This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
ShipMonk is a third-party logistics (3PL) company for small and midsize businesses that provides warehousing, order fulfillment, and shipping solutions.
In our evaluation of the best order fulfillment companies for small businesses, ShipMonk came in second place with a score of 4.59 out of 5. Its tech-forward platform aims to reduce fulfillment costs and increase operational accuracy through robotic automation and advanced warehouse management systems (WMS).
There’s no minimum order requirement to use ShipMonk’s services—making it possible for startups and new small businesses to outsource their fulfillment operations (although there is a $250 monthly minimum in pick-and-pack fees). Our ShipMonk review shows its innovative warehouses feature flexible storage options and robotic picking assistance to create highly efficient operations for small, lightweight, and manageable goods.
If you’re a seller dealing in heavy, oversized, or fragile products, ShipMonk’s processes could potentially harm your inventory and your bottom line—so it’s recommended to seek an alternative. Its lack of FDA certification and temperature control also makes the company a poor fit for certain businesses. ShipMonk doesn’t offer global infrastructure on the scale of competitors like ShipBob, which may compromise international expansion.
ShipMonk Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Small to midsize businesses, startups, ecommerce stores, retail stores, DTC sellers, B2B sellers, crowdfunding ventures, subscription-box services
$250 monthly usage
Setup and Onboarding Fees
US Warehouse Locations
International Warehouse Locations
Shipping Partner Options
FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, DHL Express, Passport
Via phone, email, or live chat; 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Eastern time, Monday–Friday
Best for: DTC and B2B ecommerce fulfillment; FDA-certified storage and handling
Best for: Oversized, heavy, high-value, or fragile items
Best for: On-demand services, labor, and space for scaling in-house fulfillment
Best for: Combined fulfillment and full-service marketplace management
Monthly minimum: None
Monthly minimum: ≈200 orders
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.
ShipMonk earned a perfect score in this category. The billing portal on ShipMonk’s software features a detailed breakdown of your monthly fulfillment costs, providing billing transparency that works in tandem with the company’s predictable pricing structure.
It offers a variety of fulfillment services for different needs, like ecommerce fulfillment, retail fulfillment, and subscription box fulfillment. Each service model is priced differently, and the company’s site features an easy-to-use five-step calculator to preview how much your specific needs will cost.
Here’s a look at the company’s standard ecommerce fulfillment pricing:
What It Covers
Onboarding and account setup are free
$0 when shipment guidelines are met
Inbound stock receipt, unpack, and check-in
$25 per pallet/month, or $1–$4 per bin/month
Storage, security, and inventory management
Pick and Pack
$3 for the first pick per order,
50 cents per additional item
Picking items from inventory and packing them for shipment
15 cents–$2 per order
Standard packaging and dunnage
Discounted rates available with 5 carrier partners
Shipping costs vary depending on the size, weight, and destination of your goods
$2 per order + 50 cents per item
Return processing, quality check, and restocking
Versatile labor to handle open-ended additional needs, such as product labeling and supplier management
*Prices displayed are for clients processing 0–500 orders per month. Volume discounts are available for businesses shipping 500+ monthly orders. Visit ShipMonk for more information.
ShipMonk revamps a familiar business model by providing third-party fulfillment services with modern enhancements. Top-notch customer service and maximized efficiency are the keystones of the company’s platform and serve to distinguish it from its competitors. This strategy helps the company achieve overall quality and functionality—including a 99.9% accuracy rate.
Click below to expand on the features that contribute to ShipMonk’s Quality and Functionality score.
Best-in-class customer service was the feature that ShipMonk was founded on and continues to be a primary focus to this day.
Simple but powerful enhancements like dedicated service reps, extended customer service hours, multiple service facilities, and ticket-based resolution systems lend to ShipMonk’s reputation for offering top-notch support to its clients.
Unlike many competitors—including FBA and ShipBob—100% of ShipMonk’s support team is employed domestically. According to a large number of online reviews, this strategy promotes clear communication and efficient issue resolution. Online support forums and a knowledge/resource database are also available.
ShipMonk creates an edge for itself by implementing high-tech enhancements throughout the fulfillment process. These warehouse upgrades increase productivity, optimize space utilization, improve ergonomics, boost throughput, enhance product security, and increase overall efficiency.
The company’s operational accuracy rates are very high, so the robotic approach seems to be working. According to ShipMonk, the increase in efficiency also results in lower fulfillment costs for its clients. The machines allow ShipMonk to pick 4x faster than the industry average and boast a 400% increase in storage efficiency.
ShipMonk uses warehouse management systems (WMS) with RFID technology to tag and track storage locations, allowing its system to identify when product bins are being replenished, picked, or moved. This creates more reliable, real-time inventory management capabilities.
