How Fujian Footwear launched 3 digital brands and doubled their sales during lockdowns.

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Return on investment results

Fujian Footwear implemented Retail Express for more visibility and growth that:

Doubled their sales in their first 12 months of lockdown

Launched 3 digital brands

Reduced inventory turnover

Slashed manual task hours with centralised, real-time reporting

Effectively navigated industry skills shortages via process automation

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The Company

Launching over 30 years ago as a wholesaler with over 500 stockists, Fujian Footwear has a long history of supplying comfortable, high-quality men’s, women’s and children’s footwear.

Their growth saw them expand from wholesale into bricks and mortar retail 10 years ago, before moving into the eCommerce space in 2016. Now, Fujian Footwear are a truly omnichannel business running three main brands; iShoes, JustBee and PandaSlippers and expanding their service and comfort to customers in more spaces.

The Problem

As Fujian Footwear expanded their channels across wholesale, in-store, online and digital marketplaces, their need for a POS system and eCommerce platform that could manage their increasing complexities became more and more of a necessity.

General Manager, Don Murphy, explained that while they had moved their business into an omnichannel model, their original systems — SoleMate and Magento — were limiting their expansion and making managing inventory across so many channels difficult.

The decision was made to look for a POS system that could integrate seamlessly with their growing online businesses, offer more inventory visibility and control and set their business up for agile growth.

"We wanted to go to the next level of professionalism and evolve our operations and gain more inventory accuracy. We had multiple channels and wholesale operations and needed 100% data accuracy across those channels, which we weren’t getting."

 – Don Murphy, General Manager

The Solution

In 2017, Fujian Footwear discovered and moved to Retail Express and later shifted their eCommerce platform to Shopify, building the fully integrated, omnichannel business they needed to grow in an increasingly online world.

And that move proved pivotal to remaining an agile retailer when COVID hit in early 2020. Strategically, Fujian Footwear decided to focus on what became their three key brands — iShoes, JustBee and Panda Slippers.  

Combining this new business strategy with the addition of direct eCommerce selling capability and the need for automated systems that could lower the impact of staff shortages and aid in lowering turnover for slow-moving stock, Fujian Footwear needed a powerful, agile software solution to handle it all.  

Fujian Footwear put a plan in place to utilise Retail Express’ smart marketing tools, automated inventory allocation and reporting visibility to get their brands in front of more people and pivot their business while maintaining a profit in the face of an uncertain market.

"We were really treading water for the first few years of running our online business until we started with Retail Express and saw our business double, and then double again over the past 12 months. They’ve really supported us to adapt into the omnichannel ecosystem that the world is morphing into."

 – Don Murphy, General Manager

The Software

The Results

Equipped with Retail Express as their agile software solution, Fujian Footwear transformed their business direction into a nimble omnichannel experience that has launched 3 digital brands, expanded into online marketplaces and doubled their business in the last 12 months.

During the first year of COVID, Fujian Footwear relied on Retail Express’ powerful inventory management features, eCommerce integration with Shopify and centralised reporting to steer their operations where the market needed them to be.  

Agile inventory management and fulfilment allocation

With so many styles, sizes and colours in a footwear retailers product portfolio - overstocks in certain SKUs are inevitable.

But with Retail Express’ inventory management and fulfilment capabilities, Fujian Footwear have the tools to identify slow-moving inventory in one brand or channel and sell it in another. They are also able to fulfil their online orders from any of store locations increasing speed of home delivery and reducing costs.

General manager, Don Murphy, spoke of the tangible difference automated inventory management has made to Fujian Footwear’s productivity and turnover.

“There’s always fragmentation in footwear and we’re running a lot of stock to different locations and need continuity to our marketplaces. With Retail Express, we can quickly locate and clear out stock across all of our locations and work our marketplaces, so we no longer need to run around and spend time manually managing our stock. The difference has been massive.”

Pivoting during lockdown with a powerful Shopify eCommerce integration

Lockdown sent many retailers spiraling to build an online store that could deliver an exceptional experience to customers, but Fujian Footwear was already equipped with a cloud-based system in Retail Express, and an integrated eCommerce platform in Shopify.  

Retail Express and Shopify’s flexibility, ease of use and integrations meant Fujian Footwear could connect their online store, physical locations, stockists and warehouses to easily shift their business online and grow their store. General Manager, Don Murphy, attributes their Retail Express and Shopify integration as “transforming their business” and leading to the footwear retailer launching smart marketing campaigns based on real-time sales data to put their brands on the map.  

“Shopify and Retail Express ecosystem has definitely helped with our sales and turnover, but also has helped keep our inventory as agile as it can be across multiple channels, allowing us to keep expanding the business while reducing our turnover and leftover stock.”

Utilising reporting & data visibility to combat staff shortages & prepare for future growth

The pandemic not only shifted the customer landscape for retailers, but it also shifted the workforce landscape too. Fujian Footwear combated this shift by equipping themselves with Retail Express’ centralised, easy to understand reporting capabilities.  

Fujian Footwear can instantly access the right data in one view, without having to manually create reports. This allowed a lean team of staff to quickly hone in on actionable information and set up automated tasks easily without being single point sensitive on a team of technical IT experts.  

The Fujian Footwear team used this centralised reporting to focus their team on high-value activities and reduce manual task hours.

“As a small business, using Retail Express to gain key information and datasets quickly and automate tasks really helps stop people from being bogged down in admin work and be more focused on analytical data and making better decisions for the business.”

Staff and senior management are now not only able to efficiently set up tasks, but can easily glean accurate, real-time data from any device or location to navigate the business into another profitable year and maximise their share of the economic growth in the retail industry.

"We can pull and view reports from anywhere, from any device so we’re always on top of product profitability, business performance and expenses and can effectively make decisions on new season merchandise and overall business direction.."

 – Kevin Lin, Operations Manager

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