"Brightpearl quickly stood out for us because the platform is so intuitive and user friendly. It also has features to help us scale with confidence, which was a deal breaker."
Strength Shop was founded in 2009 in Scotland, UK, as a retailer of high quality, affordable strength equipment. In the years since, the business has grown alongside the popularity of sports including strongman, powerlifting and crossfit.
Strength Shop now operates globally, with successful businesses in the UK, Europe and the US. The company now sells a wide range of products to cater for every lifter; from someone who is just getting into fitness, to a professional athlete performing at the highest level.
It’s a multi-channel ecommerce brand, with sales coming from a Magento-powered website, alongside marketplaces including Amazon and eBay and via other reselling partners.
Getting a grip on demand
Like many fitness brands, Strength Shop Europe experienced a sudden surge in demand for its products when leisure facilities were forced to close due to Covid-19 and gym-goers looked for ways to work out at home.
Growing 50% Year-on-Year, it was an exciting time for the business – but with no system in place to streamline retail operations, it was also stressful, and the business was exposed due to a reliance on spreadsheets and non-integrated third party apps.
“It was crazy – we were selling as much in a single day as we were in a whole month before the pandemic,” said Strength Shop Europe’s COO, Ricky Shah.
“We didn’t have any kind of purpose-built operations platform in place so we were relying on the features offered by Magento plus our own combination of Excel spreadsheets and Gmail to manage orders and stock.
“Needless to say, we simply couldn’t keep up. We were spending huge amounts of time manually inputting data and running into issues with overselling stock we didn’t actually have. It was stressful for everyone involved.
“It quickly became clear we needed a ‘plug and play’ retail operations platform that could give us visibility, help us manage the volume of orders and give us the tools to grow. We also needed a software solution that would easily and quickly integrate with Magento, our ecommerce platform – Brightpearl kept coming up in discussions and was highly recommended, including by the team at Magento.”
The team at Strength Shop considered traditional ERP systems – but they didn’t fit the requirements of the business for a system, like Brightpearl, that was low effort to get running, highly extensible and could be implemented quickly.
“A traditional ERP felt too ‘bulky’ for us – and too costly for the features we’d actually use” said Ricky. “We heard about Brightpearl and its purpose built retail solution – and it ticked every box.”
Powering up order processing
With orders coming in thick and fast, Strength Shop needed operational support they could count on – and fast.
Unlike many of its competitors, one of the benefits of Brightpearl is its rapid deployment. Even with key members of the team on holiday, and mid-pandemic, the platform went live for Strength Shop in just 120 days.
“Speedy set-up was essential for us and Brightpearl delivered, despite delays at our end,” said Ricky.
“Once the platform was live, we saw instant results. We had three of our five best-ever days of trading within a week of the platform going live.
“The immediate success was made possible because all our operations were finally consolidated in one place. Brightpearl synced easily with Magento and our other sales channels at no extra cost. The platform also offered us accurate stock visibility – and even stock forecasting – so we could reliably meet demand.
“Order processing was immediately transformed. We’re now able to manage orders in a fraction of the time, up to 75% faster than before and that’s been a complete game-changer.”
No more manual heavy lifting
With an in-built Automation Engine, Brightpearl stands out from the crowd because it makes advanced automation – which saves the average customer two months a year – easy.
Strength Shop snapped up the opportunity to set up automation rules on Brightpearl that have transformed the day-to-day operations of the business.
The team was previously spending whole days processing orders; now it’s done automatically. Products are shipped faster and communication with customers is better than ever.
And the best bit? The hours saved every week thanks to automation are being reinvested in growing the business.
“The automation features of Brightpearl have made a massive difference,” Ricky added.
“We used to spend ages working out which shipping provider to use depending on the overall weight of an order – some products are very heavy and need a specialist courier – but now the whole process is done automatically.
“Sometimes we pre-sell items and occasionally there are delays to stock arriving that are out of our control. Previously, if this happened, it was a nightmare to work out which customers were affected so we could let them know. With Brightpearl, we can do it in just a few clicks.
“Our time to ship is much quicker – which is especially impressive considering the crazy demand after the pandemic. It’s also had a hugely positive impact on the overstretched team, who really value the efficiency and simplicity of the platform.”
“Growing the business is a big priority for us, and Brightpearl’s automation tools have enabled us to focus on that instead of wasting time on manual processes.”
A stronger future
The beauty of Brightpearl is that it’s scalable – it can grow as businesses like Strength Shop do.
Although Strength Shop Europe has already reaped the here-and-now rewards of getting Brightpearl in place, the benefits are set to keep coming as the business expands.
For Strength Shop, the future includes building on the brand’s reputation, moving towards a ‘headless commerce’ business model and exploring drop shipping options.
“Strength sports are rapidly growing across the world and our goal is to be the go-to brand for high quality and affordable equipment,” Ricky said.
“Brightpearl is the key to helping us scale. Thanks to the platform, we’ve stopped fire-fighting everyday issues and systems and started focussing on what really matters – growth.
“The platform’s single source of truth has empowered our decision making and ability to expand into new areas and markets. We have the freedom to grow in our business in whichever direction we choose, while simultaneously enriching the customer experience.
“Crucially, we no longer have to worry about our ability to process more orders and can manage our peaks much more effectively than we did before.
“We’ve seen the difference Brightpearl can make – and there’s no going back.”
The rapid go-live time with Brightpearl
Increase in order processing speed