Creating a valuable product that really addresses a wide gap in the e-commerce market, Unleashed fits that definition. We’re taking the time to highlight and put a spotlight on their journey to give some inspiration if you’re feeling some pain points in your e-commerce journey. It may very well be a product that’s missing from your e-commerce stack.
A little history
Unleashed is cloud-based software that originated in New Zealand and, like all good apps, was essentially founded by a problem; a warehouse manager who was struggling to actually know what was on the shelf, what was going out or needed to be purchased. It was born out of a growing frustration of working within an accounting system to do an inventory manager’s job. It was clearly not the right fit.
Unleashed was the first to come up with a solution that was linked to Xero and Quickbooks Online, linking two key elements of a business – inventory management and accounting. Fortuitously, the office of Unleashed was initially based just across the road from Xero and a very close partnership was naturally in place from the start.
Supporting the e-commerce sector
Josh Lunn, Sales Team Lead at Unleashed, explains how their product supports the production management of fast-moving e-commerce businesses. "Our software is built around the idea that inventory management teams - warehousing, supply chain management and also I would put sales people into that category in a lot of cases, shouldn’t be working out of an accounting system and definitely be given something better than spreadsheets to work with. Our system is built around sales order processing and production management while being connected to best-of-breed cloud accounting systems. All the actions you do on a daily basis impact your stock - with Unleashed all the revenues, the margins, the costs are just passed over to the accounting system straight away meaning you have a division between the two systems, with both, focusing on their specialist areas. So, the finance team don’t necessarily have to worry about stock levels or anything like that and likewise all the product management don’t need to worry about finance."
For e-commerce businesses, the average order value (AOV) is an ongoing primary concern. Josh says the real KPI would actually be the return on investment (ROI) and the margins that are made on the sales, as opposed to the AOV. "I say that in the context of e-commerce, not necessarily B2B. And I think with Unleashed, we offer the chance to keep better control of costs and making better decisions around where you source from and how you go about getting the stock in that really maximises the return on the sales you make."
Addressing ongoing e-commerce pain points
Josh goes on to say, "One of the common challenges we see e–commerce businesses have is all these orders coming in from different sources. Nothing is connecting all the dots for them. You have a variety of orders that come in from different sources and they need to be slotted all together. Unleashed offers the software to do that. What we do really well is connect the orders with the full chain of supply. Having an easy view of stock for complex businesses is really helpful. Being alerted when stock is low and who the best suppliers are for replacement at that time is invaluable to growing e-commerce businesses."
And, as Unleashed integrates with e-commerce platform Shopify, Amazon and has a strong partner network that can connect to any e-commerce platform out there, it makes it extremely versatile. The software streamlines the process and removes the common bottlenecks. "We are on a mission to eradicate those commons challenges," says Josh.
Changing e-commerce models
Unleashed has worked with a variety of businesses, essentially anyone that holds stock and is struggling to keep on top of it. "We work in industries such as electric, automotive, fast-moving consumer goods, personal care, food and beverage and work with businesses that are fast-moving and need to make fast decisions on supply chain efficiency. That hasn’t changed.
We saw a huge portion of our customers pivot in the past few years; they’ve developed subscription-based businesses and other new e-commerce models. Unleashed was already investing more in e-commerce and was in a good position to support this and customer pivots. Most businesses that are coming to us now, are looking for e-commerce first. It's really interesting the way the marketplace has shifted over the last two years."
Josh looked forward for the future of the e-commerce marketplace as well as Unleashed. "I think the big theme for e-commerce and our software is enabling speed of delivery and of decision-making. Time is of the essence. Look at businesses like Deliveroo and Uber. It's all about, 'Get here now!'. Software solutions that are going to thrive are solutions that work at speed and scale.
Unleashed is already geared up for that but we are also making investments in things like mobile warehousing as opposed to working with pick lists and packing. We are working on those daily activities and we are very close to a release on a solution for that. Also, something around the speed of decision making on the supply chain, that is another area that we are focusing a lot on. The supply chain world has been a super interesting area to work in lately with things like Brexit, supply chain ships getting stuck – it’s been a rocky ride for businesses. And technology can support and guide decision-making around those elements. We are now looking at things like forecasting solutions that alert businesses about potential bottlenecks, but more on that to come soon! The bottom line is that Unleashed is looking at speed of delivery and speed of decision-making to support our customer base in the changing landscape of e-commerce."
It’s clear that Unleashed is focused on the needs of e-commerce businesses and keeping pace with subscription and marketplaces is part of that.
flinder CFO, Fatima Salhab, had this to say about the Unleashed product as a whole and how it can support growing e-commerce businesses. "As a business gets to a certain size, efficiency begins to suffer. They’re managing inventory on spreadsheets. Efficiency is marginal and accuracy is questionable. This is where Unleashed comes in. They automate and give you time back. The production or operations team no longer spends so much time updating spreadsheets and checking formulae.
Instead, they’re managing inventory and related processes through Unleashed and spend the time they’ve saved by adding more value to the business. Unleashed is ultimately the product to make your business run more effectively and deliver results, especially as you scale."