To many homeowners, good feng shui means having the right scent in every room. But candles alone can be risky business. In fact, a neighborhood house fire is what led one man to find an alternative to lighting a candle.
In 2001, the original candle warmer was created. Instead of putting match to wick, homeowners could now put wax melts into a jar, and more safely release fragrance into their living space.
Candle Warmers Etc. has since developed over 200 home fragrance and aromatherapy products and sold in big-box stores across the country.
It wasn’t until recently that the company decided to look outside of its wholesale model. For the first time ever, Candle Warmers would sell direct-to-consumer (D2C) through its own dot-com and channels like Amazon—and see exactly what ecommerce could do for its budding business.
A major step to a successful transition involved looking at the company’s current software: Could it keep up with the fast-changing requirements of ecommerce? Could it scale D2C tasks like listing, order routing and inventory management? Was it easy to use?
The company’s incumbent system, NetSuite, could handle wholesale operations. But, according to Candle Warmers’ Ecommerce Manager CoCo Peterson, “It [had] been around for a long time and it [wasn’t] really dynamic enough to keep up with the direct-to-consumer world as much.”
While the company still needed NetSuite to manage other aspects of business, it sought a more nimble system built specifically for ecommerce. That’s when they turned to ChannelAdvisor, a system that they thought could deliver the efficiency that they needed.
“Finding something that is robust enough to integrate with NetSuite but also can handle the dynamic changes—that was really the hardest thing,” recalls Peterson. “ChannelAdvisor...was the only native connection with NetSuite [at the time], which is why we used it. But I absolutely, absolutely did not enjoy my experience.”
Peterson remembers poorly configured workflows, high fees and multiple phone calls with a “flippant person with a bad attitude,” just to get the team’s Amazon account connected. Before long, she deactivated almost every aspect of ChannelAdvisor except for order sync and started lobbying for a change.
Zentail, according to Peterson, stood out for its younger software and glowing reviews. Today, the dynamic platform not only provides the tools to scale critical tasks (plus a reliable connection into NetSuite)—it also offers an attentive support team, whose names Peterson knows by heart.
Candle Warmers is now able to centrally manage more than 300 total listings across Amazon, Walmart DSV, eBay, Google and Facebook Marketplace. Prior to Zentail, they had been hesitant to expand beyond Amazon, as overselling became a persistent issue.
Zentail has helped to reduce overselling significantly, according to Purchasing and Inventory Manager Marli Mouritsen. By communicating with Netsuite in real time, monitoring inventory thresholds and automatically tracking shipments, Zentail is able to keep inventory in sync 24/7.
“Everything has been pretty seamless,” says Mouritsen. “My goal was to get the data flowing back and forth accurately between all of our systems...now, I don’t even have to check Zentail very often. That’s how seamless it is for me.”
Even in the midst of replatforming their shipping software, her team could trust Zentail to work without a hitch. Zentail now integrates into the team’s ShipHawk account, further streamlining operations.
For Peterson, who leads the marketing and listing side of things, having a central place to manage all product, order and shipping info has been invaluable. She especially enjoys being able to analyze performance across multiple channels at once and pull a custom report at a moment’s notice.
This flexibility has been critical at a time when online shopping is surging at never-before-seen rates. The team has had to move faster than ever and could not afford glitchy, inaccurate software.
“I have been moving so fast dealing with the surge in sales from the pandemic since the beginning of the year. I am glad that I don’t have to worry about Zentail. It just works. One less thing for me to worry about!”
Upwards and Forwards into the Future
Chasing a Tiger by the Tail
Within the first 90 days of using Zentail, Candle Warmers saw its online sales jump 170%. Now more than a year out, Amazon, which was once just a side project, is their biggest account and sells more than any other channel in the past. Ecommerce as a whole has more than doubled in sales YoY, shattering expectations.
“We joke that we have a tiger by the tail,” says Peterson about her team’s D2C journey, “because we're trying to project things, and it just keeps growing and growing as we optimize.”
Along with their Amazon account, the team looks forward to grooming their newer channels, like Facebook Marketplace, plus expanding their product assortment to service consumers who are now largely working from home. Meanwhile, they can work in peace knowing that Zentail is still in the background keeping their business running smoothly.
“Zentail is truly a partner that wants us to be successful together instead of just taking our money and saying, ‘See ya when your contract needs to be renewed!,’” sums up Peterson. With the right software partner by their side, her team can continue pushing the boundaries of ecommerce, both fearlessly and efficiently.