Category: Case Studies
How Pacers Running Turned Logistics Into Their Competitive Advantage
Pacers Running is an iconic running shoe retailer that celebrates the journey and accomplishments of runners. They build communities by putting on best-in-class experiences for runners and delighting their customers with white glove service.
They utilize MyFBAPrep to handle their Shopify fulfillment and Amazon FBA prep, so we spoke with Pacers Running President Chris Farley to hear about how they transformed their logistics into a competitive advantage.
Building a brand
“We need multiple touchpoints with consumers, to tell them about our events and really get them out and running, walking, and being active.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
Pacers Running has more than just customers — they have fans. That isn’t surprising given their dedication to the customer experience. In addition to building a movement around running and being active, they tailor their buyer experience to inspire their customers.
According to Chris, they find their Shopify channel the most exciting because they have the most control over the customer experience and are able to “dynamically communicate with these customers who go to our website, inspire them to run, talk about the next great race, and tell them stories about running.”
“If you go to runpacers.com, powered by Shopify, a lot of those shoes are shipped by our friends at MyFBAPrep.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
However, selling thousands of shoes a month isn’t without its challenges. So, Pacers Running worked in partnership with MyFBAPrep to find unique solutions and face these challenges head-on.
Finding an authentic partner
“I’m working with people at MyFBAPrep who are invested in our success.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
Beyond viewing our sellers simply as customers, the MyFBAPrep team strives to be partners with everyone we work with. For eCommerce merchants, it’s especially important to find a reliable logistics partner who can strengthen any weak links.
“Consumer behaviors will never be the same. So, it was important for us to have a partner who would execute flawlessly on large-scale fulfillment logistics, which is not something that’s ever going to be our core competency.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
Another component of being a real partner is how we work to solve merchant problems, find the best solutions, and brainstorm together.
“If you want a real partner to help you problem-solve, MyFBAPrep is a good solution.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
This problem-solving approach developed a unique system for Pacers Running that works well for their needs. It’s a lens we bring to all of our sellers as we aim to be reliable and problem-solving fulfillment and logistics partners.
Forging their own path
“The advantage of MyFBAPrep is the flexibility I have in working with them to make my own path and figure out what this looks like together. There is no one size fits all.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
Prior to working with MyFBAPrep, Pacers Running had a third-party warehouse and planned to use a different 3PL to handle their DTC fulfillment. When we first began working together, they wanted MyFBAPrep exclusively for FBA prep.
“We had a design that was completely different from where we are today. I started working with them in January  and our design was going to be using another contractor to help us do the direct-to-consumer shoes. It didn’t work out. So, we had to scrap everything, and together, we came up with a new plan … It wasn’t just, ‘This is what we do, so we’re going to fit you into that mold.’ The attitude was, ‘Let’s learn about what your needs are, who you are, who your company is, what your goals are, and let’s go.’ That’s been a game changer for us.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
When something didn’t work out, MyFBAPrep and Pacers Running sprung into action to fix the issue, with great results. We were able to find unique solutions that addressed their concerns and met their buyers’ expectations, to turn logistics into their competitive advantage.
According to Chris, “I trust it’s a significant savings and I know we couldn’t do it ourselves. And they’re a real partner.”
Taking on logistics challenges and turning them into a competitive advantage
“DTC, storing pairs, and preparing shoes for FBA have all been a huge advantage for us.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
MyFBAPrep was able to help Pacers Running in three key ways:
- Tackling the unique logistical challenge of shipping shoes one at a time, at scale
- Warehousing and storing shoes to give them an edge during supply chain issues
- Prepping items for Amazon FBA with rapid turnaround times
1) Shipping shoes at scale
“Shipping shoes one at a time is not sexy or attractive for vendors, 3PLs, or anyone. And it’s really difficult at the scale we wanted. What we’re talking about is hard … and I like having partners who are willing to take on that challenge as well.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
MyFBAPrep was able to create a custom racking solution tailored to handle a large number of SKUs with low quantities of each, such as a wide range of shows with multiple sizes, and a few pairs in each size. We paired this solution with innovative software that tracks every last pair of shoes throughout the entire prep and fulfillment process.
