Quadrupled business during Covid
Grew team significantly
Deliver top-tier whisky to Australians in a dependable, affordable, and delicious way.
Use ShipStation to manage a "playlist"-style subscription box full of liquors.
Covid’s impact on ecommerce, much like a sip of whisky, has been an intense experience that has gone down rough and with a little sting. For Sydney-based liquor subscription service Whisky Loot, though, much like their incredible whisky selection, the rough start ultimately gave way to a smooth and satisfying finish. How did this company experience 4x growth over one of the most difficult times in history for ecommerce brands?
Now that Australia is facing its second lockdown, Whisky Loot has the knowledge and tools they need to fulfill more orders than ever.
At the end of 2019, Whisky Loot was operating with only one full-time employee and two part-timers on staff. As they turned the corner into 2020 with only one person running the warehouse, though, they knew it was time to expand. Gustavo San Martin, COO of Whisky Loot, along with Whisky Loot Founder and CEO Joel Hauer, took the plunge along and brought two more people onto the team. Just as they made that call, Covid entered the picture.
“And then,” Gustavo recalls, “it got big. Me and Joel looked at each other like, should we really hire these people? Because we didn’t know where the business was going to go.”
As it turns out, the only place the business was headed was up. The subscription-based whisky delivery service seemed to be just the thing to get people through a lockdown.
“Thank God we hired them, because with COVID, Victoria went through a harsh lockdown last year. And through that period, we went insane. It was crazy. The business grew 4X last year. We grew from two employees at the end of 2019, and, a year and a half later, we’re at 14.”
As business exploded and their team grew, Whisky Loot was thankful to have ShipStation on their side. The company has relied on ShipStation to keep their fulfillment process streamlined since their inception. Even amid a pandemic and extreme growth, the team knew that shipping was handled, which left them time to flesh out their business model.
Even barring a pandemic, it’s not always easy—or cheap—to get alcohol in Australia. Heavy liquor taxes mean that purchasing a bottle of quality liquor is a risky investment—if you try a new bottle and don’t like it, you can be out a pretty penny.
Whisky Loot’s “playlist” subscription model ensures that everyone, whether they be liquor connoisseurs or first-time sippers, gets a smooth introduction to the wonderful world of whisky. Rather than the typical subscription box system in which the subscriber is sent a dedicated monthly box that goes to everyone else, Whisky Loot instead curates the experience.
“With whisky, some whiskies are a little bit more accessible, taste-wise, and some others are quite harsh for a more developed palate. So what we’ve done is set up a 12-month playlist, and you go from box One to Two to Three. But it doesn’t matter when you sign up. You always get One first, then Two, then Three, and it’s a cadence of whiskies,” Gustavo said.
This method also makes it easier for Whisky Loot to prepare for demanding holiday seasons, such as Father’s Day. “All that we need to do is only stock up on Box One, and that’s it. And then we can afford past our demand for the following months because it’s just the same box that gets repeated.”
For Whisky Loot, simple is better, and they carry this same attitude into their fulfillment strategy.
“When you’re in operations, there’s rarely a situation where people know that you are doing something well. They only look at you when you’re doing something wrong or something’s gone wrong.”
To avoid errors, Whisky Loot has used ShipStation since the very beginning to manage their ever-growing output. With their nationwide shipping strategy under control, Whisky Loot has had the resources to expand their reach into another brand: Gin Loot. Australians can now enjoy a special selection of three different gins delivered to their door monthly. With a second lockdown looming, this expansion couldn’t come at a better time.
For Gustavo, Whisky Loot’s success isn’t just measured by statistics on a screen (as impressive as they have been). It’s about community.
“For me, it’s about delivering the products to everyone and getting people to try these amazing whiskies, and also helping these little distilleries to market their product. We give them such a good window to showcase themselves. After last year’s ALDI stock, I got a call from one of our suppliers, and he said, “My sales just spiked because people are trying my whisky,” and that makes me want to do more, and that makes me want to help people.“
For a business to truly make an impact on their community, it helps to have the “little” things handled. For Whisky Loot, ShipStation plays the ultimate role of taking shipping off the mind so that they can focus on what’s important: good people, good business, and good whisky.