ShipStation and ChannelAdvisor Help Crazy Dog T-Shirts Scale Their Business
In 2004, brother duo Tony and Bill Kingston began experimenting with selling t-shirts out of their mother’s basement. What started out as selling novelty t-shirts quickly moved to selling aprons, coffee mugs, and other apparel. Soon the sibling entrepreneurs were able to move out of their mother’s basement and into a warehouse of their own, expanding from a team of two to hiring a team of employees. Making the world funnier one t-shirt at a time, all designs are created and printed in-house at their headquarters in Rochester, New York.
Since founding Crazy Dog T-Shirt, the company takes in pride in providing customers with the highest quality of products with the best in-class customer experience.
The ShipStation and ChannelAdvisor Solution
As the company continued to expand, the duo saw an opportunity to better manage and maintain their online product listings. In 2013 they signed up for ChannelAdvisor, an ecommerce solution that helps brands and retailers diversify their selling channels, manage their product data, and optimize the way they connect to purchase-ready consumers. Not too long after, they discovered ShipStation. With ShipStation, Crazy Dog T-Shirt was able to directly integrate with ChannelAdvisor and streamlined their multichannel presence all in one place.
Tony Kingston: “What ChannelAdvisor does is it allows you to list your products on different marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. Across all marketplaces, ChannelAdvisor consolidates all of it. You just add your products on ChannelAdvisor and it lists them on your selected marketplaces for you. When orders come in, they come through ChannelAdvisor, and then they funnel into ShipStation. From there, we can then quickly ship them out.”
Tony Kingston: “The ChannelAdvisor-ShipStation integration is very smooth. The orders come in, they go to ShipStation. They get shipped. They get marked as ordered on ChannelAdvisor and ChannelAdvisor tells the marketplace that they were shipped correctly.”
How has the ecommerce landscape evolved in the last 10 years?
Tony Kingston: “Back in the day, we started with just our website and an eBay store. Back then, a website was sufficient to generate enough sales to generate a lot of profit. Nowadays, things are a lot different. In addition to your own personal website, you really have to move onto different ecommerce marketplaces in order to expand your reach, generate enough volume, and be successful.”
How do you maintain going the extra mile for your customers through shipping?
Tony Kingston: “With ShipStation, we get to brand our packages by putting our logo on all of our shipping labels. Because we have our label on every package, customers will see our package, see our label, and immediately know that it’s their Crazy Dog T-Shirt order coming in.”
How has the pandemic affected your business? What are the most successful changes you have made?
Tony Kingston: “The pandemic was initially very rough for us. We’re in New York State, and they shut down almost entirely in late March, and we had to send all of our employees home and have them work from home. We were allowed one person in the warehouse, which was typically my brother. When he’d leave, I’d usually come in, and then we’d usually have some of our other employees come in and just do whatever we could.
At the same time, everyone was stuck at home and wanted to buy things, and they could only purchase online. Sales actually increased for us. We were having an incredibly difficult time keeping up. It was tough, but we ultimately streamlined everything because we had to. We had to get everything more efficient by a mile. ShipStation helped us with this.”
How do you deal with returns?
Tony Kingston: “Every marketplace has their own system. Most of them will allow you to send messages directly to an email, in which case, we have a few dedicated support staff that will handle our customer service email. In general, unless a customer specifically asks for an exchange, we will refund the customer because for us, it’s less than a $20 expense to refund the customer. To ship out a new shirt that they might not be satisfied with is roughly a $10 expense. So, we just find it easier to make them happy and give them a full refund.”
What would be your final piece of advice to people shifting online or just starting out right now?
Tony Kingston: “If you’re just starting out, you might find it challenging to get on Amazon, just because they require a lot. So, while you’re waiting on that, get your products on Etsy or eBay or smaller platforms, and just start getting your products online. In our experience, there’s no shortcut to just making listings and getting them up. The closest thing to a shortcut is getting ChannelAdvisor, which is an initial startup cost. Just get your products up and start selling them on marketplaces right away.”