Andrew Mull had a retail customer looking for infants’ socks with rattle attachments that wouldn’t come off and pose a choking hazard. With his experience sourcing well-made products for big box retailers, Andrew saw an opportunity to fill a niche. He launched Waddle & Friends in 2013, wholesaling quality rattle socks, apparel, toys and gifts for newborns.
“I love that Waddle’s products are unique,” says Stacy Able, VP sales and marketing for the California-based company. “They’re original designs, very hip and on trend, and particularly great gift items that parents love.”
Feet on the Street
Retailers loved Waddle’s products, too. The company’s customer base grew to 1500 specialty and big box retailers around the US and overseas in under five years. Stacy attributes the growth to “feet on the street”, with Waddle attending trade shows and dispatching sales reps around the country. While Waddle has a direct-to-consumer business, its primary focus was wholesale, and over time, the more they sold, the more difficult it became to manage all the orders.
Waddle had trouble keeping customers happy as the order volume increased. The company used Shopify to process payments and another software program for inventory and fulfillment. “We had to do a lot of workarounds,” Stacy says. “It wasn’t that it stopped us from doing what we needed to do, it was just that we knew it wasn’t going to grow with our business.”
“Imagine getting 100 orders and putting them into Shopify,” Stacy says. “Unless the orders were paid for at the time of order entry they didn’t go anywhere: they just sat in Shopify. So the only way to check the orders was to go back and review each one, contact the customer and then process the order, which was very time-consuming.”
Orders came in, but inventory levels remained the same, leading to overselling the same products. “We had unhappy customers, unhappy financials; there was a lot of unhappiness,” Stacy says. The inventory software Waddle used couldn’t be updated easily, and Shopify didn’t communicate with inventory to keep orders aligned with actual stock in Waddle’s 3PL warehouse.
Cin7 and Cin7 Payment Portal
Waddle switched to Cin7 in 2016. Stacy says one of the most important things for the company was to have accurate, real-time inventory that eliminates the risk of overselling. Cin7 gave them all of these. “Cin7 has improved the happiness of our customers, and of our warehouse and our customer service team,” Stacy says.
“We don’t have to call people who have already paid for products and tell them that we have to give them a credit or a refund because the product they ordered was sold to someone else.”
Cin7 allows Waddle to integrate its sales channels with its 3PL for accurate fulfillment, to gain insight into trends with its reports library, and to manage back orders. And with the Payment Portal, Cin7 gives Waddle something they wanted from the start: an integrated and centralized merchant payment processing system. “We get orders through different channels: we enter those orders in Cin7 and push out order confirmations, each with a Pay Now button in it,” Stacy says. “It just makes it easier for our customers to pay and it lets us see all our invoices in one place.”