Fast shipping and fulfillment for ecommerce brands
Founded in 2014 and based in Chicago, ShipBob is a privately held technology company that offers simple, fast, and affordable fulfillment for e-commerce businesses. As an end-to-end fulfillment solution, ShipBob provides warehousing and package delivery in 1-2 business days, with a network of fulfillment centers across the US. ShipBob’s software combines order and inventory management, customer communication, predictive insights, and optimized shipping for online merchants.
"We’ve had a really good success rate overall with ShipBob."
ShipBob, Inc. helped a men’s clothing startup launch, and they continue to serve as their 3PL partner. Services include product storage and order fulfillment. They also provide access to an analytics dashboard.
"We’ve had a really good success rate overall with ShipBob."
Dec 30, 2020
ShipBob, Inc. has played a pivotal role in helping the startup build their e-commerce brand. They take 3PL services to the next level by not only fulfilling orders quickly but also sharing their expertise in the logistics industry. The trustworthy team facilitates a close partnership.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I’m the founder and CEO of Brummell, a men’s direct-to-consumer brand. We currently offer a solution to the top drawer, meaning men’s socks, boxer briefs, and undershirts. The company was founded in November 2017.
What challenge were you trying to address with ShipBob, Inc.?
The opportunity was a partnership for building an e-commerce brand. I think the first step for a lot of people is to design a product and build a Shopify site, but then, the next big question is how you’re going to create a customer-friendly experience and get the product to customers.
What was the scope of their involvement?
ShipBob provides third-party logistics (3PL) services. I reached out to them right before I had a product and explained my idea. I asked if this was something that we’d be able to work on together, and they agreed.
On the partnership side, they’ve helped us build out an understanding of our analytics and logistics. When I wanted to raise capital about two years into my venture, potential investors had a lot of questions about analytics and logistics. I not only understood logistics and cost servicing but could also tell investors that I wouldn’t need to hire product distributors, as we’d had a great experience with ShipBob as our logistics partner. That was very helpful.
What is the team composition?
I have one main contact who serves as my account executive. I also work with an analyst and a customer support person.
How did you come to work with ShipBob, Inc.?
In 2017, I saw news about ShipBob as a 3PL startup that had just raised capital and was trying to build a big logistics company for smaller e-commerce brands like mine. They were a name on the rise in Chicago, and that was a huge benefit to me. It was also helpful that they were so close; I was able to bring all of my inventory to their fulfillment center. Seeing where my product was stored brought a lot of comfort, and if any major issues came up, I could quickly get to the fulfillment center.
ShipBob being a young startup was great, since I was trying to set up a startup myself. Even for an early-stage company, they were really a full team of professionals, and they knew the industry very well. They understood what I was trying to do with my brand, and it was great to talk with them and build that trust.
In November 2017, right before Thanksgiving, I had 15,000 pairs of socks delivered to my apartment in downtown Chicago. This was a misunderstanding between me and my supplier. I called ShipBob, and they told me to bring the socks to them right away, and they’d ship them out within two days. That really solidified our partnership. When I tried Googling competitors, ShipBob was far superior. The only alternative was my shipping out myself. However, within the first day of launch, we had about 1,500 orders go out, and ShipBob was able to fill all of those orders over that weekend.
How much have you invested with them?
The storage fee is about $350–$500 a month, depending on inventory levels. Then, my cost-per-fulfillment of a shipment has historically been about $7¬–8.
What is the status of this engagement?
The partnership began in November 2017, and I delivered my first set of inventory to them at the end of that month. We’re still working together.
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Their analytics dashboard is fascinating and makes it really easy for me. I initially didn’t really understand e-commerce or the logistics side of the world. In 2020, 99.1% of our orders were fulfilled on time. If a customer placed an order this morning, it would probably be shipped out tonight.
Another metric would be that 75% of our orders get to our customers within five days of purchase. Of that, 20% arrive within 1–2 days, which is great. It’s worth noting that about 12% of our sales are international — we have customers in over 40 countries — so that skews our data. ShipBob hasn’t missed a beat there.
A metric you can’t really put a number on is that customers rarely reach out saying they received the wrong size or didn’t get their shipment. I’ve talked to customers and friends that use other fulfillment centers, and they’ve seen more errors on that side. We’ve had a really good success rate overall with ShipBob.
How did ShipBob, Inc. perform from a project management standpoint?
They’re great in terms of accommodating any new ideas that I have. I’ve built out a strong relationship with my account executive, and I often run ideas by him. While I talk to a few e-commerce brands, they talk to hundreds, so being able to have access to their expertise and thoughts on different growth projects I have is fantastic. Typically, I send an email to get a conversation going, but that quickly leads to calls and other opportunities.
They also do a good job of seeing areas of improvement for my company. They’ve introduced me to 4–5 companies that they think could be beneficial in specific areas, such as marketing or online reviews. You can’t really put a price on people I never would’ve met if it weren’t for having a good partnership with ShipBob.
What did you find most impressive about them?
ShipBob does a good job of treating every brand they work with as a brand of their own. They’re like a large portfolio overseeing the development of different brands, and you can tell that they’re people you can trust. They’re not just throwing my products in poly mailers and sending them out; they’re a much more in-depth company.
Despite how quickly they continue to grow, which has been expedited due to COVID-19, they’ve done a good job of staying true to themselves and maintaining close relationships with their e-commerce brands. About a year-and-a-half ago, a few other e-commerce brands introduced me to the term ‘batching’, which refers to when a fulfillment center waits to ship orders until a certain amount of orders come in, or wait a few days between orders. ShipBob doesn’t batch — they just go. If you placed an order today, it would be packaged, labeled, and shipped out tonight, even if you were the only order that came in.
ShipBob does a great job, and their fulfillment center management has been huge. They now even offer multiple fulfillment centers I can use to cut down shipping costs. All around, they’ve been a good partner.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I’ve seen them improve in most of the areas I would’ve asked for improvement over the last three years. For instance, they came out with an analytics dashboard that’s great. They have also rolled out data on their trends site. They ship out for hundreds of brands, and they have data on what’s being shipped out and the categories that are experiencing the most shipments.
ShipBob has continued to have success in building out their online dashboard and platform. They have continued to open new fulfillment centers. In terms of improvements, I wish I had more, but there’s a reason I’ve been with them for three years.
Any advice for potential customers?
Get on a phone call with your potential account executive and make sure they know what you want from them. Building a good relationship with an account executive at ShipBob is big because they’re basically your outsourced director of logistics. I’d also recommend doing research and seeing if there’s anyone closer to your geographical range.