Many eCommerce business owners will tell you that in order to be successful, you must be consumed by your business. It is a delicate balance to not let it run you into the ground. Not only do you have to address the logistics of managing inventory, customer satisfaction, and reducing labor costs, but you also have to stay ahead of the competition around the clock. If you sell on marketplaces as well as your own webstore, the challenge doubles. You must constantly monitor your inventory levels across channels, make sure you are pricing your items competitively in all locations, and stay on top of your orders to avoid errors, duplicate shipments, or shipping the wrong items.
At first, selling online and managing orders might be routine and fairly easy. However, as your company begins to grow, it becomes nearly impossible to stay competitive by manually re-pricing marketplace listings and fulfilling orders. You need help. Moreover, you need automation and efficiency. For husband and wife team Will and Laura Land, co-owners of Accessory Export, LLC, the key challenges were dialing in their pricing (and more importantly re-pricing) on marketplaces while also gaining full control of their inventory, order management, and fulfillment processes across channels.
Case And Point
Accessory Export, LLC is a family-owned and operated seller of EMPIRE® brand mobile phone and tablet accessories. The Lands founded Accessory Export, LLC in 2003, shortly after leaving the University of California, Riverside (where they met). The idea for Accessory Export started when Will needed to liquidate excess accessory inventory that he had accumulated from a separate business-to-business cell phone service resell company, with whom he was previously employed. With three hundred dollars and a newly opened eBay account Accessory Export, LLC was born.
Today, Accessory Export, LLC has expanded to an operation with a state of the art, 27,000 sq. ft. warehouse and has been named to the Inc. 5000 list twice. They sell their cell phone and tablet accessories inventory online via multiple marketplaces as well as on their website—empirecase.com. And although the mobile device market has rapidly changed over the last decade, this husband-and-wife team has continued to evolve their company to stay on the cutting edge. But they haven’t always been on top.
As Accessory Export, LLC began to list on more marketplaces, they saw more success, but they were also consumed by needing to continually monitor their pricing to stay competitive. In addition, listing on more marketplaces meant that they needed to keep track of inventory levels in multiple locations, process orders more efficiently, and add personnel to keep up with manual fulfillment. The manual processes they were using to run their business proved both inefficient and costly. Eventually Accessory Export, LLC realized they needed a way to optimize their processes while staying profitable. They needed solutions to address their business challenges and give them time back.
We’ve Got You Covered
In 2007 Will and Laura first decided to address their competitive pricing needs with a marketplace listing and re-pricing solution. Positive results were immediate. The Lands were no longer spending time manually re-pricing their listings every day. Instead, Will was able to focus on optimizing other areas of the business. He said, “Initially, we decided to go with [re-pricing software] because of its re-pricing capabilities… and then we realized all the other benefits it had.” Will added that the re-pricing software “allows us to set up an automated, comprehensive re-pricing strategy, ensuring that our inventory is always competitively priced without sacrificing on margins. This often results in our inventory being displayed in the coveted Amazon Buy Box.”
Once Accessory Export, LLC began to tighten their control over pricing and re-pricing their listings, they started to see more orders. It quickly became painfully obvious that they need a solution to manage their orders as they also began to see more errors in fulfillment. By 2011, Accessory Export, LLC had purchased an order management software solution to get control of their inventory, order management, and fulfillment processes across their channels. This was timely, because they had also just finished building their huge new warehouse and the software functionality triggered ideas to help structure the way in which they designed their warehouse. Not only had they optimized the warehouse layout, they also realized maximum efficiencies in inventory management and order management with the implementation of the software. Before, orders were subject to mistakes due to human error in the pick and pack process. Now, employees are alerted when they scan an incorrect product before packing. Laura explained that for Accessory Export, LLC “errors are down to almost nothing.”
Building An Empire
Delivering cutting edge products to consumers with their own personal twist has always driven Accessory Export, LLC. For Will and Laura, staying ahead of the competition in the cell phone accessories arena has become more and more difficult. With fewer cell phone models, the ability to produce competitive products is much easier and Accessory Export, LLC was seeing more upstarts throwing their hats into the ring. For this reason, the Lands knew they needed software that could effectively and automatically price and re-price their inventory on multiple marketplaces. With the addition of marketplace re-pricing software they started to see more sales every day. This led them to seek out order management software to improve back-end processes and improve efficiency. With their new software in place, Accessory Export, LLC was now set up to do serious business.
Today, the orders continue to flow in, they continue to push the EMPIRE® brand, and they are in a position for long-term growth. Automation in order and inventory management and marketplace listing and re-pricing was critical in helping them stay ahead of the curve. “Implementing [both software platforms] has increased our bottom-line profits by 20% each month, making our financial life much more comfortable,” said Will. Laura added, “We’ve been able to reduce inventory costs drastically using the POs and re-order levels. We’ve cut our inventory budget by about 25% because we have better control over what we need to purchase.” Will concluded, “We spend less time working and more time doing things we love.”
To learn more about Will and Laura and the ways in which Accessory Export, LLC continues to expand and grow their business, visit the Accessory Export, LLC Heroes page.
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