Dr. Squatch is a retailer who has always been ahead of its time. Founder Jack Haldrup’s vision for the company is based on building a creative brand and selling unique products – he knows his market well and is constantly working to push the business forward.
A perfect example is his decision in 2015 to create a subscription box as a new sales channel for the company. Hindsight shows how forward thinking this was considering the popularity of subscription boxes today. At the time, however, the opportunity was not so obvious or simple to make happen.
Subscription Boxes Are a Different Animal
It turns out few parts of the ecommerce business were ready for this new way of doing business. Although similar on the surface, the technology and capabilities of fulfillment operations were built for traditional ecommerce and much different than what subscription boxes require.
Yet Jack, like every other growing subscription box company, had no choice but to try and make the available systems work – despite their limitations.
Lost in Technology
“We quickly found ourselves in a position where the technology we were using had not caught up to the requirements of managing our subscription box program,” Jack recalls. “The shopping cart program we had required extra software to set up products and manage billing. And, we needed a third program just to help those two talk. Clearly, it was far from ideal.”
Jack continues, “Nothing about the process was user-friendly. It was hard to set up customer account management and billing the way we needed to. All the tech that worked for ecommerce just isn’t built for subscription boxes.”
Who Knew Packing Boxes Would Be Different, Too?
At the same time, Dr. Squatch was feeling the pain of an in-house fulfillment operation that, with the added complexity of subscription boxes, was not operating at its best anymore either.
This is because inventory management and the process of packing subscription box orders are surprisingly different than running an online store. There are huge spikes in receiving product into inventory and the labor needed to pack boxes in time to meet shipping deadlines. This creates severe peaks and valleys most fulfillment companies are not set up to handle.
“Fast receiving and accurate inventory mean a lot, but in the end, hitting delivery dates is everything,” notes Jack. “Waiting for inventory and being crunched for time as deadlines approached created an unreasonable amount of stress on our operations.”
Creating a Complete Solution
A main part of the Dr. Squatch philosophy is to make the best of all available resources. When it came to helping the company scale their subscription box business this meant letting the experts do their thing and getting out of the way.
“It’s our belief to work with specialists who are good at what they do whenever possible. That’s what led us to working with Cratejoy and Kable,” notes Jack. “We found them separately, but quickly realized they could be combined to create the exact solution we needed. It started by managing the front-end, customer order management requirements with Cratejoy and then connecting it seamlessly through to the order fulfillment and shipping operations with Kable.”
“We wanted Dr. Squatch to provide a more interesting experience to our customers,” recalls Jack. “And Cratejoy gave us the ability to create this using their API. We worked together to design and implement the exact solution we wanted. Cratejoy allows us flexibility with product variations and specific advantages not possible with other technology solutions.”
At the same time, an integration was built with Kable to enable the seamless flow of data to improve the efficiency of the fulfillment process. Kable was connected to Cratejoy to get the order info they needed to pack orders in the specific way the customer required – which is not always the same. Depending on the customer, orders may be auto-filled, specifically chosen, or randomized.
“Outsourcing fulfillment also needs to be about the obvious things like making your life easier and saving money. We’ve seen great results with Kable – lower fulfillment costs with better shipping rates and faster delivery to our customers. The less I have to think about fulfillment the better,” said Jack.
Combining the capabilities of Cratejoy and Kable has allowed Dr. Squatch to create the optimal subscription box flow – one that to this day still provides the best customer experience and most efficient fulfillment operation.