The Fortune 500, Amazon, eBay and the biggest brands in the world do something most of us take for granted. They ship products–every day, all over the world. But for the small company, shipping is not an easy task, nor is it inexpensive. If your company sells physical product and is growing, you have probably struggled with warehousing, managing and shipping. Shipwire is an outsourced shipping and storage solution aimed at small business owners.
If you’ve ever wondered how the big guys do it, I’ll tell you. They have logistics professionals on their team! They have robots (see picture below of Kiva Systems’ little orange robot) that pick up stocked shelves and intelligently move them around to keep the bestsellers near the door. Most important of all, they have warehouses spread out around the U.S. and the world.
Enter Shipwire: the logistics and warehouse option for the little guy, or even the medium-sized guy (no gender bias intended.) Normally, I just stick to software and leave the big logistics stuff to others, but I hear over and over from other entrepreneurs, “My garage is full of product and boxes and packing materials,” or that they’ve tried using some big-name providers only to lose a lot of money. When I read a blog post by the marketing guy at Shipwire, I thought I needed to tell Small Business Trends readers about this service.
What stood out, of course, is that it’s easy to give away a free trial of software. It costs you very little. But free trials of hardware and real-world products are another matter. But that’s what Shipwire offers: a six-item free trial. You ship them your stuff, have them handle it and ship it back to you or to a customer. After that, the service starts at $29.95 a month. But I’ll warn you now, it jumps up after that. However, for a small operation with a handful of products, Shipwire offers a compelling and time-saving solution.
Their system integrates with over 50 shopping cart or ecommerce providers, so you can tie your entire purchase cycle into fulfillment. They work with major online storefront solutions, such as BigCommerce, 3Dcart and many others. They have some well-known products moving through their five warehouses, including those funny Angry birds plush toys.
What I really liked:
- Loads of shipping options
- Pick and pack. I can send them individual products and they’ll combine them when a customer orders.
- Lick and stick. I can send them the box of items and they’ll simply affix a label and mail it.
- They will handle returns for you, too.
What I’d like to see:
- A warehouse in Asia to help manage import and export to Japan, India and China, to name just a few. They already have a United Kingdom warehouse, and one on the European continent is in the works.
Overall, if you’ve tried to grow your business and fulfillment is slowing you down, then Shipwire is worth a very close look. It is a physical solution, but it is also a software solution due to all their ecommerce integrations.
Learn more about Shipwire.
Do not under any circumstances work with Shipwire. They are unprofessional, do not care, and appear to be under a lot of pressure that they can’t handle. The ONLY thing I was impressed with was their onboarding. Since then it’s been a literal nightmare.
– Orders slow to go out
– Receiving taking over a week
– Items sent carelessly and broken
– Fuzzy policy on insurance
– Customer service gaps, no ownership of case.
Find an alternative.
Additionally the level of absurdity and ineptitude goes up. Management who promises calls back don’t.
One manager tells us about insurance on fragile products, we go to add it into a system that has vague language only to find out from another manager that Insurance isn’t available on fragile products.
Here’s another head scratcher. This fulfillment center doesn’t have bubble wrap.
To add, how does anyone packing a fragile product throw it into a box with other fragile products with no protection other than a piece of of paper on top!? Answer: they don’t care.
If you have a single, product that isn’t fragile these guys might have your back. But as far as a trusted partner goes, they suck and can not be trusted. If you’re with them now take a close look at who your “partner” is.
Avoid Shipwire at all costs. It’s not worth it. I tried to use them for over three years and this company has seriously damaged my reputation. Your product won’t get to your customers as promised and their customer service is infuriating. Don’t believe the positive reviews -they are fake. They are aware of their problems and they aren’t fixing them. Avoid at all costs.