How Oxford Healthspan Expanded Into 3 Countries with ShipBob [Case Study]

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Learn how nutraceutical company Oxford Healthspan achieved end-to-end visibility and a better customer experience at scale after switching to ShipBob.

Customer Profile

Oxford Healthspan is a nutraceutical company based in Oxford, England, with the mission to reverse 1 billion years of aging by bringing to market high-quality, effective and science-backed plant-based compounds that harness the body’s innate ability to repair, renew, and promote vigorous longevity. Their signature products, Primeadine Original and Primeadine GF, have as their main active ingredient  spermidine: a molecule that inhibits 9 of the 12 Hallmarks of Aging and is one of Japan’s best kept longevity secrets. 

Oxford Healthspan manufactures and encapsulates their supplements in FDA-registered facilities in both Japan and the US to the highest food grade safety standards (cGMP and ISO22000) in the world, and all products undergo rigorous independent third party testing in both Japan and the US to ensure purity and potency in each batch.

Key metrics

  • 5 ShipBob fulfilment centres in 3 countries
  • 2 prior fulfilment partners before ShipBob
  • 2 SKUs  
  • 2 years of business

About Oxford Healthspan

Oxford Healthspan was founded by Leslie Kenny, a Southern Californian entrepreneur and Berkeley and Harvard Business School graduate, whose life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in her late 30s. 

When her doctors told her lupus had a life expectancy of 5 years and that rheumatoid arthritis could only be managed, not cured, she set out to optimise her health as best she could using safe, natural solutions.

At the same time, she began helping life sciences academics at European universities — including Oxford, where she lives — to raise money for their discoveries. It was at a meeting with one such scientist that she learned about the natural compound called spermidine, which is abundant in a traditional Japanese dish she had grown up with called natto.

Spermidine was showing great promise supporting health as we age. The science was compelling — one scientist even called it ‘an anti-aging vitamin’ in a published scientific journal — and due to its food-derived nature, it had a high safety profile. 

Leslie immediately wanted her octogenarian mother back home in California to take it, especially since natto is very hard to come by (it’s quite smelly, for one thing!). Unfortunately, spermidine wasn’t available in the US or really even known there, so she decided to bring it to market herself. 

Inspired, Leslie (now two decades post-diagnosis and an autoimmune disease survivor), together with an Advisory Board formed by US- and Oxford-based scientists, combined thousand-year-old wisdom and modern science to create the high-quality anti-aging supplement Primeadine.

Leslie’s team launched the Oxford Healthspan brand to introduce Primeadine to the world, and continue to bring its benefits to customers worldwide today.   

We sat down with Maria Osorio, Logistics and Operations Director, and Natalia Lara, CMO at Oxford Healthspan, to discuss how Oxford Healthspan has grown into a global brand with the help of ShipBob’s software, fulfilment services, and shipping.

Turning to ShipBob after a disastrous 3PL partnership

As told to ShipBob by Oxford Healthspan’s Maria Osorio, Logistics and Operations Director, and Natalia Lara, CMO.

We launched the business in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and initially fulfiled orders through our manufacturer. Once we outgrew that, we switched to working with a US-based 3PL partner to fulfil our US orders — but that partnership turned out to be a nightmare. 

Our old 3PL was very small and wasn’t at all equipped to help us scale. Their processes were manual, not automated, which meant managing fulfilment was both more tedious and more prone to error. 

They didn’t have visibility across the entire fulfilment chain into orders either. We sold out our first December with them, and we couldn’t even see which orders had been fulfiled and which were still in the queue. We ran out of inventory, but nothing in their software ever alerted us that items were being placed on backorder.  

Because there was limited traceability of orders between our Shopify store and their inventory and order management software, a few customers were even sent the wrong orders. They also lost some of our inventory — and that was the last straw for us. 

After that, we knew we needed to find a reliable, trusted fulfilment partner that could support us as we scaled, both in size and international reach. Then, at the recommendation of one of our peers, we switched to ShipBob.

