Nearly every box was ticked. Brightpearl syncs with BigCommerce, it syncs with eBay and Amazon, it’s got POS functionality for our retail stores, it facilitates multiple warehouse locations, it automates dropshipping – the list went on and on.” — Karl Bowman, President of US Cutter
As one of the USA’s premier vinyl cutter suppliers, US Cutter has a vested interest in being ‘cutting-edge’. Since launching on eBay in 2005, the Seattle-based retailer has grown in size and scope; honing its star product line of low cost, high quality vinyl cutters used to make signs, artwork and graphics, and introducing vinyl cutting to thousands of start ups, established businesses and hobbyists for over 15 years.
In order to become a thriving, multi-channel machine whose channels include a BigCommerce-powered website, online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Walmart and two retail stores; US Cutter needed a razor sharp operational infrastructure to support its plans for agile growth.
After scouring the retail operations space for a solution, President of US Cutter, Karl Bowman, chose the proven power combo of Brightpearl and BigCommerce to transform the retailer’s growth potential.
SEARCHING FOR SIGNS
Accustomed to ‘no frills’ tech providers since its launch in the early aughts, US Cutter was using CORESense – a small ERP provider used for basic multi-channel operations. As is often the case when businesses scale, US Cutter had outgrown the platform, not least because its instability led to countless periods of downtime.
“COREsense had one developer and it simply wasn’t progressing at the pace that we needed it to,” Karl explained. “No integration between departments meant we’d get orders over the phone that wouldn’t be ready by the time the customer showed up.
“There were also dependability issues. The front end of the site would go down once or twice a week, then when it was fixed, the back end would freeze. At those times it was pencils down – we couldn’t process anything and that really affected sales.”
The business finally received funding for better software, but Karl spent years on and off searching for a combo of tech partners that would suit US Cutter’s multi-channel needs.
After settling on BigCommerce, he struggled to find test cases of working partnerships with the e-commerce platform.
“Our shareholders wanted something proven,” he said. “But it seemed like nobody could give me an adequate example of syncing with BigCommerce.”
After considering all-in-one ERPs such as Netsuite and Microsoft Dynamics but finding them ‘not robust or flexible enough’, Karl found a company called Acumatica – but still found, as is typical of ERPs, that it didn’t offer the out-of-the-box connectivity required to integrate with US Cutter’s desired tech stack.
“Acumatica used a third party to sync with BigCommerce, which wasn’t ideal. It also didn’t have the in-built functionality to handle complex retail operations, and we’d need to hire a developer to make it all work. It was as if we were manually adapting it to suit an e-commerce model,” Karl explained.
Unlike traditional ERPs which are slow to connect and often require a third party to build integrations, Brightpearl’s flexible retail operating system (ROS) is built for retail, and seamlessly syncs to BigCommerce and other popular e-commerce apps via its host of easy Plug & Play integrations.
Brightpearl also works with over 100 merchants that use BigCommerce as their e-commerce platform. Karl was provided with plenty of successful test cases, and found that the Brightpearl ROS was a fit for US Cutter’s multi-channel requirements.
“Every box was ticked,” he said. “Brightpearl syncs with BigCommerce, eBay, Amazon; it’s got POS functionality for our retail stores, it facilitates multiple warehouse locations, it automates dropshipping – the list went on and on.”
As Brightpearl offers a range of out-of-the-box features, US Cutter would have the means to be quick and agile as it scaled – switching and changing up its tech stack as required – whereas a bulky, all-in-one ERP would simply slow the business down or halt growth completely.
“When you’re small, maybe an all-in-one ERP system is ok – but we want to be flexible as we grow, and we needed more,” Karl continued. “Something that would connect easily and pull all of our departments and operations together into one centralized source of truth.”
TWO SYSTEMS LEADING THE WAY
US Cutter implemented Brightpearl and BigCommerce simultaneously in 2021, and a year later is already seeing the dual impact of using both systems to better serve customers.
Karl is impressed by how Brightpearl’s powerful retail-focused features complement those of BigCommerce, and vice versa.
We use a host of BigCommerce tools, such as QuoteNinja to boost sales, a Paypal integration, a fraud prevention software called Signify, and a range of upselling add-ons and consumer reward systems. Following that, Brightpearl has supercharged our operations – so fulfilling these new customer promises is seamless — Karl Bowman, President of US Cutter
Much of US Cutter’s increased fulfilment capacity is down to Brightpearl’s powerful Automation Engine, which streamlines and automates time-consuming manual processes in ordering, warehouse, inventory, shipping and fulfilment so that key staff can refocus their time towards growth and innovation.
“Brightpearl allows us to set automation rules for specific workflows – such as in dropshipping, which was all manual for us before,” Karl said. “That’s had a huge impact because we just cut labour right away.
“With manual processes reduced we’ve been able to repurpose one full-time member of staff and saved ourselves at least 40 hours a week.”
As Brightpearl is designed to truly support omnichannel businesses, US Cutter’s online and offline operations are completely integrated with Brightpearl at its centre. For instance, Brightpearl’s POS functionality has been a boon for the brand’s in-store performance.
“Our staff can check stock levels and order in items from any warehouse at the touch of a button,” Karl said. “That’s been huge for our offline retail growth.”
The brand’s accounting workflows have also been improved with Brightpearl accounting software which allows custom reporting and 360 degree, at-a-glance insights across the entire business.
Perhaps most notably, Brightpearl’s game-changing Inventory Planner Premium, which provides data-led sales forecasting and advanced inventory management, has led to transformative change for the leading vinyl cutter supplier.
“Stock management is a huge project, especially if you have a vast number of SKUs – and the manual task of analysing stock levels before reordering is something we previously never had time for,” Karl explained.
That’s a lot of money tied up in potential sales. Inventory Planner has solved all of this – it just does it all for us. For us, Inventory Planner is Brightpearl’s shining star. Even the marketing team uses it.
THE RIGHT DIRECTION
During the pandemic, US Cutter saw a huge spike in demand as businesses rushed to make their own Covid-based signage. Now the company is looking forward to a period of ‘normality’ and a future of sustainable, agile growth – with BigCommerce and Brightpearl in place forming its unwavering tech infrastructure and empowering the business to grow fearlessly.
As the Brightpearl ROS offers the means to be truly hyper-scalable, US Cutter now has the flexible infrastructure to swap and change its software and tools (such as its WMS and accounting software) and to extend into new channels and marketplaces easily and quickly as it scales.
“The flexibility to add whatever tech we want is a game-changer, as it gives us optionality. Without Brightpearl, we’d never have been able to add Walmart to our roster, for example – and we’re also looking to add Sage Intacct for accounting,” Karl said.
“Overall we’re really happy with what Brightpearl and BigCommerce has done for us so far,” he continued. “We’ve eliminated downtime, increased our service to customers and our entire operations are completely integrated and aligned, so we’re prepared for higher volume.
“Brightpearl is totally stable. It hasn’t let us down once, and the benefits of that can’t be downplayed. That robustness and reliability is something we just haven’t had before.
“It really is a rock solid retail operating system.”
The year US Cutter was established
The time saved each week in formerly manual processes