Online retailers looking to get off the ground must optimize every portion of their business if they expect to enter the market and ignite any hope of outdoing their competitors.
Boll and Branch, an online retailer of luxury bedding products, improved web traffic by 1,600% and transactions by 3,300% within three months of launching its online store in January 2014. The retailer has been able to see such success, and further build its brand, since implementing solutions from Symphony Commerce. With Symphony Commerce, Boll and Branch has been able to:
- Build and launch a new, responsive design web site;
- Provide warehouse space for its products;
- Send products in custom branded packaging; and
- Bolster its inventory management and shipping capabilities.
Initially, the Boll and Branch team was seeking a system that would allow the retailer to scale its operations quickly and gather a significant amount of market intelligence. From a manpower perspective, the retailer wanted to undergo its expansion without having to hire 10 engineers to build a system from scratch.
Within three months of the site launch, every single order placed had been shipped in less than 48 hours.
“Around six weeks into our launch, we had a combination of a few large press hits,” said Scott Tannen, CEO of Boll and Branch. “In the ensuing word of mouth, we ended up going from a day where we were brought in a couple thousand dollars in sales to almost $300,000 in sales in a single day. Still, we had every single order that day shipped out within 24 hours.”
Keeping Pace With Demand
While building the business, Tannen and the Boll and Branch team saw an opportunity to make luxurious bedding more available to consumers, and at more affordable prices.
“This isn’t the kind of product people talk about at cocktail parties,” Tannen said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “You don’t grab a scotch and ask your friends, ‘how comfortable was your pillow case last night?’ There is a need that I think we realized was there, but I think we underestimated the size of it.”
Tannen estimated that by the beginning of April 2014, the retailer sold out what was originally planned to be 18 months of inventory. Boll and Branch even pre-sold six times what was in stock during May 2014. To keep pace with such intense demand, the retailer has focused on building a more robust supply chain.
“We’ve been able to build out our supply chain to ensure we don’t go out of stock,” Tannen explained. “We see spikes in sales all the time. The key is, when you have the inventory there, you have to get it into the customers’ hands. Because of that, we’ve dramatically bulked up our inventory. For a startup that’s still only 10 months out of the gate, knowing that you can scale to that much volume that quickly and have a system that’s going to support it takes a huge weight, as a founder, off my shoulders.”
Boll and Branch credits the Symphony solution for enabling the team to understand who their top customers are. Not only can they leverage this information for loyalty purposes, but they also can use this information to send out scarfs as a “thank you” to consumers for their support of the brand. These intimate touches are what make the brand stand out to new and loyal customers.
“One of the things that I’ve tried to engrain into my team here, is that we want to do everything that a big business couldn’t do,” Tannen explained. “Not that they don’t want to do those things, but we’re going to focus on succeeding in spaces that are very difficult to play. For instance, although I’m CEO of the company, I take on a customer service role. I answer the phone. When a customer calls in, they’re talking to somebody like me, a product designer or one of our web site designers. It’s not a call center.”