Not Another Doggone eCommerce Case Study, ft. Spotted By Humphrey

Not Another Doggone eCommerce Case Study, ft. Spotted By Humphrey

Move over Air Bud… Humphrey the French Bulldog may not be able to sink a three pointer, but he can sell dog accessories while saving the planet like it’s nobody’s business. Except, it is his business! Enter: Spotted By Humphrey — a specialty dog boutique with a playfully curated selection of thoughtfully-designed, well-made, premium dog accessories, which comes along with a promise of net-neutral climate emissions. 

Spotted By Humphrey – “with its quirky name for a shop that has the personality to match” – is a community-driven online destination for dog parents around the world who are looking to find something special and unique for their dogs. 

Humphrey aka Spotted Humphrey (@spottedhumphrey) has over 120K followers on Instagram, and is the inspiration behind the business, as founders Sandy and Yong-Soo Chung (also Humphrey’s parents) wanted to create a shop that would make the experience of shopping for your dog just as fun and community-oriented as Humphrey’s Instagram. 

Naturally, social media plays a key element in the shop’s marketing strategy; however, both Sandy and Yong-Soo believe that their success largely comes from establishing a strong operational foundation, which ultimately creates a better experience for their customers. 

Having founded his own ecommerce shop Urban EDC Supply prior to the launch of Spotted By Humphrey, Yong-Soo leveraged his existing ecommerce experience to establish Spotted By Humphrey, which Sandy has taken on and grown organically ever since. Yong-Soo eventually founded an all-encompassing ecommerce brand accelerator with the first ever net-negative carbon emitting 3PL in the industry, so every shipment that goes out actually benefits the planet instead of harming it.

“Frustrated by the lack of accountability and execution, I decided to take fulfillment in-house. First, we used another WMS other than ShipHero. It was slow, we had a lot of mis-shipments, and it was difficult tracking inventory. When I finally stumbled upon ShipHero, it was a game changer. The software was intuitive to use and it had a lot more features that made it easier to streamline our fulfillment operations.”
Yong-Soo, Founder and CEO of GrowthJet

Yong-Soo utilizes ShipHero’s warehouse management software across his ecommerce brand accelerator, GrowthJet, along with his two internal brands, Spotted By Humphrey and Urban EDC Supply, a boutique everyday carry shop. So we asked Humphrey and Yong-Soo to ‘sit, stay and roll over’ what made ShipHero the right choice for his business.

ShipHero: Humphrey, tell us about your business(es).

Humphrey: OUAF OUAF!

SH: Ah, I don’t speak French. Yong-Soo, care to translate?

Yong-Soo: “In a nutshell, GrowthJet is an ecommerce brand accelerator with two internal brands, Urban EDC Supply (launched 2015) & Spotted By Humphrey (launched 2018).

Urban EDC Supply is an everyday carry shop with a strong focus on the EDC and knife community. We collaborate with world-renowned designers like Jesper Voxnaes to create stylish and functional everyday carry gear for our community of gear enthusiasts. Taking a page out of the streetwear clothing culture, weekly drops feature a limited supply of exclusive goods that sell out within hours, and sometimes minutes, or even a few seconds. While there’s a wide range of goods available for sale, some of these high-end collectibles can sell for as much as $2,000.

Spotted By Humphrey is a specialty dog boutique inspired by our french bulldog, Humphrey. As of today, Humphrey has 120k followers (@spottedhumphrey) on Instagram. We wanted to create a shop that would make the experience of shopping for your dog fun and community-oriented. Sandy and Humphrey made an appearance on the first episode of Shopify’s “Guess My Hustle” series (produced by Portal A, an award-winning digital studio), as well as Shopify’s “New Money” series (episode titled, “How To Make Money In The Million Dollar Dog Accessories Industry”).

Having built two fast-growing brands, in 2019, several colleagues approached us asking about our product photography, our fulfillment operations, and other e-commerce related ops questions. We decided to build and launch GrowthJet as the backbone infrastructure support to grow e-commerce brands. We’ve been growing very quickly through word-of-mouth ever since.”

SH: During your journey, you went from using a third party logistics (3PL) provider to fulfilling on your own. What was the catalyst for this switch? 

Yong-Soo: “When I launched Urban EDC Supply back in October 2015 from my one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, I did a tremendous amount of research on finding the best 3PL. After weeks of digging in, I settled on a 3PL that was based here in the Bay Area, and one that had the best reviews and ratings.

