Pet Costume Center sells over 2000 styles of pet costumes, from the hilarious, to the adorable, to the outlandish, all on one site. Kevin Botero, CEO and costume aficionado of Pet Costume Center, grew the business from the ground up, and what started as a side hustle grew into a dream job.
Kevin sat down with us during the peak of Pet Costume Center’s busy season, Halloween, to tell us how ShippingEasy transformed his business (no costume required!).
Pet Costume Center wasn’t always top dog when it came to costume selection. However, right out of the gate, the site offered a large enough inventory to make a name for itself.
“In the beginning, we had around 200 or 300 styles,” says Kevin. We had a much smaller selection than we do now, but even then, I would say we had a lot compared to other retailers at the time.”
While business began to ramp up, Kevin was encouraged to see that silly outfits for pets was indeed a viable business idea.
“For our first couple of years, we were getting two or three orders a day normally, and then 10 orders a day at our peak in October. Compared to right now, at our peak we’re getting 300 orders a day,” Kevin says.
As the business began to scale, however, Kevin realized that he couldn’t keep track of all these new orders on his own — he needed some help.
“At that time, we were taking about five minutes per order. That’s why we set out to find an easier solution, something that would scale with us as we started growing,” Kevin says.
“We finally landed on ShippingEasy. And then, the difference was just night and day. From five minutes per order, it went down to about a minute and a half on average, from beginning to end, picking and packing and printing the shipping label and the packing slip.”
Putting It All Together
With ShippingEasy, Kevin is able to spend more time designing and sourcing unique costume ideas instead of worrying about excessive labor and costs going into their shipping process. The team is also able to focus on accuracy by doing more frequent inventory checks.
“With the time that we save, we’re able to do more frequent inventory checks to make sure that inventory is as accurate as possible. This is important because, if we have an inventory error and someone orders a costume by Halloween but we’re sold out, they don’t get it. They don’t have a chance to buy anywhere else,” Kevin says. “That completely ruins a relationship with the brand itself.”
“Without solidifying our shipping workflow, we could have the best marketing, the best strategy in the world, but we couldn’t scale. We also save so much on labor costs because now one person is able to do way more orders than before.”
Doggone Problems, Gone
We asked Kevin to rewind and describe his shipping process before finding ShippingEasy. What he told us was scarier than any costume on the site, including the Chucky Doll with a knife costume.
“Our process, in the beginning, was kind of barbaric, looking back at it,” he said. “We basically just used the native backend system from WooCommerce, Then, we would literally copy and paste the customer’s address to Endicia, and then weigh everything manually for every single order. It took quite some time to do that for each order, and it definitely wasn’t scalable.”
Naturally, this manual system led to problems.
“One of our biggest challenges before going on to ShippingEasy was shipping errors. We were actually putting the wrong shipping label to the wrong order, and then, being that we placed one shipping label somewhere, that means another one is an error as well. There would just be webs of messes.”
Unhappy customers were a frequent issue for the fledgling brand until they found the perfect solution.
“We would get a lot of customer service emails with angry customers with the wrong costumes. That was one of our largest challenges, and then ShippingEasy, of course, completely eliminated that problem.”
Not only did we make Kevin pick his favorite costume on the site — which happened to be the aforementioned Chucky Doll — we also made him choose his all-time favorite ShippingEasy features.
Pick and Pack
“We use the pick and pack list to pick in batches per person. Then, as they’re packing that order, the invoice or the packing slip and labels printing out at the same time. So you put it right on that package. There’s very little room for error at that point,” Kevin says.
“With ShippingEasy, we are able to use the shipping rules and then combine them with customized email templates to let customers know if their order is labeled as a split order. ShippingEasy sends that email and lets them know that it’s coming from two different places so they don’t receive something and think something is missing in their order.”
“Branded Tracking is one feature of ShippingEasy that led us to decide to use it in the beginning. We wanted the customer to have transparency about the whereabouts of their order. With branded tracking, instead of just getting a tracking number, it actually has a branded portal where customers can see exactly the steps of their order. We have links there to encourage customers to shop again, to create that discovery process again. We also list our customer service information there. That’s a really crucial part of the whole shipping process as well and also creating that connection with the customer and the brand.”
By taking advantage of all of these features and more, Kevin has made ShippingEasy an integral part of his company’s progress. As Pet Costume Center continues to grow, you can follow along with their journey on Instagram, and get to know more about ShippingEasy’s simple solutions here.