I use various 3pl fulfilment warehouses around the world and decided that I would give Shipwire a try as I was interested in their integrations and online platform. I have to say that the sales people at shipwire have been professional but when it comes to the normal everyday customer service, I rate them 1 out of 10. This is based on my experiences with other customer service level I receive from my other 3pl fulfilment partners.
Just a summary of critical problems of shipwire that they dont understand or are unwilling to fix.
1. The hours of operation for phone customer service is very limited. If you are outside the US, you will be trying to call them in the middle of the night just to speak to someone or send off a support request and get a reply 24 hours later with an answer that does not solve the problem. Then you have to resend emails, make phone calls, and the people in customer service have no power to resolve matters. They just follow their parrot like responses that does not help you solve the problem. Escalating you to various other shipwire "customer service managers" people who also waste your time and also dont solve the problem. I have one case now running for 3 weeks and customers waiting to get their goods.
2. If you use shipwire's shipment couriers, you dont get the tracking number for 1 or 2 days and there is no real way of knowing that the order has actually been shipped.
3. If you intent to do the occasional bulk shipment , either you are moving some stock out in bulk or have sold a bulk shipment to a customer, then think again. Shipwire's pricing on bulk shipments works out to about 10 times the industry standard cost for dispatching bulk shipments. In most cases by the time they add pallet fees, handling fees (2.85 per each item), and if you use your own transport, then an additional label fees for each item. The cost actually works out in most cases that you will either make no profit on bulk shipments or incur heavy losses.. Bulk shipment fees and how they calculate the fees and minimum costs and examples of this are not on their website and shipwire will not give this critical information to you beforehand. This is where shipwire make their cream profits and they are happy to hold your stock hostage and just charge whatever fee they like to your account and unless it is full paid , your goods would not be released. Bulk shipments are handled as "projects" and even after shipwire quote on the cost of a project, they can and normally do add further costs to your account after the project order has been despatched.
4. Shipwire have not yet discovered the metric system. I firmly believe that they think all of the world runs on pounds and inches. If your in the US, then its ok, but if your outside the US, then good luck trying to convert every single sku dimension, weight back into imperial system. It would be just a simple conversion to add on the website as your preference, either metric or imperial.
So , for those considering shipwire, I say enter at your own risk. Maybe if you want to try them, just try with very small amount of stock to understand their complicated system. Otherwise, there are many other more cost effective and ethical providers that you can choose from.
I will never be using shipwire again and would never recommend it to anyone.
Hey Philip, I've had similarly bad experiences with Shipwire. At the moment I'm only using their HK warehouse and that adds it's own problems too. Communication is routed through their US service centre which means it takes 2-3 days to get a response as my timezone is Sydney, they are US and the warehouse is HK! Terrible.
I'm looking at Webgistix, 4PX and Fulfillrite as alternatives, do you have any good/bad experiences with them? Or any others you would like to share?
Cheers in advance,
Hi Simon, I also have been using the HK Shipwire warehouse and it is not the warehouse in HK fault but shipwire administration. I have used 4PX internally in China for odd shipments but not for fulfilment. Webgistix and Fulfillrite I have not used and dont know too much about them. I suppose it depends on what type of products you sell and to which markets, and also do you ship directly from HK or you physically move stock into the country that you market. I can say that I have had excellence experience with Cellnet in Australia and New Zealand, Expeditors both in HK and Australia and E-store logistics in Australia. Customer service is excellent and they are very flexible and understand that orders need to be despatched as quickly as possible and they are willing to customize some of their processes to suit your business.
But again a lot depends on the type of product you are selling and the market. Also another factor is your shopping cart and how you want to integrate with your fulfilment provider or multiple providers. How you will manage your inventory across multiple warehouses , how you will send your orders for processing.
