Galward Trading is a family-run business that’s been thriving in the heart of Sydney for 40 years – but it’s not the traditional clothing and manchester wholesaler it once was. In recent years, it has transformed to a predominantly eCommerce business for their consumer-facing brands, Manchester Madness and TradeWear.
Adam Sharon-Zipser, son of business owners Ziva and Beny, spoke to us about how he initiated a digital transformation for their traditional wholesale manchester and apparel business, and how that brought about its own set of unique challenges – and solutions.
Like many family-run SMBs, running the business was a hybrid of memory, pen and paper, so accurately recording and reporting on inventory was a struggle. Adam and the team have recently streamlined and refined processes, and while the business has grown as a result, headcount has actually shrunk with more outsourced partners helping to run their now primarily online business.
After decades of traditional trading it was time for a new direction. Adam says the business’ error rate was increasing, and identifying new growth opportunities was challenging:
In a manual business like ours, you have to wait till the end of the financial year to find out where you’re standing. But the new automated and digital systems offer a snapshot at any given time of where the performance was. This new knowledge has opened up growth potential.
When the business turned to eCommerce there was plenty of room to improve on their old systems, but it also created new challenges. “Pre-orders created a new world of problems and opportunity,” says Adam. “It allowed us to monetize quickly, and more use cases came about like partial fulfilments which hadn’t previously been part of the business.”
They also found that they needed new systems to do things like get tracking numbers to customers and handle customer service – managing the influx of email communications, live chat, a ticketing system, returns and refunds – things that changed the way customers interacted with the company.
“With wholesale, it’s easier to only focus on the ongoing margin, so having an eCommerce system meant figuring out how to forecast, identifying dead stock, when to put things on clearance – all new abilities that came with a digital presence.”
To help them manage this new business direction, Galward Trading partnered with QuickBooks Commerce. The business was evaluating other vendors, but after being recommended QuickBooks Commerce by Elephant Room, an eCommerce and digital system integration agency, they decided it had the cleanest integration and UI. There was no need for an account or integration manager – it was simply plugin-and-play, and completely autonomous.
This partnership allowed them to reorganize and streamline their entire warehouse to facilitate a pick-and-pack facility that’s both trade- and retail-friendly.
Beyond that, the family behind Galward Trading found the simplicity of QuickBooks Commerce had another advantage:
TradeGecko is so easy to use; even my 60+ year old parents can use it. They had never done a digital stocktake in their 40 years of operation until TradeGecko came along. It's so easy to get started – they were up and running within a week.
Some of Galward Trading’s favorite aspects of QuickBooks Commerce are its ability to plug into other APIs, the opportunity for better stock management, better bookkeeping and data accuracy, and the ability to identify the slower movers – extremely important when running an agile business.
Enabling StarShipIT with TradeGecko has halved our pick-and-pack time and reduced our error rate in return packages, eliminating errors in customer addresses.
Galward Trading has utilised the integrations offered by QuickBooks Commerce, and are looking forward to integrating point of sale apps when they venture into pop-up stores in the future.
“There was some teething in the setup stage, but it has paid dividends,” says Adam of the overall experience with QuickBooks Commerce. “The team is very responsive and offer a really pleasant experience.”
With the opportunity afforded to the business by eCommerce – particularly the ability to segment data yet have performance and margins aggregated under one system – the team plans to build more brands and verticals from their warehouse.
Data forecasting will be key to their growth: they currently base their marketing campaigns around historical sales data (April and May are big months for electric blankets, for example), so gathering more data from their digital integrations is crucial.
Our problems are getting smaller over time because the data we get allows us to anticipate the customer’s needs, and give a better service.
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