The direct-to-consumer (D2C) model is undergoing a period of unprecedented growth. As more merchants choose to cut out the middlemen, this is setting the stage for major disruption to traditional in-store retailing practices – especially in the wake of COVID-19. Furthermore, as new businesses increasingly opt for a ‘digital-first’ approach to avoid high overheads, this is going to have a lasting effect on consumer habits.
According to Invespcro, over one-third of consumers have bought from a D2C brand in the past year, while 55% say they prefer to buy from a brand directly, as opposed to going through a multi-brand retailer.
It’s no secret that the D2C model offers merchants some distinct advantages, especially by lowering the barriers of entry into the marketplace. But it also brings a raft of new challenges: Managing customer relationships effectively, ensuring a seamless buying process, and fulfilling and shipping orders without delay.
This makes having an agile fulfillment strategy critical to the long-term success of D2C businesses. By partnering with an experienced provider who can scale efficiently alongside you, it’s far easier to exceed customer expectations.
Based out of Boston, MA, Brunt Workwear is one such company that has been D2C-based from the very beginning. By taking costs such as store rent and retail mark-ups out of the equation, the result is a streamlined, online-only operation where customers have access to a high-quality product at a competitive price point.
Founder and CEO Eric Girouard worked in roofing since he was 14 years old. He was often frustrated by how quickly his work boots, one of the most important tools of the trade, wore out and needed replacing. Upon doing some research, Eric discovered that tradesmen went through two pairs a year, on average, of the SAME boots throughout their careers. Having previously worked in fashion, he knew from experience that his fellow workers had little interest in fancy footwear.
Work boots were worn not only on the job, but also to the bar after work and even on weekends. He realized that there was a huge gap in the market for a longer-lasting, better looking, more comfortable, and more cost-effective alternative, better suited to those workers who quite literally lived in their boots. Such a product could build an extremely loyal base of repeat customers – a great opportunity for any entrepreneur prepared to take up the challenge.
Eric decided that he was that person, and Brunt Workwear was born. “The truth is that a lot of workwear isn’t designed by the people who are using it.” Says Girouard. “At Brunt, we understand what guys in the trades need because that’s where we come from. That’s why we also help to extend the life of our workboots by selling extras like insoles and laces. They are the tools they wear, and we treat them as such.”
Brunt’s top priority was finding a provider who could adapt quickly as the company grew. For digital-first businesses, speed and flexibility are the name of game to keep customers engaged and pivot their fulfillment strategy where needed.
“I know from experience that when you need new workboots, you need them fast. That’s why it’s essential for Brunt Workwear to offer really fast turnaround times to meet customer expectations.” Says Girouard.
Another layer of complexity came from the fact that footwear is one of the more challenging product categories. A single design can spawn as many as 60 SKUs through different sizing and color options, which also need to be modified with the introduction/withdrawal of styles. This required a fulfillment provider with high-level inventory control to ensure effective SKU management.
Brunt evaluated Boston-based fulfillment warehouse’s due to their desire to work with a local provider. But when Eric was introduced to Whiplash by one of our existing clients, he realized that close proximity wasn’t necessary if they partnered with a technologically advanced provider. Whiplash’s real-time inventory management system makes it easy for businesses to keep track of their SKU counts, no matter how far they might be from the warehouse:
Through its cutting-edge software, Whiplash facilitates solutions that can be scaled rapidly to meet the demands of fast-growing online brands. Because it can be fully integrated with existing systems, Whiplash also ensures a seamless transition from previous providers.
It was these functionalities that ensured that Brunt Workwear was well-prepared for going live. On September 15th 2020, their launch saw the first orders leaving the warehouse within 24 hours of being placed – a rapid turnaround that would not have possible without Whiplash’s dedicated eCommerce platform.
Supported by Whiplash’s vast distribution network, Brunt is able to get their boots out to customers across the US within 48-72 hours at the cheapest carrier rate. This rapid fulfillment strategy ensures that workers can rely on them to deliver a fast and cost-effective workwear solution.
Don’t take our word, order a pair today by visiting the Brunt Workwear online store and see for yourself. Between now and the end of the year, receive $10 off your first pair of boots by using discount code BEBRUNTWITHUS upon checkout.
On top of the technological innovations offered by Whiplash, our vast operational expertise is a major asset to our customers. With over a decade of experience working with both small and large-scale brands, Whiplash is well-versed in making the fulfillment process seamless and transparent for merchants.
By setting regular KPIs and scheduling weekly and monthly conference calls, Brunt Workwear was kept consistently up to date with the latest developments during their launch and beyond.
“Trust is the key ingredient for achieving a strong fulfillment strategy, and Whiplash prides itself on developing strong relationships with all of our customers” Says Brian Weinstein, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Whiplash. “By engaging in regular communication and goal-setting, we are confident in our ability to deliver omnichannel fulfillment solutions for every kind of business.”