Born From Ecommerce, For Ecommerce
For entrepreneurs and business owners, the beginning of this story may resonate all too well. In 2009, a small eCommerce startup launched and began the exhausting effort of developing a user-friendly website and navigating the tangled world of Google Analytics and SEO, while developing key relationships with suppliers and supporting a growing customer base, all from a two-car garage.
Dedicated perseverance and hard work allowed the company to expand as business grew, creating a need for additional office space, and causing a lack of room due to a growing line of inventory. The choice was made to outsource the warehousing, picking, packing and shipping to a small family-run fulfillment company in order for the personnel to focus on the core functions of the eCommerce business: web development, marketing, customer support and procurement.
Refocusing time and personnel on the core aspects of growing an eCommerce company meant that business grew, and grew rapidly. The small family-run fulfillment company was outgrown in a matter of months, which led to two subsequent moves to larger fulfillment providers over the next two years. Yet in 2012, the growing pains started to catch up. Despite the efforts of internal technical personnel, a creative marketing team, strong relationships with suppliers and a well-developed customer service unit, growth was stagnated. They soon realized that the source of the stagnation wasn’t them, but poor service provided by the firm’s key partner: their fulfillment company. The pain created by the sub-par fulfillment company was the result of three main issues: a lack of reliability, an absence of security and an inability to foster fast growth.
It is often because of adversity and pain that we learn the most. It is from this experience that those same eCommerce entrepreneurs founded Red Stag Fulfillment.
The general reliability of the contracted fulfillment partner was unacceptable. Inventory stocking time after pallets were received on the dock took anywhere from three to 10 days. The severe inconsistency in the basic act of receiving inventory ultimately caused delays in items being posted for sale, meaning sales were not only lost, but would-be customers turned to competing websites in order to fulfill their needs. In addition, when orders were placed, accuracy rates only measured the “success” of getting parcels loaded onto trailers. By itself, the picking and packing accuracy was unacceptable. Unfortunately, the fulfillment partner also failed to realize the larger picture: that accuracy rates should be measured by the success of a parcel reaching its customer, not a FedEx or UPS trailer.
Sadly, the importance of security was an insignificant issue for the contracted fulfillment company, both in the sense of software and personnel. The lack of horsepower and the inability of the inventory management system to keep up with a growing product range meant hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of products were “lost” during a 20-month period. It would be delivered to the warehouse, but then entire pallets couldn’t be located through the software or after a physical search of the facility. Coupled with a lackadaisical workforce, it was impossible for either party to tell if products were actively being stolen, or just unaccounted for somewhere in an unorganized pile.
The fulfillment company’s lack of desire to quickly enhance its operations in order to foster growth was the most frustrating realization. Every operation, from receiving inventory to processing orders, updating software and general client support, was handled with a lethargic sense of enthusiasm and care. Orders were shipped late and with incorrect products, creating additional work for customer support and diminishing the efforts of the marketing team, all of which started to have a negative impact on the brand’s value. The exhausting “two steps forward, one step back” growth trend continued. That is, until a limit was placed on the total outbound parcels that could be shipped per month.
The key business partner had placed a direct limit on the ability of the tenacious eCommerce startup team to continue growing its company, creating an unfathomable, but very sad, business reality…
However, it is often because of adversity and pain that we learn the most. It is from this experience that those same eCommerce entrepreneurs founded Red Stag Fulfillment. Red Stag was founded with the goal of becoming a world-class fulfillment partner that provides Reliable, Secure, and Fast fulfillment operations that you couldn’t get from anyone else. We believe that striving for perfection is not an inaccessible goal, because as an eCommerce company, your fulfillment partner is the critical artery supporting every aspect of your company’s health and ability to grow in the long term.
At Red Stag Fulfillment, our business growth is dependent on fostering the capabilities of our eCommerce partners and allowing them to deliver optimal levels of satisfaction to their customers. Give us a call today to discuss more about what sets Red Stag Fulfillment apart from the rest of the pack: 1-800-815-STAG (7824).