David Burleigh bought the business that is now known as Fishing Tackle & Bait just over 10 years ago. In the very early days, it was a brick and mortar retail store with only a small handful of staff. With an eye to modernisation and bringing the business to a broader audience, David took his trade digital with a marketplace strategy on eBay and Amazon, followed by their first e-commerce site, built on Shopify. They gained some impressive initial traction, expanding the team and implementing an all-in-one, multichannel system to manage stock, EPOS and shipping requirements.
Managing inventory across retail stores and e-commerce sites can be awkward without the right systems and processes, and in their early days Fishing Tackle & Bait fell foul of trying to pick inventory from the retail store itself, leading to overselling, inaccurate stock levels, and disappointed customers who had their online order items pinched by an in-store customer! To counteract this and make admin across the retail operation more streamlined, they worked closely with our partner IRP Commerce to develop some high-grade eBay and Amazon integrations that actually allowed them to consolidate all their orders into one platform. This laid the foundation for the next phase of growth...
When COVID hit, FT&B saw an incredible spike of over 250% in sales. Quite simply, the physical work they had to undertake, alongside some cumbersome and demanding manual processes, meant that their entire fulfillment operation became overwhelmed. The lack of scalability they had in the business was exposed, and it was clear to David that further investments into technology, process and know-how needed to be made to bring some form of automation into the business, as well as 'deskill' the ways of working. Going into a transformation of this nature, the view of the business was that shipping 100s of orders same-day was a total impossibility, both practically and financially. However, with the massive uptick in sales came both increased customer demands and more cash-flow, which was the perfect storm to catalyse the business into action.
David and team reached out to their now long-term solution partner IRP Commerce, who had previously integrated Peoplevox into another customer, and were kind enough to recommend us to FT&B as a 'best in breed' warehouse management system for e-commerce. Whilst mindful of keeping fixed overheads to a minimum, as a small but growing business, the discovery and evaluation process demonstrated that Peoplevox would be able to address the key problem areas for the warehouse and fulfillment side of the operation:
If you look closely, you can see the exact moment the location is scanned and the correct item for picking is confirmed!
There were some preconceptions that buying a SaaS platform meant being left to configure everything yourself without much support. Fortunately that's not the Peoplevox way! We took FT&B through a comprehensive 12 week, fully remote, onboarding, implementation and training process to ensure that from day one of go-live, they were confident the platform would work brilliantly without stress. David explained: "We were 100% comfortable with the system and how to use it by the time we were ready to go live. This has without doubt been the smoothest deployment of a system we have ever achieved as a company. Everyone involved at IRP, PVX and our own staff pulled it off with dedication and resolve!".
Having picked a number of orders into totes on the trolley, the operator scans one tote and begins to dispatch the items from that order.
The business, we are delighted to report, have been 'blown away' by the efficiency they have managed to achieve. Before Peoplevox, they were considering hiring two additional staff to deal with the number of orders, however their new WMS has absorbed this pressure. Moreover, misspicks are almost completely removed as a possibility from their operation, overselling is no longer an issue either, and customer service queries have been reduced by more than 70% on average!
But the most impressive thing the team have found? They've been enabled to push back their cut-off time for next-day delivery, receiving and shipping orders same day for the first time ever! It really was something that business never considered possible until now, but now with a far greater degree of organisation and control over their warehouse, they're able to offer what is becoming fast expected as a norm in online retail, allowing them to stay competitive and further delight customers.
"This gives me confidence that we can grow further as a company with the right systems and processes in place, ones that can be scaled at the drop of a hat when required."
Once the items have been dispatched in Peoplevox, the carrier management platform Shipster prints out the correct shipping label.
David admitted that in the past, before Peoplevox, FT&B had struggled to deliver to their customers on a consistent basis, and that the logistics side of the business was letting them down. However, the reviews that are coming in since installing the WMS are incredibly positive about exactly that, the logisitics-powered customer experience.
"We can be proud of our logistics operation for the first time, taking control of our customers' delivery experiences. This wouldn't have been possible without Peoplevox. We're excited for the future of our business in the fast paced e-commerce world."