The Only Unbiased Source for Fulfillment Warehouse Recommendations
Fulfillment services are a hot topic these days. From Amazon’s next-day and same-day delivery services to Shopify and other large companies entering the fulfillment market, consumers’ movement towards the convenience of purchasing products online from the comfort of their own homes has brought one of the most mundane industries to the forefront of the business world. Businesses are now looking for any way possible to capitalize on this seismic shift from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce purchases, up to and including investment in fulfillment services businesses and support services with historically low profit margins. As a result, it comes as no surprise to see that many internet companies are trying to take advantage of the popularity of the fulfillment industry by pushing content on their websites to make a quick buck.
Case in point – the onslaught of “best fulfillment services” lists being published on website pages. The number of sites that have released their “top fulfillment company list” has reached epic proportions. Companies that have never covered topics in the business services niche, such as PC Mag, have recently launched their Best E-Commerce Fulfillment Services list. Heck – even fulfillment companies themselves have decided to create a new page on their website where they “recommend” up to 5-10 fulfillment services (including themselves…wink, wink!!)!
In order to steer you in the right direction, we wanted to publish a helpful guide on this topic, covering the following areas:
- Why Do Companies Publish Best Fulfillment Services Lists?
- How Many Fulfillment Centers are There and Why ‘Top Lists’ Can’t Possible be Fully Researched?
- Who Are on These Lists and Do These Companies Shed Any Light on the Validity of the Lists?
- Who’s Not on These Lists?
- What is a Better Way to Find the Best Fulfillment Services for Your Business?
At FulfillmentCompanies.net, we strive to be fully unbiased and fully truthful and transparent. Our company is the leading online match-making service for the fulfillment industry. Think of us as the “Match.com” of the fulfillment industry. But we are very different from other sites and lists out there. First, we used to run fulfillment companies and are extremely knowledgeable in the industry. Second, we have been researching companies in-depth since 2005, and we have a massive amount of information about these companies (from information we collect about their capabilities to reviews from companies that have used our service). Third, we are unbiased in our recommendations – not only do we objectively match companies based upon what they are looking for, we also make sure that we don’t play favorites in terms of only recommending certain companies. Fourth, we don’t earn a commission – we just get a one-time $30 fee from the warehouse when we match them to a company (believe me, it’s not a lot and subsequently we are a very small business). Fifth, if we find a business doesn’t perform, they are no longer in our network – period. Quality always trumps monetary benefit in our business.
Finally, we don’t believe there is a “best” company. There are a lot of “best fulfillment companies” for different businesses and different scenarios. With all of the data we have collected, we would be hard-pressed to tell you that there is one or 5 or 10 best companies. It’s just not true!
So let’s take a deep dive into these supposed best fulfillment company lists and see what’s behind the curtain.
Why Do Companies Publish Website Pages with a Listing of the Best Fulfillment Services Companies?
If you’ve never run a lead generation company (a company that produces sales leads for other businesses), business-to-business services company or similar business, you may not at all be suspicious of these best fulfillment company lists. In fact, you may think they are a helpful resource – and we can’t blame you. After all, is it plausible that the owners of these sites are simply offering a service to seekers of fulfillment services by truly vetting all of the fulfillment options out there and reporting on the best options? Highly unlikely but it is possible. And after visiting these pages, most of them do appear to be very convincing and seemingly unbiased. But let’s put just a little thought into the matter before taking the bait that the lists can be trusted.
Let’s put on our not-so-naïve hat and admit the first “truth” with regard to these best order fulfillment company lists – there is money to be made by publishing a list that gets a lot of views. If a popular website can rank high organically in the search engines for one of these lists and can get thousands of businesses to view their page, then they can either charge the listed companies a recurring fee for inclusion on the list OR charge them a fee for every time a prospective customer contacts them for a quote. Now, we don’t believe that it is wrong to earn money off of a page. However, what we do think isn’t fair or “right” is to claim that you’re reporting the “best” companies when in fact you haven’t fully researched all of the options out there and/or you’re only taking money from the highest bidder and populating them on the “best” list – which we do believe is what is going on in ‘most’ cases.
How many Fulfillment Centers are There Anyway?
