From a private fascination for beards, to an own blog with an attached online store to developing a beard-care brand. This is roughly how to summarize the story of blackbeards. Driven by the idea of making beard wearing enjoyable again for his father, founder Mike Seebauer immersed himself fully in the subject of beards and beard care in 2011. Out of his own desire for sharing knowledge, he developed a large network, which was initially meant as an exchange among like-minded people. With the knowledge he had gathered, he was in a position to give helpful tips to others. Finally, the idea arose to offer an all-in-one service and also sell the products he recommended on his blog.
So the blog became a blog with an adjoining online store. In 2015, he added his own product line. Blackbeards became a brand and the team put the accumulated know-how about beard care into their product development. However, blackbeards does not only offer suitable products for men; since 2021 women have also been able to find what they are looking for with the in-house brand “Zart”.
In order to relieve the busy shipping business and to manage stocks better, blackbeards has been using Pickware since 2020.
While searching for the right system, blackbeards has tried a lot of things. With its origin as a blog, blackbeards started out with WordPress and Woocommerce. Then it went on with Magento in combination with a WordPress blog and back again to WordPress and Woocommerce in combination with JTL. Then in the spring of 2020 came the change to Shopware and Pickware. With this change, the internal processes were also further developed and professionalized at the same time.
Before that, all delivery bills and labels were printed with the same printer and then sorted. There was no control over which products ended up in which quantity in the package. The outgoing goods process was time-consuming and prone to errors, and the same was true for incoming goods – which regularly led to stock shortages. With the switch to Shopware and Pickware, inventory management runs smoothly because all inventory is maintained centrally in one system. Working in a central system also saves valuable working time and speeds up processes considerably.
A major challenge for blackbeards are purchase orders. Since only a small number of most products are in stock, orders are regularly placed with many small suppliers. To ensure that there is always sufficient stock, the minimum and target stock levels for this are automatically determined based on sales. For this purpose, blackbeards has implemented that the minimum and target stocks are updated every full hour based on the average sales of certain periods and the delivery time of the supplier. Thus, the order suggestions change every hour based on the current sales data as well as conditions of the suppliers. Determining the optimal inventory quantity helps to avoid tying up unnecessary capital and ensures that supply shortages can be avoided.
Improvements in the picking process came in particular from the use of barcode scanners and individually tailored picking carts. As a result, 20 orders can now be picked at once. Since blackbeards’ returns rate is less than 1 %, returns management is not the most important factor for the company. Nevertheless, the returns processing workflow runs in the shortest possible time thanks to the mobile barcode scanners and Pickware WMS.
Due to the light weight of the products, blackbeards can ship most orders as cheaper merchandise mail. To avoid the warehouse staff having to make the decision – whether merchandise mail or parcel – all products were first weighed and measured and the data noted in the system. After scanning the order, the appropriate shipping method is automatically suggested. This practical automation saves blackbeards a lot of time, which they can then reinvest in advising their customers. Because in the first place, the team’s mission is still about providing not only the appropriate products, but also in-depth knowledge about the topic of beards and beard care.
As a future step, changing the store system to Shopware 6 is planned. We are happy to accompany blackbeards on this path and are looking forward to more exciting projects.
More best practice examples can be found in our previous Pickware success stories.