A 3PL is third party logistics, at a high level they cover all things in the logistics portion of the supply chain like warehousing and transportation. I’ve previously written about scaling your Amazon business using a storage unit. Today’s post will be a review of ShipBob, a somewhat new “technology” oriented start up trying to “disrupt” the logistics industry.
What 3PL Does For You
The following is not an endorsement for any of the companies, but just used as examples. There’s someone like Prime Zero Prep, Sell Tec Prep, and many others. Many people rely on prep centers in a sales tax free state like Oregon, New Hampshire, or Montana to juice the margins without needing to submit your resale certificate with the business. Sometimes, the business will flat out refuse like Target after the Lily Pulitzer fiasco. Another problem with prep centers are the retailers’ penchant for address bans and someone will be banned causing the address to be banned.
Who Is ShipBob?
Apparently, ShipBob has been around for a while. I only learned of them last year after they were covered by the Wall Street Journal. Their business model is very simple. They open a bunch of warehouses near cities and have 2 day in transit ground coverage. They are doing 2 day transit because that is the “industry standard” thanks to Amazon Prime. To make money, they negotiate with the shippers and profit from the spread. The spread being what they charge to their customers and their negotiated low price.
ShipBob is like a small time competitor to Radial, but more”technology” oriented. ShipBob connects to Shopify, Squarespace, ebay, Amazon, Magneto, Backerkit, Bigcommerce, Woocommerce, Cratejoy, Stitchlabs, Walmart, and Returnly.
ShipBob’s connection capabilities allow automatic order syncing for fulfillment. This would be great for doing any business needing 2 day in transit fulfillment.
ShipBob also has Fulfillment By Amazon prep capabilities and that was the only thing that I utilized from ShipBob and my review will constitute only on the FBA prep services.
ShipBob’s Prep Services
What I like about ShipBob are the locations. I was able to have some product shipped to a couple of their facilities. That’s about all I like about ShipBob because the rest was a terrible experience.
ShipBob is trying too hard and has persistently bad standard operating procedures.
3 Examples Of Their Ineptitude
They want to instill a process to contact a warehouse through Zendesk. Unfortunately, they outsource the process and they have to ask some point of contact at the warehouse to answer your inquiry. It’s an inefficient process to go through a middle person. What they should be doing is asking where the inquiry should be directed and you could be directed to the warehouse point of contact.
I had freight picked up and they could not provide a copy of the bill of lading. Whoever signed for it never scanned it and threw it away.
Saved the “best” for last. In early April, I set up 6 pallets scheduled to be picked up with all of the Amazon labels ready. They ask 2 days’ notice, but I gave them 2 weeks because I would be away. I had scheduled a Friday for pickup and I was away Monday to Wednesday. By the time I had the chance to follow up, Shipbob somehow changed the status and put everything on hold and nothing was done.
I reached out to my rep and it took 4 weeks to get the pallets shipped. FOUR WEEKS! I wound up paying an extra month of storage with them and around $1500 in fees to label everything for Amazon. To rub more salt into the wounds, they increased the fees and would have been 50% cheaper to do it at Amazon.
All ShipBob could offer was an apology. Doesn’t matter with the real repercussions because of the systematic failures within their process. The least they could have done was waive the 2 months storage due to their errors.
At this time, I could not recommend ShipBob to anyone who want to use their business 2 business services. I suppose inventory directly to the end customer Shipbob could handle, but anything B2B related they have lots to work on. It’s a shame really because they have some great locations.