Additionally, a dimensional scanning device is used to identify the best and most protective packaging for each unique item. Similar devices are used by Red Stag, ShipBob, and other competitors.
Every ShipMonk account gets free access to its fulfillment software, which has high user satisfaction. The company states that the platform was designed to be intuitive with a minimal learning curve, and clients confirm its user-friendliness.
It allows you to manage orders, inventory, and shipping options and generate reports. The platform’s forecasting feature keeps you informed of anticipated stock depletion along with recommended reorder dates and quantities.
It also includes a robust returns portal for managing returns and exchanges. The tool allows you to create return labels and monitor the status of each return.
According to the company, its platforms use enterprise-grade security to protect users’ data and privacy.
ShipMonk’s fulfillment software tackles all of the major processes well, but its reporting and analytics features aren’t as robust as competitors’. We prefer ShipBob’s advanced proprietary software for its ability to generate a wider range of useful reports.
ShipMonk’s fulfillment network is smaller than certain competitors (like ShipBob and FBA) but is quickly growing.
Earlier this year ShipMonk acquired Ruby Has Fulfillment, increasing its global footprint by adding seven warehouses in six new locations. The acquisition also doubled ShipMonk’s workforce, helping to bolster its support abilities and operational capacity.
It currently has seven US warehouse locations positioned near the coasts, allowing sellers to store and ship inventory strategically. An additional warehouse in Texas is scheduled to launch soon.
The company maintains three international locations in Mexico, Canada, and the UK. According to ShipMonk, a second European warehouse is currently in the works.
All of ShipMonk’s fulfillment centers are equipped with secured storage facilities and automation technologies.
ShipMonk offers extensive turnkey integrations with a variety of ecommerce solutions and tools, including all of the leading shopping carts and marketplaces. These direct integrations are free and fast—and many are two-way compatible.
The company doesn’t readily develop new integrations on-demand as a paid service (like ShipBob does), which means you’re out of luck if any of your mission-critical solution providers aren’t shown below. ShipMonk has a form on its site, described as a “voting” system, to request that new integrations be added. There is no information available on how efficient or reliable this process is.
Here’s a complete list of ShipMonk’s current direct integrations:
- Ecommerce platforms and shopping carts: 3dcart, AmeriCommerce, Big Cartel, BigCommerce, Cratejoy, CoreCommerce, CS-Cart, Ecwid, FoxyCart, Magento, MijoShop, Miva, Neto, OpenCart, Oxatis, PayPal, PrestaShop, RevolutionParts, Shopify, Shopify Plus, Soldsie, Squarespace, UltraCart, Volusion, Weebly, WooCommerce, X Cart, Zen Cart, Zoey
- Marketplaces: Bonanza, Bandcamp, Cratejoy, eBay, eBay.ca, eBay.co.uk, eBay.com.au, Etsy, Groupon Goods, houzz, Jane, Jet, Newegg Marketplace, OpenSky, Reverb, Sears, Storenvy, Tophatter, Walmart.com, Wish, Yahoo, Best Buy Marketplace, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, QVC, Target, Walmart
- Multichannel management: Brightpearl, ChannelAdvisor, ChannelSale, Commerce Cloud, Linnworks, Sellbrite, SellerActive, Stitch Labs, SureDone, QuickBooks Commerce
- Freight and shipping solutions: ShipStation, Rakuten Super Logistics
- Operations, inventory, and order management: Acumatica, Cin 7, DEARsystems, Freestyle Solutions, Skubana, Returnly, GeekSeller, Optoro, Spark Shipping
- Payments, accounting, tax, and financing: Bluevine, Brex, KickPay, Stripe Relay, PayPal
- Marketing and CRM: Fullscreen Direct (StageBloc), Salesforce (Demandware), LaunchBoom
ShipMonk offers purpose-built programs and services for a range of specific use-cases—like crowdfunding ventures, subscription box businesses, omnichannel retailers, and Amazon sellers.
It also delivers special features to aid all its users in expansion, reduce costs, and promote a good customer experience. ShipMonk was docked in this section of our evaluation for its lack of climate control options and FDA-certified handling.
ShipMonk’s specialty services include:
ShipMonk’s warehouse network is local to North America, with one additional location in the UK. This limited global reach isn’t ideal for local international fulfillment, which is the best way to reach foreign markets with low transit costs and fast delivery. However, sellers can use the company’s cross-border shipping services to fulfill international orders with stock stored domestically.