Now that we’ve properly concluded that these sites are littering the internet because they are making companies money, let’s dispel the second myth with these sites – how in the world can someone claim that there is a top 5, 10, 30, or 50 list of fulfillment centers when:
- There are a reported 10,000+ fulfillment centers in the U.S. alone (we’ve researched and approved 726 of these fulfillment warehouses in the US, Canada and the UK)
- Each fulfillment center has a certain specialization and location which will automatically preclude it from being the best for some companies simply because they’re not in the right location or they’re not focused on the right types of products or services or technology
It would take a “boat load” of time to fairly and justly research all of the potential options out there, wouldn’t it!?! Yes, you got that right – there are over 10,000 fulfillment warehouses in the U.S. alone. That’s a ton of healthy competition. Good news is…we’ve been doing the research since 2005:
Also, simply put, how can any one company be the best for everyone? For example, one of the top companies listed on every site is Ship Bob. Ship Bob has some very happy customers out there. But does Ship Bob offer frozen food fulfillment services? No. Does Ship Bob offer class II medical device fulfillment services out of Georgia? No. Do they have locations in Denver, Colorado, Portland, Oregon, or Miami, Florida? No.
The fulfillment industry has so many divergent needs, whether it’s product specific (e.g. apparel, food, etc.), technology driven (e.g. integration with a specific system), location based, or service based (e.g. subscription services, start-up fulfillment, etc). Really, a much better way to approach these types of lists (as we try ourselves in our match-making service) is to segment them on location, services, technology capabilities, and product types. In fact, let’s emphasize the factors that should be considered when creating the right kind of ‘best fulfillment center lists’:
- Best Fulfillment Companies for Various Product Types
- Best Fulfillment Centers by Location
- Best Fulfillment Services Depending Upon Technology Needed
- Best Fulfillment Houses by Services Offered
Really the opportunities are endless – you’d probably have to spend a few weekends just reading the top lists to fully grasp the best companies for every scenario out there. This is why we think that listing the best fulfillment companies on a website page is the wrong approach. We believe you should be able to come to an expert, describe your circumstances and needs, and be matched with the right, hand-picked companies that best fit your needs. Oh wait – that’s the service we offer!
Best Fulfillment Warehouse Lists – Who Are the “Best” on these Lists?
Interestingly enough, most of the “top lists” have the same companies listed – go figure! Why is this? Because these are the companies that are most savvy with their internet marketing and/or are able and willing to pay the most for the position and advertising. Most of these companies are larger companies, have VC funding, have large marketing budgets, or focus on large volume shippers. Some of these companies have marketing budgets larger than the yearly revenue of smaller fulfillment firms, and some of these companies have an entire marketing staff that outnumbers the executive team of a regional, one-location fulfillment center.
When we studied these lists, we found the SAME companies were the only ones on all of the major lists we found:
- Rakuten Super Logistics
- Fulfillment by Amazon
- Red Stag Fulfillment
- IDS Fulfillment
- Velocity Ship
- Fulfillment by Sears
- Xpert Fulfillment
- eFulfillment Service
- Symphony Commerce
- Ingram Micro Commerce
- Sprocket Express
- James & James
- FedEx Fulfillment
- Aero Fulfillment
- AMS Fulfillment
- PFC Fulfills
- APS Fulfillment
- Shipping Tree
What Information is Contained on the Best Fulfillment Warehouse Lists Websites?
And what information will you find about these companies on these best fulfillment list sites? Not much – and certainly less than you would if you went to their own website. In most cases, these websites only contain cursory information about each of the “best” firms – usually a brief description of their company and a few of the services that they offer. One of the sites listed the fulfillment center’s location. One site had a single sentence for each company on a “pro”, “con” and “bottom line” about each company (not the depth of information that you really need to fully quality a company).
How do these “Best” Fulfillment Companies Rank in Terms of Reviews
If a company truly is the best, it’s likely that they will have achieved the best online reviews from objective sources. So we put this criteria to the test and researched these “best” companies to see if their reviews were in fact better than other fulfillment warehouses.
