Best Order Fulfilment Services for Startups in the UK 2022

Find the right order fulfilment service provider for your ecommerce business and join the UK's most successful startups. Browse our top 10 picks for small ecommerce businesses below!

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Provider
Best for
Transparent pricing

Huboo

BOXStation

Bezos.ai

MyWarehouse

Green Fulfilment

Amazon FBA

Core Fulfilment

ShipBob

Minatus

Cloud Fulfilment

Red Stag Fulfilment

Low storage and packing prices

Micro businesses requiring order fufilment services

Small businesses that need fulfilment services to handle specialist goods

Reliability with a 100% accuracy guarantee on its picking and packaging service

Small businesses wanting to reduce carbon emissions by working with eco friendly providers

Small businesses that need speedy shipping

Businesses that need to integrate other software with its order fulfilment service

Small businesses selling products to the US

Companies that want friendly, personal customer service

Small businesses wanting real-time insights and stock level movement reports

Small businesses wanting to protect stock from being lost or damaged

According to our in-depth research, Huboo is the best overall order fulfilment provider for small ecommerce businesses. This is because of its transparent and affordable pricing, instant signup, and amazing levels of customer support.

However, it isn't the only fulfillment provider in town – there are lots of great competitors that offer similar services with specific selling points.

With so many providers to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which company is the right fit for your business' budget, order volume, and ambitions. Sometimes, particularly for small businesses, it comes down to the cost involved.

This is where our order fulfilment services cost comparison tool comes in. Designed by our team of ecommerce experts, this free, easy-to-use tool provides you with direct pricing quotes from some of the UK's best fulfillment providers.

Not only will using the tool save you time and money, but it also requires zero obligations on your part.

But if you want more information first, read on to learn more about the UK's leading order fulfilment (also known as 3PL, or third-party logistics) services for ecommerce businesses to understand whether order fulfilment is right for your business.

Are order fulfilment services right for your business?

Before we review each provider in further detail, it is important to understand whether order fulfilment services are right for you and your ecommerce business.

To make it clear and easy to distinguish between a business that would benefit from setting up 3PL services and a business that wouldn't, we've put together the table below which specifies the requirements to be eligible for the service.

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You don't yet have a website set up for online selling
You have been selling products for longer than six months
You are shipping more than ten items per day
You are an established business with a budget to invest in proper fulfilment

Suitable for order fulfilment?

Suggestions

A crucial first step: set up your online store with one of our best ecommerce platforms for businesses

If not, we'd recommend maintaining sales volumes for around 12 months with a dropshipping ecommerce solution before investing in fulfilment services

Shipping less than this? Save money by trying dropshipping while shipping small volumes

If you haven’t got the budget to invest in order fulfilment, try self-fulfilment or dropshipping until you're able to scale

If you’d answer ‘yes’ to all of the above order fulfilment criteria, then your next step is to read the deep dives below regarding the best fulfilment provider for your business. Or save yourself time and get a quick answer to that question by using our free, no-obligation cost comparison tool.

If order fulfilment services are not suitable for your business, we would recommend dropshipping as an excellent alternative for your ecommerce needs. Take a look at our dedicated review of the best ecommerce platforms for dropshipping for more information.

Why are order fulfilment services also called 3pl services?

3PL services (short for third-party logistic services) are another term used for order fulfilment.

Both terms are used to describe a business that handles the warehousing, distribution and fulfilment services of another business.

All of the providers reviewed in this article offer 3PL services.

Huboo

Highly regarded Bristol-based 3PL provider Huboo has a lot to offer.

It's got a 99.9% accuracy rate, for one. A bespoke approach tailored to the needs of your business – that’s another. Oh, and you’ll also get simple, transparent pricing that happens to be the lowest in the industry:

  • Subscriptions start at £25 for businesses that dispatch a maximum of 300 units per month, and cap at £150 per month for up to 5,000 units
  • Individual item fees range from £1.10 to £7.77

Better still, Huboo will waive any and all storage fees for your first two months. Even after that, you can rest easy knowing you won’t be paying through the nose – Huboo promises to tailor your ongoing fees to reflect the nature and volume of your products.

