How SpiritHoods overcame overselling on limited release product
Saving the world one hoodie at a time, SpiritHoods has been creating innovative faux-fur hoodies since 2011, and protecting the world’s most endangered species simultaneously. Founder Alexander Mendeluk created this niche market for festival-lovers and animal-lovers alike. The brand is now a symbol of social entrepreneurship–originally featured on Shark Tank, their products are now popping up at festivals all over the country.
Pretty soon, the company started to grow–and quickly. But with scaling comes inevitable inventory issues, especially if you’re a brand that sells a limited amount of product with high demand.
SpiritHoods operates heavily on a limited-release model to their followers; whenever new product is released, it sells out within seconds of it being available online. While this may seem like a brand’s dream, it can cause plenty of issues on the backend.
While having limited edition releases can be excellent for their business as a whole, it can certainly create inventory challenges that can set them back significantly. Tasha Hanes, the Director of Operations at SpiritHoods recounts trying a number of different solutions, including management techniques like manual reconciliation and pre-orders.
However, the pre-order workflow would be messy and they’d have no visibility into their inventory. In addition to their intermittent product releases, the overselling that SpiritHoods was experiencing started to negatively impact their customer experience:
“We have new product releases every Tuesday and Thursday and it’s a unisex brand. A key thing for us was finding a way to tie the men’s inventory to the women’s inventory. Everything is unisex. We needed something like Stitch so everything was pulling from the same place.”
With a limited number of unisex product, having already tried various inventory management systems, management systems they tried to engineer themselves, Hanes began to experience incredible stress surrounding customers’ orders.
Not only were customers upset because of delayed orders, but they would oversell on the limited edition items that were so highly coveted. “We were disappointing a lot of people by not being able to fulfill the orders,” commented Matt Gavin, Shipping Manager at Spirithoods. In the competitive landscape of online retail today, customer retention is already a huge challenge.
Migrating to Stitch
SpiritHoods migrated to Stitch, a newer version of Stitch’s inventory and order management software, in early 2018 and immediately began seeing improvement.
SpiritHoods had a massive need for maintaining real-time visibility into their inventory when exhibiting their limited-release product and pre-order campaigns. With Stitch, they are no longer finding discrepancies in their inventory, and are successfully avoiding overselling on product that they used to.
Before Stitch, if someone ordered two items and only one was available, they were unable to release the item that was readily available. This meant that Matt Gavin, the Shipping Manager, would have to manually split the orders himself, simultaneously dealing with a long list of angry customers. The worst part was, since they’d oversell on the limited release items, many of those customers wouldn’t receive that item anyway.
“Since we switched to Stitch X, we’ve had multiple releases that have had under 10 units. And, we haven’t had any oversell, which is really great.” – Tasha Hanes, Director of Operations
Besides avoiding manual inventory count with Stitch, Spirithoods has eliminated unhappy customers through automated backorder management, and avoiding backorders altogether which has allowed them to venture into new opportunities.
“I mean, that was huge for us, especially as we’re getting ready to do wholesale again. And, that’s now giving us that ability to book it out, get them their invoices. It’s just a lot cleaner and easier,” Hanes notes.
Being able to grow into working alongside wholesale accounts is impossible without maintaining visibility into your inventory, and streamlining those operations has made it a lot easier for SpiritHoods.
Before Stitch, Hanes and Gavin had a hard time understanding their inventory, and spent countless hours reconciling product and dealing with angry customers from oversold items and delayed shipments. In migrating to Stitch, SpiritHoods was able to:
- Automatically split orders when processing pre-ordered items
- Eliminate backorders and overselling with limited-release items
- Maintain real-time visibility into their inventory
- Have the time and appropriate management system to experiment with wholesale
We’re excited to see what’s next for SpiritHoods, and happy that we can help them with their operations, so they can continue to save endangered species.
To learn more about SpiritHoods or gear up for your next festival, visit their website at www.spirithoods.com.
“Every Friday, I’d reconcile any orders that might have been partially filled or closed and should have been closed, or needed to be closed. And, it's not really something I need to do every single week now.”
Matt Gavin, Shipping Manager | SpiritHoods