About: Austin Surplus Industrial, Inc. buys and sells a large variety of surplus electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic industrial components and supplies used in various manufacturing plants and industrial installations. Selling as many as 42,000 unique pieces, Austin Surplus needs an ecommerce solution capable of easily and effectively managing and marketing their products.
The Challenge: Austin Surplus needed a cost-effective ecommerce solution that allowed for easy channel integration, product management and numerous customizations to meet the needs of their company and several sales channels. Selling products through eBay and Amazon, as well as their own site, they needed an OMS platform that made updating and managing thousands of SKUs as painless and consistent as possible. After considering other platforms, ASI owner Dan Nicoson realized that Upshot was the only platform that could offer the customizations his business required at an affordable price.
The Process: With limited capital to find the perfect, customized ecommerce solution, Nicoson quickly came to realize that Upshot was the only platform that could provide them with the tools and custom programming they needed to get their business launched. From the outset, Upshot was able to provide those necessary customizations - and has continued to do custom programming as needed to meet changing ecommerce demands.
Seamless channel integration was another essential ecommerce component for ASI, as they have found great success selling through eBay and Amazon storefronts. With Upshot, ASI can coordinate sales across all its storefronts, manage an inventory of over 42,000 unique items, and upload new merchandise without difficulty.
Having a Go-To Person: Nicoson has been in the surplus equipment/parts business for more than twenty years, but with limited IT experience he needed an ecommerce company that could provide technical expertise to help him successfully grow his ecommerce store. In his Upshot Commerce point of contact, he found not only someone who could execute the necessary customizations for ASI, but also a go-to person for IT answers. As Nicoson explains, “if my contact doesn’t have the answer I need, he knows the person to go to who can get my issue resolved.” Having that experienced “go-to” person, providing next-level customer support, has been invaluable over the years. It allows Nicoson to focus on his area of expertise while relying on Upshot to be the “experts” on the ecommerce side of things.
The Result: ASI has used the Upshot platform since 2009, seeing great success across several channels. They continue to coordinate with Upshot for customizations and improvements to their ecommerce solution. Upshot still delivers on affordability and the seamless channel integration the company needs to grow and sustain their business.
In their own words
“Other companies have approached me about switching platforms, but they only offered an out-of-the-box solution that wasn’t what we needed. They haven’t offered the customizations like Upshot has. The customizations have been incredibly helpful.” - Dan Nicoson
About: Cosabella is a global, luxury lingerie company that has brought color and innovation to their industry for over 30 years. From bodysuits in the mid-eighties bringing innerwear out, to ultra-stretch lace bras far too beautiful to be hidden beneath clothing, Cosabella has always been on the forefront of new trends. They believe lingerie should reflect mood and each season bring vibrant, cutting-edge colors into their apparel, reflecting the high-energy, eclectic world. Moving forward with a solid digital platform, they look forward to continuing their story of excellence, ethics and quality.
Challenge: Cosabella needed a platform that could support international storefronts, offer local currency conversions and multiple languages. Moreover, they needed easy-to-use inventory control tools, integration with multiple ERP systems, and dynamic merchandising tools to their vibrant and diverse collections.
Process: As Courtney Connell, E-commerce Manager for Cosabella explains, they were looking for a solution that had the “scalability of Magento but that didn’t require all of the extensions that Magento would need to service our international, omni-channel, dynamic content and marketing needs.” With a checklist of over 100 variables to consider - including managing multiple warehouses, offering multiple languages, merchandising tools, and usability - Upshot was able to build a customized platform that delivered on nearly every metric. As Connell says, “I think most other platforms would have left us wanting more … Upshot left us with so much potential that it will take us a bit to be able to utilize all of the tools at our fingertips.”
Easy to Use and Ready to Go Global: Upshot provided all the necessary tools to allow Cosabella to create and integrate multiple, international storefronts. Their international component was complicated, requiring management for multiple warehouses on different continents, international payment options, and multiple languages to allow ease of browsing for customers. Upshot was able to streamline all these variables, and even created a ‘banner system’ to allow Cosabella to easily change images across sites, so that each region can be localized quickly.
Moreover, multiple storefronts meant an easy-to-use interface was essential. With many components to manage, a straightforward platform that permits quick, consistent updates is key to improving efficiency. “Everything about Upshot from the product onboarding process to the customer service dashboard was created for a fast pace company like us,” Connell says. “The interface is well thought out so that when you need something it’s there.”
