ORIAS Best New Online Retailer, FitMyCar, say the solution for awesome customer service is the right shipping & tracking software
“Working with StarShipIT has been a super smart move for our business. Online retail is fast, and as an on-demand manufacturer in this space, it means ease of use, speed, and accuracy in your shipment tracking software become that much more important.”
We spoke to James Tinsley, Founder of FitMyCar, about his journey to become this year’s StarTrack ORIAS Best New Online Retailer.
So how did it all get started, what’s the inspiration behind it?
I was originally an engineer for the Department of Defence (Land Systems), making sure the vehicles we deployed were well maintained and fit for purpose. Prior to that I worked at Autobarn as sales assistant, so I’ve always had an interest in the automotive industry in one way or another. For me, that interest naturally translated into starting niche online businesses selling auto parts and I guess FitMyCar is the summary of all the experiences I have had.
In fact, a couple of products we sell today were the best selling items from previous online businesses, so I knew FitMyCar as a platform would work and give us a scalable business model we could grow from.
What is your role/responsibilities?
I do a bit of everything – from processing orders, answering phones, doing operational stuff – on a really busy day I will be in the warehouse packing orders. When I have time, I work on strategy, new products and the books etc. I run the business but I also get involved across the day-to-day operations.
Who else in involved (size of team, roles they play etc)?
We have 13 staff in Melbourne, 2 in the Philippines who work on the website full-time and one customer service operator in the US.
How did you feel when you heard you were a finalist in the ORIAS for best new online retailer?
It was a massive surprise, we were really happy with that result – it was really validating for everything we have been working on and the growth we’ve had so far. Just to get that recognition on its own is a super achievement and we couldn’t be happier with it.
What did you and the team do to celebrate your win?
Two of the team were there sending me text updates as the night went on, and as soon as they told me, it just felt incredible. They knew they were up against tough competition so to take out the win, we were really really happy. To celebrate, we had a jumping castle setup in the factory and enjoyed a bit of a party.
What was life like before StarShipIT?
Before StarShipIT we were using eParcel. Which meant there was no barcoding and no auto generation of labels. We would bulk upload our shipments into eParcel, then we would have to bulk print labels and we would have to sort those to orders and then go and pack orders. What that meant for us was the potential for errors and mistakes was a lot higher – it did cause us a lot of grief. Australia Post used to charge us around $1000 bucks a month in manifesting penalties alone. The more orders you do, the more unmanageable that solution is.
What were the key factors when you selected a shipping technology solution?
We wanted to have a solution that would allow bar-code scanning, instant single scan label generation, centralised tracking, multiple carriers and a solution that would integrate with our website we were building through an API (custom built website so we wanted to control this through the API ourselves) and we got all this from StarShipIT.
Tell us about shipping internationally
We ship anywhere from 800 to 1200 orders a week to AU, NZ, US and anywhere else in the world from our warehouse in Melbourne. The bulk of our international orders go to the US. The advantage we have is that we can use multiple carriers and preset them in StarShipIT for our requirements.
For example, we use AusPost for domestic shipping and DHL Express for international. The advantage we have with DHL is that it is a single label. They take all the paperwork electronically and print a single thermal label.
What is life like now using StarShipIT?
It’s part of our business system now. Our website generates a manufacturing summary for each order that is used to manufacture the product to the customers specification. That label carries right through to the end process, when the barcode on that label is scanned to mark the order as completed then again to print the post label. Literally no extra processes are required – it is fully ingrained in our business process.
What benefits do you experience with StarShipIT?
Using StarShipIT saves us considerably more time than 5 minutes an order. For us, it’s not just the time saving, it’s the reliability, the accuracy and cost savings. The goal for us is to get the order right first time. Having systems in place that allow you to make mistakes as you grow just multiplies the problems.
We definitely benefit from the time saving that StarShipIT provides but the other benefits that are less measurable are just as important.
What’s in the future for Fit My Car?
We will continue to develop new products, and we have some new ones due to launch end of this year and we will go from there. We want to continue our upwards trajectory and continue the good growth we have seen both here and in the US.
What keeps you awake at night? Time! Or lack of!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who would love to follow in your footsteps and start an online business?
My observations of the industry, particularly around eCommerce are that if I was starting again, I would say look for a product that is in a niche and that you can control as much as possible – your margins, your market etc, so that it is a sustainable business.
What tips would you give other online retailers that you think they would benefit from?
I like to have the control and I like to control the system in house. A lot of people look for perfection, especially in the systems they use.
The reality is that a lot of systems are built for the wider market, so be a bit accommodating, understand that you will need to develop your systems around the systems that are available, and if you are willing to do that, you can develop a really good solution. If you do this, you will end up with a really good solution and partner for your business. Rather than disrupt your business every 6 or 12 months as you keep trying to improve the system, find the best fit, work around it and then worry about the hundred percent growth.
“Before StarShipIT, we suffered the pain of bulk upload & print of shipping labels. Understandably, this introduced human error into our fulfilment processes as pick & pack staff matched labels to orders. Not a great situation to be in. This seemingly small process glitch increased the chance of a customer receiving the wrong order… and we hated that possibility! Awesome service is something we strive for with every customer and so we began the search for a better solution.
For us, that solution is StarShipIT. Working with the software is a bit like having a staffer who speaks with all your national and international freighters, and feeds tracking information back to customers (and staff) in almost real-time. It’s prints labels on-demand, just like us, and has saved countless hours which can be redirected into other areas of the business.” James Tinsley, Founder, Fitmycar
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