Note: This article will be updated as we receive additional information. Please check back often.
The holidays are around the corner, and ShipBob is committed to bringing you and your customers joy with streamlined order fulfillment this holiday season.
There are no seasonal cost increases for our services including warehousing fees, but the carriers have implemented peak surcharges for domestic shipments that will be a passthrough.
There are a few things we ask you to keep in mind for the best holiday fulfillment experience for you and your customers. Please review the contents of this article to ensure a smooth peak season.
12/21/2020 Update: All SLAs are back to normal!
Starting today, all SLAs will be back to normal by 12 pm PST.
This includes all outbound B2C orders across our entire fulfillment network, plus all inbound receiving, B2B orders, and kitting SLAs.
12/09/2020: Carriers Rationing Pickups & Upgrading to USPS
We continue to work with our carrier partners daily and have calls with their leadership teams multiple times per day. We published carriers.shipbob.com, which shows how all carriers have had delivery delays, but since these networks are overloaded with shipments, we have also seen significant scanning delays and even pickup delays from most of our carrier partners.
All things considered, we see that the USPS network is in the best shape of all our carrier partners and we strongly suggest that you use USPS ship options whenever possible at this time.
As stated in our email yesterday, we are back to our same day B2C fulfillment SLA per our plan, and internally we will upgrade any shipments that we are unable to fulfill on time to USPS services to avoid significant delays at the dock with other carriers.
12/08/2020: End of +1 Business Day SLA Extension for B2C Orders
The +1 business day extension is done for B2C but still applies to inbound receiving, B2B orders, and kitting. For any B2C orders that exceed our same business day fulfillment SLA across our entire network, we will upgrade the shipping speed so they still get to your customers within the same target delivery date at no incremental cost to you.
11/20/2020: Update on Inventory Drop-offs & Order Pickups
Due to new restrictions from an increase in COVID-19 cases in the US, effective today, we will not allow individuals to drop off inventory at any of our fulfillment centers.
You are still able to send us inventory, but it must be from an authorized carrier. UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS, and other trucking companies and LTL/FTL carriers that meet our dock height requirements and can be offloaded from our dock.
Until further notice, we will also no longer allow individuals to pick up inventory or orders from our fulfillment centers until there is an ease in COVID-19 restrictions and it is safe to do so.
11/13/2020: Peak Update
Upcoming +1 Day SLA Extension
We will add a +1 business day extension to our SLAs, which will go into effect starting Black Friday (November 27) and remain in effect until December 8, 2020 (the day before our holiday cutoff for Standard Shipping to ensure delivery by Christmas).
The +1 business day SLA extension applies to standard fulfillment for outbound B2C shipments, B2B orders, and kitting. The outbound fulfillment extension does not apply to expedited orders. All Expedited, Overnight, and 2-Day orders will continue to be prioritized and fulfilled the same day as long as the order is imported pre-noon local time.
Please note: This temporary SLA extension does not impact any of our 2020 Holiday Cutoffs listed below.
ShipBob will observe the holidays below.
- Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 26
- Christmas: Friday, December 25
- New Year's Day: Friday, January 1
- Our fulfillment centers will close early on Christmas Eve (December 24) and New Year’s Eve (December 31).
- The last full day of normal carrier operations before the Christmas holiday will be December 23. We will resume normal operations on December 27.
- The last full day of normal carrier operations before the New Year holiday will be December 30. We will resume normal operations on January 3.
ShipBob uses forecasting data to scale up our workforce so we can ensure your orders are fulfilled on time. To do so, we rely on you telling us when we can expect to fulfill an order volume that is greater than your regular growth.
If you project a large increase in orders (see ‘Promotional / Volume Spikes’ sections 9.9.2 here for details), please fill out the Promotional/Bulk Upload Details form at least 72 hours in advance, especially if you plan on starting promotions earlier than Black Friday this year.
Getting in touch with us
We remain committed to providing fast response times this season. While we do offer phone support, the best way to get in touch with us is by submitting an email ticket at email@example.com. All tickets are responded to in the order in which they are received. Our average turnaround time is one business day or less.
