Electric Tobacconist sell e-cigarette and vaping products exclusively through their online retail store, which utilizes the Visualsoft platform.
Electric Tobacconist sell e-cigarette and vaping products exclusively through their online retail store, which utilizes the Visualsoft platform. The business venture started in the UK, by Pascal Culverhouse. Based on the success of the UK entity, Bruce and Pascal agreed on the potential to expand the ecommerce venture into a new US entity.
They both saw a huge opportunity in smoking alternatives markets with e-cigarette and vaping products. After seeing that the US market was at a different stage to the market in the UK, they launched their business in the US. This was somewhat a leap of faith, but Bruce says: “We saw that the vaping industry and online sales had a huge opportunity to grow and become a successful business venture.”
Due to Google’s rules around the vaping industry and the products they sell, growing their customer base is purely reliant on organic traffic. Since they do no paid advertising whatsoever, creating a unique, highly customer-centric direct-to-consumer model is vital.
“From day one, we’ve been really focused on having the most informative and consistent online experience for our customers,” Bruce tells us. “So we needed systems in place that could handle the order volumes on our website, so we could do that and not have to focus on the back end system.”
But Electric Tobacconist had problems with their previous system. “Our inventory wasn’t updating in real-time so we had no idea how much we had,” Bruce told us. “We had a huge problem with inventory planning and stock control. Our accounting wasn’t adjusting and reporting correctly either. We needed an operational platform to sit in between our fulfillment and our online retail store, and we needed it to scale with us as we grew.” This was a huge problem for inventory purchasing and stock volumes. “We needed a platform that could scale with us and take a large number of SKUs,” Bruce says.
Knowing that their online store was their sole form of sales, they knew they only wanted to go through this entire system change once. “We had the thought of doing it earlier, but our focus was on growing the business to keep attracting more customers,” Bruce explained. “But we needed to have the systems in place that could scale as fast as we were growing, and keep us on track for our goals for the next 5 years.”
- Had grown beyond the limits of their existing CMS solution
- Needed to have more real-time inventory management
- Wanted to continue to provide a great customer journey while still maintaining high growth with increasing order volumes
“We found Brightpearl through our Visualsoft ecommerce store,” Bruce told us. “We needed to get up online and fairly swiftly, (since it’s our only sales channel), so having an integration between Brightpearl and Visualsoft allowed for a fast and smooth implementation.”
“One of the apps we use a lot is Inventory Planner,” Bruce told us. “This application alone does half of the operational side of the procurement by allowing us to plan more efficiently for each product down to each single SKU. It keeps everything in control. We can buy at the right time, and at the right volume. Our stock levels are managed incredibly well and it was part of the decision to use Brightpearl.”
As an organization, Electric Tobacconist try to run incredibly lean, but the company has grown 5x, but without growing their headcount by the same. “Brightpearl has allowed us to remain incredibly efficient at procurement, finance, customer care, fulfillment – all of it. Brightpearl allows us to keep the headcount low and not spend more time and money on the back office.“
“Two years ago we were processing 1300 orders a month, and post-Brightpearl, we’re processing approximately 25,000 orders a month,” Bruce told us. “With the prior systems in place, this never felt possible because we were constantly having to investigate and make sure that inventory was being accounted for appropriately. But having Brightpearl in the center of our platform, running smoothly, sitting between our online store and fulfillment systems, allows us to not have to worry about the operational efficiency, but rather focus on what we do best as an online retailer: the customer journey.”
- Inventory planning and real-time inventory updates supporting customer expectations of fast shipping times
- Brightpearl is the central repository for their order management to keep up with high order volumes, and allows for faster fulfillment and shipping
“Our goal is to be the number one online retailer in the e-cigarette and vaping market, to continue the growth curve we’ve already had, and to keep improving and focusing on the customer experience,” Bruce explains.
“Brightpearl is a key component of our business that makes our ecommerce site work without us having to think too much about what it’s doing, allowing us to focus on the core principles of running an online business – it’s incredibly reliable!“ Bruce tells us. “Now that we have the right retail technology stack running smoothly, we can continue to grow at the rate we have done so far.”