Shipwire Powers Real Merchants
A few weeks ago some of our merchants submitted case studies to Alibaba’s eBusiness Champion Contest. I thought that they were actually very cool case studies of how entrepreneurs at various stages of business are using Shipwire to automate their ecommerce order fulfillment. What is particularly interesting is how these merchants sourced products internationally on Alibaba.com. ThoughtFish Media
Andrew S. founded ThoughtFish Media while running his own tile company. At the time, he was managing a large warehouse with many employees, while maintaining a full-time job at Kodak. He wanted to continue to grow his business as an entrepreneur without sacrificing time with his six adopted children and full-time job commitment, so he sold the tile company and formed a tile software company instead online.
Since starting in 2002, ThoughtFish Media has emerged as the industry leader for tile, bead and other craft art design software, with over 26,000 customers in 32 countries. Their users have grown to become passionate fans and the company will host its first worldwide user group meeting in North Carolina later this year. All is sold from their online store or through major online e-tail affiliates, like Tiger Direct.
Recently, ThoughtFish Media has set its sights on international expansion. However, they found that only 50% of their shipments to Canada, for example, would be completed, due to difficulties with carriers, customer returns and paperwork. The other problem was that with every new product launch, the company could not send the new products fast enough to meet overseas demand (customers had to wait two weeks or more).
ThoughtFish Media decided to turn to Shipwire to outsource all of their shipping and warehousing needs. Shipwire is an international network of on-demand shipping warehouses. With Shipwire, Andrew was able to stock his products locally in Canada and the UK, so that when customers ordered their product, they would get it faster (in just a couple days) and cheaper (since they were shipping locally). Shipwire also took care of all order processing, tracking and returns, enabling Andrew to focus on his full-time career and family.
ThoughtFish Media recently used Alibaba to find a manufacturer to supply materials for their newest product. The company said that before Alibaba, finding a manufacturer for such an obscure part overseas would have taken months of travel and research.
ThoughtFish Media continues its growth as a the leader in its industry, thanks to its unique outsourced model for growth. The company continues to be one of the only software manufacturers to support the arts and crafts community by constantly developing new and innovative products.
Online retailer Keetsa introduced a revolutionary, eco-friendly memory foam mattress, and in keeping with the company’s environmental and cost-saving commitment, developed a unique packaging solution that allowed the mattresses to be boxed for easy shipping to buyers, reducing transport costs and overall carbon emissions.
Keetsa’s patented packaging is designed so that mattresses can be delivered compactly through the mail. Despite that, traditional warehouses demanded long-term contracts, upfront fees, and a credit check that’s hard for a new business to pass.
The costs of owning their own warehouse would have forced Keetsa to raise retail prices and spend time managing the warehouse – time the company needed to spend on its core business. Instead of bowing to the demands of warehouses, Keetsa entrusted Shipwire with the shipping and fulfillment. Using Shipwire’s plug-and-play online store order fulfillment solution eliminated the hassle of storage and shipping. Now the company can manage inventory and delivery in a way that is convenient and affordable while gaining a competitive business advantage.
It takes an hour to ship a mattress from the flagship retail store in San Francisco, but mere minutes to log into Shipwire and schedule a mattress for shipping—a timesavings of 80 percent. Using Shipwire’s East and West Coast warehouses helped move inventory closer to customers, keeping delivery costs low. Less travel also means less fuel, lowering the carbon footprint of Keetsa’s mattresses by 400%.
Keetsa claims its online-focus is the key to its rapid growth. 95% of all sales originate from online ads, through direct orders on Keetsa.com or through viral YouTube videos of customer reviews. The company was recently featured on HGTV after the show’s producers found them online. Since launching nine months ago, the company’s sales have grown 2000%, fueled by online publicity and sales. They currently plan on growing their number of stores from 2 to 6 stores this year.