2) Warehousing shoes to mitigate supply chain challenges
“Having a partner who could warehouse shoes became a huge advantage for us. The flexibility, different plans, and different storage options we had with MyFBAPrep was vital as we faced supply chain headwinds coupled with phenomenal growth in our channel. We need to warehouse a lot of shoes as supply chains get tighter and tougher and tougher, so being able to have a partner who understood that business and worked on the fly to sideline and store these shoes effectively and cost efficiently — and be able to ultimately turn them into sales on whatever channel we needed them for — was huge. So, we really loaded up on inventory, and having that flexibility gave us a competitive advantage.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
The team at MyFBAPrep always keeps an open line of communication with our merchants, so we knew about the goals of Pacers Running and that they were having supply chain issues. Understanding this meant that we were able to pivot into FBA, DTC, and storage solutions to help them beef up their logistics resilience.
By using simple software for team communication, we were able to give Chris real-time information about their shipments, while also getting updates about any changes on their end. This helped us handle their warehousing and fulfillment in a way that enabled uninterrupted sales, despite supply chain issues.
3) Fast and efficient FBA prep
“They prepare a lot of our shoes for FBA, and it’s pretty much on autopilot. I kind of take it for granted that it gets done quickly.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
Initially, we had a different system in place that wouldn’t be conducive to footwear. Then, as Chris notes, “the [MyFBAPrep] team pivoted and came up with a new system that has been effective for our business.” This flexibility has helped us find the best prep process for different product lines, categories, and unique SKUs for all of our clients.
The MyFBAPrep team developed a custom prep process that reduced the number of touches per product and was applicable to all product mixes, especially shoes. We tracked our prep product by the hour, allowing us to make tiny adjustments for massive compound improvements. All of these efforts working together enabled us to get Pacers Running inventory through our system and into FBA in one to three days.
Meeting the consumer expectation for speed
“If we can’t get [shoes] out through your distribution channels and onto our consumers’ feet, we’re wasting money.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
Before the pandemic, consumer expectations for increasingly fast delivery times were already rising. Chris notes, “We have to deliver on that expectation in a cost-effective and efficient way.”
At MyFBAPrep, we continue to build our warehouse network to enable the sellers who work with us to meet those expectations with network breadth, process efficiency, and creative problem-solving. We approach each issue uniquely, understanding no two merchants are alike.
Today, Pacers Running is able to deliver their direct-to-consumer orders within one to three days using MyFBAPrep’s network.
“MyFBAPrep saved us time and money, because now we’re able to react quickly, get product out, and now we have an ecosystem that scales.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
The MyFBAPrep advantage
“If you want to surprise and delight your consumer, you look for a partner like MyFBAPrep.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
MyFBAPrep has helped Pacers Running use logistics to give them the upper hand. Together, we’ve built a partnership and system that works for a unique business model and continuously delights their customers.
According to Chris, MyFBAPrep is an “extension of this white glove experience that we want to provide.” Experience it for yourself at Pacers Running.
“It’s really a relationship thing … we’ve been very fortunate in our business as it’s grown to have a partner that can grow and scale along with us.” — Chris Farley, Pacers Running President
At the end of the day, MyFBAPrep empowers our merchant partners to build stand-out experiences for their buyers with seamless multi-channel prep and fulfillment. We’re able to do this at scale with more than 50 warehouses worldwide, including across the USA and in Canada, the UK, and Germany. Thanks to decades of experience in logistics, the team is able to build, train, and grow our network to provide seamless and flexible eCommerce solutions.
If your business also wants to provide a high-end customer experience with every interaction, get in touch today!
How Casa Firelli tapped into the MyFBAPrep Network and Expertise to Grow Their Business
Biggar and Leith is a wine, spirits, and fancy goods company that sells popular brands like the Hotel Starlino aperitivos and Casa Firelli hot sauce. Their dedication to craftsmanship and eye for excellence helped them curate such successful and well-loved brands.
Casa Firelli sells a rich, rounded Italian hot sauce that gives a delicious kick to any dish. Their hot sauce is crafted in Parma with balsamic vinegar from Modena, chilis from Calabria, and roasted red peppers from Tuscany. Their quality ingredients and unique family recipe make their products a hit on any pizza, pasta, sandwich, eggs, or even in a cocktail.
