West Coast Seeds, a British Columbia-based organic seed company, may have been founded over 40 years ago, but they’re far from old-fashioned. While the company’s goal is to bring people back to their roots, they are utilizing the latest shipping innovations to do it.
As one of the first seed companies to embrace ecommerce, West Coast Seeds find itself ahead of the competition and are enjoying the benefits of utilizing technology to bring old-fashioned ideals to growth-minded companies and individuals. One way they’ve been able to stay ahead is by recognizing the value of ShipStation Services, where they were matched with an Alliance Partner, Novatize, to expedite their implementation process.
Beyond the Seed
Bringing untreated seeds right to the doors of gardening enthusiasts is what West Coast Seeds is all about. Utilizing ecommerce platforms has helped the company extend its reach to further its mission.
“West Coast Seeds began as an organic seed company before being organic was cool. It was like a hippie movement, very much West Coast-based lifestyle,” says Aaron Saks, President of West Coast Seeds. “We want to eat clean. We want to make sure there are no pesticides in our products and, we want to spread our message and spread the importance of growing your own food in an organic or natural way.”
Selling traditional ideas in a modern way is the challenge that West Coast Seeds has faced since its foray into ecommerce decades ago. When the mission is so big, though, you have to think big.
“We like to go beyond the seed by focusing on the lifestyle of gardening. Not only is the seed that you’re planting great for you and enables you to eat local food, but it can help your mental health by helping you get outside.”
The ShipStation Solution
If there were ever a time to get out into nature for the sake of your mental health, it was during COVID lockdowns. And as one could imagine, this is when business really started to explode for West Coast Seeds. Unfortunately, the company’s previous shipping solution wasn’t going to cut it with their newfound customer base.
“There were a lot of times with our old system when things would go awry, and we needed to either hire out an IT department or figure out internally how to fix it. ShipStation did not have that problem. And whenever we did have issues, we were able to contact support. ShipStation could get them sorted out very fast.”
“We needed ShipStation because our solution before was not equipped to handle the volume that we were dealing with,” says Aaron. “When COVID hit in March of 2020, our sales spiked and demand increased significantly. We felt extremely far behind in regards to our operations. One of the biggest things that really held us back, though, was our ability to ship.”
“We weren’t able to ship fast enough, and there was a lot of inaccuracy. When things slowed down in October –and they barely slowed down– we knew we needed to make a change, and we were able to work alongside ShipStation to figure out a way to make it work by January.”
ShipStation did more than help West Coast Seeds keep up; it helped them excel. “Before ShipStation, it took us about two minutes to ship out one order. Now, it takes about five seconds,” says Aaron.
Implementing with ShipStation Services
Implementing new software is always a daunting task. Thankfully, ShipStation’s Implementation and Training Services offered just the solution West Coast Seeds were looking for during this hectic time. The company signed up for services and was matched with a ShipStation Alliance Partner, Novatize to help implement ShipStation.
“Novatize was great to work with,” Aaron recalls. “They were experts in ShipStation and made it a lot easier for us to operate. I don’t think we would have been able to do without them. We were able to instantly increase our shipping capacity by 200%.”
“Our contact at Novatize, Philippe, understood all of our challenges and was able to adapt our system to be able to make it work for us. We also used our own integrations team, which is called Alluvia Platform. They integrate our ERP SAP Business One into ShipStation. They were also integral in order for this project to work,” says Aaron.
Results That Speak for Themselves
After successfully implementing ShipStation utilizing ShipStation Services, West Coast Seeds began to see major improvements in their shipping process, while also being able to cut down on resources, costs, and labor.
“There’s no percentage that you can even quantify,” Aaron says. “It’s significantly faster than our previous solution and it require us to use any other systems. We saw instant speed changes. As soon as we moved to ShipStation, we were able to save tons of resources. Not only were we able to ship much faster, but we reallocate shipping team members to more important tasks.”
Being able to reallocate resources can make a huge difference for a company’s bottom line. For West Coast Seeds, a lot of the time and money they saved when right into picking orders.
“It’s very, very labor-intensive for us to pick orders. For our wholesale orders, we can have 800 units at a time. For us to go through orders to see if there are errors or issues can take a lot of time. But with ShipStation, our team’s ability to use it as a web-based system enabled us to optimize and speed up the process.”
After picking orders, it’s time to ship. And with ShipStation, that process became more streamlined and cost-effective.
“Because we had the weights and the dimensions of the products, we were able to get shipping rates way faster,” says Aaron. ShipStation is able to sort out multi-use, multi-box shipments, which is super helpful. And it was able to connect with multiple carriers easily.”
What’s Next for West Coast Seeds
Now that shipping problems are a thing of the past, West Coast Seeds is able to look to the future with hope and excitement.
“We want to expand the amount of garden centers that we work with, plus, we want to expand our ecommerce business,” Aaron says.
Right now, we’re strictly in Canada on the wholesale side. You can buy from us on our website, but we are limited in what we can ship. We do have expansion plans to have more of a presence in the US. You can buy from our sister company, Renee’s Garden. They are in the US, and they’re located in over garden centers all over the US.”
With big plans ahead, West Coast Seeds is staying future-focused while promoting its traditional practices of gardening.
“We’re trying to utilize technology wherever possible and trying to adapt to changes in the environment every day. We’ve seen so much optimization already, and we’re looking forward to optimizing more with new systems and changing for the better while we grow.”