Manual data entry creates a barrier to scaling
It was the mid-1990s when Shen Li noticed the growing popularity of ecommerce. He was working for a tech company at the time and led the company’s launch of its online store, knowing this was only the beginning of internet-based retail. Over the years, he watched his prediction come true, but saw a significant gap in the apparel space: Consumers wanted to be able to shop for high-end menswear 24/7, from the comfort of their computers.
“I saw this opportunity where high-quality products like these were very hard to find online,” Li remembers. “To get the better, more premium brands, you had to go to a brick-and-mortar store. There was a gap for the higher-end consumer who prefers the convenience of shopping online.”
In response, he established Epic Mens in 2010 to sell a curated selection of clothing and accessories for work, home, and formal occasions. The brand’s website has always been the flagship sales channel, but Li also sells on Amazon. His strategy is to sell both where consumers are currently buying and where he anticipates them shopping in the future.
But it wasn’t all about the sales channels in the early days of Epic Mens. With his previous experience launching and running an ecommerce business, Li understood the critical importance of unifying his front and back office operations—namely, accounting and inventory. He knew business growth would be impossible without a scalable system, so he went searching for such a solution right away.
- It had to keep the storefront and the back office in sync.
- It needed to enable scaling and an increase in order volume.
- Ideally, it would minimize data entry into QuickBooks. (Li uses QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise.)
With his previous experience launching and running an ecommerce business, Li understood the critical importance of unifying his front and back-office operations—namely, accounting and inventory. He knew business growth would be impossible without a scalable system.
With no coding required, Webgility’s data sync
saves the day
Li needed to streamline his accounting and inventory management processes right away, so finding the perfect software was a top priority. He considered trying to write a custom code for Epic Mens, but he was uneasy about the resources required for continual upkeep. What’s more, he needed software that would be updated and expanded to grow with his business.
After evaluating multiple automation solutions, Li chose Webgility for its robust feature set and tight integration with QuickBooks. The solution also helped him seamlessly migrate from his old ecommerce platform to Shopify, and he quickly added Amazon on as another sales channel. The more he dug into the product roadmap for future developments, the happier he was with his decision.
Webgility’s inventory management capabilities were a primary draw, especially the ability to sync orders from sales channels with his accounting system.
[Our] initial focus was around the orders, but a lot of things happen to inventory outside of orders. Things get lost. They get damaged. You have to set up new products. The benefits of having our inventory data so tightly coupled between the front office and the back office are probably as valuable as getting orders into systems in the first place.
What else made Webgility the perfect fit for Epic Mens? Even before implementation, Li recognized the benefits of automating bookkeeping and accounting. Manual data entry would slow his team down, and there was always a risk of human error. But by saving time and resources, Li could focus on finding new vendors and marketing to online shoppers. That’s why he didn’t bother to open his online storefronts without an automation system in place.
Adding automation to tech stack fuels efficiency & generates growth
Since implementing Webgility, Li has been pleased with how the software has impacted his business.
“We’re now able to easily sync price and inventory between the storefronts and QuickBooks,” he says. “Now, instead of doing inventory counts twice a year, we’re able to do accurate inventory counts between the warehouse and QuickBooks on a weekly basis. The syncing and reconciliation of inventory data—including which items are active in what storefront—saves a lot of manual work, and keeps inventory accurate between the two.”
How much manual work is the Epic Mens team saving exactly? Li estimates that Webgility saves him the workload of two full-time employees: 80 hours a week, or roughly 150,000 hours every year. His team of four can efficiently process 6,000+ orders a month, and can also handle the transaction volumes that reach 15,000 a month during the holiday season. Just a few years ago, Epic Mens processed anywhere from one to five thousand orders monthly, showcasing immense growth.
With Webgility, we’ve been able to steadily increase the volume of our business, and when I look at doubling, tripling, quadrupling—whatever number you want to choose—we could easily scale the business without adding much in the way of incremental resources to our operation.
Li knew consumers would shift to buying clothing online because of the unbeatable convenience, but the industry exploded even beyond his predictions. He’s grateful his business has never been limited in its ability to grow and keep up with consumer demand. Additionally, he says Webgility’s reliability is an added comfort—and so is the support team that can answer any questions right away.
“I never really have to worry about Webgility. It just works,” Li says. “I’m very happy with the decision we made many years ago, and it’s proven to do well for us. I anticipate many, many more years using the software.”