With Unify, this ominichannel company increased sales 1000% and increased the speed of order processing 83%.
- Product Bahn makes emergency foods and storage, camping foods and gear, natural foods, and supplements.
- Founded 2010
- Challenge: Quickly and accurately transfer data into QuickBooks and sync inventory to and from multiple stores and brands, plus integrate with NovelAspect
- Solution: Webgility’s Unify automated all data entry and inventory management
- Bonus Reconciling fees and expenses#Ecommerce Case Study: increase sales 1000% and increase order processing 83%! Click To Tweet
Some ecommerce companies are undaunted by new projects and truly take advantage of how fast moving the online industry can be. Product Bahn was originally founded in 2010 with the urls PrepareWise.com and BuyEmergencyFoods.com, starting with food storage and then expanding to emergency foods and survival gear. Unhappy with their manufacturer, within two years they started making their own food and expanded to another brand, LegacyFoodStorage.com, which sells dehydrated camping food and gear. Their latest offshoots are BannockOutdoors.com and SilverFernBrand.com which both sell healthy foods, treats, snacks, desserts, and supplements made with natural ingredients.
Working in operations and accounting, Alex Layton has been with the company since its inception and admits that the business—with its wide range of products and several different brand names—has become quite complex. In fact, Product Bahn is based in Utah, but manufactures in three different states and utilizes four different fulfillment facilities across the country. In total, there are seven different shopping carts representing the brands—three on BigCommerce and four on Shopify—plus, their products are sold on Amazon, Jet, and several other third-party websites.
Why sell on both BigCommerce and Shopify? According to Layton, when you’re in the business of handling emergencies, it’s best to have a contingency plan. “We’ve set up our own systems to have control over the way we like to sell,” said Layton. “We prefer to have both options available, so if something does happen—like a server outage, site updates, or anything else—we can quickly shift traffic over to the other platform without any problems.” Because their open model is about creating different products they enjoy and then making a business out of it, organization is a key to their success. Like most online retailers, their simple goal is to sell as much as they can. So operating from two platforms plus marketplaces and wholesale gives them more coverage and more sales.
Fortunately, a quick Google search for “cross-platform QuickBooks integration software” helped Product Bahn find Webgility’s Unify software, and the rest is history. Since then, the company has seamlessly synced their websites with their shopping carts and stores to QuickBooks and, specifically, Layton enjoys how Unify can manage both order management and accounting. Layton recalled, “Even though we’ve been through several platform changes, we haven’t come across anything that works better and has the options we need.”
With time savings and accuracy as their main goals, as soon as Unify was installed onto their system, Layton saw immediate results: “Once we had it all set up, it took order loading from two hours down to two or three minutes. And we also didn’t have the errors we’d experienced with manual entry.”
In 2012 when an earthquake and tsunami struck the Pacific Ocean and Japan, the folks at Product Bahn found themselves with a spike of orders and a major data entry problem. “We went from a couple orders a day, to 30 orders a day, to 50 orders a day,” recalled Layton. “As a small company with only a few employees, it quickly became overwhelming to manually enter all of the orders and keep track of everything.” In fact, they were doing a daily CSV upload, which would take up to two hours, depending on the sales of the day. What’s more, that process then required several manual checks and corrections. That’s when they started looking for a better solution.
“We tried a different warehouse system which had a good interface and integrations,” said Layton,“ But it lacked a lot of the advanced features that we needed, like the ability to download orders a specific way for different stores and create invoices just the way we want them.”
But how did it handle all those complexities? Their inventory is contracted out to their fulfillment warehouses, so they pull orders from Product Bahn’s sites and update the shipping. Product Bahn then manages everything on the accounting side in their corporate office in Utah. But some aspects of this unique multichannel, multi-brand operation are still a challenge, and Webgility’s customer success team loves a challenge. For example, to have a good ranking on Amazon, Product Bahn has one single account from which to sell all of their brands. But because those different products are also represented by different companies, it can be challenging to organize orders and items the way they want. Layton said, “It’s tricky, but we’ve been able to work through that and make it possible with the Webgility team.”
Being able to run a business like Product Bahn from one software has been agreat luxury. Altogether they operate seven different inboxes from their Unify dashboard representing five websites and channels. “The fact that we can run all of those at a great price and can download and split those out accordingly is really wonderful—that’s what I like the most. We’ve got enough systems, I don’t want to deal with having three more.”
But that’s not all, the complexity at Product Bahn recently increased even more: “We’ve just moved our QuickBooks to be hosted on NovelASPect, so they have backups and allow us to access our software from anywhere,” said Layton.
The folks at Product Bahn were thrilled that NovelASPect works well with Webgility and that the transition went so smoothly. Now Layton enjoys even more flexibility: “If I can’t make it into the office because of a snow day—since we’re here in Utah—I can still download orders from home and update everything, and stay on top of it rather than having to find a way to make it to the office.” He’s prepared for anything.
Layton had a “wow moment” the first time he downloaded 50 orders and hit submit. Five minutes later, everything was in QuickBooks and correct—purchase orders, sales receipts, classes, phone numbers, contact information. “It was all there and all in sync, and I didn’t have to do anything!” On a peak day now, Product Bahn sells as much as six times that volume, which would have been as much as 16 hours of processing time. Unify handles it all in less than one hour. The folks at Product Bahn also appreciate being able to reconcile fees and expenses and having a record of downloads when a vendor claims that something is inaccurate.“ We know exactly what was on every order.” Unify also acts as a first alert when a new product hasn’t been input into the warehouse system, helping to solve problems before they even happen.
- 20-30 orders/day
- 1-2 hours of orderprocessing time/day
- Inaccurate accountingand inventory
- 200-300 orders/day
- 1 hour of orderprocessing time/day
- Accurate accountingand inventory
Of course, Webgility’s excellent customer service has come in handy. For example, when systems like NovelASPect require an update, Layton reports that it’s really easy to get the Webgility support team involved. “They’ve always been really fast,” he said. “It’s great to have all three companies together on the phone working through a problem.”
There’s no doubt Unify has saved time and improved accuracy for Product Bahn. But Layton seems particularly satisfied with its ability to handle anything they “throw at it”—Shopify, BigCommerce, Amazon, eBay, NovelAspect. While they’re in the business of handling emergencies, Webgility takes great pride in staying one step ahead.