We started our business with an excel spreadsheet, a basic accounts package and some low cost site builder software that had no inventory management! Our spare bedroom was soon full of stock and we found ourselves counting stock weekly, manually updating the spreadsheet and borrowing garages and lock ups from friends and neighbours as more products were sourced!
We used to pack orders in the afternoon between our daughters nap times, as the tape gun made a loud ‘Squeeeeeeel’ noise (even with low noise tape) and then walk them up to the post office. Nothing like standing in a queue of tutting customers behind you, as you hand over fourteen parcels, all needing to be sent tracked!
Soon we moved up to mid-range eCommerce software to integrate all the various processes we had developed. Inventory management became easier, label printing was faster – but we were still spending a lot of time double entering customer details and address information. We had by then also set up a customer services email ticketing program, which needed daily input.
It was the decision to move to a warehouse in 2011, which changed our view on technology for our business. Having a large space to manage stock, so it could be picked and packed easily was brilliant, but we needed an Inventory management program to match, which also had customer relationship management capabilities, accounting and P/L functions. Marketing was still handled manually by Jonathan, who used his skill to navigate the various online tools and SEO. We chose an expensive all purpose CRM eCommerce solution, which was highly detailed and required many hours of training to use. To this day I think we only ever used about 40% functionality, but it taught us which software functions we didn’t need!
More recently we have simplified our tech and software.