We studied independent review sites in order to see what they were ‘rated and reviewed’ in order to find out if this list truly included the best companies. Not to our surprise, only 8 of the above companies had a review on an independent website that was greater than 4 stars. That’s 8 out of 42 total (or less than 20% of the companies that achieved what would be expected in terms of one of the best performances)! More surprising, however, was that we found 8 companies with reviews around 3 out of 5 stars (which is not great), and 16 companies without any reviews at all on any major sites. From what we’ve seen, it’s not uncommon for a smaller fulfillment companies to not have any online reviews. It’s not uncommon to see some negative reviews as well. But for a company to claim that these fulfillment services providers are “the best”, you would certainly think that they would be consistently getting 4.5+ star reviews.
Who’s Not on the Best Fulfillment Company Lists?
Now that we’ve taken a look at who is on the majority of the best fulfillment company lists, we should take a few moments to discuss who isn’t on the lists. Funny enough, most of the 726 warehouses in our pre-screened network didn’t make the cut (yet, they’re helping out tons of businesses – at the time of initial publication we’ve helped over 50,000 companies find a fulfillment warehouse).
No one on the lists that we searched for was a true regional fulfillment company that focused on start-ups. In our experience, most companies researching the Web for a fulfillment option are small or start-up companies – so they will be extremely shocked to find that most all of the companies on the above-mentioned list will turn them away.
No one on the lists we found was an FDA compliant and DEA approved pharmaceutical grade fulfillment center. No one on the list was from Colorado, or Arizona, or Delaware or Oregon, among MANY other states. No one on the list is a fulfillment service that also offers print-on-demand for t-shirts and other apparel products. No one on the list offers clamp trucks for oversize paper goods, or overhead cranes or foreign trade zone status.
And we could go on and on…
Just as important (as noted above) – no one on the list has perfect reviews. Many of them have a number of negative reviews, which doesn’t at all mean that they are a “bad performing” company – just imperfect. And no one on the list really has a claim to “the best” without really narrowing down what we’re talking about.
Ultimately, the “best” fulfillment company for you is very likely NOT TO BE ON any of these lists. Which is why we even exist – to learn about all of the options out there and collect data on them all, and then match them to you and help you get quotes.
How Do We Categorize the Best Companies?
In our experience, there’s a better way of connecting you with the right companies. Rather than listing a few of the total companies out there, we’ve vetted and approved a small fraction of all of the providers out there and then we learn about your specific needs and hand-pick a few options that we feel best suit your needs. Previously, we mentioned the following categories for search criteria: Product based, Location Based, Technology Based and Service Based. But the reality in our system is that we have over 100 criteria that we use to match your business with the Best Fulfillment Center. Some of these criteria include:
- Do they handle B2C, B2B or both?
- Do they handle start-up businesses, high volume shippers, etc.? Do they have monthly minimums?
- Do they have Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime status?
- Do they offer FBA Prep services?
- Do they handle the very complicated clothing and apparel fulfillment services?
- Can the handle small items or very large bulky items?
- Can they handle food grade or climate-controlled products?
- Are they FDA approved?
- Are they bonded, insured or do they have foreign trade zone status?
- Will they be able to handle EDI integrations?
- Are they able to out-of-the-box integrate with your sales marketplaces?
- And many, many more!
Of course, we know the best fulfillment companies for each location in the US and Canada and Europe.
“We’ve spoken extensively with the warehouses in our network, received feedback about them, and in some cases even visited their facilities – so we do really get to know them and can quickly short-list companies with the best matches,” said Will Schneider, founder of FulfillmentCompanies.net.
Now, you’re more than welcome to go out there and search, and search, and search for the right fulfillment option for your business. At least take our word for it – you most likely won’t find the best company for your business on the first page of the search engines or even on one of these lists. You will probably have to dig pretty deep to find the perfect match. OR – you are more than welcome to fill out a form on our site and get matched with hand-picked fulfillment firms that have been vetted by former fulfillment executives. One way or another, we’re happy to help you with any questions. Just let us know and we will do our best to assist you.
Find the Best Fulfillment Warehouses in the US and Canada
If you’d like to get matched to the best fulfillment companies for YOUR particular situation and business in your desired location, just fill out a quick form on our site and a fulfillment expert will guide you through the process and get you hand-picked matches that really are best for your company: