ShipMonk is a rapidly growing 3PL (third party logistics) provider that was founded in 2014 as a new kind of parcel forwarding service designed to help international shoppers. Since then, they have pivoted into full service ecommerce order fulfillment.
After raising over $290 million in funding since 2015, ShipMonk aims to continue expanding its national fulfillment network and capabilities. This funding has enabled opening new warehouse locations and improving technology.
With such quick expansion and outside investment, it's important for ecommerce merchants to closely evaluate ShipMonk's fees, services and operations before choosing them as a 3PL partner. This review will break down their most common fees and services to help you determine if they are the right fit for your business.
A key part of ShipMonk's expansion has been developing proprietary warehouse management and inventory tracking software designed specifically for modern ecommerce order fulfillment. Their systems are built to interface directly with major shopping carts and marketplaces to enable seamless order routing and visibility.
By focusing heavily on technology and automation, ShipMonk aims to maximize efficiency and throughput in their warehouses to keep costs down. However, adopting new systems and workflows very rapidly can also lead to challenges with accuracy and quality control.
In addition to the technology side of their business, ShipMonk has prioritized expanding their physical warehouse presence across the United States. They have added over a dozen new fulfillment centers in the last few years.
This widespread network enables them to provide 1-2 day ground shipping to a majority of the US population. However, merchants should be aware that frequent inventory transfers between warehouses to facilitate sales can drive up costs.
One potential downside of hyper-growth for any company is strained customer service. Existing users have reported mixed experiences with account management and support response times declining as more customers were onboarded.
However, ShipMonk has invested in additional account managers and support staffing to improve. Still, merchants evaluating ShipMonk should closely assess direct feedback from current clients to gauge real-world service levels.
On the technical side, ShipMonk touts over 250 integrations with major ecommerce platforms, shopping carts, and order management systems. This allows most merchants to connect their sales channels and inventory software directly to ShipMonk's fulfillment platform.
They also offer a basic dashboard and warehouse management features beyond just fulfillment, though it likely does not have the sophisticated capabilities of a true WMS. The focus is on core shipping, handling, and storage to keep the service simple to implement.
ShipMonk does not appear to charge any onboarding or implementation fees for new customers based on publicly available info. This allows merchants to get started easily without large upfront costs. However, any additional onboarding services may incur hourly fees.
Inbound inventory receiving is offered on a good faith basis without receiving fees. ShipMonk can also provide detailed auditing and inspection of incoming inventory for $45 per hour, which is reasonable for this service.
ShipMonk charges tiered storage fees ranging from $1 per month for a small bin up to $25 per month for a pallet. Each SKU requires at least one bin. It's unclear how they determine optimal bin size or monitor overages. Proactive planning for inventory volumes and storage footprint is advised.
A $250 monthly minimum fee is required, or the total of monthly storage fees if greater. There are no separate account maintenance fees. This minimum may be high for smaller merchants with limited SKUs.
Returns are charged at a flat $2 per order plus $0.50 per item. It is unclear what specific tasks like inspection or repackaging are included in this fee. Clarity should be sought for full understanding.
Although specific shipping rates are not publicized, ShipMonk offers discounted rates with major carriers. Additional services like custom packaging or expedited shipping will raise costs.
Any support beyond standard contract services is billed at $45 per hour. This includes inventory counting, repackaging, quality checks, and more. These fees can add up quickly with frequent use.
ShipMonk stocks a variety of mailers, boxes and other packaging supplies. Material costs range from $0.15 to $2.00 per package depending on options selected. Custom branded packaging is available.
A tiered pick and pack fee ranges from $3 to $1.80 per order based on monthly order volume. An additional $0.35 is charged for each item above the first. Only one item per order is included in the base fee.
For any inserts like coupons or catalogs, a $0.20 fee is added per piece. This allows promotional content to be added easily.
In summary, ShipMonk offers modern fulfillment with the flexibility to meet most merchant needs. However, potential drawbacks like unclear fees and support costs are worth considering carefully as part of choosing any 3PL. Performing due diligence is advised to determine true total costs.