From Craigslist to e-commerce, Cornucopia Popcorn’s founder and CEO Nadia Elhaj has seen it all. Thirteen years ago, Nadia bought a commercial popcorn machine for $1,000 on Craigslist and set up shop across from the University of Texas at Austin campus. Since then, business has been popping.
Now, with two brick-and-mortars and a huge internet presence, Nadia uses ShippingEasy to manage the ever-growing orders for her delicious popcorn varieties.
“I grew the company organically,” Nadia says. “As my abilities and know-how about business grew, it was able to grow. So it was pretty self-starting, it was never infused with capital. It’s just grown organically as our revenue grows.”
Nadia attributes part of this growth to her business partner, Kim Lilley.
“Kim’s been on the team for six years. Since then, our shipping and our online business has grown so much.”
Nadia and Kim have created a popcorn empire specializing in unique flavors (pickle popcorn, anyone?) and top-notch customer service. To get there, though, they needed a little help from ShippingEasy.
Nothing Falls Through the Cracks
Before implementing ShippingEasy, Nadia and Kim relied on manually keeping track of their orders from their website. Naturally, this led to some errors.
“A few years ago, before ShippingEasy, we literally had an order fall through the cracks. That’s because, when the orders used to come in from the website, we would just go ahead and hang them up on this little metal slide,” Kim says. “We didn’t have a way to check to make sure they were being fulfilled or anything like that. So we literally had the order fall in between the crack of the table and the wall. We just didn’t know that it hadn’t been filled until the customer came and was like, “Where’s my popcorn?”
Obviously, Kim and Nadia needed a shipping solution that would have their backs without letting any orders slip through the cracks. ShippingEasy has proven to be the perfect solution for their brand.
“We use ShippingEasy on the backend of our website to see almost all the fields. When the order exports from BigCommerce, sometimes fields like the gift note section are not visible. So we rely on ShippingEasy to really get the comprehensive information from the customer,” Kim says.
Streamlining the System
While Cornucopia Popcorn does have two storefronts, both in Austin, Texas, much of their business comes from the internet.
“I would say the revenue generated from the shopping cart of our website is approximately 20% to 25%, but the revenue generated because of visibility online is probably close to 90%,” says Kim.
Given their online presence, it is vital that the brand’s online ordering system work flawlessly alongside their fulfillment process.
“ShippingEasy plugs in with our websites seamlessly. As soon as the website order comes into our email, we’re able to print it. Then if we’re going to process it immediately, then we’ll go to ShippingEasy and find the order. We love using ShippingEasy to double-check what comes in through the email with what ShippingEasy is saying the order is supposed to be. That way, we can have check-ins to make sure that everybody’s getting the correct product.”
With ShippingEasy keeping orders straight and mistakes at a minimum, Nadia and Kim have more time to focus on shipping out popcorn in a way that makes sense for their business.
“We actually crunched the numbers and found out that we have cut down order time by about 80% for how long it takes for us to fill the orders.”
With their more efficient shipping process in place, Nadia and Kim have been able to redirect their attention to other parts of the business, such as customer service and advertising. They have even found a niche within business-to-business gifts.
“We do a lot of business-to-business gifting, corporate stuff. We end up seeing a lot of the people that we send gifts out to come back to us with their own individual orders. That is definitely something that’s been cool to see,” says Nadia.
Scaling Up with OneBalance
While efficiency and a reduction in errors are vital for a solid fulfillment process, there’s another important aspect to consider: cost.
Every ShippingEasy account includes a free OneBalance account. With OneBalance, users can use a single solution to access discounted rates from carriers. Rather than having to maintain several different accounts for each carrier, this single solution provides users like Cornucopia Popcorn with easy access and oversight to all their funds.
“OneBalance has been an amazing program for us,” says Kim.“ It helps get us lower shipping rates than what we can negotiate on our own. It also saves us time because we can quickly compare the UPS OneBalance rates with USPS One Balance rates in under 5 clicks to find the cheapest rate.”
Saving money on shipping has enabled Cornucopia Popcorn to extend its resources even further, generating growth.
“It has truly been an amazing thing for us, allowing us to scale up our shipping services with our company’s growth.”