How SOLIS increased conversion - and service level with fulfillment by Salesupply
More and more brands are making the transition form a purely B2B retail - to an online B2C organisation, including high-end brands such as Solis of Switserland. The producer of top-of-the-line kitchen - and beauty appliances started its transition four years ago. Daan de Jong, Global E-commerce Manager at Solis, explains the crucial role online marketplaces and especially ecommerce fulfillment played in making this transition succesful.
Start: a single marketplace and the bigger picture
Solis started off with direct-to-consumer sales via Amazon, CDiscount (France) and Bol.com (Netherlands), making use of the fulfillment services offered by these online marketplaces. “It is all about creating scale, step by step, Daan says. “In the beginning you don’t need external specialists, you can do it yourself. The important question is, were do you want to be in five years?”
In other words, it is crucial to consider where the organization wants to be in the next five years and to create a model and strategy around it including the required investments in software, content, advertising, service and logistics.
Initially, Solis only worked with the fulfillment services offered by the connected marketplaces. After a while the number of connected marketplaces grew significantly and Solis had adapted its organisation to the new B2C model. “At that point we took a closer look at the current set-up,” Daan remembered. “We could compare the revenue and the costs for each product on each marketplace and it became clear we couldn’t just fulfill every product via FbA or its equivalent at other marketplaces. Something had to change, especially since we wanted to connect important marketplaces such as Mediamarkt and Kaufland in Germany and Darty in France that didn’t offer their own fulfillment services.”
From retail fulfillment to ecommerce fulfillment
The warehouse partner of Solis at that time, was a reliable, B2B retail specialist. Great for receiving, processing, and shipping pallets at affordable rates. However direct-to-consumer ecommerce fulfillment is a whole other discipline: pallets vs packages. Initially, both companies tried to make it work: the partner increased its cut-off time and even recruited a new team for this project. However, carrier dependency proved to be an issue. “Two years ago, during the holidays peak season that carrier was overloaded and - because we didn’t have the option to switch carriers - we couldn’t live up to our delivery promises. That’s when Amazon closed down our FbM account for a couple of months, during peakseason. At that moment we decided to search for a fulfillment partner specialised in ecommerce fulfillment,” says Daan.
Smooth integration in time for peak season
Solis focuses on the Benelux, Germany and France as most important markets. The local network and carrier contracts of Salesupply in these markets were a perfect match. In addition, the size of both companies proved to be a good match: “we were looking for a partner that was big enough but not too big” said Daan. “A partner to whom we are just as important as they are to us.”
The integration of the Salesupply fulfillment platform and the ERP package of Solis was smooth and the set-up went live in October 2022. That way there was a month left to test and improve the set-up before the peak season started. It was the first time that Solis made it through a peakseason without problems. “Since the start of our partnership we have always stayed within the set delivery limits of each online platform," say Daan. “That is especially important for marketplaces that work with strikes. These strikes can lead to a temporary, very costly, suspension of your account.”
Optimising marketplace - and ecommerce fulfillment approach
From the start Solis and Salesupply have been working together to optimise ecommerce fulfillment for Solis. These have been the most important developments:
- The number of products delivered by Solis and Salesupply has steadily increased. “For us there’s no discussion around bestsellers, it’s very interesting to have those stored and delivered by the marketplaces,” said Daan. “Apart from these bestsellers, we are delivering more and more products ourselves. First and foremost for financial motives, but also to stay in control and to reduce organisational complexity.”
- Increase cut-off times until midnight, resulting in a 25%(!) increase on Dutch marketplaces
- Optimise bulk stock levels to increase online stock levels and - orders
- To avoid costly stock returns, all seasonal products of Solis are fulfilled by Salesupply.
Future developments: multi-warehouse strategy
For now, Solis handles its fulfillment from one of the 15+ ecommerce fulfillment centers that make up the international fulfillment network of Salesupply. It is expected that a fulfllment center in France will follow as soon. “WIth a fulfillment partner like Salesupply, we are ready for the future”, Daan concludes.