“With Pipe17, we were able to easily incorporate a new 3PL into our existing workflow and avoid running out of stock during the holiday rush.”
When your operation is resilient, you can take advantage of sales, marketing and customer acquisition opportunities. You can explore different sales channels. Or add new partners without changing everything about the way your team works.
Shopify, Amazon, Walmart, Deliverr via ShipStation
Order-to-fulfillment, order routing, adding 3PL to existing process
But here’s the thing: operational resilience isn’t always easy to achieve. If you’ve ever tried seamlessly adding a new 3PL or warehouse to your existing set up, then you know: connecting with new tools or software often requires change and sacrifice. And change can create challenges and disruptions. It doesn’t have to. Not if you have the right integrations. With the right integrations, you can use the tools and partners you want, on your own terms. That’s exactly what YouTopia Snacks achieved with Pipe17. Here’s the full story.
Before we get into the technical weeds, let’s set the scene. If you’ve ever opened the pantry door, looked around for a not-terrible-for-you, reasonably sized snack and returned to your computer with a bag of cheetos and a snickers, you’ve experienced the exact problem YouTopia Snacks solves.
This healthy-snack company started life as a master’s thesis project in grad school. Back then Jesse Shapiro, the co-founder and CEO, decided to solve the snacking problem. The snacks would have to be both delicious and portion-controlled: devouring a whole bag of almonds was only slightly better than a bag of chips.
Jesse and his team started with the office snacking market, making small 100-120 calorie packs and selling them to office buildings. All ingredients were sourced from US suppliers and packaged in California. People loved them. In fact, they loved them so much, they started taking them home. That’s when Jesse realized there was a bigger market available: all of us.
YouTopia Snacks rebranded, expanded, and relaunched as a fully-fledged ecommerce business in March 2018. And like many sellers, they sold on Amazon, through their own site, and directly to wholesalers and retailers. By December 2020, the business was doubling year over year and one thing was clear: they needed a way to keep up with the orders that didn’t solely rely on Amazon fulfillment.
From 2018 to 2020, Youtopia Snacks used one 3PL provider with a warehouse out in California and a mix of Amazon’s FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) and MCF (Multi Channel Fulfillment) to fulfill orders. However, there was a challenge. To keep up with the demand of Q4— the busiest time of the year for ecommerce merchants— Amazon limited inventory levels at distribution centers. While this was understandable from Amazon’s perspective —everyone wants to maximize the amount of inventory during Q4 and Amazon has to make it doable for all merchants— it did pose a challenge for a fast growing company like YouTopia Snacks.
After a hectic season in 2020, the team realized they needed a fulfillment backup. Something that could handle their Shopify orders when their Amazon inventory space inevitably filled up.
After a lot of research, Jesse chose Deliverr. The team already used Deliverr to handle Walmart fulfillment and the relationship worked.
However, this time they faced a unique challenge. When you place an order on the YouTopia site, it goes through Shopify and then gets sent to ShipStation. From there, the orders get routed to one of their 3PLs via MCF. Deliverr would need to fit into this process.
Jesse began demo-ing different integration partners but none seemed to do what was needed: connect the existing process in ShipStation to Deliverr without making changes. That’s when he found Pipe17.
“I wanted to keep our existing workflow: orders came into ShipStation and got routed from there. Keeping that functionality was vital. And Pipe17 seemed to be the only option.”
“It wasn’t quite magic, but the reality was pretty close. After the connection was live, all we had to do was move the “ship from” location and the data automatically ported over.”
Even though preparing for a busy Q4 — when Deliverr will really get put to the test— is stressful, the Pipe17 connection isn’t one of the worries keeping Jesse up at night.
“As far as Pipe17 is concerned, everything works. The thing that worries me is our notoriously unreliable carrier. Knowing we’ll be able to fall back on this connection—our backup option— is nice.”
Thanks to Pipe17, YouTopia Snacks could easily make Deliverr a part of their existing process. And this came with additional benefits.
“Pipe17 allowed us to lower our shipping costs by switching to Deliverr —and using distributed 3PLS— instead of shipping everything through the same 3PL.”
Shipping — especially now— is a vital piece of the ecommerce puzzle. The whole global supply chain suffered disruption over the last 18 months. (And that’s before we even think about the recent disruptions.) Everyone in the consumables space has been affected: whether it’s secondary packaging, sourcing pallets, finding a freight company or dealing with delays and errors, delivering cheaply and on time is becoming harder. But with a little help from Pipe17, YouTopia Snacks could choose their 3PL on their terms.
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