Food and Beverage Fulfillment for Ecommerce Businesses

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Online grocery sales are expected to grow by 40% in 2020. Recently,  Google reported that the search query ‘food delivery’ spiked over 100%.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers suddenly found themselves relying on ecommerce businesses to get food and drinks delivered. It’s not surprising that direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that sell food and beverages are seeing a rapid increase in demand.

Since so many foods and beverages are perishable, it can be a challenge to fulfill and ship them safely. Fortunately, fulfillment solutions like ShipBob are here to help. 

The rise of food and beverage fulfillment

It’s become increasingly common for food and beverage businesses to move online and supply their customers via deliveries and subscription box services instead of traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

As long as ecommerce brands find their niche and focus on building a strong fulfillment logistics strategy, there’s a lot of opportunity for food and beverage brands to be successful online. 

Because of food and beverages are high-demand products in ecommerce, shipping food and beverages has become a more straightforward process for ecommerce companies, thanks to the technology, fulfillment infrastructure, and temp-controlled warehousing available for growing DTC brands. However, there are still challenges to account for when shipping food and beverages.

Non-alcoholic beverage fulfillment

Non-alcoholic beverage brands are making a splash in the ecommerce industry, from refreshing beverages like iced matcha to non-alcoholic spirits. ShipBob offers experience partnering with a variety of non-alcoholic beverage brands to pick and pack orders quickly and deliver them to your customers safely.

How food and beverage fulfillment can go wrong: 4 challenges

Food and beverage businesses have to account for a lot when fulfilling orders. Due to the expiration dates of these products, timely shipping is important. Additionally, FDA involvement means you have to follow regulations or risk heavy fines and recalls. 

Overly-perished product

If you don’t have proper inventory management, your perishable products can go bad quickly. Unless you can offer same-day or 2-day shipping, you probably shouldn’t sell food products like bananas.

You have to account for expiration dates when shipping food. For example, if a customer orders a 30-day supply of meal replacement powder, but it’s delivered two weeks before the expiration date, they won’t be happy.

Untimely shipping

Online shoppers are always looking for the fastest speeds to the point that 2-day shipping is the new normal. Only a few customers are now willing to wait more than a few days for their food and beverages orders to be shipped. Customers expect for any type of product, so it’s 100% a necessity for food and beverage orders. 

Damaged orders

Food and beverage products are delicate. Food can be easily crushed, while fragile beverage items that come in cans or glass bottles can break easily. Whether you’re selling a bag of chips or canned drinks, they must be packed right with the right amount of dunnage, so they don’t break, dent, or explode in transit. 

“Our old 3PL didn’t file claims for damaged shipments for us like ShipBob. When shipping glass bottles, especially in the winter, the longer the transit time, the more likely it is to break. With ShipBob, we see that our customers are getting their packages safer, with fewer frozen bottles exploding.”

Lindsay Louise, Fulfillment & Retail Manager at Synchro

Failed inspections/shutdowns

When shipping food and beverage products, your fulfillment centers are subject to inspections by the FDA. If you fail an inspection, you’ll have to work with the FDA to let them know how you’re going to correct errors.

In extreme cases, the FDA can issue a recall on your products, which will cost you a hefty fine and harm your brand. Make sure to store your food and beverage inventory with an FDA-certified warehouse

Upgrade your food and beverage fulfillment with ShipBob

Food and beverage fulfillment comes with an extra layer of complexity. That’s why so many ecommerce businesses turn to trustworthy tech-enabled 3PL like ShipBob to help with fulfillment and logistics. 

Here’s how ShipBob improves order fulfillment for your food and beverage ecommerce businesses. 

Top of the line inventory management

Stay on top of expirations dates with lot management and know precisely how much stock you have on hand at any location. You can manage all your inventory from one location and set automatic reorder points to avoid stockouts.

FDA-certified warehouses

A benefit of outsourcing fulfillment is working with a third-party logistics (3PL) company that already holds a Certificate of FDA Registration. ShipBob has a network of FDA-certified warehouses, and you can utilize several of our FDA-registered fulfillment centers to reduce shipping costs and transit times.

