EasyCare Institutes Same-Day Shipping with ShipStation and nChannel
Founded in 1970, EasyCare pioneered a new category in the equine industry known as the hoof boot. Designed by Dr. Neel Glass, EasyCare’s first comfortable, padded shoe was named the “Easyboot.” Unlike a traditional iron shoe, hoof boots allow a horse to naturally flex its hoof with each step, aiding in circulation, while still providing protection from rocks or damaging hard surfaces.
Today, EasyCare celebrates their 50th anniversary as a business and continues to live out their mission of “improving the wellbeing of horses by providing the equine community with superior service, education, and innovative equine products.” As horses are often beloved family members, EasyCare focuses on educating the equine community about the benefits of hoof boots for hoof flexibility and pain reduction.
Beyond their innovative array of products, EasyCare has spent the last few years evolving their internal operations to optimize their eCommerce and shipping experiences, allowing them to continue to offer customers “superior service.” For their customers around the globe, EasyCare now operates a streamlined fulfillment process that handles even their more unique requirements like their 30-day rental program.
With the stage set by Amazon, EasyCare recognizes that today’s customers want timely and accurate shipping even when it came to their hoof boots. To meet these expectations, EasyCare reviewed their own fulfillment processes to see where they could improve.
Outsourcing Fulfillment to a 3PL
Having been around since 1970, EasyCare initially did all their own warehouse management. At first, they tried to implement a few different shipping software solutions in their own warehouse. However, they still felt inefficient compared to the market’s logistics experts. This led EasyCare to decide to outsource their warehousing and fulfillment to a third-party logistics (3PL) partner. Operating their own warehouse wasn’t worth the financial costs or time to perfect. Instead, they wanted to focus their business on creating products, marketing, and supporting customers.
Finding and partnering with the right 3PL proved to take some trial and error. They needed more than just “fulfill and ship” services because of the more unique aspects of their industry and business like:
- Equine equipment terminology on packing slips and other shipping materials
- 30-day rental program for users to ship back test size boots
- Shipping products that contain glue, a hazardous material
- Shipping to international customers
- 45-day no questions asked returns guarantee
After moving on from a 3PL who used their own in-house shipping software, EasyCare landed a partnership with Dallas-based 3PL WarehousePro. They appreciated their dedicated team trained to handle their unique shipping requirements.
Implementing Shipping Software
When working with Warehouse-Pro, EasyCare learned they primarly used ShipStation as their shipping software and implemented it themselves. With ShipStation’s order tagging and shipping rule features, EasyCare can easily notify WarehousePro’s team when an order needs something special such as:
- Include a pre-printed return label for any rental program hoof boot
- Attach special paperwork for products that contain hazardous materials like glue
- Quickly generate a return label for guaranteed returns program
Integrating their ERP Software
With their 3PL in place, along with ShipStation, EasyCare saw an opportunity to automate their entire fulfillment workflow – from an order placed on the web to that product being picked and shipped from the warehouse.
“If you can get less people touching an order, there’s less room for error. If you have someone verifying the address when it comes in, but it has to go to a sales rep to make sure the promotion was added and then it has to go to the warehouse for someone to pick, you’re just opening it up for mistakes to happen along the way and delays.”Jessica Kahn, Operations Manager and Special Project Leads at EasyCare
To automate the fulfillment process from start to finish, EasyCare turned to nChannel to connect their ERP Sage 100 with ShipStation.
Before integrating their systems, EasyCare was only syncing online orders in two or three waves a day from Sage 100 to their shipping software. Syncing orders in batches not only slowed down the rest of the fulfillment process, but it also prohibited their ability to ship same-day for customers. Delayed shipping times lead to their customer service and sales reps receiving calls from their customers asking where their orders were.
To avoid problems like these, EasyCare knew they needed to implement an integration between Sage 100 and their new shipping software. Recommended by ShipStation, nChannel now connects ShipStation and Sage 100 to ensure there’s no slow downs or data errors when fulfilling online orders.
To keep their entire project running smoothly, EasyCare was able to implement nChannel alongside setting up ShipStation.
The nChannel implementation team was organized. I appreciated that they were proactive. I can be that person who doesn’t get back to an email for a day, maybe two. I felt they prioritized our account and our integration.”Jessica Kahn, Operations Manager and Special Project Leads at EasyCare
With the nChannel integration in place between their endpoint systems, EasyCare no longer waits to sync online orders in batches throughout the day. Instead, the process from beginning to end is automated.
- Customer place online orders
- Online orders sync to Sage 100 with all the necessary data fields
- nChannel syncs sales orders to ShipStation to start the shipping process
- Warehouse-Pro fulfills the orders
Now, new orders make it to the warehouse within minutes of being placed online. This timeliness is crucial for giving their 3PL Warehouse-Pro enough time to ship as many orders as possible same-day for customers.
With their 3PL partner and an automated shipping workflow in place, EasyCare can already tell a difference. EasyCare notes that they’re shipping more orders same-day. With an automated process, they even rely on orders to ship same-day when employees aren’t in the office because of their four-day work week. Customer service teams spend less time answering customers asking when their order shipped or why the tracking info hasn’t updated.
EasyCare also simplified their rental program process for customers. As a horse’s hoof can vary in size just like a human, EasyCare ships multiple sizes of their hoof boots to ensure customers choose the best fit. Within 30 days, customers can try on the different sizes for their horse and return those that didn’t work.
Before simplifying this process, customers had to call EasyCare to receive a return shipping label via email. Now, EasyCare includes that return label right in the packing box, allowing customers to attach the label and ship the box back without any hassle.
EasyCare’s automated fulfillment processes are made possible through an integrated solution between their partners and software. Even though EasyCare was founded in 1970, they’ve evolved their eCommere and shipping experience to meet the demands of today’s consumers.
“If you can streamline the process with less human interaction, then the orders gets out the door faster and that’s what people want.”Jessica Kahn, Operations Manager and Special Project Leads