ShipBob vs. ShipMonk

Deciding Between ShipMonk and ShipBob: How the Largest 3PLs Compare on Fulfillment, Pricing and Support

As eCommerce grows, online retailers are turning to 3PLs (third-party logistics) like ShipBob and ShipMonk to handle warehousing, inventory, packing, shipping, and fulfillment. But how do these two leading providers actually compare when it comes to pricing, features, and overall service quality?

This in-depth ShipBob vs ShipMonk overview examines key factors like:

  • Account setup, onboarding, and contract differences
  • Fulfillment network and locations across the US
  • Storage, inventory, and monthly account fee structure
  • Order processing, picking, packing, and shipping speeds
  • Actual fulfillment and shipping rates along with surcharges
  • Integrations, technology, and support capabilities
  • Customer service reputation and satisfaction

Understanding how ShipBob and ShipMonk stack up in these critical areas will empower online sellers to select the right 3PL for their eCommerce order and inventory management needs.

ShipBob vs ShipMonk: Account Setup and Onboarding

A major point of differentiation is how ShipBob and ShipMonk handle new account setup and onboarding:

  • ShipBob charges an upfront onboarding fee of $500+ for basic accounts or $1000+ for enterprise setup. ShipMonk onboards all new users with 3PL experts for free.
  • ShipBob onboarding can take 1-2 weeks, while ShipMonk promises faster 24-48 hour integration timelines.
  • ShipMonk provides dedicated support reps to guide each new user. ShipBob's entry level plan has limited support during onboarding.
  • ShipBob requires a 6 month contract upfront. ShipMonk has no contracts and allows month to month terms.

For sellers wanting a fast, flexible onboarding process with live support, ShipMonk is preferable over ShipBob's fees and rigid approach. But ShipBob offers more customized enterprise-level integration.

Fulfillment Network Locations and Warehouses

In terms of warehousing presence and fulfillment center locations:

  • ShipBob has facilities concentrated on the coasts while ShipMonk aims for nationwide presence.
  • ShipBob touts 1M+ square feet across 4 main warehouses. ShipMonk has 2M+ square feet across 6 warehouses.
  • Key ShipBob locations are in California, Pennsylvania, and Florida. ShipMonk has major warehouses in California, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and more.
  • For quick nationwide delivery, ShipMonk's fulfillment footprint provides more extensive coverage of both coasts and the interior.

Overall, ShipMonk achieves broader geographic coverage for fast domestic shipping across the lower 48 states. ShipBob centers on the coasts.

Comparing Monthly Storage, Inventory, and Account Fees

ShipBob and ShipMonk take different approaches to monthly account fees:

  • ShipBob has minimum monthly fees based on storage limits. ShipMonk has no minimums, only pay for what you use.
  • ShipBob charges for storage based on pallets, shelves, and bins allocated. ShipMonk bills per pallet stored, not empty space.
  • ShipBob's monthly minimums start at $500 even for basic accounts. ShipMonk has customizable plans with no base fees.
  • ShipMonk offers first month of storage free. ShipBob starts charging storage fees right away.
  • ShipMonk provides dedicated account reps to optimize storage and inventory needs.

For sellers with fluctuating inventory volumes, ShipMonk's lack of minimums and pay-as-you-go model avoids lock-ins. ShipBob's monthly minimums create more predictable base fees but less flexibility.

How Order Handling Speed and Shipping Times Compare

Processing and shipping speed is another area with key differences:

  • ShipBob heavily promotes automation for fast fulfillment. But some sellers report issues with accuracy.
  • ShipMonk focuses on flexible human-driven processes and quality control checks that improve precision.
  • ShipBob does not share average order processing times. ShipMonk guarantees 2-day processing.
  • ShipMonk pledges 1-2 day delivery to most US locations. ShipBob delivery times depend on warehouse location.
  • For inventory intake and returns, ShipMonk offers 48 hour turnaround compared to 1 week+ with ShipBob.

