Read on to find out how Shop Suki, a successful eCommerce grocery business on Shopify, used Order Tagger to automate their fulfillment processes and save time.
For Shop Suki founder, Jennica Chiang, running a successful eCommerce grocery business was not something she initially set out to do. But when the world abruptly shut down in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the opportunity suddenly presented itself.
“I used to work for the online grocer Ocado in the UK, and when I moved back to the Philippines I wanted to start something in eCommerce, but not necessarily groceries,” Jennica tells us. “But when the Government announced there was going to be a lockdown, I figured that this could be the perfect opportunity to make something impactful for my local community.”
Jennica partnered with a local grocery and decided that Shopify would be the quickest and easiest way to create an online store - and managed to set up the store in just three days.
But it started as a very manual process, with Jennica’s team having to print out each individual order and re-print every time a change was made. In fact, it was someone’s full-time job to open every single order and determine what department each item was from before coming up with a picking list. “Because one team might have no idea that something was part of their order,” Jennica had said, "We started with a smaller store and had 5,000 of the top-selling SKUs - the things that people really need - but then customers started asking for really niche products. They started asking for medicines, small appliances and even inflatable swimming pools, so we had to find a way to sell them.”
As their range of products increased, the way Shop Suki fulfilled orders also became more complex with staff having to pick orders from different locations. “With grocery, there is a lot more complexity to how we fulfil orders. It’s not like non-food stores where you can pick one item, pack it in a box and send it off somewhere," Jennica explained.
Another complexity came as the lockdown continued, with customers ordering more non-food items, causing Shop Suki's range of products to increase exponentially. She said: “It was a very hectic and chaotic time. There was just way more demand than the grocery store could fulfil because everyone was panicking.”
"For us, a whole order can’t be fulfilled by one person and we have different departments, so there’s a separate team for frozen, fresh food, pharmacy, non-food etc. We also have time constraints on items such as perishable goods that need to stay edible.”
To manage their fulfilment process, Jennica created a “very clunky” spreadsheet that used different tabs to filter orders based on certain criteria, which would then be printed for staff to pick from. She explained: “If you had an order of 80 items from five different departments, they’d print it out five times and then hand out different pieces of paper to each of these departments and use a highlighter to indicate the items they’d be picking. It was all very hectic.”
It quickly became clear to Jennica that she needed to find a way to divide out Shop Suki’s fulfillment process. She was “app shopping” when she came across Order Tagger, which can automatically tag orders based on a wide range of order and customer data. Specifically for Jennica, it meant that she could filter out her orders by product type. It also helped her to build a good relationship with returning customers as the app allowed Shop Suki to create an automated rule that would instruct staff to include free cupcakes on every customer’s 10th order and an entire cake on their 25th order. They also use Order Tagger to help notify staff of customers that have specific requirements or have had previous problems, so they can ensure their order is double-checked before it’s sent out.
Jennica said: “I’m not an IT person and spreadsheets are about the peak of my technical ability so we seriously wouldn’t exist without Order Tagger. Tagging orders based on product type is something that even Shopify Flow can’t do right now. We wouldn’t be able to run any complex fulfillment through Shopify without Order Tagger because it doesn’t have any other customer attributes or fields, so if you want to add any customer information to your orders you’re stuck with tags.”
Don’t get caught up on little things that become a waste of time and energy. When you first start out, you don’t really have a benchmark, so try to manage your expectations and know that not everything is going to happen at once.
Spend your downtime looking for apps on Shopify because chances are if you have a problem, someone else has that problem and somebody else has found a solution. So, be open to trying out as many new apps as possible. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to the developers, most are very passionate about what they’re doing and the Shopify community is so helpful.
Don’t take on more orders than you can handle. It’s more important to sustain your quality of service. You don’t want to be a one-year business where you’re only serving people because there’s a pandemic or a sudden rise in demand. You want a business that will sustain you for years, so think about your quality of customer service and if that takes saying no to orders, then so be it, but if you unable to fulfill orders, then they need to know that. So remember, communication is key.
Hours saved using Order Tagger to organize orders.
Tags applied so far.
Rules created to automate the fulfillment flows.
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