Achieving end-to-end visibility for orders and inventory

After switching to ShipBob, we instantly had much more transparency. Unlike our last 3PL, ShipBob has integrity of information and end-to-end order tracking, from receiving to fulfilment to shipping. Now every single day when I check our dashboard, I know exactly what’s happening with our orders. 

We love all the features of ShipBob’s dashboard. We especially love the timeline feature, which shows which orders are processed, which are labelled, which are shipped, and so on. You can track orders all the way through the supply chain to your customer’s doorstep, and get full visibility into the fulfilment process.

Maria Osorio, Logistics and Operations Director at Oxford Healthspan

Better visibility also makes it so much easier to anticipate and prevent issues. Thanks to ShipBob, we now know how much time it usually takes an order to be fulfiled — so if we go into the dashboard and see that there’s an order that’s not following the pattern, that tells us there must be something wrong.

With ShipBob, it’s really simple to spot something that might go wrong when we do the rounds (like a customer entering the wrong address) and fix it before it becomes a problem.

Establishing a global presence through strategic fulfilment centre placements

Before ShipBob, we were fulfiling all of our UK orders out of our Oxford office, with one person in charge of picking and packing orders and taking them to Royal Mail daily.

This solution was not scalable, especially if we wanted to continue expanding our business into new countries and demographics. We knew we needed a partner with a global presence, who could handle fulfilment for us wherever we go.

Thankfully, ShipBob has fulfilment centres in strategic locations not just across the US, but all over the world. We’re able to store inventory on both coasts of the US and in the UK and Poland, which cuts our average shipping costs and shipping times considerably.

ShipBob’s software helped us better understand where we should grow next. In the beginning, it was difficult to easily calculate how much we were selling in each region. ShipBob’s ideal distribution algorithm enabled us to see not only where our customers were based, but where we should allocate inventory to best meet demand.

Natalia Lara, CMO of Oxford Healthspan

Delivering a high-quality customer experience with fast shipping

Because we sell a high-quality anti-aging product, we want to provide high-quality service throughout the whole customer experience — and that includes a quick and smooth delivery that shoppers have come to expect. 

ShipBob’s 2-Day Express ship option lets us meet these expectations for US customers, and compete with the likes of Amazon for speedy fulfilment. 

Once we decided to implement ShipBob’s 2-day shipping for our US orders, we really saw a shift in how fast our orders were shipping. Even when we’ve had one fulfilment centre run out of inventory, orders get pushed to a different fulfilment centre and they still arrive on the customer’s doorstep in 2 days.

Maria Osorio, Logistics and Operations Director at Oxford Healthspan

In particular, we love how ShipBob’s 2-Day Express complements our subscription program. Our subscribers are some of our closest, most valued customers, so we want to give them the option of receiving their first order in 2 days. With ShipBob, we can make that happen. 

Not only that, we can make it happen without compromising on cost. Because of ShipBob’s overall order volume, they can negotiate bulk discounts with carriers that we simply couldn’t. By partnering with ShipBob, we get better quality fulfilment and shipping for a better price. 

What’s next for Oxford Healthspan

There’s a lot in the pipeline for Oxford Healthspan this year! We’ve been developing 2 new SKUs, as well as teaming up with ShipBob’s partner Arka to design custom packaging. 

We’re excited to see what new locations ShipBob opens next, and continue expanding our global reach to help customers cultivate a healthier, longer life, no matter where they are.

Oxford Healthspan’s team at ShipBob

Kevin Marvinac

Kevin is the Account Executive who helped Oxford Healthspan get started with ShipBob.

Ankit Srivastava

Ankit is the Merchant Success Manager that helps support Oxford Heathspan.

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Written By:

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist at ShipBob, where she writes blog articles, eGuides, and other resources to help small business owners master their logistics.

Read all posts written by Rachel Hand