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Case Study: How Salvos Stores optimised shipping to scale online

With its stores closed during the pandemic and e-commerce sales skyrocketing, Salvos Stores put a plan in place to dramatically scale its online footprint.

In 2020, Salvos Stores launched Australia’s first online op shop, listing thousands of unique second-hand items online from hundreds of its stores across Australia. However, selling donated items online requires a unique approach to ecommerce and fulfilment. Put simply, there’s no out-of-box solution for scaling a digital op-shop during a pandemic. 

With all of their inventory being one-of-kind donations processed at one of their 300 retail locations around Australia, the organisation required a flexible solution that would allow consumers to buy great-value, second hand items online from wherever they are within Australia.

When it came to shipping, Salvos Stores needed a solution that would allow them to profitably scale their new digital offering and seamlessly process a growing number of online orders. To solve this, Salvos Stores selected ShipStation to power its fulfilment process across its retail network. 

“ShipStation was the right fit for us because of the ability to ship from multiple locations, to have branded tracking and email notifications, and also they have a great local support team which are always here to help us,” said Lucas Ferrier, E-commerce Manager at Salvos Stores. 

In a single Salvos Stores’ order, shoppers can buy items online that are located in different Salvos locations around the country. Using ShipStation, the order is split into multiple shipments that are assigned to the individual stores where the item is physically housed. From there, the store volunteers pack and dispatch the order straight to the customer within 24 hours. 

Since launching, Salvos Stores has shipped more than 50,000 individual orders using ShipStation from over 300 locations around Australia. 

Store volunteers hand-pack and send more than 5000 individual parcels every month, meaning the organisation requires a solution that can be accessed by multiple users, is easy to use and reduces manual processing. ShipStation’s easy-to-use interface and multiple user logins allowed Salvos Stores to train all team members – paid and volunteers – in e-commerce, many for the first time.

“The real benefit has been scalability and being able to continue to set up more users, as we get more stores listed online. Since using ShipStation we’re seeing massive improvements to efficiency and accuracy,” Ferrier said. 

Salvos Stores is now able to list thousands of unique second-hand items online each week from hundreds of its physical stores across Australia. The organisation plans to continue to grow its online footprint, bringing more stores into the program and increasing the number of products listed online. 

With its shipping strategy in place, Salvos Store is well positioned to scale its online operations sustainably. With the increased efficiency and accuracy in their fulfilment process, the organisation is able to meet the growing demand for secondhand goods sold online. 

Watch a video to learn how shipping supports Salvos Stores mission to allow Australians to shop online and discover unique second hand items from locations all around the country.