on your unique products, sales metrics, and business needs.
When we ran the numbers using a case-study ecommerce startup model, ShipBob came out as the more economical service—but only by a narrow margin.
Take a look at our ShipBob vs ShipMonk comparison of each major cost center below.
There is no setup fee required to start using ShipMonk, which typically indicates that you’ll be handling the process of onboarding on your own—including stock migration, platform integration, and account setup. The same is true of ShipBob’s Growth Plan, which aims to be a cheaper option geared toward startups.
Both of these free options are the superior choice for bootstrapped startups with more time than money. But business owners with less experience, less time to spare, and/or more financial resources would greatly benefit from assistance with onboarding.
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 to avoid bumps in the road.
ShipMonk doesn’t charge its clients to receive their inbound inventory shipments as long as guidelines are met. These guidelines include having SKUs separated into individual cartons and each bag, box, and/or carton being clearly labeled with SKU number and quantity.
ShipMonk’s receiving process doesn’t include many of the services performed by ShipBob during this step. The company calls it “good faith receiving”: employees don’t count products or sort SKUs. They operate under the assumption that the quantity of SKUs listed on each carton aligns with the quantity present in the shipment and the quantity that you ordered.
This method requires less time and labor, which allows ShipMonk to provide the service for free. It’s a great way to save if you have consistent, reliable suppliers and/or low-cost goods—but it leaves you vulnerable to the risk of being short-shipped without realizing the error until months down the road.
All things considered, ShipMonk’s receiving service is more affordable than ShipBob but lacks value that may be crucial to new sellers in particular.
Both companies provide a storage-optimization service that’s included in the primary cost. Staff use Warehouse Management System 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 reduced your storage bill and creates more usable space for the warehouse.
Beyond that shared benefit, ShipMonk’s storage costs are significantly more affordable than ShipBob. Especially if you stock plenty of slow-moving products or maintain a low sale-to-SKU ratio, choosing ShipMonk can help you save on warehousing.
Fulfillment Fees (Pick & Pack, Packaging Materials, and Shipping)
ShipBob charges a single fulfillment fee for each order, which includes pick & pack (up to four items), basic packaging materials, and shipping costs. ShipMonk, on the other hand, charges for each of these cost centers individually. Both companies offer volume discounts.
In our evaluation of these charges (shown below), the total fulfillment fees from each company work out to be very comparable for orders containing a single item. But for multi-item orders, ShipBob’s pricing structure takes the lead in affordability.
Both companies provide similar discounts for major shipping carriers, although ShipBob delivers consistently more aggressive two-day rates.
To properly compare pricing, we evaluated the costs of using each service for one month as a startup ecommerce store. Since both companies have fulfillment centers in Southern California, we used that location to calculate shipping costs.
Our case-study example used the following details:
- Product: Hardcover cookbooks
- Inventory Quantity: One pallet
- Average Number of Items Per Order: One
- Packing Materials: Bookfold cardboard box
- Shipping Speed: Economy standard, three to seven business days
- Average Shipping Distance: Zone 5
- Number of returned orders: 25
Easiest to Use: ShipBob
Ease of use is a focus for ShipBob and ShipMonk alike, although clients of both fulfillment companies report dealing with a learning curve.
Both offer smart inventory management with reorder alerts based on quantities that you set for each SKU and flexible special services to tackle ancillary tasks and handle unexpected supplier issues.
Billing is equally transparent with both providers. Your monthly statements are itemized down to the individual charge and pricing is generally predictable. That being said, users of both ShipBob and ShipMonk report finding hidden charges and having trouble resolving billing discrepancies.
ShipMonk’s accuracy rate is slightly higher than that of ShipBob, although both companies produce remarkably few errors.
Ultimately, ShipBob is the easier service to use thanks to the simple, straightforward, and efficient process of discontinuing your partnership with the company (when the time comes). In contrast, an alarming number of ShipMonk users report having extreme difficulty terminating their services and retrieving their remaining inventory.
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 more scalable option overall, offering a platform with no minimum or maximum order volume and a wide, global warehouse network.
With it, merchants can use any number of its 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: ShipMonk
If you’re an Amazon seller or customer, you likely understand the gravity of the Prime badge. Selling Prime-qualified products opens you up to a customer base of 200 million Prime subscribers, but not all fulfillment partners are eligible to help you achieve that.