ShipMonk offers Delivery Duty Paid (or DDP) services that display shipping, tax, and duty costs at checkout—eliminating unexpected fees upon delivery. The feature also shows international customers their expected delivery timeframe, and provides advanced tracking after checkout to keep them in the loop.
Section 321 is a type of shipment used to clear the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Under Section 321, shipments can bypass the tariffs and duties typically associated with international packages. One of the most commonly used ways to qualify for Section 321 is to send shipments valued below $800.
ShipMonk leverages its warehouse in Mexico to take advantage of this legal loophole. Sellers can ship merchandise to ShipMonk’s Mexico location and then incrementally import it into the US, divided into multiple $800 portions. This completely eliminates duties for volume importers, reducing total landed costs with minimal added transit time.
ShipBob and ShipHero also facilitate duty-free import through Section 321 from their warehouse locations in Canada.
Customization & Branding
ShipMonk is highly accommodating when it comes to packing. It aims to give the client full control over how their orders are boxed.
The company allows you to provide custom packing materials and designate the specific way you want orders assembled, to create a memorable unboxing experience for the customer. Packing stations are equipped 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.
While ShipMonk can’t design or develop custom packaging elements for you, your support rep can help you source custom materials through a partner solution.
The company is flexible with its kitting projects, inviting sellers to include customized add-ins like thank you notes, coupons, branded packing elements, and samples. Plus, ShipMonk has well-developed programs for subscription boxes and other non-traditional sales.
ShipMonk also delivers branded tracking pages. This service is part of an integrated program called MonkProtect, explained further in the next section.
ShipMonk offers a suite of post-purchase tools called MonkProtect. The product combines delivery protection, branded tracking, and an automated claims portal to enhance the purchase experience and promote customer retention.
MonkProtect provides seamless insurance coverage for an added fee at checkout (based on the value of the items in the cart). When customers sign up for the service, they receive a branded confirmation email with advanced tracking information and a link to the self-service claims portal.
The service integrates directly with your ShipMonk fulfillment platform to centralize and automate claims resolution.
One of the biggest reasons that some sellers choose ShipMonk over ShipBob is its compatibility with certain sales channels—namely Etsy and Groupon. ShipBob can’t fulfill orders from those marketplaces, which would cost certain retailers a large portion of their sales.
ShipMonk’s services are versatile and accommodate many different alternative marketplaces and business models, including Amazon Prime sales, crowdfunding ventures, product launches, and subscription boxes.
ShipMonk’s entire platform prioritizes ease of use and aims to minimize the learning curve, earning it a high score in this category. Its intuitive software and first-rate customer support were some of the biggest considerations. Here’s a summary of the factors we took into account:
- Policies: In the event of a fulfillment or shipping error, ShipMonk will pay either the return postage or replacement value of incorrect items shipped (whichever is lesser), ship the replacement order, and waive its associated fees. This is a helpful policy only for non-valuable goods.
ShipMonk allows for up to a 2% breakage rate due to improper packaging. Claims can only be submitted if your inventory is damaged beyond that threshold, so we prefer Red Stag’s 100% guarantee for fulfilling fragile goods.
- Free Receiving: The company’s free inbound-shipment receiving is an enticing feature, but it comes with some stipulations. Your inventory will not be counted or audited but rather inputted on a “good faith” basis—meaning that your reported quantity is what ShipMonk will record. If you ship orders from a third-party manufacturer straight to your fulfillment partner, this policy can create accuracy problems and inventory deficits. ShipMonk’s free receiving also has strict packaging and quantity requirements. They shouldn’t be hard for most sellers to follow, but in the case that your shipment deviates from its requirements, ShipMonk reserves the right to delay or altogether reject the shipment with no liability. Qualifying inbound shipments are received and put away within three business days.
- Accuracy: ShipMonk has a 99.99% accuracy rate in fulfilling and shipping orders.
- Customer Service: During onboarding, each account is assigned a dedicated client support representative (called your “Happiness Engineer”), the main point of contact throughout the business relationship. Support can be reached by phone or email or through ShipMonk’s ticket-based resolution platform. Additional customer service facilities are located at each fulfillment center; their hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Order Processing Transparency: ShipMonk’s dashboard provides some level of insight into where your orders are within the fulfillment process, but the functionality isn’t nearly as developed or in-depth as that of Red Stag.
- Billing Transparency: Invoices are available monthly from the dashboard in the Billing tab, where charges are visible by line item.
Overall, we gave ShipMonk a perfect rating in our Expert Score category. It’s a solid choice for third-party fulfillment that delivers good value, smooth usability, robust services and overall popularity.
ShipMonk’s low monthly minimums and wide-ranging services make it accessible to a variety of small businesses, whereas many 3PLs only work with traditional ecommerce stores and/or high-volume operations. Plus, the company’s customer support capabilities are the best in its class, and its user reviews are generally positive.
