Footwear Retailer Overcomes Multichannel Delivery Challenges with Parcelhub
An increasingly complex global retail landscape is being made more chaotic by evolving consumption patterns, a trade war between China and the USA, and Brexit, placing unprecedented pressure upon retailers, brands and wholesalers throughout the UK. This volatile environment has not fazed Sam Culshaw and Nick Warman, co-founders of skateboarding footwear, accessories and clothing brand Supereight, who in only four years have grown from a startup to shipping more than 27,000 items in 2018.
With a background in the skateboarding footwear sector on the wholesale side, Sam and Nick have extensive experience working for distributors, sourcing products in bulk and selling them onto retailers. Being well connected in this industry led to the entrepreneurs identifying a gap in the market and launching their own lifestyle brand in 2014, curating a range of skateboard footwear, hardwear, clothing and accessories from suppliers they had already built relationships with including major brands SUPRA Footwear, DC Shoes, Etnies and Adidas.
Sam added: “The footwear and apparel retail market was already saturated when we launched Supereight, and has become more so over time. This means we have really had to go above and beyond to stand out, by offering a greater product range, faster delivery and better customer service. Rather than simply list our products, we try and tell each brand’s story from our own unique perspective.”
Remedying operational growing pains
Initially sub-letting an office space off a friend, by 2015 Supereight experienced sustained growth which led to taking on the entire building and expanding their workforce to four, when they were joined by Warehouse and Customer Service Managers Joey Shepherd and Joe Walchester. By 2017 continued expansion of their product range and stock levels meant they were bursting at the seams and moved into their current premises close to Nottingham city centre, where the team has now been for 18 months.
Sam describes how they overcame such challenges: “Starting with a couple of brands, we were only selling footwear in the beginning and this has changed dramatically ever since. Every time you introduce a new product category, selling each one is different from digital marketing and operational perspectives. Initially we were only shipping throughout the UK and worked with Royal Mail. Continued product diversification and cross-border sales expansion led to the introduction of DPD for shipping into mainland Europe. As sales to the USA developed, we introduced DHL as yet another shipping option.
“Eventually we were having to deal with a number of carriers which became inefficient and laborious. Working directly with carriers proved strenuous. Not only did we have to coordinate multiple pickups, each carrier has their own shipping and tracking portal. Each portal would only connect to one printer and each had had different label sizes. Having to upload all of our order data into three different portals every day became extremely time consuming. Consolidating all of these processes into a single platform has been a major benefit of working with Parcelhub.”
Mitigating risk by deploying bespoke and proactive carrier management
Sam continued: “We took on Parcelhub just before a sharp increase in demand over Christmas 2018. Collaborating with Parcelhub has given us the confidence to deliver on our promise of for example next day delivery.
“Parcelhub’s IT Support team has been very useful supporting us through the initial account setup. Since integrating our WooCommerce website, eBay and Amazon stores with Parcelhub’s multicarrier shipping software we have been able to exercise the influence of Parcelhub’s superior buying power. Parcelhub’s robust relationships with shipping providers has given us greater flexibility with collections, providing a single collection regardless of carrier choice. Leigh Sissons, Business Development Manager at Parcelhub analysed our product range and tailored a range of delivery options that are bespoke to our daily volumes, product dimensions, levels of cover, delivery expectations and destinations.
“Parcelhub’s proactive nature enhances our customers’ delivery experience and has taken pressure off our staff, thanks to their innovative SMART Notifications platform, which identifies sequences of scan events such as bad addresses and then generates a ticket for Parcelhub’s customer service team who rectify potential issues before they become a real problem. Ensuring our customers’ expectations are at least met and often exceeded has been instrumental in us achieving 100% positive feedback on our eBay store.”
What the future holds for Supereight
Sam concluded: “Our current top five international markets are Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Austria. If Brexit results in a similar trade deal to Switzerland and Norway’s relationships with the EU, this could result in customs clearance charges and an increase in paperwork, leading to reduced profits, longer deliveries and Supereight being less competitive in international markets. The USA is a huge market so this will be a key area of focus going forward, as will be introducing multilingual eCommerce. Looking at 2019 and beyond, we aim to mitigate the risk of demand volatility and fill in seasonal demand gaps by diversifying our product range and introducing even more clothing brands.”
About Parcelhub – the bespoke parcel shipping solution
Save time and money. Increase delivery performance. Enhance customer experience.
Parcelhub is a bespoke and proactive multi-carrier delivery management solution. Flexible and scalable, it integrates seamlessly with marketplaces, eCommerce platforms and order management systems, providing hundreds of multi-channel retailers, global brands and wholesalers with one access point to 20+ carriers and 300+ services.
Distributing more than 6 million parcels on its own carrier contracts every year, Parcelhub’s free multi-carrier shipping software grants hundreds of national and global businesses access to ‘pooled volume’ discounted rates from its carefully selected range of carrier partners, including Yodel, Hermes, DPD, DHL, UPS, DX, Parcelforce, CollectPlus, SkyNet, ArrowXL, Interpost, Panther Logistics, Direct Link and Palletforce. Dedicated proactive parcel management comes as standard.
Parcelhub is part of the Whistl Group. Whistl is the leading delivery management company enabling customers to get their letters, leaflets or parcels to customers efficiently and cost effectively both in the UK and internationally. It is headquartered in Marlow with 8 depots and 2 fulfilment centres across the UK handling 3.8bn items a year. The company is privately held with over 1,500 employees and a turnover in excess of £600m. It has grown significantly over the years and is now expanding its presence in the eCommerce sector offering fulfilment services to customers through a seamless experience from first click to final delivery.