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Meet the Partner: Brightpearl

parcelhub meets brightpearl shipping discussion

Meet the Partner: Brightpearl

This month we speak to Ollie Slade, Partnerships Manager at Brightpearl, a Retail Operations Management Platform who focus on controlling and automating the back office for multi-channel retailers.

Who are Brightpearl?

We’re a Retail Operating Platform for retailers, wholesalers and brands.

Brightpearl is a Retail Operating System (ROS) that’s built purely for the retail sector. We give multi-channel merchants the freedom and flexibility to grow fearlessly. We do this by automating processes that happen after the buy button, meaning merchants are able to meet demand, and fulfil orders in an efficient and scalable way. To give you an idea of scale, we handle more than 3 million orders a month and $5 Billion of trade a year. Last Cyber Monday we processed 250,000 orders with zero issues or glitches.

How did Brightpearl begin? 

Brightpearl grew out of our Co-Founders’, Chris Tanner & Andrew Mulvenna, previous business, Lush Longboards. Chris and Andy needed an operations software to help them manage inventory and fulfil orders. They then brought to market the software Chris had written to run Lush’s sales and operations (including its ecommerce website) under the name Pearl Software.

Who is in the Brightpearl team? 

Brightpearl is a transatlantic company with a headquarters here in Bristol, UK and a US headquarters in Austin, Texas It’s a dedicated team of individuals working collaboratively from a multitude of backgrounds, whether it’s e-commerce, ERP or other SaaS businesses. Brightpearl values the culture of the business extremely highly. 

Who are Brightpearl’s current customers?

Our customers are retailers selling finished goods. A key area for us is if they are selling on multiple different channels— various websites, marketplaces, physical stores, B2B. Brightpearl is great at handling inventory across lots of different channels. Our customers are largely in fashion, homeware, furniture, luxury goods and sporting goods. Some examples: Oliver Sweeney, Stance, YETI, Fairfax & Favor, Goodhood. 

“Being able to automatically create drop-ship POs has led to massive product expansion. Combined with automated inventory listing of every new item, our range has increased from 4,000 to 11,000 items with no staff member required to manage it, which is pretty phenomenal.” 

“Automated shipping and delivery mapping have also been a dream. With Brightpearl, shipping and delivery is chosen automatically for each order without any manual intervention. At 400 orders a day, that time saving is huge.” 

James Ewens, Head of E-Commerce at FurnitureBox.

“It’s made our business so much easier to manage and transparency is greater than ever. Before Brightpearl, we had spreadsheets right, left and centre – and no visibility or control over the orders coming in from various channels.”

“Now, we have one central ‘source of truth’ that pulls everything together – anyone can see any order from any channel and we can run reports on everything from inventory to shipping in a couple of clicks. We can see what’s going on and find solutions faster than we ever could before. It’s helped make our order processing so much more sophisticated – and quicker – than it was before.” 

Mark Tweed Brand Director, CyberJammies

Which key challenges do Brightpearl’s customers face and how does Brightpearl help solve them?

Did you know that a whopping 77% of 1-3 star reviews for retailers are due to operational issues? The data shows these negative experiences are not related to the products sold, but rather, but how those products are being fulfilled and other issues happening behind the scenes. This could be slow, missed or incorrect deliveries, inefficient returns and poor customer communication to name a few. And the reason behind this overwhelming statistic is simple: the back office can be a hugely complex part of the customer experience, and is often restricted by manual processes. In a bid to attract new customers through powerful front-of-house strategies and technologies, the processes that lie beyond the buy button are frequently left by the wayside. This means that merchants are often stuck with time consuming processes that are impeding their growth! 

Instead the back office should be seen as the key driver of slick operations and how your business can successfully satisfy customer expectations and demand. We allow our customers to gain control over their back-end, replacing manual processes. 

​​Who are your future ideal customers and who would you like to work more with?

There has never been a better time to launch an ecommerce business and grow it. At Brightpearl we are able to support businesses who have grown quickly, and need back office systems to help with every aspect of their operations, to those larger businesses who want to build out scalable, best of breed tech stacks, leveraging our API. 

How does Brightpearl work? Describe your service offerings:

Brightpearl automates manual processes using a sophisticated automation engine, where merchants can configure rules, which meet their fulfilment requirements. Using near real time connectors, we are able to ensure that accurate inventory levels are pushed up to all sales channels, orders are fulfilled from the right places, and stock purchasing is forecasted accurately. All of this means that merchants can scale confidently. We are able to use our open API to be a part of a scalable tech stack, but also offer merchants functionality such as Order Management and Processing, Inventory Management, Warehouse Management, Accounting, Analytics, and Customer Management. 

