StoreFeeder is one of the gems of the multichannel ecommerce world, built by people who run ecommerce, it was built to solve their real life needs and their ethos is to have all the functionality you need built in without the need for third party plugins or paying for additional features. And, although fully featured it’s designed so you can get your staff picking and packing orders within five minutes of being introduced to StoreFeeder. It might be complex under the bonnet, but it’s designed for ease of use.
We asked Nick McCaffery, StoreFeeder Marketing and Partnerships Manager, to tell us more:
Who are StoreFeeder
The early years
StoreFeeder began, like all great inventions, through necessity. Our founder, Brian Williamson and our operations manager Ian Dade, worked for a third-party logistics company. The boss of that company rightly thought that there must be a software solution to operational problems within the business’s warehousing, stock management and despatch elements. Brian was tasked with developing a solution that would enable stock management and reduce picking and despatch errors.
After a lot of hard work and probably a few mugs of tea, assisted by Ian’s knowledge of warehouses, Brian created intuitive software that worked well, within a busy warehouse environment.
The software was called Meads Connect and went into active service upon completion. Rather than tinker and code and hold back for something perfect, Brian put the software to work and corrected any bugs or issues as the software was used in the real-world environment.
This method of sprint-based updates has continued and is still practised today. Meads Connect, as the platform was initially known, worked so well that a separate company was formed to take this platform to market, and StoreFeeder was born.
With the evolution of APIs for marketplaces and couriers, the inevitable next step was for the team to begin integrating Meads Connect into the most popular marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and couriers such as Royal Mail and DPD.
In 2012 Meads Connect officially became StoreFeeder. We were building a core base of customers who were blazing a trail in online marketplace trading. Our focus became customer based. StoreFeeders’ mission was to ensure that all software updates brought our customers advantages and made their online businesses more efficient and easier to run.
Success catches Royal Mail attention
At this point, we realised that part of the StoreFeeder ethos was to give entrepreneurs the tools to work on the business, not in the business. A stable, high-performing platform with an eye on efficiency soon caught the eye of Royal Mail. We were asked to look at a project to create a portal that would allow Royal Mail customers to print Royal Mail labels from home.
The project became Click & Drop and we set to work delivering this platform for Royal Mail. Our work ethic enabled us to deliver the project under budget and a week or two ahead of schedule. As with StoreFeeder, Click & Drop went to the market and has a sprint cycle similar to our leading platform. The idea is that we make the platform more accessible and add new features as required and in accordance with the customer’s needs.
We pride ourselves on that. All the changes we make, the improvements and additions are all customer-led—the success of that platform led to Royal Mail acquiring StoreFeeder in February 2015. We are very much customer-led when it comes to developing both platforms.
What does StoreFeeder do?
StoreFeeder comprises a group of coders, support staff and onboarding engineers. Its core motivation is to provide a robust, feature-rich software platform that helps merchants manage their online stores and marketplaces and their dispatch process and warehousing.
So, unlike other multi-channel management platforms, StoreFeeder is built by people with the same pain points as our customers. What are they? Order fulfilment, stock management and keeping track of orders.
Nothing will turn a customer off more than letting them down by failing to fulfil an order. This can be because the order was missed, or stock has been oversold, and the items are not there. Errors like that can be terminal for a business.
On the flip side, if the business is doing well, growth can only be achieved by efficiently fulfilling orders. StoreFeeder does precisely that. All your orders from marketplaces or web stores are in the same place. Coming from third-party logistics, we had to manage many companies’ orders, and there were no margins for error. That is the environment in which StoreFeeder was born. So, orders and stock levels are intricately linked, and stock levels are reduced accordingly as the orders are placed. All products can be managed using out-of-stock thresholds. This ensures that customers are not disappointed during the eCommerce busy periods, such as Black Friday and the boom time that is Q4, and all in-stock orders are fulfilled.
Getting the orders in and processed is one thing; picking them and packing them is another. This is where we feel we excel. StoreFeeder will hold warehouse location information, map your warehouse, and create pick lists that give your picking team the most effective route around the warehouse. We also have the ability to reverse picking lists so that teams cross over instead of following each other around the warehouse.
We have the StoreFeeder app. A tool that was developed with a standard that we call the five-minute rule. Put simply, after basic orientation, a picker using the app (android or apple, can be used on a phone or PDA) should be able to go and complete a pick list unaided after being on site for five minutes. The app will guide pickers to the location and will provide images of the product being picked. A tool like this is invaluable when temporary or agency staff are required.
