The growth opportunities of e-commerce businesses are endless with a potential global reach. However, the growth also presents new challenges. Are the business processes scalable? Is the business structure suitable for growth? And which purchasing strategy is used to meet customer demand continued? Read the story of Beauty Plaza. They use automation to carry out all business operations ‘in house’ and data-driven purchasing to serve the entire European market.
Beauty Plaza is your shop for beauty
When Beauty Plaza started their activities in 2011 under the name HBB24 the online shop was the smallest business unit of the chain, which also consists of a number of physical stores. Manon den Hollander, now operational manager, was wearing several hats when she started with the business. “Because the webshop had only just started, as a customer service employee I was also a purchaser, marketeer and logistics employee.”
Over the last ten years, Beauty Plaza has grown into an international name with German, French and English websites. The company’s reach is greater than ever, with customer orders shipped to 25 European countries. The purchasing, logistics process and customer service departments are still located in Sluis, the Netherlands. Manon proudly states: “All business operations are still carried out completely in-house.”
Growth comes with challenges
The story of Beauty Plaza shows how fast – and sometimes turbulently – e-commerce businesses can grow. Manon sums it up quickly: “We have had a move, have gone international with the website and in the meantime have set up several new departments.”
To ensure that Beauty Plaza could continue to grow, it was important to make the company structure and business processes scalable. The purchasing process was of crucial importance and one of the biggest challenges. As Manon explains: “We were using a min/max stock strategy and that often led to too much stock of products that were sold infrequently.” Beauty Plaza had also to deal with too much obsolete stock in their warehouse.
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Automation allows Beauty Plaza to grow further
With the growth of the online shop and their brand awareness, automation was added to their purchasing and order processes. Beauty Plaza already worked with Picqer WMS System and added a collaboration with Optiply in June 2020. As both systems can be directly integrated with each other, the onboarding process went very smoothly.
- Small orders on a weekly basis
- Underperforming and obsolete stock
- Manual updates after a promotion period
The stock is more balanced
Manon sees a big step forward. “The biggest gain for Beauty Plaza is that the stock now consists entirely of products that actually sell.” There is also more insight into the performance of products and the stock can be categorised via Optiply. Automation has ensured that the purchasing process is optimised and better purchasing decisions are made. The stock is balanced, which has led to less obsolete stock.
Stock level dropped
Since May 2021, Beauty Plaza brought their total stock level down by 30%.
The increase in category A shows that they hold more stock of the products with the most impact on their gross margin.
Equally they hold less products in the categories B and C. This shows that their stock levels are more balanced.
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A new purchasing focus
The purchasing process is less time consuming and small purchases are no longer made on a weekly basis. Optiply’s purchasing advice ensures that orders with a larger volume are now placed every two weeks. This new strategy means that cost savings can be made with lower delivery costs and more bulk order discounts and the purchasers can focus on the more strategic and tactical parts of their work. Those are the areas where human influence is decisive – such as contact with suppliers and/or adding new brands to the ever-growing range , which now consist of more than 550 quality brands.
- Automation made their purchasing process less time consuming
- Direct integration with their WMS system Picqer
- Easier to control stock in case of promotions
Automation made sure that purchasers could free up time to keep strategic discussions with suppliers going. anon’s work is intertwined with this: ”I mainly function as a contact person and support the Beauty Plaza Group with purchasing details and a growing amount of export. In addition, suppliers also contact me if they have questions about the webshop or other affiliates in the group.” Manon indicates that her role within the company is no longer the same. The growth that Beauty is experiencing has led to new opportunities and personal development. “I think it is wonderful to see how far we have come. I enjoy the various activities and the steps we are still taking with Beauty Plaza.”
“Now you can see much better how a supplier delivers and/or whether something has been delivered that we did not order. This way suppliers are easier to monitor”
Purchasing decisions can be adjusted accordingly to a promotion period. When the promotion ends, there are no manual adjustments needed.
It is reassuring to know that you can always meet customer demand.
Customers typically achieve with Optiply
Less time spent on purchasing
Is your purchasing process becoming too time-consuming? Discover what Optiply can do for your beauty e-commerce business.