When COVID-19 hit, something happened that no one could foresee. Kept at home by public health restrictions, consumers were forced to turn to e-commerce and social commerce channels to stay connected to their favorite brands. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok became home to “viral” videos – surpassing millions of views from consumers who found themselves with ample time to keep scrolling.
TikTok alone saw growth of 180% among 15-25-year-old users once stay-at-home orders were in place, and this has continued well into 2022. Included in this trending content? The fashion-forward e-commerce brand, Edikted.
For digitally native brands like Edikted, social media can either make or break growth. Consumers everywhere are looking for user-generated content (UGC), customer reviews, and social proof to influence their purchasing decisions. In fact, more than half of online shoppers between the ages of 16 and 24 (Edikted’s target audience) use social media to research brands.
When an e-commerce brand goes viral and scales quickly, there needs to be a strong foundation in place to provide an exceptional customer experience. This is where partnering with a technology-forward, collaborative 3PL comes in.
Launched in January 2021 by founding members of a previously successful clothing brand, Edikted is a Gen-Z favorite, pulling influences from pop culture and runway trends with carefully curated pieces made from scratch.
Their mission? To “inspire uniqueness and diversity for all trend-obsessed individuals.” Edikted believes that everyone, no matter their shape or size, deserves access to affordable, trending fashion. The brand prides itself on quality, style, and of course, a top-tier customer experience.
Within just a year of its launch, Edikted grew exponentially, largely thanks to the attention from TikTok micro-influencers. Searching #Edikted on TikTok yields hundreds of videos and millions of views.
But as sales increased, the brand realized they were fast outgrowing their previous 3PL, with orders taking 7-10 days to get out the door. It was clear that to keep their customers happy, they needed to switch to a better-resourced 3PL:
“Our previous provider was too small, and we were finding it hard to keep up with increased sales. We knew we had to move to a new 3PL to provide the best experience for our customers,” says Zvika Alon, COO of Edikted. “Whiplash’s expertise in high SKU, high-touch fashion is what drew us to them.”
For digitally native merchants, it’s imperative to focus on building a community, a strong brand, and a personalized customer experience for continued success.
Edikted is no exception. With endless time and energy put into design, production, and marketing, the fast-growing brand needed to find a 3PL partner who could take the difficulties of end-to-end, direct-to-consumer fulfillment off their plates.
“When partnering with Whiplash, full transparency was very important to us,” says Alon. “Fulfillment is not what we do best, and we wanted to find a partner that would give us peace of mind.”
For Edikted, their partnership with Whiplash meant more than just getting orders out the door. They were looking for a collaborative, transparent process and a willingness to make changes when needed.
“Since Edikted is a relatively new apparel business with strong growth, time to market is a top priority.” Says Scott Weiss, Vice President of Business Development at Whiplash. “Forecasting accurately is almost impossible, which means we must work closely with Edikted on a daily basis to accommodate their growth. The key is to be proactive, rather than reactive.”
Along with daily communication, flexibility on the ground was another must-have.
“If any issues arise, the team makes us aware right away,” says Alon. “Plus, there’s flexibility for quick changes. This was surprising to us since Whiplash is a large fulfillment company, but they are able to make the right adjustments and change the process in a way that fits our business best.”
The success of a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business model relies heavily on technology, warehousing, and fulfillment strategies that are able to scale effectively. It’s not uncommon for online merchants to experience bursts of high-volume sales as a result of marketing efforts such as limited-time offers or influencer partnerships.
With Edikted’s high SKU count, low SKU depth, quick inventory turnover, and inbound shipment profile, Whiplash needed to develop an efficient solution to cover expected peaks and troughs in the calendar that can crop up at a moment’s notice.
“Edikted is unique in that 100% of their inventory comes in by air. They have very “hot” products and pay a premium to get them from China to the U.S. in just a few days.” says Weiss. “This means that SKUs must be unloaded, received, picked, and packed as efficiently and expeditiously as possible to capitalize on consumer demand for certain trends.”In addition to thorough service level agreements and standard operating procedures, Whiplash seamlessly integrates with Edikted’s Shopify store, giving them complete real-time visibility to inventory levels, order status, returns, and more.
“We are Shopify-based, so the technical integration with Whiplash was seamless and straightforward. The onboarding process was very professional, and we saw how much of management’s attention went into it,” says Alon.
Overall, the most challenging aspect of onboarding was moving Edikted’s inventory as quickly as possible into Whiplash’s brand-new, 437,589 sq. ft. Columbus facility. An all-hands-on-deck IT approach, as well as a dedicated Facility Manager and team of associates assigned to the account, allowed for a smooth transition.
“Meeting our launch date was crucial, as well as moving inventory in a way that didn’t cost sales,” says Alon. “If we had pushed back a week it would’ve been a disaster for us, so the fact our deadline was met was amazing.”
Edikted has been live for over a month now, with the most difficult stage of onboarding and launching behind them. With end-to-end customized workflows in place and a collaborative approach to ensure service requirements are met, Whiplash and Edikted are working to bring a new level of seamless, rapid delivery to their customers nationwide.
Whiplash’s D2C-centric technology enables Edikted to customize their experience, manage orders with ease, receive status updates daily, track their inventory in real-time, and much more – allowing them to focus on the heart of their brand: fashion, community, and a positive customer experience.
“Our biggest expectation is that Whiplash will help your brand scale smoothly and support us in the most professional way possible,” says Alon. “With such a successful onboarding and launch, we know there’s more growth coming, and we’re confident in this partnership.”