Ship & Sip Spring Growth Recap
Have you ever wanted to get insights from other business owners and industry experts about how they get ship done? Our twice-a-quarter event series, Ship & Sip allows you to do just that. Hi! My name is Erin and in addition to being the Manager of the ShipStation Community, I also have the honor of hosting Ship & Sip.
This March, we were lucky enough to be joined by two amazing women just in time for International Women’s Month, who both thrive in the ecommerce world. Emilie Bingham, Senior Manager of Communications at Auctane, previewed some of the findings from ShipStation’s latest research. And Sarah Puil, CEO and Founder of Boxt Wine joined us for a quick chat about cultivating business growth under any condition.
Reviewing the Research: Protect Your Growth Strategy
I can say that we are indeed living in a time of great uncertainty. People have lost jobs, businesses have shut down, and the global economy is in a state of flux. Our newest Consumer & Merchant Benchmark Report provides insights into these uncertain times, giving us a glimpse into the challenges faced by both consumers and merchants. This report highlights the importance of adaptability and innovation, as businesses strive to find new ways to meet the changing demands of their customers. While the future remains uncertain, it’s clear that those who are willing to embrace change and stay ahead of the curve will be best positioned to thrive in the months and years ahead.
Inflation is being felt globally, having a $219B impact on American consumers and a $319B impact internationally. Consumers are trying to find ways to change their spending habits and are being much more mindful of where and how they are spending.
While this is concerning information, it was also stated that 81% of consumers interviewed for the report still focus on supporting small businesses. Even more intriguing is that 35% of those consumers were likely to make sacrifices to still purchase from small businesses.
In contrast to the last report we released around the holiday season, consumers and businesses seem to align more. 61% of consumers stated that shipping costs are a factor for purchasing decisions and over 72% of businesses are trying to cut shipping costs to continue to grow.
Taking this into consideration, what can businesses do? Emilie presented three keys to increase business growth.
3 Keys to Business Growth
- Save on shipping costs: This is a big factor in customer purchasing decisions, but it’s also important to calculate your shipping budget to avoid overspending. Use all of the resources available to your business.
- Improve the delivery experience: It’s no longer enough to get your item to your customer in a timely manner — you need to make sure that your customer is wowed at every stage of your process, especially post-purchase. Whether it’s branding, how you communicate with your customers, or creating a special unboxing experience.
- Streamline and expand operations with more automation: Human hands can only handle so much on their own. It’s time to make sure that you set up your team for success and automate as much as possible to increase productivity and reduce the number of human errors. It’s not replacing your workforce, but setting them up for greater success.
See Boxt Grow: An Example of Growth in Uncertainty
I know it can be easy to become pessimistic about growth in uncertain economic times, but our guest Sarah Puil and her company Boxt are living proof that growth is possible in nearly any condition.
Boxt is a female-founded direct-to-consumer luxury winery with a focus on reducing the carbon footprint of the wine industry, smashing the stereotypes associated with boxed wine, and becoming the preferred wine on tap in your house.
Boxt was launched in 2020, right towards the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic before vaccines were even launched to fight the infection. The operation was fully funded by February 2021 and fully bonded as a winery in eight months.
Sarah, who previously had a corporate career in information technology, stated that there is a quote from a coach she’ll never forget:
“You’ve got to find something at the intersection of your experience, your aptitude, and your interest.”
Instead of waiting for something you are passionate about, look at the world around you and find a problem you can solve. Sarah wanted a glass of wine on a random night and realized that regular boxed wine tasted bad. There are a lot of additives in wine and the negative environmental impact of the wine industry didn’t sit well with her. Now Boxt has reimagined how you enjoy wine at home: your house wine in a Boxt, simple, beautiful, refillable, and delicious.
The Keys to Boxt’s Growth
- Work in sprints: There are a lot of moving parts when you are starting a business and a lot to accomplish. This can be daunting and overwhelming if you try to attack it all at once. Breaking things down into smaller projects will allow you to be more thorough at each stage of your business.
- Work for the right team for every sprint: This can be difficult for some but is crucial, as not every team member or employee needs to be involved in every stage and be in every room. If you look at your business as a football and each sprint as a run to the endzone, your job is to make sure that you have the right team on the field protecting your football. Not all good team members are qualified for all stages of your business growth, and that’s okay.
- Be able to roll with the punches: When asked about regrets, Sarah struggled to find something in particular to mention, because her focus was and still is about looking forward. The important thing is to be aware of things in the moment and be flexible about changing course when you need to. There are no regrets when it comes to starting a new business, only lessons to be learned and opportunities to improve going forward. Don’t let setbacks take you out.
- Don’t judge your growth based on the growth of others: All businesses grow at different rates. It is not fair to compare your growth to another company. If you truly want to measure growth success, measure against your company’s prior metrics.
- Work life balance: Going back to your business being a football and wanting to always have the right team around it, you can’t protect your football if you are not protecting yourself. You have to carve out time for both work and personal life. Remember delegating is the sign of a strong leader, don’t be afraid to trust your team.
How Erin Sees It
Right now we are definitely dealing with uncertainty and economic impact, but this isn’t new to any of us. We have spent the last 3 years in the midst of a pandemic full of setbacks and unique challenges. It could be easy to feel pessimistic about the future, but Boxt and many other pandemic-born businesses are proof that growth is possible in any situation with the correct grit and strategies. Tough times can either discourage us or they can challenge us to be even more creative to succeed. Economic uncertainty has been wrapped throughout the history of the world and some of the greatest successes have come from those times of uncertainty. It won’t be easy and there are always going to be lessons to learn but with the right team supporting you and the right strategies, the sky’s the limit.
We are so grateful to all our panelists, for helping make this event possible and for all of the amazing insight that was shared. We are excited to announce that for the first time ever, Ship & Sip is going on the road and we can’t wait to meet you in Dallas on May 23, 2023. If you are in the area you can sign up to join us in person and if you aren’t in the area you can still sign up for our virtual event. We look forward to seeing you all next time.