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ShipBob vs. ShipMonk: A Guide for eCommerce Brand Owners

ShipBob vs. ShipMonk: A Guide for eCommerce Brand Owners

Title asset to the "Summer Shipping" blog post from Atomix Logistics. A small green 3D truck with a small sun floating above it portrays the hot summer sun during order transport. KW: Ecommerce, 3PL, order fulfillment, fulfillment center, summer order fulfillment, new orders, new customer, temperature, protection, packaging, eco-friendly, sustainability
December 26, 2022
Posted By
Olexiy Shapowal

One of the most powerful parts of any successful ecommerce business is their logistics operations. A brand can have the most influential product with the most successful ad campaign, but all of it is for naught if your customers aren’t receiving their orders reliably. 

For many small business owners, finding a fulfillment partner can be a stressful, daunting endeavor. Doing the research to find the ideal partner takes a considerable amount of time if you don’t know what to look for. As a result, many novice ecommerce  business owners tend to go with one of the first google results for “eCommerce 3PL.” 

Among those first google results, two of the biggest names are ShipBob and ShipMonk. In this blog, we’re going to cover a few areas in which these two 3PL giants differ, to help business owners like you make an informed decision.

Fulfillment Pricing

It goes without saying that one of the most important swaying factors in business decisions is pricing. An ideal fulfillment partner looks different for every business owner, depending on what their business requirements are. In the case of ShipBob vs. ShipMonk, a small breakdown below compares the two across a few order fulfillment categories:

Onboarding Cost

ShipBob:  $975, or free with their Growth Plan      

ShipMonk: Free

Receiving

ShipBob: $25 first 2 hours, $40/hour after that       

ShipMonk: Free when guidelines are met, but customers note that there are many hidden fees

Fulfillment Fee

ShipBob: Calculated per-package based on weight and destination

ShipMonk: Charged as separate cost centers (per carrier, location, etc), sometimes with additional hidden fees

Picking/Packing

ShipBob: First 4 free, then $0.20/item

ShipMonk:$3.00 for first pick, then $0.75/item for starting tier

ShipMonk is easily the most expensive and while ShipBob is by far cheaper, their reviews online are very positive

Packaging Materials

ShipBob: Free    

ShipMonk:$0.15 - $2.00 depending on item

This is far from an exhaustive list, but it will give you a good picture of what to look for in a 3PL

Shipping Services

When comparing the shipping services of ShipBob and ShipMonk, business owners should always prioritize their business’ needs. For example, ShipMonk may be a better choice for ecommerce brands with a large US customer base and a focus on direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping. ShipBob, on the other hand, may be a better fit for businesses that operate globally or have a larger B2B focus.

The main difference outlined here is that ShipBob has a strong presence in the US and Canada, while ShipMonk operates mainly in the US and Europe, with multiple fulfillment centers worldwide. Both providers work with multiple shipping carriers to provide a range of shipping options, including same-day, two-day, and international shipping.

In terms of shipping carriers, both providers work with major carriers such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL, but ShipBob also offers access to more regional carriers in Europe. Additionally, business owners should consider factors such as shipping speed, tracking and insurance options, and pricing when choosing between ShipBob and ShipMonk. Ultimately, the choice between these two 3PLs will depend on the specific needs and goals of each ecommerce business.

Kitting Fees

Both ShipBob and ShipMonk offer kitting services for ecommerce businesses, which can involve a variety of tasks, such as bundling multiple products into a single package for shipping. Kitting services can be very beneficial for businesses that sell product bundles, subscription boxes, or gift sets - especially for smaller brands trying to expand their product offerings.

The main difference between ShipMonk and ShipBob’s kitting services is the pricing structure. Where ShipMonk uses a similar pricing model to their pick/pack pricing, ShipBob has a transparent breakdown for all of their kitting services and associated prices. For less complex kitting, ShipMonk may be a better option - where ShipBob is a better choice for more complex assembly. 

Service Level Agreements (SLA’s)

Regardless of who you decide to choose as a fulfillment partner, it’s important to make sure that your 3PL has clearly defined SLAs (Service Level Agreements). An SLA is a written agreement between the parties of a business partnership, making sure that each party involved has a clear understanding of what the partnership will entail (i.e. included services, timeframe for completion of projects, etc.). 

ShipBob: Most 3PLs advertise having clear SLA’s and Shipbob is well within that category. However, according to ShipBob’s website; they explicitly state that they do not accept any liability for late, delayed, or missing shipments caused by third parties.

ShipMonk: On the other hand, ShipMonk has more forgiving SLAs, specifically because they are willing to compensate business owners for mistakes made during the shipping process. There is one potential pitfall with these SLA’s, however: ShipMonk does not guarantee same-day shipping, which could result in order not being shipped out for days on end depending on the situation. 

Conclusion

Between these two 3PL giants, it can be difficult to make a clear decision on who would be a better partner - especially for business owners new to the industry of ecommerce. Even more to the point: smaller businesses typically don’t need a large 3PL until later in the business’ lifetime. 

Both ShipBob and ShipMonk are good options for those who are looking for a turnkey solution to order fulfillment - just make sure to take all of these factors into consideration for your business. If you are a small or medium business owner, Atomix Logistics could be your answer to finding an outsourced fulfillment partner with an in-house feel, reach out to us today to see how we can help you grow!

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