ShipMonk is a qualified Amazon Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP) provider, making it the better option for Amazon sellers or multichannel merchants who rely on Amazon for a significant portion of their sales.
ShipBob is not SFP-eligible, so 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. Additionally, ShipBob and ShipMonk offer Delivery Duty Paid (or DDP) shipping services that display shipping, tax, and duty costs at checkout—eliminating unexpected fees upon delivery.
But only ShipBob has the infrastructure to support efficient international expansion, making it the best choice for international sellers. Merchants can use any of the company’s six 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
Although ShipMonk does have one warehouse in Mexico, its main purpose is to provide tax benefits and cost reductions for volume importers— so the location isn’t optimal for distribution.
ShipBob plans to have 20 fulfillment centers in Europe by 2023, and ShipMonk intends to launch its first European warehouse later this year.
Best Customization & Branding: ShipMonk
Packaging customization is a robust feature on both platforms. Each of the companies allows you to provide custom packing materials and designate the specific way you want orders assembled. This service aims to create a memorable unboxing experience for the customer. While neither company can create custom packaging elements for you, both can help you source custom materials through a partner solution.
ShipMonk takes packaging customization a step further by equipping its packing stations with a camera that photographs each customized order just before it’s sealed up. This gives you the opportunity to see exactly how your orders look to the customer and lends to high accuracy.
ShipBob can’t send you images of each box, but you can 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.
While both companies offer tracking capabilities, ShipMonk delivers branded tracking pages, as shown below. This service is part of a post-purchase suite called MonkProtect, which also includes delivery protection and an automated claims portal. This feature is what tips the scales to make ShipMonk the best option for branding and customization.
Best Special Services: ShipBob
ShipBob and ShipMonk are equally matched for FBA prep, subscription box fulfillment, and crowdfunding fulfillment services. Both offer built-out programs to accommodate your needs in these areas.
The best choice in this category is ShipBob, however, thanks to its special handling capabilities, advanced analytics, and dropshipping services.
If you deal with temperature-sensitive or FDA-regulated products, it is the better provider. It boasts FDA-certified handling and temp-controlled warehousing, whereas ShipMonk does not.
ShipBob is also superior in its reporting and analytics services. Its fulfillment platform allows users to track key metrics and visualize data at an advanced level, while ShipMonk’s reporting tools are less robust.
The reports of ShipBob can be generated 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.
Lastly, it recently implemented a unique retailer dropshipping service that allows you to list products from big-box stores without owning the inventory and have the items shipped directly to your end customers. Supported retailers include Ace Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy,GNC, Kohl’s, Kroger, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Office Depot, REI, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, Staples, Target, Ulta, Urban Outfitters, and Walmart.
Best Customer Support: ShipMonk
*As recently published by the provider
ShipMonk employs all of its customer service staff domestically and assigns a dedicated support representative to each fulfillment account. These features appear to make issue resolution much easier with ShipMonk.
Meanwhile, ShipBob has the makings of a high-powered customer service setup. Its support hours are much better than that of ShipMonk, and average response time is incredibly fast. Whenever I called ShipBob’s merchant care line, the employees who answer are friendly, helpful and responsive.
However, a common theme in ShipBob’s user reviews is poor issue resolution from the provider’s client support team. Users report that customer service is partially outsourced and working with ShipBob’s hired call center (allegedly in India) is often difficult.
It seems as though the availability of ShipBob’s support is outstanding, but the quality needs improvement.
Best Connectivity: ShipMonk
ShipMonk provides a staggering number of pre-built integrations to connect your fulfillment platform to your other ecommerce tools. This is especially helpful for sellers wishing to branch out into additional marketplaces.
Both ShipMonk and ShipBob, however, deliver integrations with plug-and-play connectivity requiring no technical skill to use. ShipBob offers a smaller number of existing integrations but can build new custom integrations as a value-added service. Its fulfillment service is compatible with marketplaces (and other platforms) that it doesn’t directly integrate with, but these channels require more hands-on management.
Both ShipBob and ShipMonk are very strong choices for SMB order fulfillment and are some of our top recommendations. They are equally affordable for the most part and each offer robust software to manage your orders and inventory. But the option that’s best for you depends on your specific business needs.
To find more fulfillment options that fit your business, visit FulfillmentCompanies.net. It’s a brokerage service that matches you up with compatible providers, and it’s completely free to use.