Success Story is a Sourcing Journal feature highlighting innovative solutions across all areas of the apparel and footwear supply chain.
In the Amazon Age, e-commerce brands must grapple with exceedingly high delivery expectations. If they don’t meet these standards, they may encounter a barrage of complaints like “When is my order shipping?” and “Where is my order?” that could scare consumers away for good.
As a burgeoning brand offering approximately 140 sock designs across themes like animals, food and sports, Socky Sock knows that as orders increase, the pressure is on to ensure shipments will still leave the warehouse within one day of purchase.
With this consistent shipping cadence in jeopardy, the brand knew it must outsource its fulfillment capabilities to a more robust business that handled all ends of warehousing. That’s when Socky Sock turned to order fulfillment services platform ShipMonk to host its product, giving the direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand added insight into its inventory levels across facilities and getting its merchandise closer to end consumers.
“We have more repeat sales than ever before” since deploying ShipMonk in 2019, said Brendan Brosnan, Socky Sock co-founder. He attributed the recurring sales to word of mouth as more consumers had a positive ordering experience with the brand.
Brosnan, who co-founded Socky Sock alongside three other e-commerce brands, is aware of the arduous requirements that come with running a DTC business. While most of the company’s domestic orders currently ship to the consumer within an average three-to-seven days, he acknowledged that Amazon has set a standard that his own brand must strive to replicate.
“When we initially started in e-commerce a few years ago, we would inform the customer during pre-sale communication that shipping was going take a while. What we quickly found is that customers don’t want to come back if they initially find out shipping takes long,” said Brosnan. “If every piece isn’t there, a customer is not going to order from you again. And shipping is a massive part of that.”
The brand, which sells socks bearing graphics including Pac-Man characters, pool balls and musical notes, leverages three of ShipMonk’s distribution centers to scale shipping nationwide. Most of the product is shipped to a facility in Pittston, Penn. about 115 miles from Socky Sock’s headquarters with the remainder going to warehouses in Louisville, Ky. and Los Angeles.
ShipMonk’s fulfillment technology syncs with Socky Sock’s online shopping cart to automatically import orders, enabling the brand to always ship inventory to the proper warehouse that offers the quickest turnaround time. Currently, ShipMonk has seven warehouses in the U.S., as well as one each in the U.K., Canada and Mexico. The company is currently building warehouses in Texas and Europe.
As shipping gets faster, customer service gets smoother
Socky Sock gained another significant benefit from the ShipMonk partnership. As insights into inventory rose, service inquiries from customers concerned about their shipment dropped.
“Having fast shipping times drastically decreases customer service volume,” Brosnan said. “Before when we had longer shipping times, our tickets were way higher. We had to spend more money on customer service, because of the delays in shipping and not having tracking numbers right away. Now, with ShipMonk, we get tracking numbers within 24 hours.”
Brosnan said that even as order volume has increased, customer service tickets have still decreased as the brand is now able to address primary customer concerns immediately.
This has both decreased the time taken per customer service inquiry, and enabled the staff to instead focus more on revenue-driving activities within the Socky Sock business, including making new products and launching marketing campaigns.
“The older that we’ve gotten, we’ve realized that you might not see the effect of delivering a good experience in terms of direct revenue or direct return on investment right away,” Brosnan said. “But we’ve seen that the longer we continue to run this and continue to grow, the more the effect of having good service compounds over time.”
With more reliable fulfillment shaping up as the company expands, Socky Sock can better build out its monthly sock subscription service. Brosnan said the ShipMonk software makes it easier for the brand to ensure that the SKUs delivered each month are different.
“That’s an area of our business that we’re working on growing this year—we’re trying to get more recurring revenue and be less reliant on having to run digital ads in order to drive sales,” Brosnan said. “We’re trying to continue to shift to organic sales, while still having a focus on paid advertising, but at the same time we want to shift a greater percentage to recurring revenue.”