Every brand wants to chart a path toward sustainable growth, and it all starts with a strong foundation for consistent customer experiences – namely, a streamlined fulfillment and distribution strategy.
Being a rapidly expanding retail business means more opportunities for revenue generation, but also a lot of growing pains if your fulfillment strategy cannot keep pace.
And with most brands now running multiple distribution channels to meet their customers where they are, it’s becoming a bigger challenge to find a 3PL provider who can effectively manage all of these moving parts – and do it under one roof.
But it’s well worth the reward. According to Forrester Research, retailers with three or more channels can increase order rates by more than 490%. This highlights how with the right fulfillment partner by your side, brands can go from strength to strength using multichannel fulfillment.
Faherty is one such brand that has seen impressive growth by leveraging multiple channels to build a thriving apparel business and community. After partnering with Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash, Faherty has gained the support they needed to create a flexible, efficient fulfillment operation with plenty of scope for future expansion.
Founded in 2013 by twin brothers Alex and Mike, the Faherty brand was designed with a commitment to comfort, quality, and sustainability in mind.
Starting with the ‘perfect’ pair of board shorts and then expanding into full Men’s and Women’s fashion lines, Faherty now boasts over 53 standalone stores and 250 stockists worldwide as well as a robust e-commerce presence. This diversified business model has made it possible for Faherty to maintain growth, even through challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Faherty, finding the right 3PL meant turning to their professional network and talking with contacts they knew and trusted to deliver exceptional service:
“I already had a relationship with Mike Venditti (former Regional Vice President at Ryder E-commerce) dating back to when I was at Ralph Lauren.” Says Mark Engebretson, Global Operations Lead at Faherty. “As Executive VP of Operations at VINCE back in 2015, I directed them toward Ryder E-commerce when their 3PL relationship went downhill. So when Faherty was looking for a new partner, Ryder E-commerce was the obvious choice.”
An ongoing challenge that Faherty found during their 3PL search was finding a fulfillment company that treated their account as a high priority, rather than one of many in a giant facility. As an apparel brand entering a rapid growth phase, Faherty needed to find a partner that was willing and able to accommodate their changing needs.
“Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash has a robust Customer Success division, which works with client brands to create an actionable growth plan and understand how their needs are evolving.” Says Jeff Wolpov, Chief Executive Officer at Ryder E-commerce. “This means we can give every customer the VIP treatment and make sure they are getting everything they need out of their relationship with us.”
As the retail and e-commerce landscape grows more competitive, it takes more than just rapid shipping and order accuracy to bring customers back for repeat visits. This is where white glove fulfillment services are gaining popularity to assist brands in surprising and delighting their customers in new ways.
According to Accenture, one-third of customers report abandoning a brand due to a lack of personalization or tailored services. In this new era of e-commerce, it’s white glove treatment during the post-purchase experience that makes all the difference to customer loyalty. But for brands, offering personalized experiences is dependent on having a 3PL partner who offers more than just one-size-fits-all services.
Having access to greater customization during the fulfillment process was of high importance to Faherty, who required a very nimble operation to keep pace with changing consumer tastes:
“A lot of 3PLs want to set the rules and have their customers fit in with their processes, rather than the other way around.” Says Engebretson. “But as a fashion brand, Faherty needed a fulfillment operation with the ability to move quickly and change priorities as circumstances demand it. From the beginning, Ryder E-commerce really wanted to understand our business model and what we needed to meet our goals.”
As a brand with three different distribution channels – e-commerce, retail, and wholesale – Faherty has been well-positioned to weather the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to online shopping. However, each of these channels has radically different requirements for storage, shipping, and fulfillment.
For example, there’s a world of difference between full case fulfillment to retail store locations versus fulfilling hundreds of e-commerce orders to individual customers. This can make it difficult to find a reliable fulfillment partner who can manage this spectrum of services.
“Faherty required fulfillment services for e-commerce, retail, and wholesale, meaning they needed a facility capable of managing all three channels.” Says Joseph Dixon, Operations Manager of Faherty’s account. “These channels also needed to be onboarded at the same time with a clean cut-off date at their old 3PL, which required an in-depth integration process.”
Onboarding during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic meant additional safety challenges during the process, but was aided by proactive communication between Faherty and their account team.
“Fortunately, our team at Ryder E-commerce already had experience with the ERP we were using, so that streamlined the technology side of the onboarding.” Says Engebretson. “Unfortunately, there were quite a few issues from our previous warehouse that needed troubleshooting, but Ryder E-commerce handled this with true professionalism.”
Since Faherty first joined the Columbus, Ohio facility, their allocated warehouse space has grown from 27,000 square feet to 130,000 square feet., highlighting how the apparel brand has been able to grow rapidly while backed by the expertise of Ryder E-commerce.
Going forward, Faherty is prioritizing new technology initiatives as their business grows, working with their account team to ensure their fulfillment strategy continues to improve efficiency and maximize cost savings:
“We have ongoing discussions with Ryder E-commerce about storage configurations, incorporating RFID technology, and how we can use our warehouse space more efficiently as our order volumes grow.” Says Engebretson. “Right now, the inventory within our facility is co-mingled between channels, rather than being allocated virtually. This is something we are exploring and whether there are more effective ways of transferring inventory to stores.”
Moreover, Faherty is continuing to pay close attention to changing trends in the retail and e-commerce space, especially returns processing and how to combat returns fraud. As a business whose brand revolves around enjoying the outdoors, sustainability is also a key focus. Faherty is working with their Ryder E-commerce facility to better measure their carbon footprint and waste output, so they can look for more ways to lower their impact.
“We are still talking to our team in the warehouse every week and visit the Columbus facility often. Faherty really values these relationships we have built at Ryder E-commerce, and it’s continuing to be a productive, fulfilling partnership.”