Imagine having the ability to scale your business to horizons you could only dream of–with no need for an expensive office, warehouse, or anything other than a laptop, internet connection, and a cellphone.
While this all might sound too good to be true, this is exactly what KOSTON was able to do when they partnered with ShipTop to accelerate the growth of their pet retail business.
Here’s how ShipTop helped KOSTON reclaim cash flow, time, and sanity–while still managing to scale at a breakneck pace.
KOSTON is a high-end pet supply retailer with an ethical approach to their designs.
Founded by pet owners who noticed a lack of market for sustainable, designer-caliber pet goods like harnesses and collars, KOSTON prides itself on working with the best brands and factories worldwide.
And through such partnerships, KOSTON can source pet accessories that are both ethical and sustainable, while still prioritizing factors like work environment, reasonable pricing, and fair wages for their workers.
But in the dawn of the business, one partnership was missing: a third-party logistics (3PL) partner.
When Self-Fulfillment Stops Working
Like most emerging e-commerce brands, KOSTON’s fulfillment was, in the beginning, handled directly by its founders through a storage unit.
And while this provided them with the necessary functionality, self-fulfillment was never exactly a perfect process.
Even when sales first started trickling in, it was still an inconvenience to make daily commutes to the warehouse, where they’d spend time packing orders, assembling boxes, printing labels, and dropping off packages at the post office.
Mind you, this was time that could be spent elsewhere–namely on the tasks that would give KOSTON the most long-term growth, like:
- Product development
- Expanding inventory
- Brokering retail partnerships
- Drafting marketing materials
- Hiring new employees
- Setting long-term goals
And even with the expensive storage costs and hefty warehouse fees that come with self-fulfillment, there were still just too many days in the week dedicated to fulfilling orders.
Then, when orders began to accelerate, the sudden surge in orders to fill kept KOSTON’s leaders so busy with fulfillment, that they didn’t have time to be excited about their company’s growth.
From here, it didn’t take long to realize that scaling would be virtually impossible through self-fulfillment; longevity would surely become an issue if they continued packing and shipping all their own orders, while also paying the hefty warehouse fees, to boot.
This was when their search for a 3PL partner began.
Finding the Right Fulfillment Partner
In order for KOSTON to grow as a business, more time would be needed to focus on sales, marketing, and new sustainable product development.
But as KOSTON quickly learned, not all fulfillment partners are created equal.
With many 3PLs, efficiency turned out to be a big issue–after all, that’s why most e-commerce brands turn to 3PLs in the first place.
And unfortunately, not all 3PLs have the strongest processes in place, which meant there was a higher possibility of error and inefficiencies.
And this lack of efficiency can come back to haunt the businesses that hired the 3PL in the first place, and in a number of ways.
For instance, products might be misplaced or lost in the warehouse, orders get fulfilled late or incorrectly.
But when KOSTON eventually found ShipTop, where we can guarantee 98% accuracy with all fulfillment, they were able to cut through the nonsense and focus on scaling, stress-free.
Here are the benefits KOSTON experienced when ShipTop became their chosen fulfillment partner.
Scaling Power Without the Stress
At ShipTop, we don’t succeed unless our clients do.
In other words, the more successful our clients become, the more successful we become. That’s why it’s in our best interest to support our clients as best as we can.
We do everything in our power to find the most efficient, affordable logistics solutions for our clients so that they can scale to levels they could only dream of.
When most fulfillment centers nickel & dime brands for just about anything, it makes sense why so many e-commerce brands hesitate to let a third party handle their orders.
But at ShipTop, we have partnerships with most major couriers, including UPS, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post, USPS, and more, so we’re able to negotiate deals with them for the most competitive prices.
Since we largely ship a high-volume of parcels, we receive “high-volume discounts” from our partner couriers, who are incentivized by the high volume of business we bring them.
On top of that, we cut out the middle man on storage (more on this later), which allows us better warehousing prices, making it affordable for brands of all sizes.
ShipTop passes the savings onto our customers–no monthly fees, hidden costs, or surprise charges, and we never raise our prices during busy seasons.
So when KOSTON joined ShipTop, they found that their rates stayed low and consistent, making their 3PL costs not only low–they were practically unnoticed.
When a new client joins ShipTop, they immediately see a decrease in their shipping costs, they see a decrease in their storage or warehouse costs, and their order fulfillment process becomes remarkably streamlined.
With the boom of the e-commerce market, accessibility is truly the name of the game in this industry.
In other words, it’s crucial that DTC brands maintain an omni-channel approach, in which their products are available though as many selling channels as possible.
But unfortunately, this isn’t always easy; some 3PLs only work through 1 or 2 channels, so their clients will have to find not one, but several 3PL partners in order to fulfill orders from different channels in order to keep up.
And if the client wants to expand to a new channel, they most likely won’t be able to, which will then have a damaging effect on scaling.
Plus, clients who have to use multiple 3PLs will have multiple inventories with different partners, which often proves to be heavily inefficient.
ShipTop, however, is a multi-channel fulfillment partner, which means we can connect to most selling channels, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, Walmart, Etsy, eBay, and more.
What does this mean for KOSTON?
- One inventory
- Multiple channels
- Millions of orders
Top-Tier Client Support
All too often, client support is a glaring issue with some 3PLs, whether it is drawn-out support tickets, unhelpful representatives, or anything in between.
Perhaps the most issues, however, arise with 3PLs that aren’t on-site.
It might sound surprising, but not all fulfillment providers own their warehouses; instead, they’ll partner with a third party for warehousing. For example, fulfillment partners like Deliverr who don’t own their warehouses, but instead they partner with other micro-fulfillment providers to serve their own clients. This means that client support representatives are often distanced from the warehouse operations.
When your fulfillment partner doesn’t own their warehouse and fulfillment operations, this can lend to a wide range of problems.
When considering other 3PLs, KOSTON dealt with slow response times for client inquiries, which were handled though customer support tickets.
Typically, they had to wait days before they could even get a resolution.
In other cases, the 3PL might not even provide you with a phone number, so you have to wait days while going back and forth and checking up on a support ticket, which eats away at essential business hours.
At ShipTop, we own our warehouse and operations. This means we are always in touch with our clients inventory and logistics operations.
We’re in on the action at all times, ready to provide each client with the attention they deserve. And with our knowledgeable team of shipping and fulfillment experts, we’re always available to schedule a call and solve issues immediately, so your business day can remain as smooth as possible.
Even better: any orders made before 1pm will be sent out that very same day.
Another issue KOSTON faced with past partners was the technology they implemented.
Not all 3PLs are tech-enabled, which means they don’t have direct integrations with selling channels like Shopify, so orders will have to be manually uploaded.
At ShipTop, however, we’ve developed our very own technology, and we’re constantly working to improve it with new features and new integrations while remaining as straightforward and streamlined as ever.