Unfortunately, I had one of the most frustrating experiences with this particular 3PL. I lost close to $5,000 worth of inventory due to negligence by the fulfillment staff. There was one particular instance where one of the employees opened up the box that was being shipped to my customer, took the item out, and then shipped out an empty box to my customer in Alaska. It turns out that this particular employee’s last day was the next day. When confronted with this news, the employee never returned to collect his final paycheck the next day.

Frustrated by the lack of accountability and execution, I decided to take fulfillment in-house. 

SH: Sounds like they were in the doghouse, eh Humphrey?

Humphrey: RUFF!

SH: Too true, too true. So when you were searching for WMS solutions, what were your main fulfillment goals? 

Yong-Soo: “When we took fulfillment in-house and launched GrowthJet, the main goals were to improve order accuracy through proper barcoding, speed up the process of fulfillment, and generally, have more accountability and insight into our shipment data.

For us, the [most important criteria] was our ability to have an open dialogue with our fulfillment center. When we needed something, calling a phone number and being greeted by a “voice mailbox is full” message is never fun. Neither is sending out an urgent support email and not receiving a response for over a week. So for GrowthJet, we made it a point to be transparent and open to communication. Also, the ability to flex and work collaboratively with the 3PL is an important part of what we do at GrowthJet.”

SH: And why did you choose ShipHero?

Yong-Soo: “First, we used another WMS other than ShipHero. It was slow, we had a lot of mis-shipments, and it was difficult tracking inventory. When I finally stumbled upon ShipHero, it was a game changer. The software was intuitive to use and it had a lot more features that made it easier to streamline our fulfillment operations. 

Integrating ShipHero was relatively easy, especially with one of the Solutions Engineers Matt D. helping us.”

First, we used another WMS other than ShipHero. It was slow, we had a lot of mis-shipments, and it was difficult tracking inventory. When I finally stumbled upon ShipHero, it was a game changer. The software was intuitive to use and it had a lot more features that made it easier to streamline our fulfillment operations.

SH: Every ShipHero customer is assigned a Solutions Engineer to help simplify the onboarding and integration process because we look after our customers, dawg. 

Humphrey:

SH: So what was your inspiration for the climate neutral pledge, and how do you plan to become a Carbon Negative 3PL?

Yong-Soo: “When we launched GrowthJet, we realized how bad the waste and carbon footprint is for logistics and fulfillment. We think a lot about ecosystems not only for the environment, but the entire lifecycle of every item that comes through our warehouse including packaging materials, pallets, used equipment, etc. 

We want to reduce as much as possible, then reuse, then recycle what we can before we decide to throw something away. Even then, we offset the carbon footprint of our garbage by purchasing carbon credits through ClimateNeutral.org.

On top of our Climate Neutral certification, we will be implementing our own tree-planting initiative in 2021. As far as we know, we will be the first carbon negative 3PL in the world. This means that for every package we ship out for our brand partners, we’re actually helping our planet fight against climate change. Counter-intuitive, isn’t it?

SH: Planting trees to help climate change, care to comment Humphrey?

Humphrey: BARK!

SH: Surprisingly on topic. And what has been the response from your customer base?

Yong-Soo: “Overall, the response from our brand partners has been very positive. They love and appreciate our proactive commitment to saving our planet, rather than being part of the problem. We’re also different from most 3PLs in that we’re more selective about who we bring on as a partner. We want to make sure we’re aligned on values first and foremost. Like any relationship, it’s a two-way partnership. We have a bias for thinking long-term so we want to make sure there’s a fit first before making a long-term commitment.”

SH: Finally, how has your business been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns?

Yong-Soo: Our business actually saw an increase due to COVID. With e-commerce getting a huge boost, we were fortunate to be in a position of leverage during the pandemic. Of course, there were additional costs such as PPE equipment and being more cognizant of social distancing within the warehouse, but all in all, we feel very lucky to come out of the pandemic stronger than before.

SH: Amazing, thank you for sharing your story and allowing us to write this case study. Humphrey, final thoughts?

Humphrey: WOOF WOOF!

Follow Humphrey and the Spotted By Humphrey’s journey at their website and Instagram. 

Website: https://spottedbyhumphrey.com/

Humphrey’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spottedhumphrey/

Spotted By Humphrey Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spottedbyhumphrey/

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The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel: Automation

The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel: Automation

ShipHero recently launched The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel to help 3PLs understand what capabilities and service offerings they need to implement in order to be successful and to help online retailers and brands choose which 3PL is right for them by allowing them to ‘check the boxes’.

