Party Delights is the UK’s premier partyware retailer; stocking over 20,000 products including balloons, fancy dress, toys, stationary, wedding accessories and sweets. With 100 staff working from a 35,000 square foot warehouse in Manchester and a hub in Germany for European operations, the firm is award winning for fast growth and customer service.
Areas they wanted to change:
What drove the decision to partner with Sorted?
Party Delights has seen impressive success since being founded in 2001 – so much so that by 2005, they served their 100,000th customer just 8 months after serving their 50,000th. Growth has shown no signs of slowing since.
But with more customers and more online shopping, comes more shipping. Despite having an existing delivery management system in place, in 2018 the Party Delights team decided to reduce reliance on one single supplier and split traffic between two systems.
“Even half an hour of downtime would result in a backlog of hundreds of orders and a whole warehouse team standing around with nothing to do.” Says Julia Dietz, Operations Director at Party Delights.
Julia notes that downtime is extremely rare – warehouse outages are far from a common occurrence and the proactive decision to mitigate risk in this area was driven solely by the business seeking peace of mind; ensuring diversification of tech where there are single points of failure, specifically for a business-critical operation like shipping.
They went on the hunt for an innovative, reliable carrier and delivery management platform, and it wasn’t long before they met Sorted.
“Prices were competitive, so there was the cost-saving element when we were selecting a supplier,” Julia told us. “Sorted has the infrastructure to support us, and having a really helpful, knowledgeable account manager like the one we have is fantastic.”
Sorted has the infrastructure to support us, and having a really helpful, knowledgeable account manager like the one we have is fantastic.
How has the partnership helped Party Delights navigate market disruption?
Back in 2018, when the partnership started, a global pandemic was pretty low on everyone’s risk register. However, Party Delights were set on making changes that would ensure operational resilience and flexibility in the face of any disruption. Having robust, reliable systems in place put them in a strong position for thriving during uncertain times.
Throughout COVID, people have wanted to make special occasions even more special by celebrating at home. As a result, Party Delights saw a surge in orders in 2020 – especially on traditional partyware product lines such as balloons and banners.
“Being an online business, we’re so pleased that we’ve been able to keep serving our customers throughout lockdowns and social distancing restrictions. Making fun, memorable moments is what we’re all about and people need that more than ever.”
Julia notes that social media and online parties have meant people still manage to find ways to connect.
“Being there to support people during this time is amazing. But it’s a lot of pressure too – when people are really looking forward to their celebration, however small, we absolutely have to make sure that parcel gets there on time. Serving the customer is our main priority, and delivery experience is a huge part of that.”
More recently, Brexit has been the biggest challenge. But having a strong CMS in place meant some of that pain was alleviated.
“Nothing about Brexit is easy, but Sorted manage customs declaration uncertainties and handle the flow of information between us and the carriers which makes everything a lot smoother.”
The pain points:
What Sorted solution did they use?
Access multiple carriers through a single integration, save cost through shipping rules and generate carrier compatible labels - all whilst meeting your customer promise.
What's the results?
Nothing about Brexit is easy, but Sorted manage customs declaration uncertainties and handle the flow of information between us and the carriers which makes everything a lot smoother.
What’s ahead for the partnership?
Currently using SortedPRO for label printing and carrier management, Party Delights are looking at ways to further improve delivery operations and provide a fully connected customer experience.
In future, Julia says they’ll be looking at ways to connect the customer services team to delivery tracking in a more efficient way. Giving CS agents easier access to parcel status means customer queries can be resolved quickly.
This is something SortedREACT can help with – find out more here.
Plus, as improving customer experience is always ongoing work for any retailer, Julia notes that there are projects in the works to add dynamic delivery options into their online checkouts.
You can find out more about SortedHERO here.