How Billy Reid managed 38% growth without needing to hire any additional staff and also reduced their shipping costs by 10% by partnering with ShipJunction
Billy Reid owns and operates 10 retail stores, with clothing also available at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom. The growth of the Billy Reid website has flourished with the increasing popularity of the brand. Growing at 38% last year, the key challenge that Billy Reid needed to address was how to scale their operations in an efficient and cost effective manner. In addition to this, shipping was also a very large expense line, so they needed to find ways to tighten up how much they were spending on shipping, particularly given that 15% of their business is international.
In partnering with ShipJunction, Billy Reid leveraged Wave Manager to simplify their fulfillment workflows and technical integrations to their various carriers. Through this simplification, they were able to vastly reduce the number of steps required to pick, pack and ship an order. They also consolidated their multiple fulfillment paths into just one regardless of whether the order is international, shipping via UPS, FedEx or SmartPost.
ShipJunction Rate Manager provided Billy Reid with a seamless multi-carrier platform that they were able to use to optimize the mix of carriers and their respective services so as to reduce their overall shipping costs. Through the flexibility of being able to dynamically manage the shipments across multiple carriers and with the insights provided by Rate Manager, Billy Reid was able to secure more attractive overall pricing.
“ShipJunction ended up producing more benefits than were originally anticipated. On the surface, you can immediately see high-level and straight forward benefits of using both Wave Manager and Rate Manager, but what makes the service so valuable are the resulting improvements and practices that are derived from the software’s seeming ability to provide insight and solutions in to the nuances that go along with managing e-commerce shipments. The customization that can be achieved with the help of the ShipJunction staff is also of high note, it is not a ‘one size fits all’ system that only operates in one manner; it’s a system that ShipJunction has helped to refine and customize to suit out needs”, Graham Heard, Director of eCommerce at Billy Reid.
With ShipJunction, Billy Reid scaled their operations to handle the 38% growth, including their seasonal spikes, with ease and without needing to hire any additional warehouse staff. In addition to this, they were able to reduce their overall shipping expenses by 10%
Billy Reid outlined the key challenges that they were facing in needing to scale their warehouse operations. One of the alternatives was to hire additional staff but this would only help solve the challenges for the short term. With ShipJunction, they were able to tackle the scale problems through technology and set themselves up to be able to handle their future growth efficiently. “Our business has grown very quickly. Having the technology backing from ShipJunction has really allowed us to concentrate on other priorities; shipping and fulfillment is one less thing we need to worry about. We could not have grown as much without ShipJunction”, Graham Heard, Director of eCommerce at Billy Reid.
The target goals were:
- 1. Eliminate carrier integrations
- 2. Reduce shipping expenses
- 3. Increase warehouse efficiency
Solution #1: Eliminate carrier integrations
Prior to ShipJunction, Billy Reid shipped everything using one carrier only. This did not provide them with the flexibility and competitiveness that they desired. With Rate Manager, they immediately had access to any carrier and service that they wanted to use through one central portal. There was no need to install any carrier hardware such as servers or carrier specific ship stations, or even software. As an example of the flexibility and ease of Rate Manager, Billy Reid decided to test FedEx Smartpost and without any startup effort, they immediately saw a 4% increase in sales each month by being able to ship to PO Boxes and APO/FPO addresses.
With 15% of orders being international, Billy Reid partnered with Pitney Bowes Clearpath to handle their international deliveries. Initially it was a very manual process where the international orders were managed separately from the domestic orders and required a multi-step manual process to generate Clearpath labels. ShipJunction provided a solution where the Clearpath orders flowed alongside the domestic orders and appropriate labels were automatically generated and the international orders were routed automatically to Clearpath. Graham estimates that five manhours are saved every week by not having to process international orders in a separate manner.
Solution #2: Reduce shipping expenses
When Billy Reid was using only one carrier, they did not have much flexibility on pricing. They printed a return label on every order and their incumbent carrier charged $0.50 just to generate the return label irrespective of whether it was used or not. Even though the incumbent is their preferred carrier, they tried for many years to negotiate this down but were unsuccessful. Once Billy Reid started using ShipJunction, ShipJunction provided a series of strategies to reduce their shipping costs. The first one was to print the outbound incumbent shipping label but for the return label, ShipJunction generated a return label from an alternative carrier that didn’t charge for the label generation. This immediately saved $0.50 for every order.
Another strategy that is offered by Rate Manager is service and carrier optimization. A price is determined for each individual package from all the carriers, based on a custom decision algorithm, the best service and carrier are selected. The shipping labels are automatically generated eliminating any requirement for manual inputs for packages to proceed in the workflow. Overall shipping expenses have dropped by 10% by utilizing these 2 strategies.
Solution #3: Increase warehouse efficiency
ShipJunction Wave Manager vastly simplified the fulfillment workflows for Billy Reid. By first mapping the previous processes, ShipJunction set out to consolidate and automate as many of the fulfillment steps as possible. Once implemented, Wave Manager saved a considerable amount of time and labor in the day to day operations. Billy Reid had planned to hire additional staff during the year but after working with ShipJunction, they realized that they did not need the additional head count.
Although the shipping strategies and fulfillment workflows employed by ShipJunction are highly sophisticated, the interface is very straightforward and easy to use. Through this simplicity, ShipJunction has been able to reduce overall errors and has also allowed the team to focus on other priorities as the current fulfillment process runs so smoothly.
“We really cannot say enough about this software and accompanying service provided by the professionals at ShipJunction. For the past 5 years we have looked at multiple ways to improve our e-commerce shipping operations while also reducing our overall shipping spend; nothing comes close to the ability of ShipJunction to do both simultaneously. And I cannot forget the intangibles here, working with the staff at ShipJunction is an absolute pleasure.” Graham Heard, Director of eCommerce at Billy Reid.
Regain control of shipping and simplify your fulfillment workflows. Let ShipJunction demonstrate to you the great results they were able to deliver for Billy Reid and other clients in driving down operating costs.
Billy Reid is a fashion designer that launched his label in 2004. As a retailer, he set out to build a designer brand around his authentic southern lifestyle and establish retail shops that reflect his upbringing, his personality and his aesthetic. In 2010, GQ and the Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded Billy Reid the Best New Designer in America Award. He went on to win the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CDFA)-Vogue Fashion Fund award later that year and CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year in 2012.
Industry: Fashion Apparel
Headquarters: Florence, AL