As a follow up to the review we did of Shipwire a little while back, I sent them a list of 10 questions and asked them to reply. My questions were sent on to Dimitri Onistsuk who is in charge of marketing at Shipwire. He provided some great insight into their service and I really appreciate him taking the time to answer my questions. My questions and his answers are below. If you aren’t familiar with their service, check them out at Shipwire Order Fulfillment.
Question 1 – I recently wrote a review of your service on my Ecommerce blog, you can read it here. When I tweeted about it, you guys did a RT (thank you!) and also replied. You mentioned in your reply that you disagreed with a few things. Would you mind elaborating on what you think we got wrong or what we left out?
Answer- We just wanted to highlight that we’ve invested a lot in our technology and platform, rather than just our operations. Our platform leads the industry for making it easy for users to quickly get set up, and provides transparent reporting and tools to build a brand. We have a full suite of developer APIs that lead the industry. This is part of where our huge competitive advantage comes from. The powerful software that we’ve been working on since day one is at the core of everything we do and lets us help our customers sell their products just as much as our international fulfillment warehouse network.
Question 2 - The way you currently present your pricing seems much better than it was a year or two ago when I checked out your service. What prompted that change? Do you show your clients exactly what they are paying on a per shipment and per item basis or do they just get a monthly fee for their volume that month?
Answer – Our new pricing was made to be transparent and easy-to-use – with scale comes instant discounting. No need to call or negotiate… grow and get Shipwire for less. It was also built to not require any oversight or management on the part of the merchant. Because of this transparency, merchants are able to see what their orders are priced at. I’ve attached a pricing PDF that shows how anyone can find out what they pay for order handling, shipping, and storage/support.
Question 3 – I know that as Ecommerce companies grow, if they do their warehousing and fulfillment in-house, they can take advantage of larger discounts for UPS, services like UPS Mail Innovations which greatly reduces the cost of packages that are less than a pound, and International brokerage services that cut down on the cost of mailing overseas. As a fulfillment company, are you able to take advantage of those? Do you pass the savings on to the customer or is that a profit center for you?
Answer – Shipping discounts are a game. We’ve been calling it out for years. Yes, you can get discounts; however, each year rates go up (GRI – General Rate Increase). The real model for e-commerce and growing product brands is to use multiple warehouses to store inventory closer to buyers. This is what makes the Shipwire order fulfillment model great. By doing this you’re getting real enterprise-level logistics and the savings that come with it, instead of chasing down a few % points via shipping discounts.
Question 4 – For your international warehouses, if a US based company is sending inventory to your UK warehouse, how are customs fees paid? Do I, as the shipper, pay a one-time customs tax to get it into the UK or does the end user pay that? If I pay it and it ships to a customer in France, will they get charged another customs fee?
Answer – Shipwire helps our customers each step of the way. We’re taking them down a well-defined global growth path. If you are the merchant, you are moving inventory to yourself in bulk and paying the associated customs and duties to get products to the warehouse. When you do this, you know your fully landed costs and the end buyer doesn’t have any customs and duties because it’s a local transaction.
Question 5 – Do you own all of your warehouses or do you partner with existing companies?
Answer – Globally, we control everything. This allows us to give our customers what they really want: operational excellence and service level guarantees. We have a 100% service level guarantee which includes guarantees that the order is shipped the same day, and that every order is shipped 100% accurately. We are able to offer this level of service in all our facilities including our new Hong Kong warehouse which opened less than a year after our PA opening.
Question 6 – What happened with your Reno warehouse? The only bad reviews I found online seemed to be about the pick and pack service from your Reno location but that doesn’t seem to be listed as an available warehouse anymore.
Answer – We listened. We evolved. We expanded.
Question 7 – What is the most common price point for items that you warehouse and fulfill? Based on your fees, what price point is just too low to profitably use a service like yours to fulfill? For example, paying you to ship a $.99 keychain would be a losing proposition if that is the only thing the customer ordered. What do you think the cutoff is where it becomes profitable for you guys to handle it?
Answer – It varies on whether a product is an individual unit or a B2B order, domestic or international, size, etc. We designed our transparent pricing to make it easy for any seller to know if Shipwire is right for them given how they do business.
Question 8 – How many clients do you currently have? How many different sku’s are you handling in your various warehouses?
Answer – Please excuse us if we don’t disclose our numbers. Since our inception we’ve grown over 100% CAGR a year.
Question 9 – On average, how long does it take from the time you get the order to the time it leaves your warehouse? What % of orders go out with mistakes (either wrong product, wrong shipping method, wrong address, etc…)?
Answer – Orders passed to Shipwire before cutoff times are guaranteed to be in the carrier’s hands the same day. Our accuracy leads the industry. It has to, since we guarantee every order for 100% accuracy.
Question 10 – I have seen you guys pop up in more and more places and most of the reviews have been positive. What do you attribute your success to? What do you think your clients like most about your service?
Answer – We are completely dedicated to the success of our customers. We listen and evolve based on their needs. We’ve invested an immense amount in our platform and our team. We try to provide the highest level of customer support and the most innovative platform in the industry. We can service a business just getting started or a billion-dollar brand. Clients like that they don’t have to worry about the shipping and can instead worry about selling their product. But, if there is an issue, they also know we’re going to be there and do everything in our power to solve the problem, right a wrong, and keep their business growing. We take responsibility and we care.
Our platform just works. It integrates with most shopping carts and marketplaces and does domestic, international, B2B and direct to consumer…on demand. Customers pay for what they use and they like the transparent pricing and volume discounts.
I think people like us because we’re a refreshing change to the other providers out there. We stay humble knowing we’re only as good as the success of our customers. They are our #1 priority….always!
You can check out the Shipwire service by clicking here.