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Success Story: How Goorin Bros Took Ship-from-Store ‘from Zero to 60%’ of Units Sold

Success Story is a Sourcing Journal feature highlighting innovative solutions across all areas of the supply chain.

The complexity of upgrading technologies may seem like a daunting task for smaller, traditional brands that don’t often budget for them, but as shopper habits continually shift, this change is a necessity in a post-pandemic world. In 2020, Goorin Bros, a family-owned retailer that has designed and sold premium headwear for over 125 years, felt it was time to unify its brand experience across its 28 premium shops and e-commerce site via the “Goorin 2.0” initiative.

At the center of Goorin 2.0, starting in March, was the implementation of the NewStore platform, which was aimed at modernizing the retailer’s direct-to-consumer capabilities, particularly in areas such as inventory management, omnichannel fulfillment and virtual selling.

The NewStore solution has provided Goorin Bros with benefits throughout the year, particularly when it temporarily closed its stores due to the coronavirus crisis, but the most significant boost came during the holidays. In the fourth quarter, 60 percent of units shipped were fulfilled from Goorin Bros stores, with 53 percent of total sales coming from this merchandise. Instead of canceling an online order because its third-party logistics (3PL) provider was out of stock, the retailer views the inventory for the store closest to the customer’s zip code and moves it from there.

Aaron Wyse, controller at Goorin Bros, described the process as “going from zero to 60 percent,” in that prior to working with NewStore, the hat seller wasn’t shipping any products from stores. Now, Goorin drop ships its hats and other products—like premium accessories including facemasks, feather and bags to carry the hats—to its stores depending on proximity.

“It’s helped us receive inventory faster. It was going to take three weeks or so for a 3PL to pick a product up, and for us the reality was we didn’t have three weeks in the holiday season for certain campaigns,” Wyse told Sourcing Journal. “I think that’s ultimately what saved us from what could have been a really dire Q4 in a difficult year.”

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Through the pandemic, NewStore’s omnichannel platform for store fulfillment has seen a marked increase in usage, with CEO Stephan Schambach noting that 100 percent of the company’s brand customers now use the platform to ship products from their stores.

On top of clearing out more stock from the stores, Goorin has been able to fulfill more high-priced items due to gaining a better understanding of individual consumers and their shopping interests. Goorin is still scratching the surface of its consumer data, Wyse said, but the company is analyzing more purchase-based data to see where its biggest and most loyal customers are buying, and ultimately using it to determine the merchandising makeup of its individual stores.

For example, the company’s Atlanta store is one of its most prestigious locations, making it a prime candidate to push some of its higher-priced fedoras, which can range anywhere from $250 to $350 per hat.

“Before, we’d always kind of go by gut instincts about these things, but now that we have a lot of data that’s very clear, sometimes it tells us that we don’t like to hear,” said Wyse. “We may have these great product ideas and they just fall flat and we didn’t want to recognize that. Looking at the data, it offers you a clear view of what is working, and it’s useful for us to see where we can target our customers better. While we may have had these ideas, seeing what’s actually happening is helping us think about things smarter, and not so much from an emotional perspective.”

The emotional aspect is admittedly important for an older business, one which has roots dating all the way back to 1885, when it was by artisan hatmaker Cassel Goorin who sold his craft on horseback. Today, Cassel’s great-grandson, a fourth-generation hatter, runs the company.

Goorin and its customers are benefitting from the value of an end-to-end omnichannel platform. Omni order management makes it possible to buy from anywhere and ship from anywhere, including fulfillment options such as buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS), ship from store, and more. It also allows for more efficient inventory management from a mobile point of service with endless aisle, mobile checkout, and clienteling, resulting in higher transaction sizes across channels.

Prior to working with NewStore, Wyse described the company’s POS system as “very archaic” and “complicated,” with the complexity of the system resulting in incorrect reporting and thus, poor decision making.

To get “Goorin 2.0” on the right foot, the retailer needed to eliminate the overhead of people constantly needing to address problems, especially those related to integrations and data between the brand’s POS and ERP. With the deployment of iPhones and iPads within every store, employees across its stores and supply chain could now get a more detailed insight into where products exist at all times through just the tap of a select few buttons.

And since October, Goorin Bros has been leveraging NewStore’s remote selling capabilities, which have further helped the company engage with shoppers through social media during the pandemic. With the mobile technology, Goorin’s store associates are hosting frequent Instagram Live videos to show off new arrivals. Instead of directing customers to the website to buy the hat, associates are sending NewStore Checkout links in the Instagram Live chat.

Wyse said this selling method was beneficial throughout the holiday season, not only in getting closer with consumers, but also selling its more popular higher-priced, wide-brimmed hats as well.

“There’s a higher price point on remote selling. For our virtual selling channel, the three top-selling SKUs are from our higher price points. They’re not typically buying ball caps through virtual selling,” Wyse said.