Result: Upshot recently launched the redesigned Cosabella.com, as well as a new sister brand CSBLA. In addition to the essential international features and integrations, Connell calls out several other core perks to working with Upshot, including a “robust rewards program, bridal registry, abandoned cart email, review reminder emails, pick up in-store functionality and integration with marketplaces and CSEs”, which reduced Cosabella’s need to work with third party vendors. Additionally, the dynamic content system, allowing Cosabella to manipulate everything by language, currency, or location - including product feeds - with minimal effort offer great opportunities for their marketing and other growth initiatives. Throughout the development process, Cosabella and Upshot worked as a team, seeking creative ways to address issues and develop a dynamic, customized system to meet the company’s needs.
In their Own Words: “Everything about Upshot from the product onboarding process to the customer service dashboard was created for a fast pace company like us. The interface is well thought out so that when you need something it’s there.”
About: J. Stockard Fly Fishing is a leading online retailer of fly fishing and fly tying materials and supplies. Their products include over 10,000 items for fly tying, as well as other fishing items from top suppliers and manufacturers. The company focuses on excellent product selection, competitive prices, and great customer service, delivering merchandise to customers across North America and the globe.
Challenge: J. Stockard Fly Fishing has been using the Upshot platform for over a decade. In 2013, they decided to transition from the original Upshot platform structure to the cloud-based version that offered improved merchandising tools and for complete integration of mission-critical systems. The upgrade would allow for more growth and a more dynamic, website design with desktop and mobile templates, while retaining the essential merchandising tools they’d come to rely on from Upshot. More importantly, it would allow the company to shift operations to one system, streamlining inventory management and order processing.
The Process: After working with Upshot over nearly a decade, making numerous customizations to the initial platform to meet changing demands, J. Stockard realized that an update to their ecommerce system was necessary for growth and to improve inventory processes. The longstanding relationship between Upshot and J. Stockard allowed for essential understandings between the companies throughout the transition. As Kate Vick, co-owner of J. Stockard, explains, Upshot’s focus on speedy, thorough customer service and support made the team “ready to address ANY request we made.”
The updated site design provided more comprehensive product page options. With over 10,000 unique items, it was important for J. Stockard to have useful, easy-to-use tools that would allow them to merchandise individual products, but also create complicated bundles and offer customizations on certain products.
Meeting Front End and Back End Needs: In addition to updating the site’s design and improving speed, J. Stockard transitioned from the Stone Edge Order Manager to using the Upshot Commerce platform for all order management, including backorders, drop ships, and purchase orders. Both the purchase order and backorder extensions integrated completely into the cloud-based platform, allowing the company to rely on Upshot - and eliminate dependence on Stone Edge - for purchase order generation and tracking. The purchase order extension allowed for complete integration of inventory requests into the Upshot system. J. Stockard no longer had to use stand-alone software for purchase orders, saving staff time managing inventory and improving consistency across their system.
The new backorder system allowed J. Stockard to better track and predict merchandise demand and expenses and also streamlined purchasing procedures. These updates resulted in more efficient inventory allocation and more accurate tracking of expenses. The new purchase order and backorder features also allowed for better inventory control. Having the integrated system allows for accurate, real-time inventory levels to be reflected on the site, ultimately reducing the need for backorders.
Result: While challenges arose during the transition process, the end result has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to better merchandising tools, a new mobile template, integrated purchasing and inventory systems, and more that the updated platform provided, J. Stockard took advantage of new opportunities to engage their customers through blogging and posting to social media. With a large, loyal group of customers and fans, this new form of engagement - exemplified by their blog - has driven sales even more. Vick describes the new system as “transformative,” improving sales 30% over the pre-transition site. Upshot and J. Stockard continue to work together to tackle challenges effectively and reach new goals.
