October 20, 2022

How Apricoat uses PDQ to save time & money

We sat down with Raz Tsfaty, Apricoat’s Head of Operations, to learn how PDQ streamlined their international fulfillment systems for saved costs, time, and lift.

Our conversation dives into: 

  1. Streamlining their web-to-warehouse comms to reduce delivery error
  2. The severe lack of modern eCom fulfillment tools — until PDQ
  3. Why PDQ’s quality is unmatched in the B2B software space

“We’re lucky to work with PDQ. They’ll save you a lot of time and money. Their platform just makes sense as a logistics foundation while you build and scale.” 

The Early Days: Disjointed Systems & Lost Orders

The Apricoat team currently operates three warehouses: two in the U.S. and one in the Netherlands for European buyers. 

Each warehouse is linked to their Shopify back end. But, in Raz’s words, those connections (before PDQ) were “very, very, very limited.” 

Their warehouses could successfully receive order details from their site — but not much else. 

As a result, their system rarely flagged fulfillment issues. For instance: 

  • Order input errors — If a buyer failed to input their postal code, the order would still get packed as usual. It just wouldn’t ship, leaving it to get lost in the warehouse. 
  • Operational errors — An order might also fail to send if it included a product bundle or a new SKU that hadn’t been uploaded to the system yet. 

These sorts of issues would regularly waste time and effort. Warehouse and customer service teams alike would have to troubleshoot why a user just never got their package. 

And if the customer demanded a refund or replacement, those were wasted dollars. 

Even more, they had to use the app of choice for each specific warehouse, meaning three unique, disjointed funnels. They felt like they were being run by their warehouses, Raz explains, instead of the other way around. 

"The connections between Shopify and our warehouses were very, very, very limited. When you have more than one warehouse, that's even trickier to process." 

Enter PDQ: The Fulfillment Solution Apricoat Needed

Apricoat first decided to onboard with us to solve one specific headache: 

A customer had purchased a discounted item for $60. The warehouse shipped out the order as usual, but the order data they received still listed the SKU at its original price: $100. 

The situation snowballed once they realized it was an international purchase. The buyer now had to pay a hefty, unexpected customs fee. And both the Apricoat HQ and warehouse teams were at a loss for a solution. 

Fortunately, at that point, Apricoat’s CEO introduced Raz to Avi, the CEO of PDQ. 

Avi swooped in with an easy fix, helping them ensure all payment info going from online store to physical warehouse would be up to date. 

That's when Apricoat figured PDQ could be the platform to answer all their fulfillment needs. 

“We have ops, production, warehouses, Shopify — PDQ connects all of this seamlessly. They were quick to act and solve those challenges for us.” 

The Results:
Saving Apricoat Time & Money

Since implementing PDQ, the Apricoat team now has accurate, real-time fulfillment data flowing from digital sales to warehouse inventory to last-mile delivery. 

PDQ has perhaps been most useful in how it prevents expensive (and unfortunately common) fulfillment errors. Take two examples: 

  1. Program logical flows to handle errors — Raz highlights the ability to set automated flows to address common mistakes. For instance, if a delivery address is invalid, PDQ can alert both Apricoat and the buyer immediately upon processing. 
  2. Live inventory tracking — PDQ considers how much inventory is available before allowing an order to move along its fulfillment journey. This is especially crucial for brands with more than one warehouse to avoid incomplete or stalled orders. 

The software is also highly compatible with other eCom tooling. 

For instance, the Apricoat team has integrated tools for upselling on their Shopify store. Let’s say they run a post-purchase promo where the customer gets five minutes to apply a 30% discount to one more item. 

Depending on your fulfillment stack, two scenarios are likely: 

  1. The initial purchase creates one order; the upsold item creates a second, separate order
  2. The warehouse only receives details for the initial order; the upsold item is lost entirely

In comparison, PDQ runs on real-time updates and processes orders accordingly: 

  1. After an order comes through, PDQ waits 20 minutes — and then syncs again
  2. Any additions from the same buyer are processed within the same order
  3. Everything ships at once, saving the cost of a second unique delivery

Automated Workflows = Lower Overhead Lift

In Raz’s opinion: “A good order is an order that I never had to see. It came in, it went through, it shipped out, and we got a positive user review. Everything went smoothly.” 

To make that happen, his goal is ultimately to automate as much of Apricoat's fulfillment engine as possible. PDQ is one major step forward. 

Automated features include: 

  • Data input & maintenance — Warehouse teams no longer have to manually log orders
  • Batching — They can effortlessly group similar orders for quicker fulfillment
  • Prevent & solve snags — As mentioned, basic but common order issues like invalid zip codes are automatically flagged and prevented
  • Post-purchase & tracking — PDQ automatically generates tracking numbers and relays live updates to both the Apricoat team and their customers

“PDQ is a solid foundation that’ll structure everything. As you scale, things will run a lot faster and smoother. And you’ll be surprised by a lot less.” 

How PDQ Solved the Root Cause of Apricoat’s Pain Points

After working with us for almost a year, Raz can confidently say, “The biggest benefit is definitely the team at PDQ.” 

He attributes this to our dedication to addressing the actual root of fulfillment pain points. 

PDQ will develop the necessary tech solutions to fix a fundamental issue. Other SaaS vendors might just point to the problems with their data or offer temporary fixes. 

Beyond this, he highlights how PDQ is an excellent app in a vertical where there haven’t been many up-to-date, cutting-edge solutions. 

"I'd say 90% of the eCom tools I see focus on marketing, returns, site improvements, etc. All of those are very important. But the other part of the equation — what happens once you have the order and driving that efficiency — is neglected." 

As a result, the PDQ team has been able to build this product into the premier fulfillment app. 

“I don’t see any competitors or alternatives for the smart work they’re doing,” says Raz. 

"If you put a team of problem-solvers in a space with unresolved pain points, you're bound to get good results. That's the PDQ team." 

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