Feelgoodz Inc. likes to create a customer environment that is as carefree and comfortable as its signature merchandise: eco-friendly flip-flops.
Although the company operates one store in Raleigh, N.C., its e-commerce site serves as its primary direct-to-consumer selling channel, meaning that smoothly functioning order fulfillment is of paramount importance to maintaining positive customer-service vibrations.
In the beginning, Feelgoodz outsourced fulfillment to third-party logistics providers. But in the fourth quarter of 2012, the company decided to move fulfillment processes in-house. It soon realized the true scope of the task it had taken on.
“We opened our own warehouse and brought everything in-house when we made that switch,” said CEO Mark Saad. “We realized pretty quickly we had to get up to speed with the program. This included everything down to scheduling regular pickups.”
Further exacerbating the situation was the fact that Feelgoodz was moving from a mostly seasonal business focused on selling warm-weather flip-flops to a year-round enterprise that also offered closed shoes. In addition, the company, which does a large wholesale operation, was seeing increased traffic in its direct-to-consumer business.
Feelgoodz, originally founded by Kyle Brenner in 2008 and then merged with Saad’s similarly aligned eco-friendly footwear company Kinder Soles in 2011, had always used UPS for deliveries. When the company realized it needed assistance in effectively meeting the demands of a year-round consumer-focused supply chain, the company turned to the supplier for help.
“In moving fulfillment from third-party providers to in-house services, we send out shipments of various sizes,” Brenner said. “Shipping is one of the biggest costs we incur. Shipments can range from one pair of shoes to 100 pairs. UPS helped us figure out the best solution to ship each one.”
For example, Feelgoodz will generally send small shipments using UPS ground delivery. But for large shipments, the retailer often uses UPS SurePost, a hosted service where the logistics provider partners with the U.S. Post Office to help companies efficiently complete the all-important “last mile” of customer deliveries.
Delivering Something Extra
“SurePost cuts down the expense of customer deliveries,” said Saad. “It’s a great add-on.”
In addition, Feelgoodz started selling goods to customers in Canada, using UPS WorldEase international shipment service to fulfill those orders. However, the retailer leverages UPS hosted solutions to not only get deliveries to consumers more efficiently, but to turn them into high-tech marketing opportunities.
“We use UPS technology to add on branding and marketing to shipping labels for SurePoint deliveries,” Saad said. “We can add a code to the label that the customer can use for a discount on their next purchase.”
On the marketing side, Feelgoodz uses UPS to help stimulate its business.
“We can embed a QR code into the shipping label that the customer can scan to watch a video about our products,” Saad said.
Brenner and Saad both agreed that it is hard to calculate a specific return on their investment in hosted UPS solutions and services. However, in general, the retailers have no doubt about the value UPS is delivering.
“There is a significant amount of savings,” Saad stated.