Pros
  • Offers instant signup
  • If Huboo doesn’t currently work with your chosen sales channel, it’ll build that integration for free
  • Low, transparent pricing
Cons
  • Can't take large/heavy items

BOXstation

It may not boast the frills of Amazon FBA or the bells and whistles of Huboo, but Leicestershire-based BOXstation still ticks all the boxes for small businesses. Of course, it packs them too, and for cheap – BOXstation charges no minimum fees and offers a flexible, pay-as-you-go service.

That means BOXstation is ideal for micro-businesses processing small sales volumes, while its lack of hidden costs, set up charges, and contracts make it a safe choice for the budget-conscious.

Pros
  • Also offers returns handling and kitting services
  • Comes with over 25 years of experience
Cons
  • Not particularly scalable
  • Limited number of shopping cart integrations
  • Pricing not available online
Compare costs and save on order fulfilment services Do you already have an online store? Receive quotes in minutes

Bezos.ai

Bezos is the full package when it comes to end-to-end ecommerce fulfilment. From checking inventory in and having it ready to be sold in 48 hours or less to last mile shipment and a completely customisable returns service, Bezos goes that little bit further for its customers at every step of the way.

As well as direct-to-consumer, B2B, and Amazon FBA preparation, Bezos also has specialist fulfilment centres to handle alcohol, organics, dangerous goods, and heavy and bulky items.

Each business customer gets a tailored solution, and Bezos can even split your stock between multiple warehouses to optimise delivery speed, reduce costs, and eliminate complexity. And to ensure your customers are happy, Bezos’ machine learning and AI software can anticipate and prevent potential problems.

Pros
  • Highly scalable – it’s one of the UK’s largest logistics networks
  • No minimum order volumes, no long-term commitments
  • Pay as you go – no monthly subscription
Cons
  • No publicly available pricing information

myWarehouse

Tailor-made for businesses with orders of up to 2,000 per month, myWarehouse is a fresh-faced ecommerce business’ dream. Why?

Well it’s cheap, for a start. myWarehouse promises no minimum fees, no hidden fees, no setup fees, and no exit fees… basically, no fees at all. Well, you will pay fulfilment costs, but these are some of the lowest around:

  • Picking and packing costs £2.61 per order (+42p per additional item)
  • Receiving your products costs 10p per item
  • Packaging starts at 75p per order

Throw in same-day despatching and a unique 100% accuracy guarantee, and myWarehouse might just be your business’ ticket to the big leagues.

Pros
  • No lengthy contracts
  • The only company to offer a full accuracy guarantee on its picking and packing service
Cons
  • No account management service available

Green Fulfilment

It makes sense to pick a 3PL provider that reflects your business’ priorities. Those looking for the basics will be well served by myWarehouse, while Amazon FBA offers the fastest shipping. If you’d prefer to put the environment first, though, then Green Fulfilment is for you.

Using only eco-friendly paper and recycling all plastics and cardboard, Green Fulfilment is a top choice for the modern, forward-thinking business.

Green Fulfilment also offers strong customer support, a wide range of software integrations (including Volusion and Vend), and an online portal to rival the best. Great for green businesses and green planets alike!

Pros
  • Has worked with notable clients, including Facebook and the NHS
  • Offers a risk-free trial
Cons
  • Its rates aren’t available online
Shopify logo
Shipping only a few items a day?

If you're shipping only a few items a day and need an inexpensive fulfilment option, Shopify dropshipping will be a better choice than order fulfilment.

Try Shopify Dropshipping And see if it's right for your business

Amazon FBA

Ah, Amazon FBA.

The world’s top online marketplace’s own ecommerce fulfilment solution is used by millions of sellers worldwide. And it’s no surprise – Amazon’s size and connections allow it to offer same-day delivery, with the shipping speeds to match.

Be warned, though, because whether Amazon FBA is right for you depends largely on what you’re selling… and how good you are at selling it.

Amazon FBA has high storage fees (between 43p and £1.05 per item), meaning it gets expensive fast – particularly if you’re not moving stock on as quickly as you’d like to be. These costs are most noticeable during the winter months, when Amazon FBA hikes its prices.