Update from my dealing with shipwire : I had arranged for all my stock to be moved out. Shipwire held my orders until I pay them their excessive fees and I had no choice to pay shipwire all the money they wanted. I have phone call conversations with Shipwire (early in the morning my time) and they confimed that all my orders would be despatched. Wake up this morning to find 30+ multilple emails from Shipwire cancelling my existing orders and then re-instating them at high cost and then putting all orders back on hold.
I cannot contain myself for the hatred I now have for shipwire as not only they done exactly the opposite of what they confirmed to me over the phone 1 day ago but now feel that they can just increase what they charge or add charges at any time without any explanation.
Even when you interrogate shipwire customer service to explain in detail the extra charges, they give answers that dont explain anything. just that you have to pay extra because.. No reference how it is calculated, why it was applied, the circumstances etc. In other words, shipwire has no accountability for their actions. Now this process is getting ridiculous . It has been now more than 3 weeks I have been trying to organise a bulk shipment and shipwire now added more delays.
Blessed will be the day I finally rid myself from this cancer company called shipwire.
Oh dear, that does sound terrible. I was actually curious about bulk shipping it out of there too. I'd be interested to hear if you get any better rates than just doing it manually.
I do realise the warehouse in HK is actually Kerry Logistics, at one point for an urgent matter I contacted them directly and they were actually very helpful and fixed my problem. Email me on email@example.com if you need a contact there.
I'm using National Products Fulfilment in Sydney and they are great. Looking at using Fulfillrite in the US soon.
This is an issue that a couple of our clients had to face as well. In a slightly different context. They had either heard of bad experiences with Shipwire, or had them in the past with them, so they went out to source alternative 3rd party shipping warehouses. Unfortunately that's when we discovered that SHopify's native support for these shippers is limited.
So we built a simple app to help merchants who want to use someone other than Shipwire, send over nightly orders in an automated fashion.
It's as simple as it gets, we let you configure and send a nightly order list formatted as a CSV file and dump it over to the Shipper's FTP.
We're currently looking for Beta testers if you're interested in trying it out.
Hi Jason, I have moved onto using Adobe business catalyst at the moment as it includes many features built in. It operates similar to shopify and also has an app store. Your app intrigues me as one of an ongoing problems is managing shipping. When you have one warehouse in one location and ship to just one country , then things are quite simple. Inventory can be managed by your ecommerce site and orders to your warehouse for shipping can be easy to process. The problem occurs when you need to use more than one warehouse or multiple warehouses in different countries. Thing get complicated quite fast. Different warehouses and fulfilment providers have different processes. Some have ftp facilities to upload csv files and other dont, some can receive csv files by email , some by EDI. Then on top of this is how to manage the inventory of each SKU for each warehouse as products are shipped.
Could your app do multiple sending of csv files to different fulfilment providers? Like for example you can allocate each order to a particular warehouse, then each warehouse might have different rules to trigger the creation of the csv file. Warehouse A could be setup to upload the file to the ftp server at a specific time, warehouse B could be setup to email a specific email address with the csv file attached at a specific time and so on. Each warehouse would only generate the csv file with orders that are allocated to that warehouse.
You never know when you need to change fulfilment provider(s) and need the flexibility to connect and ship orders by different methods. Shipping your goods with multiple fulfilment providers can benefit your business by lowering the shipping and distribution costs due to fulfilment warehouse location, time to get goods to your customers, different shipping and order processing costs for different SKUs from different fulfilment warehouses. You may want to bulk ship goods to another warehouse closer to your customers which might lower your overall shipping costs and provide faster delivery service to your customers. So flexibility is the key.
Just for the record, I have finally got all my stock out of Shipwire today. I submitted my bulk order on 20 May, so it has taken 29 Days to physcially get my stock back from Shipwire. It has been the longest order that any 3PL warehouse has taken to process a simple bulk shipment of 7 pallets of 2 SKUs .
Anyhow, I can now sleep better at night knowing that shipwire is completely out of my business and can no longer extort money from me for bulk shipments.