ShipMonk's emphasis on quality over pure speed delivers slightly slower but more consistent order fulfillment. ShipBob prioritizes fast automated throughput.

Fulfillment Pricing: ShipBob vs ShipMonk Costs and Rate Transparency

Pricing and rate transparency is where these competitors differ most significantly:

  • ShipBob does not disclose actual fulfillment rates or fees publicly. Pricing is bundled into overall quoted costs.
  • ShipMonk provides clear per-order and per-unit fulfillment pricing starting at $2.98 per order + $0.39 per item. No hidden fees.
  • ShipBob add-on fees for services like gift wrapping, special packaging, etc. are not defined. ShipMonk spells out every service cost.
  • ShipMonk offers discounted rates for high volume accounts. ShipBob does not publish volume discounts.
  • ShipMonk provides a pricing calculator for upfront rate estimates. ShipBob quotes are based on vague factors.

For predictable fulfillment costs and budgeting, ShipMonk's transparent per-order/per-unit pricing is vastly preferable over ShipBob's cryptic bundled rates.

Actual Shipping Rates and Carrier Integrations

In terms of shipping costs and carrier choices:

  • ShipBob does not disclose which carriers they use or share real shipping rates. ShipMonk utilizes UPS, FedEx, USPS and more at published rates.
  • ShipMonk passes direct commercial carrier discounts to clients. ShipBob applies unknown rate discounts.
  • ShipMonk integrates with major carriers along with regional last mile delivery choices. ShipBob offers fewer clearly defined integrations.
  • ShipMonk provides shipping insurance options. Unclear if ShipBob includes insurance automatically.

Having logistics options along with defined shipping rates gives sellers far better ability to optimize deliveries with ShipMonk versus unknown rates with ShipBob.

Ecommerce Platform Integrations and Technology

Both ShipBob and ShipMonk integrate with all major ecommerce platforms and marketplaces:

  • ShipBob and ShipMonk offer Shopify, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and more.
  • Both provide APIs and web dashboards to manage orders, inventory, shipments, and automation workflows.
  • ShipMonk focuses on usability and UX. ShipBob touts predictive analytics features.
  • Unique ShipMonk innovations include Instant Quotes API and automated returns portal.

The two are evenly matched on core integrations and technology. ShipMonk emphasizes the user experience while ShipBob highlights data-driven analytics capabilities.

How ShipBob and ShipMonk's Customer Service Compares

The final big difference is customer service and support responsiveness:

  • ShipMonk is renowned for top-rated support and exceptional account management. ShipBob gets mixed reviews.
  • ShipMonk offers US-based support available 24/7/365 via phone, email, chat. ShipBob has limited hours and staffing.
  • ShipMonk pledges <60 minute response times. ShipBob's responses can take hours or days.
  • Dedicated ShipMonk account reps provide individual attention. ShipBob defaults to generalized support.
  • ShipMonk specializes in working with smaller SMBs. ShipBob focuses on big enterprises.

When it comes to attentive customer service and tailored account management, ShipMonk is the clear winner over ShipBob's inconsistent and impersonal support experiences.

Key Takeaways: Choosing Between ShipBob and ShipMonk

In summary, both ShipBob and ShipMonk offer reputable order fulfillment and inventory management for ecommerce. ShipBob brings automation capabilities while ShipMonk touts service quality. But core differences exist:

  • ShipMonk offers better pricing transparency, faster onboarding, strong national fulfillment presence, tailored customer service, and overall exceptional user experiences.
  • ShipBob provides greater warehousing capacity focused on East/West coasts, advanced analytics features, and smoother enterprise-level integration - albeit with less dedicated support.

For online sellers that value responsive human support, customizable solutions, clear pricing, and flexible terms over rigid automation, ShipMonk tends to be the superior choice over ShipBob in key categories. But larger brands may benefit from ShipBob's focus on scalability and predictive data.

Understanding these contrasts allows online retailers to select the right outsourced fulfillment provider to best suit their specific ecommerce operations and business needs. Comparing real customer feedback on both services provides helpful due diligence before partnering with a 3PL.

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