What it boils down to is that Amazon FBA is excellent if you’re selling goods of a small size, but at high volume. And if this doesn’t sound like you, you should read on – there are still six ecommerce fulfilment providers to go!

Pros
  • Fast delivery
  • The backing of a globally recognised and trusted brand
  • Unbeatable customer service
Cons
  • FBA’s prices go up between October and December
  • It’s expensive in the first place

Core Fulfilment

If any 3PL provider is getting close to Amazon FBA and the strong customer service and fast delivery it offers through Prime – then it’s Core Fulfilment.

Its 10pm delivery cut-offs are some of the latest in the industry, and it processes orders on the weekend, too. Core Fulfilment also offers low, transparent rates, and even provides a handy cost calculator – so you know exactly what you’ll be eligible to pay, without even having to pick up the phone:

  • Storage fees are £10.88 per pallet (1m³)
  • Picking and packing fees start at £1.95 per single-item order (additional items cost 25p)

What’s more, its intuitive online reporting software integrates seamlessly with most shopping carts, including Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify. What’s not to like?

Pros
  • Affordable, straightforward pricing
  • Late 10pm order cut-off is up there with the industry’s best
Cons
  • Minimum order volume applies

ShipBob

When you’re based in the UK, it can be difficult expanding out to the US market. With customs fees, import fees, shipping costs, and the lengthy time it all takes, it can feel like it's not worth the hassle.

Unless, of course, you use ShipBob.

ShipBob dispatches your inventory from its US-based fulfilment centres. All you have to do is get your stock sent over there in bulk, and ShipBob does the rest – storing, packaging, and shipping your goods throughout the US.

With optimised routes and discounts on international shipping, ShipBob does more than just save you money. It takes the difficulty out of a complex logistical setup, and can help connect your products to millions of potential new customers.

Pros
  • Boasts a 99.95% accuracy rate
  • Has a wide network of fulfilment centres across the US
  • Offers an industry-recognised, award-winning service
Cons
  • Prices are all in US dollars, so it can be tough to know exactly how much you can expect to pay
Want to quickly compare bespoke quotes from the best providers in the UK?

You're already sold on order fulfilment services for your ecommerce business. But now you need to ensure you get the best possible deal, as the last thing you want is to be tied into an expensive contract with a poor provider.

This is where we come in. Our free cost comparison tool will match you with the right provider for your company’s needs, providing you with direct order fulfilment provider quotes that you can easily compare.

All you have to do is fill out a few details, and we will take care of the rest.

Minatus

If you’ve just started selling on Amazon, Shopify, or eBay, but are set on steering clear of FBA, then Minatus is a good option for you.

Its pay-as-you-go pricing and lack of minimum inventory requirements are a breath of fresh air for small businesses, and it pulls all the sales channels you work with into a single place for more simplicity.

You’ll also get 24/7 access to your stock from a live dashboard, which is surprisingly effective… if a little rough around the edges.

Its rates are affordable, too:

  • Storage starts at £2.48 per cubic metre, per week
  • Picking prices for 100+ orders per month start from £1.48, with 0.08p per additional pick

And, if you do still want to use Amazon FBA, Minatus can help. The Wakefield-based company offers a pre-inspection and preparation service for products heading to an Amazon fulfilment centre, getting them packaged and labelled to meet FBA’s strict requirements.

Pros
  • Centrally located fulfilment centre allows for fast deliveries
  • Friendly, personal customer service
Cons
  • Minimum storage charge of £20 per month

Cloud Fulfilment

It’s not easy to grow your ecommerce business without real-time insights into your sales and stock. How do you scale unless you know what’s selling, what’s flopping, and where there's most room for improvement?

The answer is, you don’t – and that’s where Cloud Fulfilment’s live fulfilment software (pictured) comes in. With an end-to-end view of your orders, a customisable array of stock level movement reports, and simple returns handling, you can manage everything from your PC, laptop, or tablet.

It also helps that said interface is stunningly easy to use, and even easier to look at.

Cloud Fulfilment for startups
Add in dependable customer support, same-day dispatch and transparent pricing, and you’ve got a fulfilment solution that’s far more silver lining than cloud.