The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel listed a set of twelve (12) capabilities that fulfillment providers and logistics companies should implement to continually delight their customers and push themselves towards greater success and innovation.

The twelve capabilities are:

  1. 2-day delivery
  2. Same day shipping
  3. At the box personalization
  4. Designed for returns
  5. Sustainable fulfillment
  6. Resilient shipping
  7. Distributed fulfillment
  8. Data now
  9. Automation
  10. Scale up and out
  11. Integration stack
  12. Professional services

In this article, we will be diving into Capability #9: Automation.  
And be sure to stay tuned for future articles as we deep-dive into each capability.

Capability #9: Automation

The mundane, the menial, the humdrum, the everyday monotony… these are the types of business activities that should and could be automated. Why spend your valuable time copy and pasting shipping information across your systems? Or manually inputting return information? Or constantly checking inventory levels? Let automation work for you!

As a business owner, your fulfillment provider should also understand that your time is your most valuable resource. If you are just starting out, you may be able to manually handle it all on your own. But when your business grows bigger and bigger, and the orders are rolling in, you risk spreading yourself too thin, giving yourself no time to get your head above water and focus on your business’s long-term strategy. 

If you get to the point where the everyday tasks of your fulfillment process seems to be your only focus, it’s definitely the right time to switch to a fulfillment provider that can automate these for you.

ShipHero’s Automation Cookbook

For that reason, ShipHero has partnered with Alloy to unlock smart automations that improve inventory control and warehouse operations with just a few clicks, while integrating ShipHero with 60+ apps to improve the fulfillment experience and grow your business. 

The few example recipes below from ShipHero’s automation cookbook give you a glimpse at the power of automation between workflows, and may enlighten you to possibilities you never thought possible. 

Recipe: Send reorder emails or Slack notifications to staff for low inventory in ShipHero
Our workflow automates reorder emails to be sent to staff when there is low inventory in ShipHero. This ensures that your team can restock inventory at a reasonable pace and without over-stocking, and is a great way to organize the flow of customer traffic and inventory.

Recipe: Tag Shopify orders based on ShipHero delivery date
This workflow tags Shopify orders based on the ShipHero delivery date. This means that all orders are tagged by date allowing you to view which days are busy and how many orders are expected to ship out weekly. Tagging orders is a good way to stay organized especially when your store is expanding globally and there are multiple orders placed on the same day.

Recipe: Set a ShipHero threshold to notify store owner of low inventory
This workflow notifies you when your inventory is low in ShipHero. For instance, inventory levels are updated regularly and you receive inventory levels for each inventory item. When stock is low, you receive a notification. Immediate notifications to store owners are key to restocking your inventory and satisfying your eager customers. These notifications can be sent through Slack and email.

Recipe: If an order is still unfulfilled in ShipHero after 2 days, email me
This automation will schedule a workflow after 2 days. Then, it will check to see if the order is unfulfilled for greater than or equal to 2 days. This will trigger an email notification to the store owner. This frees you up from constantly checking the fulfillment status of your orders.

Recipe: Automate fulfillment for Gorgias returns requests in ShipHero
This workflow automates fulfillment for Gorgias return requests in ShipHero. When a customer requests a return on Shippo, a Gorgias request is immediately created and sent. This frees up time from going back and forth between Shippo and Gorgias and ensures no information is lost.

Recipe: Cancel ShipHero scheduled delivery if there is a Gorgias request
With this automation, customers can send in a support ticket for a cancellation request. Once your team marks it as a canceled order, an email is sent to the ShipHero fulfillment team so they won’t fulfill the order.

Recipe: Send ShipHero delivery updates via Klaviyo SMS
SMS messages can have open rates as high as 98% and you’re not limited to using them for promotional campaigns. With this workflow, you can send delivery updates to customers through a text message to leverage higher open and engagement rates.

In addition to the above, Alloy also has delivery update automations for Omnisend SMS, PostScript, SMSBump, and Tone, and more integrations are created all the time.

Our customers love the automation capabilities that ShipHero provides. We attribute this success on the Fulfillment Innovation Wheel to Capability #10: Automation.

Stay tuned next as we cover Capability #6: Resilient Shipping! Viva la resilience. ShipHero.

Learn more about ShipHero’s industry-leading warehouse management software.