The Grass Isn’t Always Greener in the Other Fulfillment Center: Why Synchro Left ShipBob, Then Came Back [Case Study]
April 22, 2019
- 3,000+ orders per month
- 2 fulfillment centers used near LA and Chicago
- 80% of customers can receive 2-day shipping via ground
Synchro was founded in San Francisco in 2011 and sells nutrition and lifestyle products, including plant-based keto items. They combine the highest-quality organic ingredients with innovative research and technologies.
Synchro has devoted more than a decade to developing a comprehensive system for realizing true health and remains 100% plant-based and organic.
This approach and the team’s hard work has paid off: You’ll hear countless stories of Synchro products providing customers with fewer pain and aches, more energy, quicker recovery from workouts, and mental clarity.
Of course, health and wellness ecommerce brands encounter challenges as they hit major milestones and growth, such as managing logistics and outsourcing a major piece of the business.
Lindsay Louise, who leads fulfillment and retail at Synchro, faced this head on as the company moved from ShipBob to a different fulfillment company — and then back again to ShipBob.
We sat down with Lindsay from the Synchro team about this experience and to learn more about Synchro’s journey to growth.
Learning how to manage unprecedented growth
As told to ShipBob by Lindsay Louise, Fulfillment & Retail Manager at Synchro.
My brother Graham founded Synchro and is a biochemist by trade. In the very beginning of his journey to starting this company, he figured out the CO2 extraction of turmeric, the most inflammation-fighting and potent part.
Today, this proprietary technique is at the core of Synchro’s best selling product, Gold.
In 2010-2011, he developed a plant-based meal replacement product (Genesis) that he was initially mixing and packaging himself.
He put it on shelves locally in the Bay Area and started selling on Amazon. He quickly realized he needed to sell direct to consumers because of the margins on Amazon. He created a website and got to know Synchro consumers better.
Our customer base started as an older demographic because of the pain relief and inflammation-fighting nature of the products. We started hearing stories from customers who were in need of knee or hip replacements, but after taking our products could suddenly walk and do activities they hadn’t been able to do in years.
Then we got into the keto market and movement. We were handling fulfillment in-house, using ShipStation, and fulfilling orders out of a small warehouse. As our customer base continued to expand, we outgrew that setup and looked for a 3PL as a more sustainable option. We found ShipBob, transitioned over our inventory, and had them fulfill our orders.
Why we left… then quickly came back to ShipBob
When we moved to ShipBob, we were growing fast, always going after new opportunities, and to put it lightly, things were a bit chaotic. So we thought we should test other fulfillment options.
After we left ShipBob, we soon realized we were paying so much more money than we did with ShipBob. The other fulfillment company made empty promises to us about costs and failed to mention all the other line items that factor into the total costs, unlike with ShipBob, where everything was bundled into a few line items. With pricing being way too high, we realized we were sold the “perfect” solution.
Additionally, the other 3PL didn’t file claims for damaged shipments for us like ShipBob did. We were still a small company and had no time to do that ourselves. We became too frustrated with the other 3PL, started to regret our decision, and knew we had to partner with a company that met our needs.
We kept hearing more about ShipBob becoming a top 3PL for fast-growing brands and reached back out to the Head of Customer Success at ShipBob. He shared all the ways ShipBob has improved even more upon our prior expectations since we left and what they could have done better while we were customers.
Turns out that the changes ShipBob made were exactly what would allow us to scale even better. Learning the ways everything had become streamlined for both our expectations and having everything move along much more quickly, as well as their increased capacity and resources to ship more packages out daily, it just made sense. We liked what ShipBob was doing and decided to make the switch back to them.
“It was a major learning experience. We had not worked with a 3PL before, so everything was new. ShipBob has made so many changes since we originally left, and everything runs so much smoother now.”
Lindsay Louise, Fulfillment & Retail Manager at Synchro
Now, everything is so polished. We loved our implementation experience, and our Onboarding Specialist and Account Manager have been so accessible, invested, open, and hands on. They are awesome and on top of it — I’ve known what’s going on every step of the way.
We now save a lot of money and ship faster based on distributed inventory. So far, we are shipping out of two of ShipBob’s fulfillment centers. We use the locations that optimize and reduce the distance traveled to get our products into our customers’ hands faster. When shipping glass bottles, especially in the winter, the longer the transit time, the more likely it is to break. We see that our customers are getting their packages safer, with fewer frozen bottles exploding.
ShipBob’s technology integrates with our Shopify Plus site and works well with other tools we use that ShipBob partners with such as Gorgias and Recharge. Using ShipBob’s 2-Day Express Shipping program, we are able to offer 2-day shipping via ground to 80% of our customer base, which is much cheaper than expedited air.
“We definitely see benefits with ShipBob’s 2-day shipping capabilities. With Amazon Prime and shoppers expecting 2-day shipping at this point, it’s definitely being chosen when it’s offered on our store.”
Lindsay Louise, Fulfillment & Retail Manager at Synchro
What’s next for Synchro?
Until recently, Synchro was predominantly doing B2C orders with the exception of working with a couple small wholesalers. Today, it’s more of a split for our business. Now we’re working with UNFI, getting into Whole Foods in California to start, in addition to several independent retailers.
Working with a major distributor for the first time requires a steep learning curve, investment, cash flow, patience, and accurate forecasting, but it’s worth it. Through this growth, we’re proud to have remained 100% plant-based and organic.
We’ll continue to get Synchro products into more natural grocers across the country. Our growth shows that you can go from a small company starting with one guy’s dream to achieve this type of reach. With a lot of hard work and building the right team, you can get there and make the dream come alive.
We’ve learned how fulfillment companies not only provide services you don’t have time or resources for, but also give affordable shipping rates and can even help drive revenue by offering the right shipping options that appeal to customers.
Overall, our second experience with ShipBob has been great and we look forward to continuing our partnership and seeing how each company will evolve even more.
Looking for help with ecommerce fulfillment? Download “ShipBob’s 2-Day Express Shipping: How to Drive Revenue Through Ecommerce Fulfillment” or get in touch with ShipBob and learn how you can grow your brand while improving logistics.