Multichannel Knife Brand Cuts Through Stock Chaos To Save 60+ Hours A Month
- Shopify Plus-powered multichannel merchant specializing in Japanese knives and cookware, with steady 30% YoY growth
- Uses Inventory Planner to accurately forecast demand across five stores and website, make data-driven buying decisions and map its warehouse
- Impact: 64 hours a month saved from manual inventory planning, stockouts eliminated, demand spikes accurately predicted, orders picked faster and more accurately
“Inventory Planner has given me the power to make data-driven decisions… Now, we always have the right items in the right location in order to maximize sales” – Tiffany Wight, Warehouse Manager, Knifewear
For omnichannel brands, balancing the inventory requirements of both physical and online stories can be a major challenge that takes up tons of time and energy.
From warehouse transfers to sudden spikes in demand, there’s so much to think about. And without a proper inventory planning tool at hand, it can require several people to manage it (and still result in costly errors).
It’s an issue which fast-growing Canada-based retailer Knifewear, which specializes in Japanese kitchen knives and cookware for professional and at-home chefs, knows all too well.
The brand has five bricks-and-mortar stores in cities across Canada as well as its hugely successful Shopify Plus powered web store but it was struggling to order the right inventory for each location, at the right time, using its previous operations software, Lightspeed.
Nathan Gareau, Brand Communications Lead, says: “Lightspeed was clunky and frustrating to use – particularly because it failed to sync properly with our Shopify store, so we couldn’t count on it for a reliable indication of how much stock we had at any given time.
“That meant we’d quite often oversell items. So we might sell a bespoke $2,000 knife to someone, which they’d be really excited about, but we’d then have to let them know that we didn’t actually have it in stock – it would ruin their day, and ours too.
“Working out how much to buy was really clunky. I was doing a lot of mediocre math!
“Then we joined Inventory Planner and everything changed for the better – we haven’t had to ruin anyone’s day in ages!”
Sharpest Knife In The Drawer
Following a straightforward and speedy onboarding, Inventory Planner has become an invaluable addition to Knifewear’s tech stack, seamlessly syncing with Shopify to provide always up-to-date insight on inventory across every location.
As a top-rated inventory planning app on Shopify, it offers Knifewear accurate sales forecasting which factors in supplier timescales, seasonality and promotions alongside historical sales data. It then translates the forecasts into hassle-free buying recommendations.
It means the team can easily see how much inventory is needed and the best time to order, factoring in supplier lead time and the business’s desired stock cover periods
Tiffany Wight, Warehouse Manager, says: “As a buyer, Inventory Planner has given me the power to make data-driven decisions about the stock we order and when we order it – for both our physical stores and our website.
“Now, we always have the right items in the right location in order to maximize sales. Overselling has become a thing of the past and we’re no longer holding anywhere near as much excess stock.
“I also use it to help us map our warehouse. Every SKU in our inventory has had a bin label added to it which syncs across to Shopify and even gets included on print labels. It makes it so much faster to pick orders because we always know where everything is located.
“We promise dispatch within one business day but we’d started to struggle to keep that promise – Inventory Planner makes it easy to stick to.
“Providing an excellent and consistent customer experience is really important to us and Inventory Planner is instrumental in helping us achieve it.”
No More Stabs In The Dark
Since switching to Inventory Planner and gaining accurate forecasting and reliable buying recommendations, life has been made simple and less stressful for the Knifewear team.
The brand regularly hosts virtual ‘garage sales’ where it sells particularly unique items. Inventory Planner has proved invaluable at helping the team prepare the right stock for these events and with ensuring orders are processed efficiently.
“Our garage sales have historically always been very stressful, with all hands on deck and quite a lot of running around and shouting,” Nathan adds.
“But our first garage sale since Inventory Planner was completely different. It ran like clockwork and we shipped out 540 packages – which is a record for us – without breaking a sweat.
“In fact, our boss thought we weren’t hustling enough because the whole team was so calm, when actually it was our most successful event to date! That’s the power of Inventory Planner”
A Cut Above The Rest
As well as utilizing content and email marketing, Knifewear has built up a strong following on social media, particularly TikTok (where it has 150K followers) and YouTube. It’s mix of educational and user-generated content has proved a powerful tool for driving sales – and the brand uses Inventory Planner to successfully predict spikes in demand.
Tiffany says: “Inventory Planner is able to accurately track spikes after influencers share a post or one of our posts does well, and it factors that in to our forecasting – which is incredible. It also doesn’t just learn the trends of your sales but the trends of your suppliers, too – we don’t have to order a year in advance any more!
“The reporting functionality in Inventory Planner is second-to-none. From running a quick report to look closer at a sudden uptick in sales to being able to see what’s in stock at each of our locations separately, the reports are brilliant, I love them.
“A big part of my job is weekly warehouse transfers out to our five stores and Inventory Planner has really helped make that seamless. The team behind Inventory Planner are always making improvements, too, which make it even better.”
With five successful stores already up and running, Knifewear is soon set to open a sixth – in Toronto, Canada.
With Inventory Planner at the heart of its tech stack, there are also plans in place to boost Knifewear’s website sales, expand to more Canadian cities with permanent and pop up stores and perhaps even open a knife store in Japan one day.
Contributed by Brightpearl by Sage. To see how Inventory Planner can boost your business book a demo now.