About the author:
The founder of Strapins, Bill Brown, has been a property developer for many years before developing a passion for inventing new products or improving existing products that serve a functional purpose. This passion extends to online website models also as he is a passionate believer in meeting unmet demands.
300% sales growth as shipping times more than halved since partnering with NextSmartShip to service international orders
Seamless ordering and instant communication
Same-day postage, regardless of order amount
The Strapins story
Strapins is a cost-effective and convenient solution that improves the control and response of all snowboard boots, regardless of their condition. A must-have for an improved boot fit for rental boots, emergency boot repair and backcountry riders.
Strapins started as a hobby simply because I needed something I could count on in case a snowboard boot broke as this would often happen to someone in my family of 5 when holidaying in the snow in different countries. Living in Australia, we had to fly a long distance to get good snow, we had already paid thousands to get up the mountain and if something went wrong with our boots (new or old), there were simply no good options other than horrible rental boots when you are only holidaying for a limited period of time. For me, it was a problem that needed to be fixed so naturally, I started working on solutions. Over the years Strapins developed into more than just a backup solution, they turned out to be a great way to increase control while riding, reduce heel life, solve the issue of foot numbness that many riders struggle with, all while being the cheapest insurance policy for snowboarding boots on the market. We sent them out to professional independent reviewers to test and they all thought the same thing, Strapins are a simple product that fixes many complex issues. You can find out more about our independent reviews here.
When I got my children involved in this side project, all of a sudden people could find me, shopping carts were set up, social media established and the process of knowing about the product and buying it was much easier. This was no longer a side project, Strapins was now a business with demand from all over the world.
How do we keep up?
Sales ramped up in the American and European ski season to the point where I was constantly writing on envelopes, going to the post office, wherever I was at the time, taking photos of the envelopes to show the client it was actually sent as tracking from Australia was prohibitive in cost so we could not offer it. We had a massive increase in international demand, and our current solution was simply not sustainable. We were shipping with no tracking, manually sending all from the local post office and offering anywhere between 5-15 business days shipping with no tracking available. Many of our customers needed it within 7-10 days and did not order even though they wanted to buy the product. Some did not arrive and we had no idea where they were at the time, this was an issue that we needed to resolve ASAP; not only because of the opportunity cost but also because we were sick of manually sending out all of our orders with no confidence they would arrive!
I started researching how we could make life easier and improve Strapins experience. After many hours of research, we ended up with NextSmartShip and that decision changed everything for the better.
The easy road with NextSmartShip
The benefits for Strapins in partnering with a great fulfilment centre were enormous, but picking a fulfilment centre is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. Our product is a winter product for Europe and USA markets which are the vast majority of buyers. It is also very small and very light so it takes up little to no storage space in what are usually massive warehouses. It is important for a ‘bootstrap’ startup like us to not pay big onboard fees for orders and large monthly storage fees as we simply can’t afford the overheads which many are seeking. We also needed tracking after many previous issues without it, as well as faster, more reliable postage so the many people who needed them quickly could place an order and know it would arrive within a certain time frame whilst being able to follow its delivery.
My biggest concern dealing with a Chinese fulfillment centre was the language barrier as I have had many conversations with different products and other businesses I am involved in, including Float it. Sometimes getting a simple thing done can take a very long time due to the language barriers, but with the wonderful staff from Nextsmartship (I was allocated Grace, Ashe and Irene) this was no barrier at all. I think the ability to ask a question and have it answered or looked into immediately is absolutely essential in the world of e-commerce and we are thankful that this is now a reality for us.
The Bottom line is last year I was snowboarding in remote Japan and constantly looking at orders, being concerned previous shipments wouldn’t arrive, working out how I could fill them all out and ship them quickly all without spending a lot of my time. Since establishing a relationship with Nextsmartship for Strapins this is no longer an issue as it all happens efficiently online. We are now confident that we are providing our customers with the best possible experience, and that’s what you need to have if you are growing any business.