It hurt worse than growing a new beard …
But unlike the discomfort when stubble first pierces a man’s skin, the pain that comes from an ecommerce platform that isn’t reliable — and actually makes it harder to succeed — can’t easily be relieved with a simple beard oil or balm.
“Growing a beard is uncomfortable for a lot of people,” says Ben Chidiac, co-founder of Beard & Blade, an Australian based seller of men’s grooming supplies. “You just have to push through it though knowing it’ll get better with time.”
Unfortunately — for Beard & Blade — life on Magento would not get better with time …
Having become Australia’s leading provider of premium international brands for shaving, beard care, and hair products, Beard & Blade was routinely fielding wholesale requests from barbers, salons, and other retailers who wanted access to high-quality products at competitive wholesale prices.
“Trying to run a wholesale store on Magento is really difficult,” Chidiac says. “It’s not easy to manage and requires a lot of manual work.”
Instead of a single storefront that pulled from a single inventory pool, Beard & Blade says it was required to have two storefronts; a retail store and separate wholesale store — each of which required its own inventory pool because, Chidiac says, Magento would not allow for separate pricing or customer lists without significant customization.
Even worse, when a large wholesale order was placed, not only did Beard & Blade have to manually send wholesale orders to its warehouse for fulfillment, staffers also had to manually update inventory levels on the retail storefront.
“It cost us a lot of time and money,” Chidiac says.
And bear in mind, these laborious and time-consuming tasks were only necessary when Beard & Blade’s Magento site was actually up and working.
Wholesale doesn’t have to be hard
Find out how simple getting your piece of the $7.7 trillion global B2B ecommerce market can be. Launch a wholesale channel from within your existing backend, including:
- Password-protected storefront
- Fully customizable price lists
- Minimum and maximum orders
- Third-party platform integrations
- Flexible payment and negotiation options for customers, and more.
Already on Shopify Plus? Launch wholesale today
Sayonara Snake Oil
On days when sales stagnated …
Chidiac says he and his co-founder, Michael Muscat, assumed the culprit to be Beard & Blade’s Magento site. “We’d be texting each other and wondering whether the site was even working,” Chidiac says. “If sales were abnormally low we just assumed the site wasn’t working.”
It certainly wasn’t what Beard & Blade deserved when you consider that Muscat started the company under a different brand name from his bedroom in 2007, selling beard and shaving products on eBay.
Since then Beard & Blade has scratched and clawed its way to building a multimillion-dollar brand known across Australia for curating only premium-quality products and offering them at affordable prices.
“There’s a lot of snake oil out there — a lot of crap,” says Adriano Salemme, Beard & Blade’s Marketing Chief.
He attributes some of the company’s success to maintaining a focused product range.
“Everything we stock is the best,” Salemme says. “Whether it comes from a large brand or a homebrewer, each and every item we stock has earned its place and complement them with a small number of artisanal products as well.”
It’s why customers have come to trust Beard & Blade and demonstrate it regularly. It’s also why those customers come back to purchase week after week:
If we’re there in the beginning providing advice and value for someone growing a beard or shaving for the first time, it cements trust. The result is an extremely loyal customer who makes repeat purchases.
It hasn’t all been smooth for Beard & Blade, and their success has seen its fair share of rough patches. Over the years, the company has dealt with losing key suppliers and has faced increasing competition from around the world.
Overcoming these challenges has required a lot of trust in the brand’s vision, which has been rewarded by continued loyalty from its customers.
Importantly, Chidiac suggests the adversity has strengthened the company. “Now we know that losing even a major brand isn’t the end of the world for us,” he says. “It really gave us confidence when customers continued to buy from us.”
None of that solved Beard & Blade’s platform troubles though.
Which is why the company migrated from Magento to Shopify Plus in March 2017.
Besides no longer having to worry about whether its site was up and running, replatforming also positioned Beard & Blade to execute an effective multi-channel retailing strategy by offering both a B2C and wholesale portal from a single storefront.
“Switching to Shopify Plus has been remarkable,” Salemme says. "We're doing record sales since switching to Shopify Plus with so much more time and resources available to focus on growing our business. This was unthinkable when we were on Magento."