Fulfillment closer to customers

If you’re only shipping from one location, you’re limiting your business’s reach in key markets where your customers reside — and probably paying too much for shipping. Working with a 3PL that has multiple fulfillment centers lets you split inventory across locations, meaning packages travel through less shipping zones and therefore cost less for you and your customers. 

“From expanding into a second ShipBob fulfillment center, we are excited to be able to offer 65% of our customers with 2-day shipping, up from 32% by only having a single West Coast facility. Soon, this will be 100%. Not only is this better for our customers but we also gain a 13% savings to our bottom line.”

Pablo Gabatto, Business Operations Manager at Ample Foods, a meal replacement brand

ShipBob helps grow food and beverage businesses

Ecommerce businesses don’t work with ShipBob just for fulfillment. Unlike most 3PLs, ShipBob is a growth partner. You get industry-leading fulfillment by working with ShipBob, but your business also gets access to fulfillment experts, fulfillment technology, a network of ecommerce solution partners, and advanced data and analytics

ZBiotics: a probiotic brand

ZBiotics created the world’s first genetically engineered probiotic in order to help people feel better the day after drinking alcohol. In order to reduce shipping costs and get product into the hands of customers quickly, the brand leverages ShipBob’s Inventory Placement Program.

“My favorite thing about the Inventory Placement Program is that it takes the burden off of our team and it’s based on real-time calculations, giving us the right distribution by SKU at each fulfillment center.

That ultimately helps us get products to our customers faster, giving them a great ZBiotics experience from start to finish.”  

Michael Mullaney, VP of Supply Chain at ZBiotics

Ample Foods: meal replacement brand

Ample Foods provides meal replacement and nutrition products. With ShipBob, they’ve been able to introduce and expand 2-day shipping to 100% of their customers to help better compete with Amazon. They also saved 13% in fulfillment costs from the switch to ShipBob from another 3PL.

“Some of the reports that ShipBob provides show their dedication to transparency — things like actual transit times and whether they’re hitting their service-level agreements. They are really committed to their customers and keeping themselves accountable.”

Pablo Gabatto, Business Operations Manager at Ample Foods

Prymal: sugar-free and dairy-free coffee creamer

Prymal founder Courtney Lee started with a fulfillment company close to home. She soon realized that not all 3PLs are created equals. So she switched to ShipBob and never looked back. Now, she’s able to save on fulfillment costs while growing her business.

“Last July, Prymal reached $40,000 in revenue. After switching to ShipBob just four months later in November, we are reaching $160,000 a month in revenue — that’s 300% growth. We’re also saving $8,000 per month in fulfillment costs.” 

Courtney Lee, founder of Prymal

I Heart Keenwah: organic quinoa-based snacks

As a small team of 3, the I Heart Keenwah team struggled to focus on other parts of their business because so much of their time was spent on fulfilling orders. By switching to ShipBob, they no longer have to worry about fulfillment because ShipBob handles everything. They can view all their data in one location, and a dedicated account manager is always there to support them.

“ShipBob can process things more quickly than we could in-house and at scale. These time savings translate into cost savings as well.”

Sarah Chalos, Co-Founder and President, I Heart Keenwah

Juspy: nutrient-dense powder

Founder Juspy Leonie Lynch launched a nutrient-dense powder made with natural ingredients, no refined sugar, no stabilisers, and no additives. When her business grew, she soon became overwhelmed by packing and shipping orders herself. So she turned to ShipBob for help.

“50% of my time spent was packing boxes. Not only that, but it was a constant interruption. I would sit down to do an email marketing campaign, have to attend to new orders, and completely lose my train of thought and flow. I spent about 3 minutes per order on fulfillment. I almost didn’t want orders to come in. ShipBob was the exact solution I was looking for.”

Leonie Lynch, Founder & CEO of Juspy


Food and beverage ecommerce businesses continue to be on the rise. As more customers begin relying on ecommerce food and drink deliveries, the importance of optimizing your supply chain becomes more important than ever before. 

To learn how ShipBob can help with food and beverage fulfillment while growing your business, click the button below to request a quote. 

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