In their Own Words: "We’ve worked with Neal for 10+ years and transitioned to their current platform in November 2013 and have been thrilled with the result. The design and implementation was challenging and a lot of work on our part but the new system has been transformative. Our sales for January (our busiest month of the year) were are up over 30% from last year. Again, not all due to US but the new system is certainly a factor. And more importantly, we handled the growth with almost no new staff." - Kate Vick
For a number of years I ran the ecommerce portion of my business using freelance developers to build and maintain my site. And for the most part it worked until my independent contractor let me know that he'd been offered a full time job and I'd need to replace him. I'd been through that exercise a couple of times over the years and I knew how hard it would be to find a reliable replacement. It was time to refresh my site so this time, instead of hiring a freelance team, I went looking for a SAAS solution. After looking at a number of companies I chose Upshot Commerce. Because they're in the business of providing ecommerce sites they already had all the features that I felt were important and unlike hiring a free lance developer I didn't have to worry that my projects are put on the back burner or ignored because another project takes precedence. Besides great service, a responsive team and a very simple UI what I like the most is not having to worry if my site is down or something isn't working. The Upshot Commerce platform seamlessly integrates with our 3PL , giving us an accurate an central system of record across all our channels.
- Steve Sheiner, Nuglow Skin Care, customer since 2012
At first working with any company is a leap of faith. Wondering if they will care as much as you, or get it done is unknown. We have all been burned, and in business that means time and money. Upshot has exceeded my goals in every way. And as a long time user of the platform I can say I have NEVER experienced support, service and after sale care like upshot has provided.
- Scott Burkhead, PR Photos
About the company: PR Photos is a leading independent photographic press agency. They supply high-quality photography to the world's professional media companies on a daily basis. PR Photos has extensive experience covering major entertainment, sports, news, fashion, corporate, and feature events. A great mixture of top industry photographers and dedicated sales people make PR Photos a leader in the Celebrity Stock Photo industry. The company has database of over 2 million images, hundreds of photographers, and a state of the art digital delivery system.
The Challenge: PR Photos needed a platform that would allow for numerous customizations specific to their business - providing celebrity photos for media use, with up to 2,000 images loaded each day and hundreds of photographers submitting reports and commission requests. After working with six previous vendors, the company was looking for a new platform that had all the necessary features to support their business as well as highly capable developers behind the software and ongoing support and service.
The Process: Due to the unique customizations required for their business, PR Photos was looking for a platform that had robust out-of-the box features and a nimble platform that could could meet those needs through supported customization.
After years of working with other platforms that didn't offer all the tools they needed, PR Photos decided to make a change. As CEO and Co-Founder Scott Burkhead explains, "At the beginning upshot was slightly more expensive but had a much greater feature set than the others. In the end after speaking with [Upshot] and understanding that the other companies could not do what I wanted, I came to one conclusion: software is not really about the cost, it is about the support and ability of the developers behind the software."
Support, Support, Support: Although customization was a primary concern when looking for a new ecommerce platform, strong talent and support behind the platform were also essential. Over the near decade and a half that PR Photos has relied on Upshot, the support and service have remained consistent. As Burkhead says, "As a long time user of the platform I can say I have NEVER experienced support, service and after sale care like Upshot has provided." Upshot remains committed to supporting our clients long after installation and site launch, providing updates and new features on an ongoing basis - both customized solutions based on client request and ecommerce improvements that benefit all of our clients.
The Result: PR Photos has been using the Upshot platform for 14 years and remains continually satisfied. As Burkhead explains, "I have a partner that I can trust. I can trust that the job will get done and that it will be done well. If I need advice I will get reasonable and thoughtful advice. " Since transitioning to the Upshot platform, PR Photos has published more than 35 million images, with an active database of more than 2 million photos. Upshot easily handles the complexities of their system and offers reliable tools for their group of independent photographers to provide material, report, and receive commission.
Upshot Commerce Solutions Used:
Established in 1994, Sideshow Collectibles is a specialty manufacturer and distributor of high-end licensed and proprietary collectible products. They serve a passionate community of more than 212,000 users in 123 countries. Their development team creates original designs and intricately detailed likenesses of popular characters from highly recognized brands, such as Star Wars, Marvel, DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings, and more. Sideshow is regularly recognized for the quality and authenticity of designs, including “Best of the Year” distinctions, by national trade and specialty publications.
After cultivating a strong ecommerce market and devoted, passionate customer base, Sideshow began looking for ways leverage information to better target their customers. They decided to integrate an on-site marketing layer - AddShoppers - to better understand customer browsing and purchase behavior. Upshot provided the tools to develop that on-site layer of engagement to fit Sideshow's business needs; AddShoppers provided the tools to engage site visitors, measure activity, and grow sales.
