Blueberry Diapers Upgrades its Web Platform, Grows Online Sales
Brands offering a seamless and engaging online shopping experience is no longer an expectation, it's a requirement. Whether you're selling to consumers or businesses, your customers want to feel comfortable making purchases from your e-commerce site. Blueberry Diapers, a manufacturer and global distributor of cloth diapers, is in a rather unique position: while the majority of its sales are to other businesses, its customers prefer a B-to-C-like online shopping experience. Nearly 95 percent of Blueberry Diapers' B-to-B sales are transacted online.
Blueberry Diapers realized it needed to upgrade its web platform to help it convert more online visitors into buyers as well as improve its back-end process for fulfilling orders. After a thorough evaluation period, the brand replaced its custom-built PHP website with NetSuite's SuiteCommerce platform in January 2010. The lack of automation that its previous website offered was a major factor in the company's decision to invest in a new platform.
"Previously we had a custom PHP website," recalls Casey McClure, Blueberry Diapers’ director of sales. "We had it custom designed for us in 2004, went live in 2005 and kept updating it every year, adding more and more content to it until we switched to NetSuite. It had limitations, obviously, in how much automation it had. There weren't a lot of things that automated to it; we had to do a lot of things manually."
The back-end functionality offered by the SuiteCommerce platform, particularly its shipping services, was especially attractive to Blueberry Diapers. Prior to the platform upgrade, the retailer was forced to manually pull customers’ addresses from its website and then go into outside shipping software like Endicia or UPS to ship their orders. Blueberry Diapers then had to get the tracking number and input it back into its system, save it, and finally send a confirmation email to the customer. Needless to say, the steps required to process an order were time consuming and inefficient, McClure says.
Other tasks on the previous platform that proved troublesome for Blueberry Diapers included getting detailed inventory reports, updating the site with new content and maintaining accurate financial reports.
"The No. 1 feature for us was order processing," McClure says in regards to why Blueberry Diapers decided to go with the SuiteCommerce platform. "We could process so many orders quickly with less manpower. With the push of a button we could completely fulfill an order without leaving a chair. The reporting was also so much better. We used to have process all PayPal payments manually, but with NetSuite's platform it's all automated.
"And there's the whole ancillary side of all the reports. We can drill down and go, ‘I wonder what we did the last six months.’ Or the bank calls up and asks, ‘Can we have a current income statement? Sure, I'll get you one up-to-date.’ All of those little things just make the resources that NetSuite provides invaluable."
The results bear out McClure's claims. Prior to using SuiteCommerce, Blueberry Diapers could process up to 150 orders per day with four employees "working their tails off." Now the retailer can have two employees process 150 orders a day pretty easily. Furthermore, since launching SuiteCommerce nearly four years ago, Blueberry Diapers has seen revenue growth of about 133 percent.
"When we have a large sale and 1,000 orders come in, it would have taken us an entire week to process those 1,000 orders [on the old platform]," says McClure. "With NetSuite, we can get those orders out in two days and then continue on with our normal run of business — and without adding any manpower. We wanted to automate as much as possible so that we could increase business without increasing manpower."
Expanding its Borders
In addition to serving eco-conscious consumers in the United States, Blueberry Diapers learned that there's a strong demand for its products internationally as well. In fact, the demand is greater than it is domestically. That awareness, along with relatively few competitors in the marketplace, made it an easy decision for Knoxville, Tenn.-based Blueberry Diapers to start selling internationally.
Blueberry Diapers started the process of introducing its brand and products to international consumers through partnerships with distributors. First came a deal with a distributor in the U.K., then one in Spain, then Portugal, and so on. Blueberry Diapers now has branded sites across 22 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and South America. All of those sites run on NetSuite's SuiteCommerce platform.
The typical challenges associated with selling your products online in a foreign land — language barriers, adhering to regulations, applying taxes, payment processing — have been overcome in large part to the SuiteCommerce platform, McClure says. "NetSuite has made it very easy for us to do business internationally."