Shoe retailer takes giant steps with Peoplevox ecommerce WMS

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Based in Buxton, Derbyshire since 1890, Bells Shoes first earned a reputation for quality footwear in the 1960s.

While today the original Buxton store continues to serve the local community, in 2007, the shoe retailer launched into online, selling on eBay and Amazon. By 2011, however, the e-commerce operation had grown considerably which warranted a move to a nearby warehouse. The business continued to prosper and in February 2014 the move was made to the current site in Buxton. Originally two buildings, this has since been expanded and now provides four purpose built warehouses allowing a stock holding of 80,000+units.

With outstanding customer experience a top priority, the business strives to deliver the lowest prices in the industry and today competes with both high street retailers and online market places.

The fulfilment challenge

Prior to implementing the Peoplevox Warehouse Management System (WMS) in the summer of 2015, the retailer's rapid and continuing expansion had led to a number of challenges, not least in the area of stock integrity.

Bells Shoes was suffering from severe fulfilment issues with up to 1 in 10 orders being out of stock. The manual pick, pack and ship process in place at that time was also creating further inefficiencies. With 25,000 SKUs and the holding of an average 70,000 units of stock across four warehouses, achieving up to date accurate inventory data on the website and marketplaces was becoming untenable.

The root cause of the problem was the RMS Dynamics stock control system which had been in place since the bricks and mortar only days. This meant Bells had a conventional 'shop-style' warehouse layout by brand and style and was therefore picking and packing by using the back-end of their website.

Bells identified that a dedicated e-commerce WMS system was urgently needed and which would integrate with their existing third party e-commerce software systems.

The solution

In just 12 weeks Bells Shoes successfully deployed Peoplevox's WMS across the four warehouses as well as the retail store. "We chose Peoplevox due to their reputation for stock accuracy, ease of implementation and ability to integrate to all our other e-commerce systems," explains Ben Rees, Senior Sales & Business Development Manager at Bells Shoes.

Deployed by numerous retailers in the UK and globally, the Peoplevox WMS is purpose designed for handling the pace and complexities of e-commerce warehouse management. The mobile-friendly software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution puts powerful logistics software at users' fingertips, allowing maximum convenience and aiding productivity.

It also offers easy off-the-shelf integration with popular e-commerce, ERP and shipping platforms. In Bells Shoes case it is integrated with a Visualsoft e-commerce platform and various carriers such as Royal Mail and DPD via Peoplevox's OpenDespatch shipping system.

Ben Rees, Bells Shoes.

Business benefits

In a matter of months the deployment of the Peoplevox WMS had not only solved the stock accuracy issues at Bells Shoes, but also driven huge increases in efficiency.

  • Reduced over-selling: Bells Shoes has improved order fulfilment to 99.2%, with the remaining 0.8% of out of stocks being caused by marketplace delays. To address this ChannelAdvisor marketplace software integrated with Peoplevox has been implemented.
  • Increased Productivity: Warehouse personnel can now pick and despatch 400 orders each per eight hour shift.

Concludes Ben Rees at Bells Shoes: "Since the Peoplevox WMS implementation we have increased order volume by over 60% while maintaining similar operational staffing levels. Orders are processed quicker, stock control is easier and warehouses are better optimised – all this has allowed us to dedicate more business resource to further developing sales. Peoplevox's shipping solution has also allowed us to make further financial savings from rules based carrier selection, selecting the best carrier for each order down to postcode level."

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