Sideshow Collectibles began working with Upshot (formerly Make-A-Store) in 1999, taking advantage of platform customizations to allow for effective presentation of their unique merchandise. The close relationship that developed between the companies has allowed Upshot to thoroughly understand Sideshow’s evolving business needs, working together to develop the tools necessary to allow Sidedshow to grow, and providing ongiong exceptional service and support. As Chris Pirrotta, Director of Ecommerce for Sideshow explains, despite their complex database and merchandising needs, “We’ve never had any limitations to our software. That has been extremely effective in our market, allowing us to adjust quickly. The level of support has been above and beyond.”
The numerous merchandising tools available to Sideshow through Upshot - from core platform components to existing extensions to newly-developed features - have allowed them to cultivate a large, passionate customer base. Sideshow is able to manipulate their databases daily, making adjustments based on customer behavior, and keep inventory fresh and accurate - it’s flexibility they can’t get from any other platform. As Pirrotta says, Sideshow “doesn’t consider looking anywhere else because the [Upshot] platform is so great.” The company has utilized these tools and customer passion over the years to their advantage, developing a rewards program, and building a successful affiliate program that allowed Sideshow to expand internationally.
Sideshow had already taken numerous steps to leverage its large, passionate customer base. Partnering with AddShoppers and integrating their software into Upshot was a logical next step. Having an on-site marketing layer allows for instant social feedback from their highly-passionate customers. Customers can share finds and purchases with friends, generating excitement that is critical to the success of Sideshow.
Facebook integration has also proved highly useful for Sideshow, especially in partnering with AddShoppers. In addition to incentivizing Facebook sharing, the Want/Own buttons help increase and deepen customer engagement with Sideshow. With AddShoppers Sideshow has been able to identify influential fans, observe their behavior to better understand their browsing habits and develop and adapt marketing strategies based on more comprehensive information about fan behavior.
Since Sideshow Collectibles launched with AddShoppers in May of 2014, they have identified nearly 5,000 social influencers and analyzed their sharing habits to better understand the role social media plays in the Sideshow customer experience. Over the last year, the top 500 products have been shared 979 times, primarily on Facebook (75%) but also via Google+, email, and Pinterest. Reporting available through AddShoppers indicates the majority of Facebook engagement comes from the “Like” button on the product page (12,000+ Likes across all products), but customers also utilize the Want/Own options (3,195 and 576, respectively), and post products to their personal Facebook pages (5,757 posts).
Analysis from AddShoppers indicates that conversion is most successful when items are shared via email (16%), though Google+ resulted in conversion 3% of the time, and Facebook with 1% of shares - figures consistent with AddShoppers 2014 Social Commerce Breakdown. One of the most commonly shared pages, for a sixth scale figure of Marvel character Deadpool, was shared by identified influencers 125 times, generated over 7,000 clicks and 194 orders sitewide, with an AOV resulting from shares of $422.
Working with both Upshot and AddShoppers has proved successful and painless for Sideshow. As Pirrotta explains, both Upshot and AddShoppers have “always been extremely effective in communication, providing timely and quick responses to issues.” Upshot provides “personal and intimate support from the team, with a history of responding to needs as they come up,” while getting a response from AddShoppers has been equally painless - “When you want an answer, they have it for you almost immediately.”
Over the last 16 years, working with Upshot has allowed Sideshow Collectibles to craft an ecommerce platform ideally suited to fit their business needs - from social log-in, to Want/Own buttons, to an affiliate program that allowed for growth internationally, to a rewards program built with Sideshow customers in mind. All these tools were integrated with an easy-to-use backend toolkit that allows Sideshow to manipulate their databases daily, responding to changes and trends in their market. Partnership with AddShoppers has assisted Sideshow in better understanding customer data and browsing behavior, and allowed them to make informed marketing decisions and increase social engagement across their growing customer base.
AddShoppers powers social commerce for over 10,000 brands including The Economist, NCR, O’Neill Clothing, Everlast, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With just a few snippets of code, marketers are empowered with accurate revenue attribution, exportable lists of purchase influencers, and easy to create referral marketing campaigns including Refer-A-Friend, Social Rewards, and more. With AddShoppers it’s easy to collect more emails with dynamic targeted Smart Offers plus our Smart Social Sharing Buttons are built to enhance your email marketing and retargeting campaigns with powerful social data.
