When Bill Kingston starting selling t-shirts online in 2004, it was on a whim. He learned how to print tees from a VHS tape he bought on eBay, then started a website. When he decided to try out the idea he’d come up with as part of an e-commerce college class project, Kingston had a few family members working with him in a 600 square-foot space.
Little did the recent college graduate know just how prosperous his initial idea would become.
Today, Crazy Dog T-Shirts operates out of a 36,000 square-foot facility with close to 50 employees. The company specializes in custom t-shirts and novelty tees, each one printed on ultra-soft, high-quality materials designed to help prevent fading and flaking. If you’ve ever been shown an Instagram ad for a tee that says, “I like coffee and maybe three people,” or have come across a listing for some “world’s okayest brother” apparel, you’ve encountered Crazy Dog T-Shirts.
With a wide variety of custom quotes to appeal to different audiences and occasions, the business has been successful. Really successful. Customers consistently give Crazy Dog purchases high ratings — and not just for the quality of the tees, but based on customer service as well. Faster-than-anticipated shipping, accurate sizing and unexpected special offers all appear as positives in product reviews.
That steady flow of operations may not have always come naturally to Kingston and his team. But once they found the right tools and technology, exceeding consumer expectations became second nature.
As brand recognition grew, it became increasingly difficult for Crazy Dog T-Shirts to keep up with demand.
“We had a strong presence on eBay and Amazon,” explains Digital Marketing Manager Tony Kingston. “But the market was moving to lots of marketplaces, and we couldn’t keep track of them.”
With more than a hundred global marketplaces to choose from, just determining which channels would be the best fit for the brand’s catalogue was a big challenge — not to mention getting up and running on each one.
After attempting to manage one new marketplace on their own, the team realized they’d need a better solution. The setup was inefficient, and keeping track of so many moving parts was virtually impossible.
With a strong core strategy and big visions for future growth, all the company really needed was the right technology.
Eight years after the first Crazy Dog T-Shirt was sold, the company started leveraging ChannelAdvisor’s e-commerce platform.
“When we were considering different options, we talked with a few different services,” Kingston says. “[ChannelAdvisor] was the most robust of all the platforms.”
So the company uploaded its product data, started leveraging integrations and began expanding to new marketplaces.
“To manage thousands of SKUs on 20 different platforms is impossible,” Kingston explains. “ChannelAdvisor allows us to use one SKU. [We] make one change on one product and have it affect all 20 marketplaces at once, which is phenomenal.”
In addition to relying on ChannelAdvisor to manage multiple marketplaces and stay ahead of emerging trends, Crazy Dog T-Shirts leverages the platform’s ShipStation connection to help streamline fulfilment.
“ChannelAdvisor is the central hub through which everything is done,” Kingston says. “It’s been important to the point where if people need to lookup an image or a UPC number, ChannelAdvisor is the master record we can default to.”
With ChannelAdvisor, Crazy Dog T-Shirts was able to put its core strategy to work and exceed the company’s business goals.
Most recently, the company has been experiencing double-digit growth for eight consecutive months.
“We would need a lot more manpower to handle our e-commerce platform without ChannelAdvisor,” Kingston says. “I think we would’ve had a much harder time seeing this level of success.”
From revamping Amazon keywords to getting in on the ground floor of new and emerging marketplace opportunities, Crazy Dog T-Shirts continues to find all kinds of ways to lean on the platform.
“ChannelAdvisor makes everything run a lot more efficiently than it would otherwise. It’s such a cornerstone of the business, I don’t know what we’d do without it.”
Kingston’s advice to other sellers facing similar challenges?
“If you have the tech ability to understand the platform, you can leverage it to an amazing extent. Take your time to try to figure out the system and that will pay dividends in the long run.”