Things were looking grim for ecommerce retailer Frostbite. Despite explosive growth, the company was being let down by its third-party logistics provider, a company that was not only making big mistakes but exhibiting terrible customer service. Then, Frostbite found Bolt, and within just three weeks at the top of the company’s retail season, the situation went from dire to delightful.
When your third-party logistics provider lets you down - big time.
Frostbite’s ecommerce business has grown exponentially. What started as a handful of rod and lure sales has, in just two years, grown to represent thousands of transactions and shipments annually.
Frostbite has built its brand on delivering high-quality products purposely tailored for serious ice anglers, backed by an extraordinary guest experience. For the founding team, attention to detail matters at every step and touchpoint of the buyers’ journey.
When the business first began, Alex personally handled product fulfillment and shipping. But as orders climbed from 100s to 1,000s, they turned to a well-established third-party fulfillment house for support. That decision soon proved to be a mistake.
“Initially things seemed to be going well,” says Ian Waterer, Frostbite’s General Manager. “The company had a large warehouse in Toronto and claimed to have an international and expert logistics network. So we thought we were in great hands. When you turn to a third-party, you have to trust that they are upholding your brand promise. You aren’t physically there to see products coming into and leaving the warehouse. So you can’t always gauge what’s going right and when things are going wrong.”
It turns out, there was a lot going wrong.
“We first started having problems in December,” says Ian. ”It’s an insane time for shipping, especially this year with the pandemic and the eCommerce boom. So occasional mis-picks are expected. But what’s not expected is when your logistics partner makes expensive errors, sending out two $100 rods to a customer who only ordered one. That’s a $100 loss. We also had an entire batch of orders cross the border and end up going to completely the wrong states. We’d have orders from New York end up in Wisconsin and vice versa. Customers were getting other customers’ orders.”
To expedite customs and duties, the fulfillment house cut corners to get shipments across the border. In several instances this resulted in entire orders being shipped to a single customer.
Time was ticking and the Frostbite team’s patience was waning.
Says Ian, “The ice season in places like Indiana is maybe three, four, five weeks long. These errors were costing us valuable time. Customers were starting to say, ‘what’s the point of ordering?’ That was the biggest, most heart-wrenching feeling, that your customers might be ordering from you with nothing in return.”
The mistakes were taking their toll on Frostbite’s brand reputation. Ian explains, “People would come home at night, find our package on their doorstep and the order would be wrong. Then at five o’clock, my phone would start to blow up with emails and complaints of people saying “I’m upset. It’s been eight days. My tracking number says this, but I got that. It wears you down. How many cracks do you legitimately get to make a customer happy? When someone gets their order and it’s wrong AND late, you are 0 for 2.”
Ice fishing season would soon be over. Something needed to change, pronto.
Initially, Ian tried working things out with his fulfillment house. He tried searching for a support line to call, an email to use. But to no avail. In desperation, he found their head of North American operations on Linkedin and reached out directly.
Says Ian, “I thought I’d gone to the top. Instead, this individual said, ‘sorry dude, can’t help you, you have to go through our support channels.’ I was dumbfounded. It was pretty clear to me at that point our business meant nothing to them.”
With Bolt, everything fell into place.
Desperate for a solution, Ian took to Google to search for ‘best fulfillment centres’ in the Greater Toronto Area and fired off several emails. Bolt was the first to respond, didn’t require reams of paperwork, or bounce Ian around to different people.
“The experience with Bolt was different right from the outset,” says Ian. “This really awesome guy named Josh came to our rescue and it felt like he really cared about us. Never once, despite how fast things moved, was a ball dropped. Everything fell into place. We made our first contact with Bolt on January 27th. Left our old provider on the 11th of February. And we were pushing out our first orders with Bolt by the 18th of February. I don’t think even Bolt knew how desperate the situation was for us. Everything went so fast and so smoothly. We went from this really dire scenario to being taken care of in a healthy system.”
“A logistics partner with our best interests in mind.”
According to Ian, there’s simply no comparison between the service provided by the two companies. Bolt stands head and shoulders above the previous fulfillment partner.
“All of a sudden we went from 0 for 2, to having customers say to us,“‘we ordered four days ago and my shipment already arrived!’ Where they were getting false tracking information before, our customers were able to reliably track the status of their orders and when they would be delivered. It’s been super easy to get things across the border into customers’ hands. Our orders were picked with 99.9994% accuracy. And one of the nicest things is if a product is out of stock or an order can’t be fulfilled based on an incorrect address, we’ll have a message in our inbox in five minutes letting us know about it. And if we don’t respond right away, the Bolt team is on it, pushing us to do better. It’s a really refreshing feeling to know the team has our best interests in mind.”
Bolt's ecommerce portal and fulfillment system are simple and intuitive to learn. Anyone on the Frostbite customer service team can alter or change orders, or send a message trusting that the team at Bolt will have an answer for them within less than an hour.
Recently, Ian had an opportunity to visit the Bolt warehouse to see the operation and meet the team. “It wasn’t some dusty warehouse. It was super clean, efficient and staffed by young, happy faces. It’s neat to be working with a company that is proud to show off its operation,” says Ian.
The brainchild of Alex Peric, a founding member of the YouTube giant “Googan Squad” and master angler Aaron Wiebe, creator of the immensely popular Uncut Angling YouTube channel, Frostbite is rapidly becoming the preferred tackle manufacturer for hard-core ice fishing enthusiasts. The company is committed to delivering consistent innovation, outstanding value, and exceptional guest experiences at a fraction of the cost of other equipment providers.
Looking to partner with a fulfillment provider you can trust? Contact our team to learn how you can improve the quality of your logistics process and delight your customers.