Guest blog: Ben Burmaster, owner of SnuggleBugz, speaks about how he got started with eCommerce and how he has found success in it.
We sell everything, mostly hard good and gear; strollers, car seats, diapers cloth diapers, basically anything you require for a baby except for clothing and, we used to be able to say disposable diapers, but recently we have been doing more disposable diapers.
SnuggleBugz started eCommerce relatively soon after we got into business. We were founded in the end of 2006 and we started eCommerce mid-2008 but we did it as most typical small retail mom-and-pop shop businesses do; we went out and found a guy to create us a website, tried to add our products and run it out of a retail store. So we were trying to use retail staff within the store to add products to the web, pick and pack orders, answer customer’s phone calls and were basically putting the burden of eCommerce on the retail store. What happened was that eComm always became the backseat to retail because when there are customers in the store front-and-centre, they took priority. So even if there was an order that needed to be shipped, if there was a customer standing there, they would get serviced first.
In doing that we identified a whole bunch of problems with the way we were doing things. One of the problems was that if we were ever going to scale this to more than 20 orders a day we couldn’t have a lot of the manual processes. We needed a re-design; we needed the look and feel to change. If we were going to be the best of baby in Canada now, instead of the best of baby in Halton, we needed the best website, the best processes, and the best integration. There are so many facets that people don’t realize to eCommerce.
When we started looking into all this, we were like “this is going to take a whole team of people, and we’re going to need a whole lot of help”. So that’s where we started looking for partners and ways to do this.
Working with Demac has been extremely beneficial to us. The relationship that we have with them has helped us grow and succeed at the rate that we have and Blue Link and their ERP system, has given us the flexibility. It has allowed us to allow us in this integration process to do the things we wanted to do.
So the integration between Blue Link and Demac happens on two levels:
- One is inventory, where inventory is updated and synced with the Blue Link ERP system. Everything from descriptions, colours, attributes, pricing – as they change they are automatically synced.
- The second component is orders, where an order comes in to Magento, those orders are automatically created via the integration in Blue Link and then the entire shipping process of that order is automated. Once an order comes in, Blue Link owns that order and then Magento is sort of an afterthought at that point, and Blue Link manages that order and then the sync goes back the other way to update Magento. If the customers check their information online they will see the status of the order, that it has been invoiced, the tracking number and that type of information.
It’s hard to sometimes be modest but at the end of the day we’re doing things at a level that most eCommerce companies aren’t even doing. I’ve had major parties through to look at what we’re doing and to be able to ship every product every day, every order every day, to be able to fulfill things at the rates that we are fulfilling them. There are a ton of eCommerce companies out there are doing that but there’s not a lot that are doing that with the backend processes.