This versatile hot sauce is a hit with foodies, and as the company grew, they needed to tap into outsourced logistics services like prep and fulfillment to meet higher demand. We spoke with Casa Firelli Sales Director Matt Herman to learn why they chose MyFBAPrep and how they use MyFBAPrep services and expertise to grow their business.
From daily drives to USPS, to headache-free ops
“MyFBAPrep was the most professional.” – Matt Herman, Casa Firelli Sales Director
Before MyFBAPrep, the Firelli team handled pack and prep out of a storage unit and drove to USPS every day. They knew their manual processes wouldn’t hold up as they grew, and they needed to outsource to increase efficiency.
They considered other warehouses around the U.S., but selected MyFBAPrep ultimately because they were the most professional, with all of the locations and services required.
Today, Casa Firelli and other Biggar and Leith teams use MyFBAPrep to handle all of their eCommerce orders, whether it’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) prep and fulfillment with their Shopify store, or FBA prep and delivery into the Amazon FBA network.
Investing in D2C
“We wanted to provide our products where people want to buy them. We’re seeing some good growth now, but initially, we invested a lot more in D2C than we got out of it — so we’re glad the prices you charge are fair.” – Matt Herman, Casa Firelli Sales Director
Casa Firelli pays close attention to what their consumers want, and they noticed buyers were increasingly looking to purchase directly from brands rather than marketplaces.
Armed with this knowledge, they decided to invest in their own D2C website. This introduced numerous benefits for both the brand and their buyers:
- Casa Firelli could own the customer relationship, including all marketing and communications. This makes their business and revenue more resilient.
- They created a sales channel that wasn’t subject to shifting marketplace SLAs, or always at the mercy of marketplace rules. This maintains consistent sales within their control.
- They were able to tailor the purchasing journey on their website, providing a better, more branded buyer experience.
- They optimized their website for upsells (e.g., with bundles) and eliminated competition from the equation (whereas marketplaces are optimized for purchase, be it from you or a competitor).
Tip: Are you looking to start selling D2C? Most merchants find their biggest barrier to entry is customer acquisition, as websites (unlike marketplaces) don’t come with existing audiences. Check out our article on D2C customer acquisition to learn about the components of a robust acquisition strategy and nine channels to start with.
White glove MyFBAPrep experience
“We’ve gotten offers from other prep companies as we’ve grown, and I’ve just told them no…I like working with MyFBAPrep” – Matt Herman, Casa Firelli Sales Director
At MyFBAPrep, customer service isn’t simply another item to cross off our to-do list. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, which means we take the time to learn about each of our sellers’ businesses to find the best setup and help them grow.
Thanks to this, Matt has already recommended MyFBAPrep to some of his entrepreneur friends who started their own snack brands, and even their broker!
Tapping into MyFBAPrep’s expertise on demand
“We use MyFBAPrep to fulfill all of our eCommerce orders, whether it’s pack/prep/ship on Shopify or a product we’re selling on Amazon. And we also use the team for helpful advice from time to time.” – Matt Herman, Casa Firelli Sales Director
The MyFBAPrep team has decades of experience as eCommerce sellers, consultants and advisors. When you work with us, you get your very own personal strategy team at your fingertips.
In true partnership fashion, the MyFBAPrep team was there to answer all of Matt’s questions about logistics, different sales channels, and anything else. Matt notes that Tom, a MyFBAPrep co-founder with extensive eCommerce experience, is “super easy to get a hold of whenever I need him.”
Are you looking to tap into expert advice from the MyFBAPrep team? We’re just an email away. Sign up for an account today!
How Kaspien Balances an Extensive Logistics Network With MyFBAPrep
Kaspien partners with popular eCommerce brands on multiple channels to provide real-time analytics, a comprehensive supply chain, brand protection and optimization, algorithmic advertising, multi-marketplace tools, and more. They have the unique experience and tech stack to help sellers grow and expand across marketplaces successfully and profitably.
Kaspien has partnered with more than four thousand brands, achieved more than $1 billion in retail sales, and won their clients a 30% increase in sales with strategic marketing. They also build tools based on the needs they observe in the industry, such as an ad management system. Most recently, they launched seller reimbursement software that quickly identifies cases eligible for reimbursement in Amazon accounts.
Their suite of services, history of excellence, and wealth of experience with multiple brands makes them a powerful ally for any eCommerce seller.