Our open call support hours are Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Central time and the number is (312) 313-1104. We can still be reached outside of these times by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Merchant Care team operates full-time Monday through Friday except for the holidays when we are closed mentioned above.
While there is no guarantee for delivery by or on a particular day, the below guidance has been provided by our carriers for delivery by Christmas.
Orders must be imported by 12:00 pm local time on the dates listed below:
- Standard Ship Option: December 9
- Expedited Ship Option: December 21
- Overnight Ship Option: December 22
Here are carrier cutoffs for our most commonly used domestic Ship Options:
- UPS Ground: December 14
- FedEx Ground: December 15
- USPS Priority Mail: December 17
- USPS First Class: December 17
Orders must be imported by 12:00 pm local time on the dates listed below:
- Standard (may vary by country):
- Australia: November 30
- UK/EU: November 30
- Canada: December 1
- Expedited: December 15
ShipBob turnaround and cutoff times
While we have already hired hundreds of additional staff to plan for peak volume and hope to keep our standard SLAs throughout Q4, depending on the actual volumes we may add +1 day to our SLAs. If we do, we will communicate it closer to the holidays, as this holiday season will be different from the past given the pandemic. We also depend on you to let us know of your upcoming promotions (see the “Holiday forecasting” section above).
Our 12:00 pm local cutoff time applies to the import time into ShipBob's processing order queue, not when the order is placed on your store.
November 30 is the last day your inventory can arrive at our fulfillment centers to ensure delivery to customers by Christmas via Standard Ground processing. Based on our standard turnaround times, it can take up to 5 days for your inventory to be completely received and stored once it arrives.
Without a Warehouse Receiving Order (WRO) filled out accurately and included in each package, we are unable to process your inventory and it will be moved to a status of on hold and incur daily Unidentified Receiving Order (URO) fees.
To plan labor and resources accordingly, we need advance notice to kit and ship during the holiday season. The last day to submit a new kitting request to be considered for December is November 20.
Please request a work order for kitting here with the desired date and details (volume, SKUs, etc.) to schedule the project. Any kitting requests that come in after Black Friday (November 27) will likely not be considered but will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
The last day to schedule a B2B order to be processed before Christmas is December 9.
Inventory transfer orders
The last day to schedule an inventory transfer order to be processed before Christmas is November 16.
ShipBob’s fulfillment center scheduling appointment tool
We require that you create an OpenDock account to manage appointments easily and to schedule an appointment for any inventory drop-offs or outbound pickups. Note: We reserve the right to turn carriers around if there is no appointment scheduled. For an explanation on how to create, cancel, and edit appointments, please refer to this Help Center article.
As a reminder, our carriers do NOT scan packages at our facilities upon pickup. During the holidays, our carriers experience an increase in volume causing a delay in tracking scans and updates, especially USPS Media Mail.
Because lost or damaged packages can happen while in our carriers' hands, we have an insurance policy that will reimburse you up to $100 of the retail value when you fill out this form, email email@example.com, and provide the proper documentation based on the claim type — no need to purchase insurance.
Setting tariffs for international shipping
If you ship internationally, you must add tariff codes at the product-level to improve deliverability and prevent issues at customs. If this information is missing, international orders will be put on-hold and not fulfilled until resolved.
You can update your products individually or in bulk. We highly recommend that you update all customs-related fields for each of your products to avoid international orders getting held up, including:
- Tariff Code [Valid HS code is 6-10 digits (not including periods), and must be in one of the following formats:
- Value [cannot be 0]
- Weight (Basic Product Information panel).
Learn how to add tariff codes via the Customs Information Panel of the Product Details page here.
Here's to a successful and happy holiday season! We wish you and yours all the best! Contact our Merchant Care team or your Merchant Success Manager with any questions.
Preparing for returns
For each inventory item, you can set a default action for returned items: we can restock, quarantine, dispose, or inspect a return. If you need to add inspection steps to products, there will be an additional per-touch fee. If you have more complex return steps you would like us to complete upon arrival, please reach out to your Merchant Success Manager or our Merchant Care team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about our returns process here.