The South West’s Fastest Growing Company
According to Brightpearl’s Lightning 50
4,000 to 11,000
Growth in product range
“The data Brightpearl’s Demand Planner has generated for us has been everything, absolutely everything. We couldn’t have managed the pandemic and achieved such growth without it.”
–James Ewens, Head of E-Commerce at FurnitureBox
The pandemic continues to be a time of immense challenge for retailers; a make-or-break era of heightened customer expectation, high-pressure spikes and nerve-wracking unpredictability.
But throughout the Covid-induced e-commerce boom, there have been definitive heroes – and Wiltshire-based online furniture retailer, FurnitureBox, is one. After achieving a phenomenal 267% increase in revenue over the last year, the brand now holds the title of ‘Fastest-growing Business in the South West’. That’s according to Brightpearl’s Lightning 50 — the league table of the UK’s fastest-growing companies, which also featured FurnitureBox as a top-three homeware brand.
“The Lightning 50 ranking is like a point of validation that we’ve done the right things,” said James Ewens, Head of E-Commerce at FurnitureBox.
“From signing up with Brightpearl as our operating system to expanding our sales channels, we’ve made some key decisions that have played a huge role in our success.”
Ditching books for bookcases
Fearless decision-making has been part of FurnitureBox’s story from the start. At only 17 years old, founders Monty and Dan dropped their plans for university to set up a business built on a simple idea – that the furniture industry hadn’t adapted to the online retail space.
Their focus was on delivering great value, modern furniture in rapid time, with over 95% of items arriving within 24 hours of ordering.
It quickly proved a hit with consumers and the business began to grow rapidly. But as is often the case for ambitious start-ups, rapid scaling led to logistical complexity.
The company was wasting hours pouring over spreadsheets, manually processing orders and managing a busy warehouse. Dispatch had no courier integration, phone orders lacked the insight to be scalable, and it was costly to manage the change in process that came with every new platform or channel.
With a strong desire to remain lean on the staffing side, and a growth target of 25-30%, the team knew that they couldn’t expand and still deliver the great service they were known for.
“The multi-channel nature of our business meant we needed a central hub that brought everything together in one place, and Brightpearl delivered,” James said.
“As our sales channels expanded to include Wayfair, Amazon, Ebay, ManoMano, Wowcher and OnBuy, we used Brightpearl as our single source of truth that gives us all the information we need in real time. Brightpearl’s instant Plug & Play integrations with key apps, like BigCommerce and ShipTheory, make it so easy to manage everything in one place, and its open API has helped us quickly connect with other apps we use, such as product inventory tool Pimberly and customer service platform Freshdesk.
“Brightpearl easily connects every aspect of our multi-channel business — we’d be stuffed without it.”
An ROS that’s a part of the furniture
Brightpearl’s intuitive Analytics dashboard helps FurnitureBox monitor every aspect of its performance, including marketing campaigns and paid advertising.
Then there’s the powerful Automation Engine, which has opened the door to easier dropshipping, transformed day-to-day operations and saved hundreds of hours.
“Automation with Brightpearl is a real game-changer,” James added.
“Being able to automatically create drop-ship POs has led to massive product expansion. Combined with automated inventory listing of every new item, our range has increased from 4,000 to 11,000 items with no staff member required to manage it, which is pretty phenomenal.
“Automated shipping and delivery mapping have also been a dream. With Brightpearl, shipping and delivery is chosen automatically for each order without any manual intervention. At 400 orders a day, that time saving is huge.”
It was throughout the pandemic surge, however, that James says Brightpearl’s popular Demand Planner tool was the team’s most vital weapon.
At pivotal, high-pressure moments, its accurate, data-driven forecasting ability meant the team could make confident decisions to smartly manage their stock, stress-free.
James said: “‘In February 2020, there was a shipping issue out of China which caused us to have quite a bit of extra stock. At first, we panicked. Then the pandemic hit and demand went through the roof.
“Thanks to our accidental overstock, we were one of the only furniture brands with a surplus of products, packed and ready to go – and because we have Brightpearl’s Demand Planner, we knew when to push stock and when to hold back, so we were able to make our stock last.
“Demand Planner has been everything – absolutely everything. We couldn’t have managed the pandemic and achieved such growth without it.”
The right foundations for an upsized future
With Brightpearl’s continued support, the future looks limitless for FurnitureBox. Last year’s phenomenal lockdown boosts have taken the team from 22 to 37 staff, warranting a second office in Bristol to house a dedicated e-commerce team. And thanks to Brightpearl, the new team members weren’t hired to focus on strenuous, manual processes, but on innovation and growth.
The company has targeted the US for its next business move, using integrations with USA-based e-commerce apps as the driver for expansion.
“Our quick access to overseas markets is made possible due to Brightpearl,” added James.
“Getting your foundation right is critical and we’re willing to invest in the tech . It’s proven that if growth can be maintained by tech stack investments, then the tech stack investments pay for themselves.
“For us, everything begins and ends with Brightpearl. We simply wouldn’t be where we are without it.”