Earlier this year, Volcano Coffee Works was facing a problem: How to deal with the rapid expansion that comes with international acclaim, without sacrificing their core goal of helping customers along every step of their coffee journey. Here’s Emma Loisel, VCW’s co-founder and chair, on how they used Unleashed’s brand new B2B eCommerce store to find a solution that works. For everyone.
At Volcano Coffee Works, we have a mantra. ‘What can we do better today than we did yesterday?’
That means always driving for better outcomes for our clients, their customers and our growers, as well as sustainability across our entire production process. It’s why we train each of our wholesale clients on the best way to serve our coffee, why we only sell fully compostable coffee pods — and why we didn’t want growth to diminish our customers’ satisfaction with our service.
It’s also what led us to first adopt Unleashed Software back in 2015. We used Unleashed’s production module to scale our processes without needing to employ a supply chain expert, and we saved ourselves two days a week in wasted time juggling countless Excel spreadsheets.
“We saved ourselves two days a week in wasted time”
With Excel, managing our growing orders and dispatch volumes had become too complicated. It felt like there was too much room for something to go wrong. With Unleashed, we no longer had this worry — and our existing team were able to deliver quality customer service to more clients than ever before.
New customers, new challenges
In early 2018 our wholesale brand, Assembly Coffee, was voted the Second Most Notable Coffee Roastery in the World by Sprudge. It brought us to the attention of more international customers, particularly across Europe. Volcano Coffee Works’ customer base was also continuing to grow at pace.
Taking care of all our existing customers, new customers and more international orders while maintaining our high customer service standards presented a fresh challenge. We found more and more of our time was devoted to manually taking orders over the phone, and it was harder to allocate our time to the clients that needed it.
VCW’s award-winning coffee
For us, a solution that saved us time instead of creating more work was key. But our phone-based order process wasn’t just time consuming for us. Our wholesale customers also weren’t able to place orders in the way they wanted to: quickly and simply online. If you can book a table at a restaurant in seconds online, why can’t you place your wholesale order in exactly the same way?
So we used Unleashed’s B2B eCommerce store to empower our clients to do exactly that.
Selling more, better
By adopting the B2B store, we were able to get back to spending most of our time on what we do best — supporting our customers, meaning our customers were the real winners. Instead of waiting to call us during office hours, our wholesale customers could place orders whenever and wherever they liked. We’ve noticed the difference, too: in the excellent feedback we’ve had and the satisfaction of having time for all of our clients.
“Our customers were the real winners”
The fact that the B2B store works within the family of technologies we already have, such as Shopify and Xero, was incredibly important too.
When we receive an order from the B2B store, all the details get passed to Unleashed, where they sit alongside our orders from Shopify. The relevant information syncs straight into Xero, saving us a serious accounting headache.
VCW’s inventory integrations
Unleashed’s enthusiasm for acting upon feedback was also really useful. They were always on hand to listen to our comments, and flexible about tweaking the service until it really fitted our business requirements. Plus Bruno and the team at Unleashed went the extra mile to find solutions to some unique ways we work.
For example, at first, we were only able to invite our default contact for each client into the platform. We told Bruno that it’d be better if we could select our own contact to invite — so he accelerated development on that feature to help us out. We needed more text space to explain to our customers that their B2B store orders would still arrive on their usual delivery day, Bruno made more room for us to do just that.
Looking to the future
Our current goal is to get all of our wholesale customers onto the store. We’re confident we’ll be able to leverage even more out of Unleashed in the coming weeks and months. As we continue to grow both in the UK and across Europe, the B2B store will prove invaluable.
“We’ll be able to do even more in the coming weeks and months”
Selling to new markets and customers means the scaling of our business looks set to continue. As long as we continue to focus on doing things better every day — and use Unleashed to keep our orders and inventory management systems running smoothly, at any scale — we’ll be able to continue to grow, while still spending the majority of our time on the things that help our customers be successful.
Find out more about how the B2B eCommerce platform can help improve your customer satisfaction.
Article by Patrick Foot in collaboration with our team of inventory specialists. When he’s not writing about inventory management, he’s busy jet-setting across the globe.