Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where do you ship to?
We ship to the entire US (except Alaska and Hawaii) via UPS from our 10 frozen fulfillment centers.
Q: What are your shipping transit times?
We reach the entire lower 48 states in 1-2 days UPS ground. We reach the majority of the US in 1 day ground, including over 70% of the largest metro areas in 1 day.
Q: So this is owned by Schwan’s Home Service? How does that work? Do my orders ship through UPS or on a Schwan’s Home Service truck?
Cygnus Frozen 3PL is a frozen fulfillment service offered by Schwan’s Home Service. Since 1952, we’ve developed the largest direct-to-home frozen fulfillment network in the US to serve our millions of Schwan’s Home Service home delivery customers. Now, we are offering 3rd-party fulfillment to other ecommerce companies who need to ship frozen food direct to consumers. Your inventory is stored in Schwan’s Home Service national distribution center in Minnesota. Then, appropriate inventory is shipped by Schwan’s Home Service to each of our 10 frozen fulfillment centers, which then ship your orders direct to your consumers, via UPS. Your orders will arrive at your consumers’ homes on a UPS truck, not a Schwan’s Home Service delivery truck.
Q: How often do orders arrive thawed, and how do you ensure my food stays frozen?
Even in the middle of summer, our rate of orders that thaw in transit is less than 0.2%. There are several reasons for this, making our frozen fulfillment service truly unique:
- With 10 frozen fulfillment centers, the majority of orders we ship arrive to a consumer in 1 day ground. Most other frozen fulfillment services require 2-3 days for many orders to arrive. Less time in transit means less time for dry ice to dissipate. And because we have several fulfillment centers in the South, you don’t need to worry about orders shipping to warm-weather states such as Texas, Florida, and Georgia.
- Schwan’s has among the most sophisticated frozen fulfillment networks in the food industry, and top-notch food safety processes. The distribution center and frozen fulfillment centers that will handle your product and orders are the same facilities that were developed to serve Schwan’s Home Service millions of home-delivery customers, so you get the advantage of “big company”, best-in-class frozen facilities and food safety.
- We pack orders inside our freezers (kept at -11F), ensuring food is not exposed to ambient (room) temperatures.
- We pack the orders with dry ice – we’ve conducted extensive in-house testing to arrive at the perfect amount of dry ice to put in each order, based on transit time, size of order and time of year.
Q: I have collateral and marketing inserts that need to be packed inside my orders. Can you do that?
Yes. We can insert marketing materials and other collateral. We can put the same marketing piece in all orders, or even pack inserts that pertain to specific products in the order (for example, a recipe card that corresponds to a product your consumer ordered).
Q: What kind of cooler or box do you ship orders in?
There are 2 options available to you:
- If you have your own branded box and/or cooler/liner, you can ship your packaging supplies to our distribution center and we will ship your orders in your own packaging, giving you a truly branded experience.
- If you do not have your own special box/cooler, we will ship your orders in our existing cooler and box. This consists of a 1.5” thick, heavily insulated cooler packed inside a corrugated box. There is no branding on our cooler or box. If you wish, we can put your logo on the UPS shipping label.
Q: I have a subscription business – can you work with that?
Yes, we love subscription businesses! In fact, click here for a case study on how we’ve helped Raised Real fulfill their subscription frozen baby food ecommerce business.
Q: Can you ship kitted or bundled packages?
Yes, we can kit orders. For example, an order pack sheet may say “Qty 1: Thanksgiving Meal”, and our employees need to pick and pack the 9 individual products that go in the “Thanksgiving Meal” kit.
Q: All of my orders are unique – customers choose any products they want. Can you support this?
Yes. Let’s say you sell 20 different products on your website, and your customers can choose any assortment or combination of the 20 products. You may have 500 orders a week, and every order is different. We can handle this – in fact, every year we ship tens of thousands of orders that are much like this. Our order accuracy rate is over 99.8% thanks to our picking procedures, which ensure every order is double-counted to validate that the right products and quantities are packed.
Q: What integrations do you support?
We can handle any of the most common shipping integrations, such as ShipStation, CommerceHub, Shopify, and more. Our IT team will work with you to integrate with your shipping software.
Q: Do you provide inventory reporting?
Yes, we will send you a regular inventory report showing available quantities of each product at our frozen fulfillment centers as well as our national distribution center in Minnesota.
Q: Can you ship frozen items besides food (e.g., medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, pet food, etc.)?
Yes, as long as it’s frozen, we can ship it! Our 10 frozen fulfillment centers and 1 day shipping to the majority of the US make an ideal solution for shipping critical materials such as pharmaceuticals.
Q: How does your pricing work?
Our pricing is simple: we charge you 1 flat rate per order shipped. This single flat rate accounts for storage space, labor, UPS costs, and dry ice. There are no separate storage invoices or “surprise” bills for labor. We developed this pricing model based on customer feedback – our 3PL customers have found that this model helps them better manage their margins, and saves them significant operating expenses compared to their previous 3PLs, whose pricing can be a confusing matrix. At no cost, we will hold a 30-minute call with you to understand your business, then put together a flat-rate quote. In our quote, we will transparently break down the costs that go into the total fee, so you can understand exactly what you’re paying for.
Q: What days of the week do you ship?
We can orders ship Monday through Thursday. On Thursdays we only ship 1 day transit orders, so that all food arrives before the weekend.
Q: Will I have an account manager? Who will I communicate with from your company?
Each of our 3PL customers is assigned a personal, dedicated account manager. Your account manager will be your one-stop go-to for all questions, issues, calls and metric reporting. As a 3PL provider, we view ourselves as a strategic partner to your business. Customers have told us that their account manager from Cygnus feels like a member of their team! Click here to learn more about how our account managers will support you.
Q: Where do I ship my inventory to?
You only need to ship your inventory to 1 location: our national distribution center in Minnesota. From there, we will store your inventory in our large-scale frozen warehouse, and distribute the proper quantities of your product to each of our 10 frozen fulfillment centers (via Schwan’s Home Service frozen semi network). So you get the 1-2 day shipping benefit of our 10 frozen fulfillment centers, but only need to ship pallets to 1 location (our distribution center in Minnesota).