$100m Cosmetics Brand Keeps Cash-Flow Healthy With Inventory Planner
Fast-growing teeth whitening brand Snow Cosmetics uses Inventory Planner to minimise excess inventory and improve operational cash-flow
“Inventory Planner is packed with nuggets-of-gold features that have transformed our business”
– Trevor Martin, Vice President Operations, Snow
When you run a highly successful, rapidly-expanding e-commerce brand, there’s no room for error when it comes to managing your inventory.
But accurately forecasting demand and then interpreting the data to work out exactly what to buy and when to buy it isn’t straightforward – even if you’re a spreadsheet wizard or you have a custom-built manual solution.
In fact, relying on any form of guesswork is risky – especially in the current market when cash is king, costs are high, supply is unpredictable and demand is constantly fluctuating.
That’s why global oral cosmetics brand, Snow, uses Inventory Planner – the top-rated, hassle-free inventory planning app designed for e-commerce brands.
“When it comes to running a $100M e-commerce business, you really have to get planning and forecasting right to be able to balance cash flow and keep customers happy,” says Trevor Martin, Vice President Operations at Snow.
“At Snow we’ve had the classic problems of under purchasing and then running out of stock and upsetting customers. At one point, we were getting a bunch of one star reviews and customer service took a hit because the team had a huge backlog of tickets.
“We’ve also been at the other extreme where we’ve massively over-ordered and tied up too much cash in stock.
“Inventory Planner has changed all that. It’s packed with nuggets-of-gold features that have transformed our business”
No business like Snow business
Snow, which is known for its transformative teeth whitening kits endorsed by a string of A-list celebs, including Floyd Mayweather, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Pratt, has used Inventory Planner to reliably predict sales during unpredictable times, while avoiding stockouts and excess stock.
In recent months, we’ve seen how previously successful leading retailers have fallen victim to holding too much stock.
Target saw its shares tumble after it slashed prices to clear out unsold inventory last summer and British furniture brand MADE.com went out of business just a year after going public on the London Stock Exchange in 2021 with a valuation of £775 million, after getting caught with massive inventory at just the wrong time.
“These last two years have been an absolute wild ride because of the Covid swing, and then the residual financials that people had, and now a downturn,” Trevor adds.
“Inventory Planner has been phenomenal for us. It’s given us real time certainty in a volatile marketplace. We’ve been seeing spikes and downturns in areas that historically didn’t happen. Plus, we’re a seasonal company – Q4 drives 30 to 40% of our revenue.
“As a tool, it’s super flexible and can be finely tuned so that it factors in seasonality, trends, promotions and market shifts. It means we can glance at the data and instantly say ‘ok, we need to order 100,000 of that item, not 10,000 – otherwise we’re going to run out in two months’.
“I worry that a lot of e-commerce companies are going to tank this year because they don’t have a tool like Inventory Planner, so they mismanage their inventory and mess up their cash flow.
“Inventory planning isn’t as simple as it used to be. Excel was fine when you could operate in an environment that was consistent, reliable and unlikely to change. In today’s market – an Excel sheet just isn’t going to cut it.”
The market and economic changes over the last couple of years mean what worked for an e-commerce company in previous years is no longer a reliable indicator of what will work now.
As Shopify-Plus powered Snow has experienced, manual solutions like spreadsheets are no longer sufficient – because they can’t factor in rapid, real-world changes, especially as a business scales, and are almost always out-of-date and often inaccurate.
See how Inventory Planner will help you make informed inventory purchasing decisions
Avoiding inventory meltdown
Trevor says: “The need to have real time data is absolutely huge right now. You used to be able to close the books, look at things and say, ‘okay, we did great last month, let’s do something similar this month’. That doesn’t work anymore. Businesses need the ability to understand, analyze and make changes on a daily basis. Real time data is critical because of the swings on costs when it comes to inventory and marketing.”
Trevor thinks the next 18 months will be very testing for merchants. Those that can pivot and get through it will come out much stronger, but they need to switch mentality from a ‘growth play’ to a ‘profit play’.
“Growth used to be the big focus for e-commerce brands but now it’s all about focusing on your bottom line. It’s all about being strategic and planning properly, using tools like Inventory Planner. I truly think that’s what will be the difference between coming out of this time as a winner or a loser.”
As well as revealing which inventory to order and when to order it, based on an accurate calculation of how much you will sell, Inventory Planner offers granular insight and notifications across various KPIs, including variant, vendor, warehouse and product category.
“A big focus for Snow right now is boosting our subscribers and gaining that lifetime value – the astronomical cost of advertising on Facebook means that’s more critical now than ever,” Trevor says.
“Inventory planning is critical for helping us with this. A few times it’s flagged up that I need to order more stock and, frankly speaking, I’ve doubted it. I’ve been like ‘what are you talking about Inventory Planner, I’ve got 60,000 units in stock!’.
“And then I do my analysis and sure enough, it turns out we have a full cohort of subscribers coming in that’s going to hit demand over the next three months. Inventory Planner has spotted it and altered forecasting to account for it, long before I spotted it.
“That’s game-changing functionality.
“It’s proven to us the value it has as a tool and now the whole team trusts Inventory Planner to give us the data we need to buy with confidence.”
Something to smile about
Building on its impressive track record of achieving more than $100M in sales, Snow is determined to get its teeth stuck into new markets and to further optimize its cash flow this year.
Trevor says: “My goal is quarterly purchasing. From a cash flow perspective, it’s really important to me. Right now I’m buying six to nine months in advance to be on the safe side while the markets are volatile, but that alone is major progress since using Inventory Planner – we were buying 18 months in advance.
“With Inventory Planner on our side, I’m confident we can hit our quarterly purchasing goal this year.
“Good planning and forecasting will also be critical as we expand into 13 new countries, including the UK, which we’re really excited about. There are 7 billion people in the world with teeth and we’re on a mission to reach as many of them as we can.
“For e-commerce brands, the next 18 months will be a challenge but if you can make it through this long and dark tunnel with the help of tools like Inventory Planner, I firmly believe there will be light at the end.
Want to see how Inventory Planner can help your business shine brighter? Start your free 14-day trial today.