"We wanted a partner that was agile, cost effective and quick to implement but still had the complexity of a growing business of our nature. Brightpearl was the perfect pick."
One of Asia’s fastest growing Ed Tech Retailers, Zookal, was born in 2011 from the creative minds of a small group of Sydney students.
From new kid on the block to star pupil
After personally experiencing the stress of buying expensive course textbooks, Zookal’s founders decided to come up with a better option to make education more affordable and accessible in Australia and Asia.
Today, Oz-based Zookal provides textbooks and edutech services to over 1 million customers across Asia Pacific. The brand is seeing its mission to improve the student’s journey from high school and all the way through university come to life via the innovative and accessible digital solutions offered through Zookal’s website.
Over the years, the brand has expanded its range of new products and services and now offers cheap textbooks, affordable eTextbooks and digital services including on-demand Homework Help – as Zookal establishes itself as an all-in-one destination platform for students seeking help with their learning and education.
Like many other high growth businesses, Zookal relied on spreadsheets to manage its orders and inventory for many years, alongside a homegrown CRM and an outdated ecommerce platform in Magento that was creaking under the pressure of a modern ecommerce operation. Something had to change, and fast.
Ahmed Haider, CEO and co-founder picks up the story: “As our business grew and started selling internationally, it wasn’t possible to manage inventory properly with these ad hoc systems anymore and we had real hurdles with integrations. Once you grow it becomes much more about scale, speed and robustness – which customers rightly expect – and we knew we needed new systems to deliver that effectively.
“We were also hiring staff with a pure focus on maintaining our custom magento build and getting though manual order entry – both of which were barriers to scale. We simply couldn’t focus on growth until we revamped and streamlined our entire ecommerce operation.”
A difficult test
Having committed to a full ecommerce revamp, and with college about to be back in session from July, it was urgent that Zookal had the right technology partners in place to capitalize on the brand’s peak season.
“We literally had a two-month window before students would be back on campus”, said Ahmed, “It was urgent that our new technology providers could get us online quickly to ensure that students had ample time to access our educational resources.”
Zookal considered single solution providers like Cin7, DEAR Systems and TradeGecko, but it was Brightpearl’s all-in-one retail functionality, ability to scale and stellar track record of super-fast implementation that won out.
“We wanted a partner that was agile, cost effective and quick to implement but still had the complexity of a growing business of our nature. Brightpearl was the perfect pick and provided us with the flexibility, speed and reliability we need to support our next stage of growth, alongside access to Brightpearl’s tremendous suit of integrations.”
To complete the revamp, the firm’s online store has been built on Shopify Plus’ flexible ecommerce platform, ensuring more customers than ever can reach their full potential.
Utilizing the dual power of Brightpearl and Shopify Plus meant that Zookal was able to get online in just 50 days, meaning that the Ed Tech Retailer was primed for peak season as students returned seeking new educational materials.
“Attempting to go live with new technology partners right before your peak season might put off some businesses, but we had a great deal of faith in Brightpearl’s record for lightning quick go lives – which really paid off. I’ve never been part of an implementation that has gone so smoothly, all credit to the Brightpearl team who worked with our staff to ensure an absolutely seamless transition.”
“Brightpearl and Shopify Plus work so well together and Brightpearl’s other out-of-the-box integrations means that Zookal was set up and ready to go – and all before the back-to-school season.”
Staying Top of the Class
Since implementing Brightpearl and Shopify Plus together, Zookal has been reaping the end-to-end benefits of a flexible commerce engine, through to total visibility and control over stock levels, order management, fulfilment and financials, alongside streamlined warehouse management.
“Brightpearl operations platform makes us so much more efficient”, explains Ahmed. “We’re now able to synchronize inventory seamlessly and remove hurdles in our picking and packing process, which has resulted in a huge reduction in time spent getting orders out of the door. It means our customers are getting their educational materials faster than ever.
“The platform is so reliable and intuitive that it offers a great deal of confidence – it runs so smoothly behind the scenes that we don’t need to worry anymore about the operational touchpoints that used to be a headache; that’s now all being handled by Brightpearl in the background so we can focus fully on our expansion plans.”
Already one of the fastest growing Ed-Tech startups in Asia Pacific, and now with the one-two punch combination of Brightpearl and Shopify Plus powering its ecommerce operations, Zookal seems set to remain top of the class for the foreseeable future.
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