XS-Stock is an etailer that has grown its revenue 25-30% year-on-year, every year. How did it achieve this sustained growth as the business grew ever larger and more complex? Control, efficiency and collaboration are the secret to its success. Read on for the XS-Stock story. XS-Stock.com Ltd. is a family-run business based in Irvine, Scotland. Established in 1994 by its managing director Adrian Hodge, XS-Stock aims to offer its customers an outstanding choice of quality products at the lowest possible prices. Committed to providing an exceptional level of customer service, the company’s range of product categories rivals a department store, including home & garden, Christmas, toys, fancy dress, electrical and sports & leisure.
  • Category: Various
  • Challenge: Complexity, warehouse efficiency
  • Results: 25-30% year-on-year growth, every year
  • Benefits: Saves 30% of workforce
A Decade of Complexity

Mark Gregory, eCommerce Manager, XS-Stock: “We got started in ecommerce in May 2005 when we started selling on eBay. I’ve known Adrian the owner since we were literally knee-high, and later that year he asked me to join the company, which I did on the 1st of November. We were listing via Turbo Lister and a couple of other tools. The Christmas period was good, there were loads of positives, and the growth was very quick after that.

“The chief pain for us was the complexity of managing multiple channels. It was too time-consuming to list everywhere and manage our inventory ourselves, and it was too prone to error. From the early days we identified that our success was tied to the range of products we could offer and the range of marketplaces we could be in. It was the complexity of business that multichannel brings with it that prodded to us to go external for a solution that could grow with us over the long term. This was in 2007. We reviewed all the major players at the time. Other vendors were quicker to integrate, but we saw them as a bolt-on which would need a third party to do the integration, and that would cost you the earth.”

The Benefits of Control

“Complexity is part and parcel of our business and as a successful company we have to constantly manage the complexity. Our creative team, for example, have to deal with all the master listings and create listing SKUs for all our products. We’ve around 10,500 items and 35,000 listing SKUs. Variations come in with the same bar code and we have to allocate a unique bar code for each one and organise the printing and the labels. The system needs to be able to deal with all of that, which it does, no problem.

“The three main things that make me the happiest about the Volo partnership are the multiple marketplace control via one interface, the huge efficiency gains and Volo’s adaptability to the needs of its clients and the market. They were always super strong on eBay. They’ve also raised their game on Amazon, Rakuten and Magento. These are big pluses. There are so many things that the Volo platform gives us that we take for granted. It’s removed the need for manual intervention in so many areas. We have 21 staff; we’d need 30 staff if we didn’t have Volo. We’ve managed to grow 25-30% year-on-year every year. The chief focus for us now is growing our international business.”

Collaboration Cures Complexity

“Collaboration is vital for dealing
 with the complexity I referred to earlier. Here’s how Volo come up trumps for me. We’ve taken the opportunity to remodel our warehouse space with all this expansion. What we found was that the pick and pack process was prone to human error. The picker had to go to a location with an order, pick the right item – let’s say a pink highlighter pen among lots of other colour pens in other orders – and then the packer has to get the right item out of the trolley, the right colour and so on. We wanted to use Peoplevox software to make our pick and pack processes more natural, more free-flowing and strive for 100% efficiency in this area. Volo could see the selling and business potential for us of adding Peoplevox to the platform, so they worked really hard to integrate it into the platform to give us this end-to-end automation.

“They’re prepared to go the distance for the customer if they possibly can. We had a visit from the Chief Technology Officer and our Account Manager a couple of weeks ago. It was a hugely beneficial visit for us, and for them too, I think, as they were able to see for themselves the changes we’ve made. Volo is a great tool. Without a doubt it’s the best on the market just now. No doubt Volo will be part of our future.”