Black Wolf Skincare started off handling its own fulfillment processing. As sales grew, co-founder Alex Lewkowict said the brand needed to outsource its shipping services to keep up with demand.
In 2019, Black Wolf Skincare invested in fulfillment software from ecommerce fulfillment services vendor ShipHero. At the time, Black Wolf processed about 1,000 orders per month.
“By my calculation, even at our volume of 1,000 orders a month, we saved more than $2 in shipping costs [per order] using their ecommerce tool,” he says. The tool helped Black Wolf Skincare find the cheapest available shipping carrier, he says.
“The plan started around $1,800 a month,” he says.
Using ShipHero’s software tool “was a no-brainer for us that paid for itself right away,” he says.
Shipping price fluctuations
Another pain point was price fluctuations, Lewkowict says. The men’s skincare brand could no longer ship from its one warehouse. Transit times were too slow or too expensive to ship to anywhere in the U.S., he says.
By the end of 2020, demand grew to more than 17,000 orders a month, Lewkowict says. And by the end of 2021, orders averaged about 25,000 a month. This prompted the retailer to outsource its entire shipping and fulfillment processes to ShipHero, he says.
By December 2022, Black Wolf Skincare averaged more than 40,000 orders a month.
With ShipHero, Black Wolf Skincare could inbound ship directly into any of its warehouses. Black Wolf Skincare manufactures its products in Florida.
Black Wolf sends its products to ShipHero’s West Palm Beach, Florida, facility. ShipHero then distributes shipments across its network of warehouses and carriers to ensure the fastest delivery times. As a result, Black Wolf was able to reduce the time it takes to ship orders to customers.
“Our average shipping time to customers went from five plus days to under three days for the same cost,” Lewkowict says.
That includes next-day shipping to anywhere in Texas, Florida, Georgia, New York and New Jersey, he says.
ShipHero ships Black Wolf’s orders using local carriers, Lewkowict says. “Customer satisfaction goes up as wait times decrease,” he says.
“I think a lot of brands are relying on 3PLs to bring in expertise that isn’t their expertise,” says Maggie Barnett, chief operating officer at ShipHero.
“It’s really tough to run a 3PL,” she adds. Third-party logistics services (3PLs) are the outsourcing of ecommerce logistics processes to a third-party company like ShipHero. 3PLs handle inventory management, warehousing and fulfillment operations.
“Companies want to concentrate on making the best product possible, not know what a routing guide is or worry about just-in-time delivery or that UPS is limiting your pickups, et cetera,” Barnett says.
Selling on Amazon makes a difference
Black Wolf Skincare began as a direct-to-consumer brand. But in mid-2020, Lewkowict says it realized that the brand was losing sales by not selling on Amazon.com Inc.
“We were very against going on Amazon because we wanted to have value in owning the customer relationship,” Lewkowict says.
That viewpoint changed. A consultant told Black Wolf Skincare that consumers were searching for the brand on Amazon directly or clicking on Google ads and Facebook ads and then going to search for the brand on Amazon.com. But since Black Wolf wasn’t selling on Amazon, consumers opted for products by other Amazon sellers/competitors.
“Instead of finding our product on Amazon, they’d see competitor options that were also advertising using the same keywords,” Lewkowict says.
Black Wolf Skincare launched on Amazon in 2020. Amazon sales accounted for about 10% of Black Wolf Skincare’s overall sales, he says. Since then, that percentage has grown. Selling on Amazon has “added a tremendous amount of volume and revenue,” he says, without revealing more. The average order value for Black Wolf Skincare’s DTC website and Amazon store is about $65, he says.
Lewkowict says the men’s skin care brand has capitalized off Amazon traffic. Some customers only want to buy off Amazon, he says.
“So, whether they’re seeing our TV ads or a Facebook ad, they’ll always go to Amazon to comparison shop,” Lewkowict says. “Our strategy here is to encourage those Amazon shoppers to go and buy on Amazon. Traffic that comes off of Amazon helps our ranking [on the marketplace search results]. The more shoppers search for our products, the better our ranking.”
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