Bitesize Breakdown: E-Commerce Growth Hacking Takeaways from CoolBlades

Brightpearl’s Lightning 50 E-Commerce Growth Hacking podcast, hosted by Caroline Baldwin, gets under the hood of highly successful e-commerce brands to discover the key technologies they are using to power growth.

We caught up CoolBlades, an online hair and beauty retailer specialising in salon-quality hair styling products. Founded in 2005 by a husband and wife team of former stylists, nearly 20 years later it’s now a leading online supplier of hairdressing products for top salons, beauticians and trade stores. Moreso since the pandemic, they also sell direct-to-consumer. 

During the podcast, the brand’s E-Commerce Director, Rupert Hughes, shared exactly how the brand achieved an impressive 191% growth during 2019/20 and ranked in 34th place on the Brightpearl Lightning 50. He also revealed how the brand plans to maintain growth and how tech plays into that strategy.

Here are some of the highlights from the transcript…

  •       “We were going at a steady rate, making sure we had capacity to grow nicely over the next five to ten years – then the pandemic hit. Because all the salons AND trade stores were closed, everyone came online straight to us. The equivalent of a year’s worth of stock was sold within 10 days. A few thousand combs – which would usually have lasted a year – sold in a week.”
  •     “One of the things we’ve learnt is the importance of thinking ahead and making sure you have capacity built into your systems. We were lucky in that we’d moved warehouses only a year before the pandemic, which was a bit of a risk and an extra cost for us – but if we hadn’t that capacity for stock, we wouldn’t have coped.”
  •       “Thinking ahead also applies when it comes to software. We put Brightpearl in place in 2017 – our system before that was very slow and clunky to use, and simply wouldn’t have coped with the pandemic sales spike. Implementing Brightpearl was an investment, but it had features we could see real benefits of, and sure enough, when things took off overnight, we were able to manage.”
  •     “There’s a lot of customization you can do with the Brightpearl platform which automates day-to-day tasks such as invoicing, auto-fulfilment of orders, or ensuring particular shipping instructions with a particular courier. That functionality takes a lot of the boring tasks away from staff and allows them to concentrate on the parts of business where we really deliver value, like talking to customers, etc.”
  •     Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is something we use a lot. If we sell wholesale, we can package up a palette of thousands of orders and Amazon does all the distribution; it splits it into 50 and sends it out to various centres around the country. That means our customers can benefit from Amazon’s Prime, Next Day and Same Day Delivery, which we wouldn’t have the resources to achieve if we were to do it ourselves.”

Want to hear more of what Rupert had to say? Catch up with the full episode, and subscribe to upcoming ones, here.