In fact, since replatforming Beard & Blade has achieved the following:
- Retail sales have increased 35% year over year
- It’s now a multi-million dollar company with a global footprint
In addition to a lightning fast storefront which easily withstood Black Friday traffic spikes, Beard & Blade has automated its order and warehouse workflows, enabling it to offer customers same-day dispatching even during the busiest periods.
Customers noticed immediately,” Salemme says. “The customer experience is 1,000% better.
But what about the company’s new wholesale portal … would growing it now be any less painful than growing a new beard?
How to 5x Your AOV
Aussie barbers wanted Beard & Blade to offer an easy-to-use wholesale portal that would allow them to buy in bulk from a company they trusted. In fact, Beard & Blade’s competitors were already offering wholesale discounts which meant their old wholesale status quo on Magento would have prevented them from competing and possibly result in losing share.
Since replatforming and launching its Shopify Plus wholesale channel, Beard & Blade no longer has to operate a separate wholesale store that pulls from a separate inventory pool.
Likewise, it no longer has to manually enter wholesale orders or adjust inventory levels on its retail site after taking a large wholesale order:
- Beard & Blade uses its existing Shopify Plus retail storefront to offer a branded, self-service wholesale storefront for high-volume buyers to access and order from wherever and whenever they want
- Inventory for wholesale orders is automatically pulled from the same inventory pool that services Beard & Blade’s retail store and is synchronized with orders and customers in one admin for real-time monitoring and analysis
- The turnkey, password-protected wholesale portal allows Beard & Blade to offer different customers custom products or collections at fixed, percentage off, or volume-based pricing with minimum and maximum quantity increments
Importantly, wholesale orders integrate like any other order and automatically enter Beard & Blade’s warehouse workflows to be picked and packed like routine retail orders.
Unlike the company’s experience on Magento, wholesale orders are not disruptive, treated any differently, or require manual attention that can slow and negatively impact the customer experience.
Our wholesale offering has improved dramatically since switching to Shopify Plus,” Salemme says. “Not only is it easier to set up and manage, but customers love being able to log in and track their orders.
Since launching its new wholesale portal nearly a year ago:
- Wholesale revenue has increased 100%
- Wholesale AOV — $296 — is 5x retail AOV — $49
“The wholesale channel is really attractive because it allows us to serve high-volume customers and really helps us grow the top line,” Salemme says. “It’s part of a multi-channel strategy that’s definitely resulting in sustainable growth.”
The switch is also helping Beard & Blade do something it once thought impossible …
Grooming Growth (Both Kinds)
When you cater to men to whom grooming is important ...
It makes sense you might have a beard of your own. You might be surprised then to learn that Chidiac recently shaved off his beard.
“I was getting pretty pale underneath that beard,” Chidiac says with a laugh. “I felt it was time to get some sun on this face.”
With his face sun-kissed and tanned to perfection, Chidiac recently began growing a new beard and is looking more like a co-founder of a fast-growing men’s grooming brand.
Chidiac credits the switch to Shopify Plus with not only allowing him to experiment with different personal grooming looks but also freeing him and his team to innovate.
Not having to worry about our site gave us the time we needed to focus on creating our own line of products,” Chidiac says. “Creating our own brand instead of worrying about our site is priceless.
Now alongside other premium products curated from all over the world, you’ll find Beard & Blade branded oils, shampoos, and shaving kits. Not only are the branded products a point of pride, but potential growth drivers as the company considers the optimal retail-wholesale mix.
“It’s a mistake to blindly throw your entire product catalog onto your wholesale store just because you can,” Chidiac says. “Select only the products that are most likely to be purchased in bulk and will appeal to wholesale customers. It makes for a better customer experience and is really easy to do thanks to Shopify.”
In the end, it seems growing a new beard may still be painful. But launching a robust wholesale channel certainly doesn’t have to be.
Interested in wholesale?
If you’re not on Shopify Plus, find out just how simple getting your piece of the $7.7 trillion global B2B ecommerce market can be.
A password-protected storefront, fully customizable price lists, minimum and maximum orders, third-party platform integrations, flexible payment and negotiation options for customers, and more.
Already on Shopify Plus?