PetShop began its journey back in 2009 when founder Adam attempted to set up a recurring pet food subscription, and none seemed to exist. PetShop was founded, and is now the UK's largest independent online pet shop, taking on established giants such as Pets At Home and Amazon.
A real David and Goliath story, PetShop needed to make sure they were using the perfect software to keep themselves competitive at the top. Learn how the combination of Shiptheory and NetSuite have given PetShop total business coverage, allowing them to manage their business operations and ship seamlessly, leading to phenomenal growth.
I know it doesn't sound like much, but if you're saving 10 seconds per order and you're doing a few thousand orders a day, it ends up being the equivalent cost saving of over £10,000. So going for Shiptheory wasn't really a hard decision for us.
We spoke to PetShop founder Adam Taylor to learn how Shiptheory's automations help them save hours shipping their NetSuite orders.
The story starts with me moving back home to live with my parents. We'd always grown up with pets and my parents always ran out of pet food because as they get older, they've struggled to carry the big heavy bags of cat and dog food come in.
I looked to set up as subscription for them, and that's when I found that nobody else was doing this. And I thought, this is quite exciting. Back in 2009 subscription services were quite new, and pet food was quite immature eCommerce wise. So we were actually the first to launch a subscription service back in 2010.
It's been quite an exciting journey - we've grown 50% year on year for the past six years. We're still independent, so we kind of see ourselves as the underdog or the David and Goliath in this industry. Something key about entering any competitive industry is to remain agile but also have something unique. If you end up just doing the same as everyone else, you're probably not growing as fast as you could. So I think it's key that you're constantly innovating and automating.
We launched and went live in 2015. That was quite a key strategic move for us. We we use lots of siloed pieces of software before, and we started to see cracks between those systems as we grew, not having an entire business ecosystem for all our information.
We chose NetSuite because we we truly believe it's the it's the best cloud system. We also liked it because there were billion dollar companies using it. Software migration can be a massive distraction, and we could see that we wouldn't have to migrate as we grew.
Shiptheory has been great in complementing our software setup. As an eCommerce business, we produce roughly 3000 parcels a day, and also use multiple couriers: Evri, DHL, Yodel, Royal Mail and more recently, Amazon Shipping. It's imperative that our shipping is quick, accurate and also reliable. And it's something that we couldn't do directly with NetSuite ourselves. We'd have to build dedicated systems for each carrier.
Having a partner that makes sure that makes sure our shipments are all singing and humming allows us to focus on wowing our customers. So it's been a really great complementary addition to our tech stack.
Originally we used a courier aggregator - they would actually collect from us, as we were too small to have direct accounts with each courier. So they would print the labels and would physically collect the parcels for us - it was all pretty manual. As we grew, we tried to always stay abreast of courier and label partners, everything from GFS to Metapack and of course Shiptheory.
There was ultimately a huge cost associated with Metapack and GFS. In Shiptheory, it was quite unique just to find somebody that specialises in integrating with all those couriers and be able to bring those labels in automatically. Also, the key part is that they do it very quickly, because you've got packages waiting for labels that add up quite quickly. So going for Shiptheory wasn't really a hard decision for us.
Yeah, I strongly believe that you should treat people how you want to be treated. And I think if I look at our all our software or supplier choices or where we have the best relationships, it's where people mimic your core values.
I would say Shiptheory's support is almost unparalleled. You can call up and you speak to somebody straight away, and they are very hands on.
In terms of overall advice, it's never easy. You always see amazing success stories with people asking, how did you know it'd work? How did that come about? And the truth is, it's a lot of hours of focus and obsessing. The nice thing is, as long as you enjoy it, it's fun and it doesn't feel like work, but it's never easy. It took us years of growing and growing and growing.
Particularly if you're bootstrapping it, you've got to be really lean. We try to be very cost effective and efficient. I think if you raise money, it's potentially dangerous that you become reliant on that money to solve your problems, rather than really listening to your customers. So I think staying lean and bootstrapped really sharpens your senses.
Absolutely. The key thing is it definitely sped up our labour. I know it doesn't sound like much, but if you're saving 10 seconds per hour and you're doing a few thousand orders a day, it ends up being the equivalent cost saving of over £10,000.
The other part is, having a solution that can produce all the labels and has all our carriers in one place is also pretty special because you just have one integration, one point of contact and it makes it a much more robust solution ultimately.