What defines the perfect order in e-commerce?
Answers will vary depending on the merchant, but there are non-negotiables that every brand has to meet to satisfy their customers. This includes affordable shipping, accurate packing slips – and most importantly of all, rapid delivery to the right location.
With the growth of automation and technology platforms to keep track of orders and inventory, the question isn’t whether it’s possible for e-commerce brands to deliver the perfect order; It’s whether they can do so while continuing to optimize for efficiency and cost.
Thanks to unreliable partners and avoidable errors during order fulfillment, digitally-native apparel retailer Mugsy has experienced this struggle first-hand. But with their recent switch to Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash, Mugsy is now in a position to deliver flawless e-commerce experiences – and 99.5% of their customers agree!
Jeans can be notoriously difficult items to purchase. Subject to constantly shifting fashion trends and a confusing range of styles, it can feel nigh impossible for consumers to find the perfect fit. Too skinny, too long, too short…the list goes on.
As someone with a tall and lanky build, Mugsy’s founder Leo Tropeano found himself searching department stores and men’s retailers for jeans that were stylish and comfortable without falling into the athleisure category. Sensing a clear gap in the market, Tropeano embarked on a quest to design the product that was missing from the shelf; flattering, high-quality men’s denim that’s suitable both for home and the workplace.
Since launching as a D2C brand in 2016, Mugsy’s range has expanded into over 40 styles of jeans in addition to shorts, chinos, and tops – all informed by Mugsy’s core philosophy of combining comfort with timeless style.
Mugsy’s journey with Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash was unexpected. The brand had not anticipated needing to search for a new 3PL provider in 2021. However, recurring issues with their current 3PL persuaded Mugsy’s logistics team to begin the search for an e-commerce fulfillment partner who could handle their high SKU count and demand for value-added apparel services.
Conscious that sales teams can spin a compelling story, Mugsy decided to choose their next 3PL using one of the oldest comparison techniques around – customer feedback.
“We did get burned by our previous 3PL selection, so we wanted to be certain that our next partner could deliver on what we needed.” Says Scott Dulany, Chief Operations Officer at Mugsy. “We made an effort to ask for recommendations from different brands and our advisory group to see which providers came out on top. Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash was the name that kept cropping up in those discussions.”
It was the strength of these testimonials that gave Mugsy confidence that their Columbus location was the best place to guarantee streamlined and cost-effective fulfillment. Within 30 days of contact being initiated, Mugsy signed their agreement and began the process of transitioning to their new fulfillment center.
“As a Chicago-based business, our Columbus fulfillment facility was the ideal location for Mugsy.” Says Michael Morante, Columbus Building Manager for Ryder E-commerce By Whiplash. “Not only are we close to their head offices; our central location enables online orders to reach a large percentage of the population in two days or less. This is a huge advantage within the competitive apparel marketplace and the reason why Columbus is home to other rapidly-growing fashion brands like Tuckernuck and Free Fly Apparel.”
Onboarding at a new 3PL is a stressful experience for brands large and small. Successful onboarding relies not only on coordinating a thorough move-in plan with your new partner, but also on maintaining good communication with the 3PL you’re leaving.
As Mugsy discovered the hard way, even the best onboarding plans can go awry at the last moment. But Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash’s ability to handle unexpected disruption with ease proved their value proposition as a truly reliable 3PL partner:
“A big advantage of our transition to Whiplash was that both our old and new facilities were based in Columbus, which simplified the process.” Says Dulany. “Unfortunately, our old 3PL didn’t move our inventory on the date promised, which shortened the timeframe we had to prepare for accepting orders. Despite this abrupt change of plans, Whiplash was incredibly flexible and still managed to get everything up and running for our launch date.”
The results of this successful onboarding speak for themselves. In the first week after the launch, Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash dispatched over 1000 orders on time according to their SLA. Meanwhile, 99.5% of Mugsy customers reported they were satisfied with their order and delivery experience.
“The experience of working with Whiplash versus our previous 3PL has been night and day.” Says Dulany. “Our last partner hadn’t met their SLA once in the last six months we were working with them, whereas Whiplash was hitting theirs from day one. This partnership has been transformational for Mugsy and our customers.”
A 3PL partnership is about far more than just getting orders and inventory from A to B. For an e-commerce brand to stay competitive and cost-effective, it’s essential that its logistics provider can act as an enabler for embarking on new initiatives to optimize sales and fulfillment. Without this support, the perfect order will always be out of reach.
For Mugsy, achieving the perfect order came down to Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash performing highly on four key metrics: Transparency, customization, reliability, and cost.
When faced with escalating parcel costs that could affect their bottom line, Whiplash was also able to assist Mugsy by adjusting parcel service levels in real time with the assistance of their SmartRate Selection tool.
“Managing shipping costs and residential delivery fees is challenging for every e-commerce brand, especially in the lead up to peak season.” Says Sean Kim, Vice President of E-commerce Experience & Global Parcel Strategy at Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash. “It’s all about balancing customer expectations with what a business is willing to spend on parcel services. Our SmartRate Selection tool assists customers with setting these preferences and maintaining control over their shipping strategy.”
From intelligent shipping to CX initiatives like promotional packaging and being able to launch sales at short notice due to accurate inventory reporting, Mugsy now has a level of flexibility over their operation that they never had with previous 3PL partners.
“Fulfillment is the third biggest spend at our organization behind advertising and product, so it’s essential that our 3PL partnership continues to deliver value. “Says Dulany. “Whiplash allowed us to make dynamic business decisions on a day-to-day basis according to the trends we were seeing. Many 3PLs put the guardrails up to prevent brands from innovating, but Whiplash supported us from the very beginning. They’re a partner who says yes, rather than no.”
So, what is next for Mugsy and Ryder E-commerce By Whiplash?
“Mugsy’s biggest priority going forward is cost engineering.” Says Dulany. “We’re always working with Whiplash to find new ways to make fulfillment and shipping more efficient. Their partnerships with multiple parcel carriers are key to allowing us to meet customer expectations for fast shipping, and we’re exploring how regional carriers can streamline this process further. It’s all about keeping the i’s dotted and t’s crossed – and we know we can rely on Whiplash to deliver.”
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