Kaspien uses MyFBAPrep within their expansive logistics network to handle prep and fulfillment, while staying flexible using our eCommerce services.
“MyFBAPrep primarily jumped out because there weren’t very many other providers that had the options; the different locations, the ability to support different lines of business, whether it was FBA prep, DTC pivots, or otherwise.” – Jeff Bernatz, Kaspien Strategic Warehouse Director
We spoke with Kaspien Strategic Warehouse Director Jeff Bernatz to learn how he stays agile and ensures seamless operations for thousands of brands.
Why is a nationwide network crucial for eCommerce sellers?
“We started working with MyFBAPrep in 2019…. Having our inventory in multiple warehouses and being able to ship new inventory into and out of multiple warehouses gave us flexibility that we did not have before.” – Jeff Bernatz, Kaspien Strategic Warehouse Director
eCommerce success is inextricably linked to a nationwide warehouse and prep network for two reasons:
1) Fast, affordable delivery to your final destination
The closer to your final destination you can prep inventory, the faster and cheaper it will be to deliver.
For many sellers, the final destination is an FBA warehouse. That’s the last time they have to think about their fulfillment, as Amazon takes over the process from there.
Whether your item’s goal is to get into the FBA network or to your end consumer, it’s vital to keep inventory in close proximity.
2) Fast, affordable delivery from your suppliers
The more nodes you have in a warehouse network, the easier it is to snag a location close to your supplier.
For example, if you have a supplier in California, but a warehouse in New York, you’ll spend a lot shipping goods from California to New York to be prepped, only to have them shipped back across the country for delivery.
Speed and price can make or break an eCommerce business, as it has a waterfall effect on other critical aspects, including ROI, retention and CLV, buyer experience, revenue and profit, and more.
Expanding from in-house to a nationwide warehouse network
“We wanted to expand our FBA prep capabilities to different regions of the country in order to improve efficiency and reduce shipping costs.” – Jeff Bernatz, Kaspien Strategic Warehouse Director
Before MyFBAPrep, Kaspien used two in-house facilities and a handful of 3PLs to handle the bulk of their operations. However, they needed a more efficient solution to cover other regions of the country and reduce their shipping costs. Enter MyFBAPrep.
Maintaining in-house control with outsourced nodes
“We vetted many (10+) other 3PL providers before finding MyFBAPrep.” – Jeff Bernatz, Kaspien Strategic Warehouse Director
Kaspien knew they needed extensive coverage to stay competitive in terms of both price and service. But that didn’t mean they had to abandon their in-house facilities once they found the perfect fit.
The Kaspien team tested more than 10 alternative warehouses and 3PL/4PL options, including a facility in New York they ended up closing after finding MyFBAPrep. They strategically kept their in-house warehouses to handle key processes that required tighter control, while outsourcing prep work and shipping to MyFBAPrep.
As a result, they gained access to multiple locations for their inventory needs, on demand, and all part of one network.
Unlocking versatility with MyFBAPrep
“The biggest appealing factor of MyFBAPrep is there’s a lot of flexibility. If something changes in the market, we can work together with the team and address it.” – Jeff Bernatz, Kaspien Strategic Warehouse Director
MyFBAPrep has a wide variety of eCommerce services, and we’re always willing to work with our sellers to meet their specific needs. Our expansive warehouse network gives us access to almost every eCommerce service you can imagine, from cold storage to bubble wrap machines.
This enabled MyFBAPrep to equip Kaspien with the right options to address changes in the eCommerce industry, and react quickly to shifts in the marketplace.
Now, Kaspien can easily pivot to new business models or alter their logistics structure on demand. They can utilize all of our services and warehouse locations, or ignore 99% of them, depending on their needs and business circumstances.
For example, if they have a large shipment of goods coming in that fills an entire warehouse (it’s happened) we can route the overflow to the next closest location. If one of their brand manufacturers can no longer accommodate prep or packaging at the warehouse, they can have MyFBAPrep take on the work instead. Or, if they want to launch a larger DTC presence with one of their Amazon-only brands, MyFBAPrep can continue prepping their inventory, then split the amount we send to FBA to reserve items for DTC sales.