Upshot Commerce provides a comprehensive platform with robust, enterprise-ready features and best practices for Direct-To-Consumer and B2B e-commerce. Our solutions come standard with tools to control, manage and automate inventory, order management, fulfillment and warehousing, customer information, analytics, SEO, product information, merchandising and faceted navigation, and more.
Upshot Commerce has been in business for 20 years, with hundreds of clients, millions of transactions per month, over a billion in sales processed. We approach each customer as a partner and the results speak for themselves: When the average online retailer changes platforms every 4 years, our average customer has been with us 7 and a half years and some as long as 18.
Tea Collection brings worldwide cultures and modern design to children's fashion. Twice each year they pack their bags, travel the globe, explore and discover, and then bring it all home in original designs that express the spirit of adventuring abroad. The name of the company comes from the drink, as tea is shared in nearly every culture around the world. The company values sharing discoveries and encouraging adventure.
As a company that puts great value in taking adventures and trying out new ideas, Tea is constantly looking for ways to engage customers and promote their products in unique ways. Upshot is the perfect partner to help them develop and deploy new tools to reach their audience, share their adventures , and spread their brand.
Tea has worked with Upshot Commerce since 2009 and this partnership allows for great mutual understanding of the priorities and skills of each company. This relationship helps Upshot understand the marketing and other aims Tea has in mind when developing new tools, such as the Lookbook, Shop Our Gallery, or Pinboard Wish List. Over the years, the focus has been on how - from a platform perspective - Upshot can provide new, dynamic ways to appeal to and attract customers, driving sales and engagement with customers on social media and beyond.
Shopping the Look Goes Social
With vibrant and exciting designs, Tea wanted new ways to help customers find their perfect look - and make the experience more social. For customers who arrived to the site knowing what they wanted, Upshot offered easy-to-use tools to make it easy for Tea to merchandise those items and for customers to find them using search terms and filters. For customers in search of nothing specific, Upshot designed two solutions - the Lookbook and the Match Maker. The Lookbook allows customers to browse and buy complete looks from a single page, capitalizing on a natural cross-sell opportunity. The Match Maker allows customers to mix and match outfit components (such as swimsuit tops and bottoms) to find their favorite look and make their Tea experience their own.
To provide an opportunity for Tea customers to engage with others and share how they wear Tea apparel in the real world, Upshot developed a means for customers to browse and shop looks from social media pictures posted by fellow Tea fans. Integrating with Olapic, the photo gallery shares images tagged with one of several hashtags, such as #teacollection, from various social media sources. This innovative Shop Our Gallery feature provides customers with a sense of their place within the Tea community, gives them an opportunity to share their Tea adventures, and easily buy the featured items.
Social Wishes and Reviews
Looking to offer innovative ways for customers to see and share Tea Collection merchandise, Tea and Upshot worked together to create a Pinboard Wishlist. This update to the traditional model allows people to socially share images of items they add to a wishlist.
Additionally, Upshot integration with Facebook - and an active social media presence with over 179,000 fans - help Tea spread new collections and merchandise among customers and fans. Monthly photo contests highlight people taking the clothes into the real world, while a recent Facebook review contest encouraged fans to write and share reviews on recent purchases. As with the Shop this Gallery feature, social reviews help customers find their place within the greater Tea community.
Working together, Upshot and Tea have developed numerous, innovative merchandising tools over the years. As a fully customizable platform, Upshot can capitalize on opportunities to grow and evolve in response to new ecommerce demands. Tea remains committed to taking adventures to find inspiration for their dynamic, vibrant collections, and Upshot remains committed to supporting them so they can expand, remain successful, and continue to blaze new trails.
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Upshot Commerce provides a comprehensive platform with robust, enterprise-ready features and best practices for Direct-To-Consumer and B2B e-commerce. Our solutions come standard with tools to control, manage and automate inventory, order management, fulfillment and warehousing, customer information, analytics, SEO, product information, merchandising and faceted navigation, and more. These components come as an integral part of the platform, while with other vendors, they often are through third party providers and with extra cost and headaches. Our platform also integrates exceptionally well with ERPs and 3PLs and contains a rich Restful API to provide a seamless, automated workflow for you enterprise.
Upshot Commerce has been in business for 20 years, with hundreds of clients, millions of transactions per month, over a billion in sales processed. A key aspect that sets us apart is how we approach each customer as a partner. The results speak for themselves: When the average online retailer changes platforms every 4 years, our average customer has been with us 7 and a half years and some as long as 18.