British clothing brand Rydale has expanded and improved its e-commerce offering thanks to the deployment of Despatch Cloud’s software technology.
Rydale is a brand that has moved to the forefront of the country clothing industry in recent years. It was a love for the great outdoors that drove the founder, John Nichols, to create this iconic brand, and the company prides itself on creating quality, reliable clothing that stands up against the unexpected weather and rugged terrain of the great British countryside.
Since its founding 68 years ago, as a small business creating items for local outdoor enthusiasts, Rydale has grown into an internationally recognised and established brand.
Alex Moore, e-commerce Manager at Rydale, speaks about the rise of the business: “Rydale is proud to be from Yorkshire. We couldn’t think of a better place to test and develop our clothing range. We’ve always been eager to grow the brand by attending events all over the country, but the rise of e-commerce presented an opportunity to expand our operation rapidly.
“However, just as for any traditional retailer, the birth of e-commerce also changed everything. We had to adapt to a whole new way of running a business and work out how to manage it, and that’s where Despatch Cloud came in.”
After an acquaintance suggested getting in touch, Moore and the team were immediately impressed with what Despatch Cloud had to offer, stating: “It was really great to speak to people who actually knew what operating a busy warehouse was like. We shared many qualities and we jumped at the chance to adopt their software.”
Full warehouse package
Rydale took on Despatch Cloud’s full Warehouse package, and the results were immediate. Moore explains: “Many of our orders are for multiple items. For example, people will buy a shirt and jacket together. A lot of the time these items are racked on opposite ends of the warehouse, which makes picking a real chore, and time consuming. When the team at Despatch Cloud introduced us to the bulk and sort picking method, we couldn’t believe the difference it made.”
The toting functionality involves collecting all products allocated to a sale, and placing them in a pick bin. This is then taken to a sorting wall, where all the totes are assigned to orders, waiting to be filled.
Moore explains: “Each of our pickers could pick 12 orders at once with our previous system. So on a day where we had, let’s say, 144 orders, that meant either we used 12 members of staff to pick, or a picker walked around the warehouse 12 times. Bulk and sort was a revelation. It now only takes one picker to collect all 144 orders. Our warehouse efficiency went through the roof and the number of orders we could fulfil increased tenfold.”
It wasn’t just the new picking method that improved the fulfilment process, Despatch Cloud’s end-to-end barcode verification software was another feature that seemed tailor-made for Rydale’s needs. Moore elaborates: “When selling clothing, many products are similar. For example, you may have a royal blue shirt next to a navy shirt. It’s easy for a picker to collect the wrong one, but it can be really damaging to customer relationships when they do. Since adopting a triple barcode checking system, every item is scanned at the point of picking, when it is being sorted, and when it is being packed. Our rate of human error in picking is now less than 0.001%.”
This wasn’t just beneficial for eliminating errors: “This system made finding products in the warehouse simpler. All we now have to do is search on the system and we can see if an order has been picked, if it’s waiting to be sorted, or if it’s already been packed. It’s made life so much easier and means we can respond to customers quickly in relation to queries regarding their purchase, which is always a positive.”
Another customer-based benefit was Despatch Cloud’s integrated helpdesk solution. The system is linked to the warehouse management software, which means orders and customer correspondence can be linked. Moore comments: “We found our former system wasn’t optimal for us, so when Despatch Cloud showcased their software, we jumped at the chance to adopt it. Having the order linking technology means that if a customer gets in touch via email, they will be automatically linked to their order, and their full order history. This saves us a lot of time, and the positive customer reaction to our quick responses has been a real pleasure to see.”
Another feature that has proved invaluable for Rydale is the Despatch Cloud Returns System. Moore speaks about the way the returns portal has helped Rydale: “It used to be a huge operation to get returns processed and back into stock. We did it the traditional way of placing returns together and then gradually returning them to their shelves, which could take days.
“With the new system, all that has changed. We now have 100 small bins near our returns area, into which we put any returned parcels. These returns are processed and stay in the bins where they can be picked for orders. Basically, if they pass quality control they are immediately placed back into the system.
“We prioritise picking from these bins, which saves the time and effort of returning items to their warehouse inventory location before they are picked for a new order. We call it direct-to-pick. As orders come in for items in the return bins, that product is taken out, and the bin is empty again. It’s working well for us so far and has really sped up not just our returns, but our entire order processing.”
The expansion of e-commerce shows no signs of slowing down, and it’s now more important than ever that businesses retail their products across multiple sales channels. This comes with some difficulty though, as Rydale experienced. Moore states: “Our previous system wasn’t the best for handling stock across multiple channels. We had to manually split our stock, so we would assign 50 products to one channel, 50 to another, and we had to constantly check them to make sure we had enough. This was a nightmare. Big sales events are important to us and often result in high order volumes. Trying to juggle our stock when it was selling quickly across different channels was getting tricky and we were always running the risk of overselling.”
Moore describes how Despatch Cloud helped solve this issue: “The whole team was blown away at the speed of stock updates with Despatch Cloud. We organised big sales events with huge reductions on items that meant our stock levels were in a constant state of flux, and the Despatch Cloud technology handled it with ease. The feeling of having a system you trust can’t be understated. It allows us the freedom to launch sales and promotional events without a nagging fear at the back of our minds of overselling. It’s provided us with the freedom to grow, knowing we have a system to back us up.”
Matthew Dunne, founder and CTO of Despatch Cloud, speaks fondly of his relationship with the team at Rydale, saying: “It has been a pleasure working with Rydale. To see another business from our region making such huge progress in their industry is really positive. From the start, the team at Despatch Cloud has enjoyed seeing how our technology has improved their logistic operations and we look forward to seeing what the future holds.”
Rydale continues to expand its collections of country clothing, footwear, gifts and accessories and reach new customers. Still working with Despatch Cloud, the future certainly looks bright for this British country clothing brand.