Shipwire acquired by Ingram Micro

Since my conversation with Studio Neat in which we discussed our experiences with it, Shipwire has been acquired by Ingram Micro. Shipwire powers fulfillment for numerous Kickstarter-backed projects, including Studio Neat’s and much of what we ship at Lumi.

People have asked me how this will affect their service but I can’t give a firm answer. It’s too early to tell whether the founders see this as a well-deserved exit or an opportunity to do more.

It’s important to remember that Shipwire is first and foremost a software company. As far as I can tell, they do not own any of the warehouses. Rather they provide software for them and a front-end that connects to popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify. The brilliance of their design is making it all feel vertically integrated, and building their own customer service that relays issues to the warehouses. They understand the opportunity in serving tech-savvy small businesses.

Shipwire is the best I’ve seen when it comes to providing a simple front-end UI that doesn’t require a logistics background to grasp. It can’t be overstated how big of a deal that is in the fulfillment industry. This is where I get concerned about the acquisition.

I hadn’t heard about Ingram Micro, but from what I can dig up, their focus has typically been on the enterprise market, as a technology provider. I worry that this will gradually drive the Shipwire experience towards increasing complexity and horizontal integration.

That being said, Shipwire has had its own growing pains. The fact that their customer service staff filters issues before they reach the warehouse is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it makes the user experience friendlier and more seamless, on the other it means their staff is less close to the metal and has a difficult time avoiding preventable issues.

My hope is to see Shipwire use its new resources to continue simplifying logistics and continue vertically integrating by increasing its presence on the ground in warehouses. Wait and see.