How Snow Peak gained visibility by opting for best-in-class tech stack
Creative ideas often stem from distraught situations and lack of resources.
Snow Peak was founded in 1958 after Yukio Yamai found solace in mountaineering after WWII. He created his own crampon in Niigata, Japan–an area known for its metalworking–after not finding equipment on the market he liked.
While Snow Peak started as a mountaineering brand, when Tohru Yamai–Yukio’s son–graduated from business school, he decided to make family camping gear with unique designs. A generation later, Tohru’s daughter–Lisa Yamai–introduced Snow Peak’s apparel line, and three generations of intelligent outdoor design were introduced to the world.
Under their Japanese parent company, Snow Peak soon found themselves juggling equipment and apparel sold online, via wholesale, and in two brick-and-mortar stores. Their complex workflow was not sustainable, and Snow Peak soon discovered they needed to revise their multichannel operations.
With three different sales channels, a booming business, and eager customers, Snow Peak realized they were having trouble understanding what inventory they had, and where it was at any given time. Because their inventory was held on one server with limited access, it made it difficult to track committed inventory. Snow Peak wanted to do more with their business, and the lack of visibility with their current tech stack made for disparate data, the inability to hold multiple warehouses, and manual uploads of inventory into their systems.
Disparate data and inaccurate stock take time to reconcile, and when you have other priorities such as growing the business, time isn’t something to play around with. Additionally, the inability for multiple users to easily figure out where product is at any given time wasn’t going to fly. With multiple warehouses and customer demand, Snow Peak searched for a flexible solution that would allow them to experiment and grow while pushing the business forward.
The Snow Peak team wanted the ability to react to whatever market opportunity they desired and decided that moving from a full ERP system to a cloud-based best-in-class model would allow them to do so. With the Snow Peak team’s need to expand to multiple brick-and-mortar locations and sell wholesale, they were looking for systems that would foster that growth.
“It was kind of frustrating to have several different systems and to be constantly uploading inventory into our systems which typically resulted in our inventory being wrong.” — Ross Halbach, CFO at Snow Peak
In refiguring their operations, Snow Peak decided on the best-in-class solution, which allowed them to pick and choose the strongest, most agile tools on the market. Snow Peak held onto their Sage accounting module, opted for Shopify for ecommerce, and Shopify POS for their brick-and-mortar retail locations.
By using Shopify POS, Snow Peak is able to unify its customer experience. Snow Peak’s gift cards can be used in-store or online, and the integration with Shopify POS allows Snow Peak to easily sync their sales channels and ensure that their workflow remains seamless from the moment a customer decides to purchase an item.
“We had our website on Shopify, so transitioning to Shopify POS was about having a unified customer experience” – Ross Halbach, CFO at Snow Peak
Partnering with Stitch
Snow Peak’s multichannel operations require a system where all inventory and operations pass through it. “Now we can go through Stitch for both Shopify stores so everything runs through one unified platform,” notes Ross. By streamlining their operations, Snow Peak has maintained greater accuracy, in one place.
“Stitch has given us greater accuracy and is a better tool to use. Most of the work we do is the same general process that we did before, but now, we can do it all in one place and we have better visibility and accessibility to our data.” — Ross Halbach, CFO at Snow Peak
Besides the increased visibility and accuracy, Snow Peak went with Stitch because of the partnership they experienced during the sales process:
“I think what Stitch had going for them is it feels like a real company of people along with a relational community that you’re connecting with and feel support from.” — Ross Halbach, CFO at Snow Peak
The partnership component is imperative to Snow Peak because it allows them not to worry about any updates the rest of their tech stack might have. Because Stitch works closely with Shopify as a preferred partner, the improvements they make align directly with Stitch; when Shopify multilocation rolled out, we acted as a liaison between our tech partners and our customers to ensure they were getting the functionality and support they need.
“A big win for us was in regards to our roll out with Shopify multilocation. That’s why Stitch has been really great for us: it’s the continual work we’ve been able to do with them and the support they’ve given as different questions come up.” — Ross Halbach, CFO at Snow Peak
As a modern, high-growth brand, Snow Peak likes to do things differently. Having their sales channels flow through one platform is imperative to their brand operations.
An added component that Snow Peak was unaware of that Stitch offers is the ability to virtually bundle items to run their business more smoothly. Because many of Snow Peak’s products are modular systems, it can be difficult to translate how they all fit together in the US market, after being shipped from Japan.
With Stitch, Snow Peak is able to:
- Operate flexibly with a best-in-class model
- Gain visibility and accuracy into what inventory is where at any given time
- Partner with Stitch knowing that we will grow alongside their operational needs
- Bundle the modular items they sell to better serve the US market
We know big plans are brewing for the Snow Peak team, and we’re honored to be apart of their operational backbone.
At Stitch, we’re dedicated to supporting modern, high-growth brands like Snow Peak. To gear up for your next outdoor adventure–whether it be mountaineering or a family outing–visit www.snowpeak.com.
“We've benefited a lot from collaborations and partnerships and Stitch has been a key one for us.”
Ross Halbach, CFO at Snow Peak | Snow Peak