About Rep Fitness
Rep Fitness was started in 2012 by two brothers with a passion for fitness. We are focused on supplying high quality, high value equipment to the home gym customer and believe that everyone should have access to the equipment they need to get and stay fit at home.
When I joined Rep Fitness in 2017, the company was growing quickly but desperately needed to implement technology solutions to manage all that growth. The old systems and legacy technology were just not going to keep us competitive.
My first challenge was to wrap my head around the current state of operations. I looked at everything from customer service to war
ehouse operations to our storefront and began to sort out how to manage the company’s systems. I mapped out a plan to restructure our tech stack to be more nimble, more effective and better poised for scalability.
So far, we have been fortunate to have great partners in companies like Brightpearl, who have made the upgrades to our tech stack easy and effective. Once the new systems were up and running, REP saw triple digit growth via the website – almost unheard of in an industry where Amazon is king. The flexibility to respond to increased customer demand from both a service and operations standpoint has helped us exceed our goals and has catapulted us into a new phase of growth.
The number of offerings in the ecommerce SAAS realm is overwhelming. You name a problem and there is a piece of software (or twelve) that can help with it. I recently came across articles describing the tech stacks for Beardbrand and FringeSport and found them helpful. Knowing that we overcame similar challenges at REP and have made similar choices to others in the same space was a comforting read.
So, to offer another perspective, here’s a rundown of where the Rep Fitness tech stack stands as of now and a glimpse into some of the changes we’re looking to make in the near term.
The Retail Tech Stack
Ecommerce: We run the repfitness.com website on Magento. We are still going strong with the version 1 platform but have a migration project scheduled in 2020 to get us to Magento 2.0. We’re excited about the upgrades we have planned here. Magento i
s a strong player in the marketplace and I believe that the effort required to upgrade will help us to provide an improved shopping experience to our customers.
Business Management: We use Brightpearl as our inventory management software, order management software, accounting software and POS. Brightpearl is the central hub for keeping all of our sales channels running. We sell on our own website, Amazon (both FBA and FBM), as well as over the phone and in our retail store attached to our warehouse in Denver, CO. We launched with Brightpearl in November 2017, and since then, have been continuing to learn and grow with the system. While there are opportunities to improve some areas of the software, because of its versatility, we can integrate it with other critical pieces of software to get us what we need.
Inventory Planning: We use a system called Inventory Planner (now Brightpearl’s Inventory Planner), which has a very easy integration with Brightpearl. This tool provides excellent forecasting and comes at a very low cost. It was a no brainer for us. The advanced analytics and reporting that IP offers helped us move away from the multitude of spreadsheets we were previously using and also helps to provide accurate forecasting taking things like out of stock periods and even page views and conversion rates into account.
Customer Service: After years of using a shared inbox, we realized we needed to make a change after one too many instances of multiple responses going out to the same customer. We reviewed all of the major players in this space and finally settled on Help Scout. We liked that they allowed us to continue to treat all customer communication with the personal touch we pride ourselves on, instead of turning everything into a case or ticket. Overall, we are very happy with Help Scout – it was a very simple set-up process, but brings us the greatest daily benefit.
eviews: Like so many others, we use Yotpo for our customer reviews. It’s a great tool. We’ve always used the standard review collection options – and have just launched new galleries on our site using their Visual Marketing Suite. We receive great content from our customer base, and we’re excited to have a way to highlight these images.
Email Marketing: We recently made the switch from Mailchimp to Klaviyo. Our digital marketing team is really excited about all of the new functionality they’re gaining; I’m just happy that it continues to integrate with our systems.
Shipping: We use ShipperHQ to return shipping rates on our website – here at REP we pass shipping rates directly to our customers instead of baking the shipping price into our products. ShipperHQ at first seems overly complicated – but as we’ve grown with the system and learned more about the functionality – the amount of customization we are able to do ensures that we are always providing the best and most accurate shipping options for our customers. We then use Shipstation to prepare our actual shipments – this program is an industry leader for a reason. It’s simple and easy to use. Our only frustration with this program is that it expects us to pack several items into a single box. Our products are large and heavy – and the majority ship on their own. Shipstation doesn’t handle this situation as well as it could. We keep our eyes out – but so far haven’t found an alternative that does handle this situation well.
My biggest piece of advice for anyone going through a technology search is to make sure you clearly define your requirements before you start, so you don’t get lost in the weeds of the myriad of functionalities that each company will offer you. Also, make sure you find companies that you feel comfortable partnering with. No software is perfect, issues will come up. Finding a company who treats you like a partner and seems to genuinely have your back can make those times a little less painful.
The world of ecommerce is evolving quickly but the core principles never change. Improving the customer experience is at the heart of everything we do at REP, and I take that responsibility very seriously. Our mission is to make fitness accessible to all and we can’t do that without a functioning backbone of technology. Innovation and value are what our customers love about us, but our supporting technology is what makes us an industry leader.
Director of Operations, Rep Fitness
Alida Sholl is the Director of Operations at Rep Fitness. Alida has been with REP since 2017 and heads up the Technology, Sales, Customer Service, Account Management and Order Processing teams.