A problem-solving operations partner
“I love the team that we work with — I love their flexibility and the way we take on problems. If something happens or Amazon makes a change, it’s never the blame game of who is responsible for it. It’s just ‘lets attack the problem, let’s figure out how we’re going to handle it moving forward, and what’s a better way to go about this long term.” – Jeff Bernatz, Kaspien Strategic Warehouse Director
We work with our sellers, warehouses, and FBA to ensure items reach the FBA network seamlessly and are delivered to DTC customers quickly. But in eCommerce, things inevitably go wrong; items are lost, your marketplace imposes inventory limits, customers complain. No matter what happens, though, the MyFBAPrep team is always ready to problem solve.
If anything comes up, the Kaspien team knows they can rely on MyFBAPrep and our extensive network of warehouses and services to accommodate — helping to ensure uninterrupted sales.
Kaspien’s favorite part about working with MyFBAPrep
“I love the entrepreneurial spirit of the MyFBAPrep team members we work with. They are always up to solve a problem and be flexible to help support our business needs, no matter how ‘outside the box’ our ideas may be.” – Jeff Bernatz, Kaspien Strategic Warehouse Director
Our customers are at the center of everything we do at MyFBAPrep, and we fully invest in each of them. Every seller on our roster has a direct line to our founders and leadership team to ask questions, solve business problems, or just chat about eCommerce in general.
If there’s anything we can do to help our sellers improve their business or make their lives easier, we’re always happy to lend a hand.
Jeff Bernatz says it best: “Their focus is always on partnership. It’s always on how we do better together. It’s never negative, which I really appreciate, because we didn’t always have that experience with prior 3PLs.”
How Caveman Foods Found Easy, Cost-Effective Kitting With MyFBAPrep
Caveman Foods provides Paleo-friendly snacks that are delicious, nutritious, and made with natural ingredients. They cut out artificial sweeteners, GMOs, dairy, soy, and gluten. Their guilt-free snacks are either Paleo Certified or Paleo-Friendly Certified, making them excellent for hiking, camping, road trips, or just taking along for when you feel like a healthy treat.
Needless to say, Caveman Foods has boomed in popularity thanks to their wide range of choices and special deals on bundles. With consumers increasingly doing their grocery shopping online, the company’s need for a flexible prep partner quickly turned into a headache for its internal team.
Using bundles to differentiate
For eCommerce sellers, bundling products comes with a myriad of benefits:
- It allows sellers to suggest complementary items that a consumer wouldn’t have thought to purchase or didn’t realize were available.
- It offers price shoppers a selection of deals so they come away feeling good about their savings.
- It gives brands an advantage over their competitors, who may sell similar products, but not the same bundles or offerings.
Selling bundles is a smart strategy for Caveman Foods, as it distinguishes their offerings from others on the market and gives customers more choice. Their variety pack is one of their most popular bundles, which also serves to introduce all of their bar flavors to consumers. This exposes them to flavors they likely would not have bought separately.
Tapping into efficient kitting with MyFBAPrep
“[MyFBAPrep] makes it easy and cost effective.” – Damon Levy, Caveman Foods Senior Director, Digital
Before MyFBAPrep, Caveman Foods kitted ad hoc and, according to Damon, “it was expensive because we weren’t doing it efficiently.” Since their manufacturing process didn’t incorporate kits or bundles, the internal Caveman team was stuck doing it as orders came in, which took away vital time from other core responsibilities.
They turned to MyFBAPrep to handle all of their kitting and bundling for them, successfully outsourcing the work of a few thousand bundles per month. Caveman Foods saves approximately $500 on each kitting order, plus the time it took them to do it originally. They also enjoy MyFBAPrep’s rapid turnaround time for item prep, which ranges from one to three days.
A simplified process
“They are transparent, and they don’t force too much process into the relationship.” – Damon Levy, Caveman Foods Senior Director, Digital
MyFBAPrep exists to make sellers’ lives easier. We want the merchants who partner with us to say, “Thank goodness for MyFBAPrep.” It’s our goal with every contract we sign, and it holds true for Caveman Foods.
We handle everything for the Caveman team, from receiving and preparing products for sale, to shipping them to their desired fulfillment network or carrier. Plus, we provide them a clear picture of their inventory and progress throughout.
Damon recommends MyFBAPrep for any seller who receives inventory from overseas, or needs their items specially prepped before heading to their final destination.