The Backorder, March 27 2024

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In this issue:

  • The latest in global supply chain news
  • Insights from an ecommerce niche-market pioneer
  • Tips for reducing transportation costs
  • Job opportunities from Sony, Patagonia, and more

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In supply chain headlines

  • Food & Beverage sector sees continued growth and innovation. The F&B industry added 1.4 million new jobs last year, while the use of AI in restaurants shot up by 31.61% according to data from the 2024 StartUs Food & Beverage Report.
  • Over 1/3 of manufacturers struggling with data. A recent Hexagon report found that although manufacturers are increasingly data-focused, many are facing challenges with decision-making.
  • Experts discuss secrets to omnichannel retailing. Omnichannel retail success takes brand strategy, data-driven thinking, and collaboration according to speakers from the Omnichannel Futures 2024 Conference, says Glynn Davis.

How a Niche-market Pioneer Became the #1 Candle Seller on Etsy

Roxie Lubanovic

We recently spoke with Roxie Lubanovic, Co-Founder of Frostbeard Studio – a handmade candle company – to discover what it takes to launch a successful ecommerce business and dominate a niche market.

How has life changed for Roxie Lubanovic since launching an uber-successful handmade candle business?

“As the co-founder of Frostbeard Studio, I’ve navigated our small business from a local artist and farmers market initiative to becoming the best-selling candle business on Etsy, and eventually moving into our own production and retail space. We specialize in creating candles with scents inspired by books and literature – a niche we proudly pioneered.”

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced while growing Frostbeard Studio?

“One of the toughest challenges we encountered was managing logistics as our business grew. Initially, we handled all shipping in-house, which quickly became unsustainable as our customer base expanded. To address this, we transitioned to a fulfilment centre which streamlined our operation, allowing us to focus more on product development and marketing.”

You’re living the dream of every niche ecommerce brand – to what do you attribute your success?

“In terms of business strategies, we’ve maintained a strong DIY ethic which involves making all our candles by hand. We’ve also embraced innovative practices like introducing a new candle scent every month and actively engaging with our community through social media and our website. This approach has not only helped in building a loyal customer base, but also in fostering a strong brand identity centred around the love for books and cosy reading moments.”

What trends do you expect to see in the future of ecommerce?

“I predict that the demand for personalised and niche products (like our literary-inspired candles) will continue to grow. Consumers are increasingly seeking unique products that reflect their individual interests and values, which presents a tremendous opportunity for small businesses. Additionally, sustainability and ethical sourcing will become even more critical in the coming years.”

What are your essential tools for managing the business?

Shopify powers our website and online store. We also use social media management tools to coordinate our marketing efforts and connect with our audience. For project management and team communication, we’ve found Slack and Trello to be invaluable in keeping our small team aligned and productive.”

3 easy ways to slash transportation costs

Kool and the Gang

Team up with your rivals!

To misquote Kool & The Gang’s smash hit: “We gon’ collaborate and have a good time.”  Working together with other businesses in the same or related industries can lead to cost savings for all involved. Share transport routes when delivering to similar locations and split the bill with your new partner(s).

Consolidation and cross-docking

Combine shipments whenever possible to reduce your total number of trips. Fewer trips = lower transportation costs. Consider using cross-docking facilities to cut out the middleman and further reduce your handling time and transport costs.

Embrace cloud technology

That’s right: go hug a robot. Just kidding. We’re referring to the myriad automation tools, (such as route planning software and delivery management software) designed to optimise your delivery routes based on traffic conditions, vehicle capacity, and delivery windows. Check out Capterra for software options and reviews.

Fantasy Bar Fight: RFID Tags vs Barcodes

Barcodes vs RFID tags

Who’s hiring?

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Oliver Munro - Unleashed Software
Oliver Munro

Article by Oliver Munro in collaboration with our team of specialists. Oliver's background is in inventory management and content marketing. He's visited over 50 countries, lived aboard a circus ship, and once completed a Sudoku in under 3 minutes (allegedly).

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