Natural State Wholesale primarily liquidates excess inventories. They sell a few different kinds of distressed building supplies including kitchen cabinets and bathroom fixtures, but their biggest seller is B-grade flooring tile.
Anything that goes through a manufacturing process can have a B-grade product. From flooring tile to toilet bowls, sometimes pieces come off the production line with a slight defect. Just like airlines don’t intend to lose your luggage, nobody intends to produce B-grade products. Fortunately, if the defect on an item is just cosmetic and the structural integrity isn’t impacted, the item can still be sold at a discounted price as B-grade.
NSW is the Master Broker for a flooring manufacturer called Daltile which produces between 60 and 70 per cent of all flooring made in the USA annually through its many subsidiary companies. Between three and eight per cent of Daltile’s 700 million square feet of product ends up being deemed B-grade every year. NSW sells that tile at a rate of about 3 million square feet per month.
For many years, NSW was Daltile’s largest broker, with about 40 per cent of Daltile’s pie. After 20 years of successfully working together, NSW struck a deal with Daltile to become their Master Broker. Other brokers would no longer be able to buy product straight from Daltile, they’d have to go through NSW. It was great news, though it meant a massive increase in inventory for them to manage with sales of around 600,000 square feet of B-grade tile per month coming from four different locations, with as many as 2000 SKUs.
(That's a LOT of tile!)
With the new setup, NSW Training & Marketing Consultant Rob Jennings says it became clear if they wanted to properly manage that inventory, plus grow business for both companies under the new Master Broker arrangement, they had to “build a better mouse trap.”
He quickly realized the best way to accomplish that was to essentially become the Amazon.com of B-grade tile. They needed a system to manage their vast array of inventory as well as display and sell it online to other brokers and to independent stores. Shopify was quickly identified as the best platform available to do that.
After only a month, however, it became clear NSW’s needs far exceeded what Shopify’s free platform could accommodate. Because Bold is one of only a small group of Shopify Plus partners, Shopify pointed Jennings in the direction of Bold, thanks to Bold’s strong reputation for coming up with effective solutions to unique problems, as well as Bold’s superior customer support.
Initially, Bold’s Custom Pricing app seemed to be exactly what the doctor ordered; above and beyond managing their new and constantly changing inventory, Custom Pricing would allow NSW to have different price points for the same product depending on the customer or broker buying it.
Bold had the CP app installed within a day, but NSW soon realized they had too much going on for the off-the-shelf version of the app to manage. With such massive quantities of inventory changing on a weekly basis and NSW’s needs for an unusual amount of customization, it wasn’t long before they signed up as part of Bold’s Custom Solitions, essentially putting Bold’s experts on retainer to help run the back end of their online store.
Under Custom Solutions, not only was the Custom Pricing app customized to NSW’s unique and demanding specifications, Bold actually rewrote the CP program so it would run locally on NSW systems instead of having to go through external servers, speeding things up tremendously.
NSW’s website checkout was also customized to further speed up and simplify the process, making it slick and smooth for brokers and independent customers using the site.
Jennings says what NSW is doing is incredibly unique to Shopify, with their average sale in the range of $3500 - $4000, and sometimes as high as $8000 or $9000 at a time. He estimates they’re pushing around $750,000 per month through the store. Thanks to Bold, he says they’ve been able to leverage the technology within the Shopify model to make it work.