That being said, we recommend ShipBob over ShipMonk for its wide global warehouse network that does a better job of facilitating growth. We also note that ShipMonk lacks climate control and special handling services, making alternatives like Red Stag a superior choice for certain sellers.
What Users Say in ShipMonk Reviews
ShipMonk has a generally good reputation with its users. Nearly all of its online reviews are positive, and several express utmost satisfaction with the company.
Many reviewers cite the professionalism and attentiveness of their dedicated “Happiness Engineers,” even going as far as to describe them as feeling like part of their own staff. Impressive client support is a common theme in ShipMonk’s reviews. Users also mention efficient services, fast order turnaround time, and contentment with the simplicity of the software.
ShipMonk has minimal negative reviews—but the existing 1-star ratings are highly descriptive and opinionated. One user commented that the company made numerous, frequent errors over the course of their contract and ultimately offered a $250 payment to sign a non-disparagement agreement.
Another user left a review that recounts a very poor experience with ShipMonk, ending in a demand that they sign a non-disparagement agreement to have inventory returned to them.
Other negative reviews mention general difficulty terminating the business relationship and disappointment in residential delivery fees and fuel surcharges hidden in the fine print.
- Trustpilot: 4.1-star rating from 200+ reviews
- Capterra: 4.1-star rating from 100+ reviews
- G2: 3.4-star rating from 20+ reviews
|Responsive support from “Happiness Engineers”||Hidden fees and surcharges|
|Warehouse efficiency||Receiving discrepancies|
|Software ease-of-use and clarity||Higher shipping costs|
|Flexible services||Difficult, lengthy termination of services and migration process|
Methodology: How We Evaluated ShipMonk
To review ShipMonk and competing fulfillment services, we consider the factors that matter most to small retail and ecommerce businesses. We research each provider by examining 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 companies as potential customers rather than reporters. We found that ShipMonk is highly transparent with its pricing, features, and operational processes.
We then evaluate each provider 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.
Points for this category were deducted due to ShipMonk’s small global footprint. The company has an impressive lineup of native integrations and shipping options, as well as efficient processes, helping to earn it a total score of 4.55 out of 5 points.
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.
ShipMonk is highly transparent with its billing and pricing. We also found that its pricing structure lends itself to predictable monthly bills, which earned the company a perfect score in this section.
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.
ShipMonk was awarded points for its software that provides high levels of operational transparency. It also scored for its extended customer service hours, but providers with 24/7 service scored higher. The same goes for ShipMonk’s low monthly minimum requirements, which are more accessible than most competitors, but may still inhibit some startups. Overall, it scored 4.23 out of 5.
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.
ShipMonk earned a score of 3.95 out of 5 in this category, earning points for its Amazon Prime compatibility and excellent customization options. The company was docked here for lacking climate control and custom packaging creation.
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
ShipMonk received high marks in this category, delivering good value, painless usability, and a range of specialty services.
ShipMonk Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who Should Use ShipMonk?
ShipMonk is a good fit for small to midsize businesses that sell physical products online. Since the company requires a monthly $250 minimum pick-and-pack fee, it’s best for sellers that fulfill roughly 80 orders or more per month.
ShipMonk specializes in fulfilling DTC ecommerce sales, but offers well-developed programs for B2B sellers, crowdfunding ventures, product launches, and subscription box services.
When Should I Use a ShipMonk 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.
- Local international fulfillment has a number of advantages over cross-border shipping. ShipMonk has only one fulfillment center outside of North America, so sellers targeting foreign customer bases may find better success with a broader global 3PL. We recommend ShipBob.
- ShipMonk doesn’t offer liability insurance, services for goods like ammunition, or economical storage for oversized goods—so it’s a poor fit for sellers who need these types of special handling. We recommend Red Stag Fulfillment.
According to our review, ShipMonk is a great choice for small business owners looking to outsource their fulfillment operation—as long as they’re dealing in small, lightweight, shelf-stable, and generally manageable products.
Overall, its cutting-edge approach to warehouse automation and robotic assistance creates efficiency made clear by the company’s impressive accuracy stats. Additionally, ShipMonk’s client support appears to be the best in the industry.
Conversely, ShipMonk’s policies and billing strategy aren’t particularly user-friendly, especially for retailers selling high-value items. The limited warehouse network can pose another problem. We recommend evaluating multiple options to ensure a good match between you and your fulfillment provider.
Broker sites, such as WarehousingAndFulfillment.com, compare your specific needs to 500+ pre-screened companies to find the best fit for your business. Plus, the service is completely free to use.