Once the orders get to the packing bench, we have tools like barcode despatch and shipping rules that take most of the manual processing away from the packing bench. Packers can scan the item, and StoreFeeder will generate the correct label from the suitable courier speeding up packing times and reducing errors.
If we had to put this in a nutshell, we’d say that StoreFeeder is an end-to-end eCommerce management solution. We haven’t mentioned invoicing, purchase orders or multiple stock locations. There is a lot to discover on a platform that has been developed over the past 12 years with the sole purpose of helping merchants manage and grow their businesses.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
We know that this is a very competitive industry and that some very respected companies are doing something similar work to StoreFeeder. We believe that there are a few things that set us apart.
The first is that StoreFeeder is a complete out-of-the-box solution, the core functionality that you need, you get from the subscription fee. Our customers do not need to buy extra subscriptions for functionality that we believe should be included.
Having the services we provide inbuilt enables us to control the platform totally. And from a budget point of view, you pay for your StoreFeeder subscription, and the tools are all there. There are no third parties.
Our next point of difference would be our onboarding. This team has been a core part of the StoreFeeder system. StoreFeeder isn’t just a piece of Software; if the platform is set up as it should be, it becomes a team member. Automating and speeding up many of the tasks that are both mundane and time-consuming to do on a manual basis. Therefore, we must guide our customers through this process in the best way possible.
The onboarding team are aware of the platform’s impact on a business and therefore takes their duty of care towards customers very seriously. Consequently, we ensure that a customer onboarding tech is with them throughout the process. One person helps the customer through the StoreFeeder journey. That’s one point of contact, a contact who has the customer’s business and the success of that business as their core focus. We never expect a customer to ‘get in and drive’.
How can you accelerate my growth?
StoreFeeder makes the mundane, manual, time-consuming but business-critical tasks simple. It automates order downloads and label generation and has one of the most straightforward but most intricate and effective WMS systems built in.
The platform’s effectiveness is down to the team that created and continues to develop it. For example, the average length of time a team member stays with StoreFeeder is 5.5 years. However, 90% of the core team from the start-up are still with us.
Customers who join us see, on average, from their first 12 months up until their last 12 months, 27% growth across the business. It’s not just jingoism; we take our customers seriously and want to see their businesses grow.
Service-wise, we treat people with respect and care about their business; it shows. People believe that our Trustpilot is rigged; it’s real. We have to ensure that our customers get the best setup and training they can, followed by patient and understanding support. We believe that is why they see the growth they do. I don’t think it would be improper to say that we see our customers as partners; their success fuels ours, and no software platform like StoreFeeder would exist without the people using it.
Case Study -Twinings
Twinings, the international tea company which opened its first shop on the Strand in London in 1706 and which is still open today, wanted to grow its online business while streamlining its delivery and distribution elements. It had decided to migrate to Shopify, the eCommerce platform which would support this online expansion strategy.
Twinings needed the ability to have an easy pick and pack warehouse operation and to find a company that would act as a partner and work with specific mail carriers to enable a smooth customer delivery operation.
Twinings found StoreFeeder through Shopify’s partner programme. StoreFeeder stood out as it had established engagements with multiple carriers, the system was easy to set up, it was competitively priced and StoreFeeder could work with Twinings to support the business’s needs. StoreFeeder enables Twinings to control all of its channels in one dashboard and integrates all the couriers with set rules so that the manual process of assigning shipping to orders is no longer necessary. It is also geared up to meet future opportunities. The StoreFeeder solution has also enabled Twinings to review how to pick and pack more efficiently and will help save money long term.
“The thorough onboarding process was simple and easy, StoreFeeder was able to take our issues and provide easy solutions and translate between our systems. Although the solution has been fabulous, I’ve been most impressed with StoreFeeder’s team. It’s a great company to partner with and we see this as a partner who will support us in the future.”
Charlotte Stephens l eCommerce Manager l R. Twining and Company Ltd.
At a glance
- Developing a more efficient and profitable online business model
- Streamlining order fulfilment and dispatch
- Finding a less labour intensive system
- Creating a future proof model that will support future growth
- The staff and support are excellent
- Stress removed from the order processing system
- Saved hours of time and money
- Confidence restored as the system works
What should I do next?
We hope that article has given people an insight into StoreFeeder, our platform and our values. If people what to see accelerated growth, if they want to be seen as a partner, not as a customer, if they want to start working on the business instead of in the business, you can contact us here: https://StoreFeeder.com/contact/
If you want to see how StoreFeeder works first hand you can book a demo here: https://StoreFeeder.com/book-a-demo/
Or people can go old school and call us. We always answer and are a friendly bunch: 0115 784 2150.