What makes Brightpearl unique?

We are completely focussed on building out features and functions for retailers. Our entire team are experts in ecommerce, and the retail space, as we are built to work with customers in that space. Compared to a traditional ERP system we implement nearly 3 times faster, are a configurable system with little development help needed when compared to a customizable system and include all costs up front which are structured to grow with you as your scale.

Who else do you partner with? 

Partnerships are absolutely essential to the success of our customers. Since we are focussed on retail, we partner closely with e-commerce platforms like Shopify Plus and BigCommerce. We also partner closely with other technologies who work in the ecommerce space. We spend a lot of time working with agencies in the ecosystem, and learning from how they work with customers. Agencies help us to keep up with the latest demands of merchants in the retail space!

Any tips for preparing for peak?

There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to a peak trading season, but a couple of things to keep in mind are: 

1. Prepare for an influx of returns 
With return rates peaking as high as 30% during BFCM  it can be really important to think about your returns policies. Returns can often be a bottleneck in operations, so trying to eliminate this through a strong returns process is vital. Consumers are looking into this as well, with research showing that 67% of consumers check the return policy on a merchant’s site before making a purchase. If a merchant offers a favourable and simple returns policy, 72% of consumers are likely to spend more with that merchant. Ideas to keep in mind to encourage consumers to buy are tactics like offering longer return windows, different options for shipping items back, and free returns to provide the best shopping experience.

2. Plan your inventory early, and make sure stock information updates in real time 

While sales are flying through during a peak trading season, merchants can find themselves double-selling inventory, then, embarrassingly, having to reach out to customers to explain that they’ve oversold the product. Then they also have the headache of processing refunds, and dealing with unhappy customers (who may be so frustrated that they leave negative reviews or never purchase again from a given merchant). Planning for busy seasons like BFCM based on seasonality & using a demand planning tool can help you to forecast what inventory is needed to meet demand. This is absolutely essential for you to avoid selling stock that you don’t have. Using automation to further enhance demand planning could reduce the time spent on operational tasks. In fact automating the back office as a whole can save you 20% on average, meaning you can spend more time acquiring new customers. 

Why did you decide to partner with Parcelhub?

We like that Parcelhub improves the delivery success rate for merchants who use it. At Brightpearl we are all about helping our merchants to give consumers the best possible experience. Parcelhub follows that same ethos. We also work well with their teams, who have the same goal of ensuring successful merchants, and working together to fix any issues that may come up! 

What are the best things about Parcelhub?

The people first and foremost. Everyone at Parcelhub has their merchant, and the merchant’s end customer in mind. Their enthusiastic team helps us to keep our customers parcels moving, and eliminate errors and misdeliveries happening. We love how innovative their technology and their team are. Last year we conducted a research project together to uncover what consumer expectations were around delivery, and it shows that Parcelhub are always looking to find out more and improve! 

How important is a multi-carrier delivery approach to your clients?

Vital! Many of our merchants sell items of varying size, value, and content. A lot of them also offer a lot of different delivery options, to meet consumers’ changing demands. Without a multi-carrier approach, it would leave our merchants out of pocket and potentially mean that consumers end up with items not showing up! 

How important is proactive customer service to your clients?

Very – ecommerce is a hugely competitive market. If a merchant misses a delivery, and a consumer perceives it as a negative customer experience, it is pretty unlikely that they’ll do business with that brand again. In fact, research shows that 89% of the time, if someone has a bad experience, they’ll never come to do business with that brand again. Being proactive about customer service, and communicating issues to the consumer, can make a huge difference in how people interact with that brand in the future. 

Where do you see Brightpearl in 3 to 5 years?

At Brightpearl, we are focussed on continuously improving our product, and our service to ecommerce merchants. In 3-5 years, we aim to continue  to improve the customer experience through automated operations, and help merchants grow fearlessly, with secure operations and a hyper-scalable system.. 

How do you see your partnership with Parcelhub evolving?

We love working with the Parcelhub team. Hopefully we will see more merchants using Parcelhub to proactively manage their deliveries. I also expect we will build on our Expectation Gap report, and see how trends have changed in the future! 

Simon Wright

As SEO and Content Marketing Manager at the Whistl Group, Simon has over 10 years' experience in both B2B and B2C marketing, and as a result, offers a unique perspective on the pre- and post-checkout delivery experiences. Simon writes regularly for both the Parcelhub and Whistl blogs and is passionate about helping retailers make delivery their competitive advantage.

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