Pros
  • Its impressive range of integrations includes Amazon, BigCommerce, Kong, and PrestaShop
  • Highly rated among customers
  • Pricing calculator helps you determine overall costs
Cons
  • Monthly subscription fee is required

Red Stag Fulfilment

Look hard enough at the fine print in any ecommerce fulfilment contract, and you’ll probably find the term ‘shrinkage allowance’. As a percentage, this is how much of your stock a 3PL provider reserves the right to lose or break, and you’ll want this to be as low as possible.

With Red Stag Fulfilment, though, that isn’t an issue. There’s no shrinkage allowance at all, and customers that have switched to Red Stag report a 93% decrease in damaged or lost stock.

Factor in Red Stag’s commitment to same-day shipping, custom package designs, and its personalised, bespoke approach to fulfilment, and you’ve got a fulfilling solution for your small business.

Pros
  • Automated returns processing
  • Offers a 30-day, risk-free trial
  • No long-term contracts or hidden fees
Cons
  • US-based, so not as attuned to the specific needs of UK businesses

How to choose the right order fulfilment service for your ecommerce business

To choose the right provider for your business, you’ll need to consider several factors:

  1. Which sales channels do you currently sell on, and which ones would you like to add? If it’s a lot, you’ll need to pick a provider such as Core Fulfilment or Green Fulfilment.
  2. What is your order volume, and what’s the average size of the items you stock? Amazon FBA is great for higher volume sales, while sellers with larger items should use Huboo.
  3. When do you need your service to be up and running? Some providers take longer to get you set up than others, so this can make a big difference.
  4. How much are you willing to spend? BOXstation and myWarehouse provide low-cost, flexible solutions, but offer limitations when it comes to scalability and software.
  5. Where will you be selling? Minatus and Cloud Fulfilment are great for UK fulfilment, while Red Stag and ShipBob can help you get a foothold in the US market.
  6. Who can help you find fulfilment services quotes tailored to your needs? We can, with our 100% free order fulfilment cost comparison tool.

Next Steps

To sum up, Huboo came out on top as the best ecommerce fulfilment provider for UK small businesses and startups thanks to its affordable price points and high levels of support, meaning even first-timers will have a positive experience.

Fulfilment services will be a great option for your business if it's a pre-established ecommerce operation and you have the capital to invest in a solution that will help you ship larger volumes and scale.

Balancing all the aspects of the fulfilment equation to find the ideal solution for your needs isn’t an easy task. But it’s one we can certainly assist you with.

All you need to do is answer some questions with our free, easy-to-use cost comparison tool. You’ll then receive bespoke, personalised order fulfilment services quotes from leading suppliers, who’ll help your ecommerce business come up with a plan that works for you.

But remember… dropshipping could be an easier, cheaper option if:

  • You're shipping low volumes, like less than 10 products per day
  • You have a limited budget for fulfilment
  • You're not yet selling, or are in the first months of doing so

Take a look at our page on the best ecommerce platforms for dropshipping.

Or, if you're already using Shopify, don't miss our guide on how to dropship with Shopify.

FAQs
  • What are fulfilment services?
    Fulfilment services are third-party services that provide a warehouse and storage capacity for your stock. A fulfilment service will also prepare and ship your orders for you, including packaging. It does this from a dedicated fulfilment centre. It is ideal for ecommerce businesses that don't want to deal with the overheads of managing stock.
  • Does Shopify have a fulfilment centre?
    Yes but it is called the Shopify Fulfilment Network (SFN). It is a series of dedicated fulfilment centres that, according to the Shopify website, ``ensure timely deliveries, lower shipping costs, and a positive customer experience``. You can add a Shopify fulfilment centre by visiting the 'shipping and delivery' section under 'Store Settings' on your account.
  • What is the best fulfilment service?
    This depends on a number of factors, but for us at Startups we would highly recommend you use Huboo as your order fulfilment provider. This is because of its transparent and affordable pricing, instant signup, and amazing levels of customer support. It also boasts a fulfilment accuracy rate of 99.9%.

Startups.co.uk is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Startups.co.uk to provide free advice and reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.

Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website.

Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Conde Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism.

Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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