Sam Ireland is Operations Director at Bigjigs Toys, a toy company committed to delivering quality, safe and affordable products which are responsibly sourced and complement childhood development through fun, exploration, and learning.
Started in 1985, Bigjigs is a family-run business based out of the UK. Sam’s parents, Liz & Peter Ireland, began making wooden jigsaw puzzles from floorboards in their garden shed. Today, Bigjigs supplies over 3000 products across 40+ marketplaces from its own brand and from brands like Green Toys and Schylling. They manage everything in-house, including sales, design, and creative, which enables them to launch new products like dropship quickly. Bigjigs is partnered with multiple retailers, including Scandiborn and Yes Bebe, on Convictional.
What were the highlights of 2022 for Bigjigs?
The expansion of our Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) product range was a big highlight. More people are into sustainability and are asking about sustainability. We had a pretty strong incentive to move more of our product into FSC manufacturing. We launched a lot of product last year under that program, which has been really successful.
Another highlight was launching Schylling in the UK and Europe. Their NeeDoh range of fidget toys has been a sensation here and it did really well for us.
How did you get started with dropship?
So dropshipping is a natural evolution for us from those bigger marketplaces that we work with, the Amazons and Ebays of this world. We’ve seen a rise of more niche marketplaces that focus on a real customer demand as opposed to mass marketplaces that are be-all and end-all. There are several niche marketplaces in the UK that have a really passionate following around an idea or style of product and they’ve been really successful.
We felt that since we already had the setup in place, the logistics and the tech stack, to deal with B2C orders in a really efficient way, to add dropship on and reach out to some new customers and expand with existing customers was the next logical step.
One of our customers in the UK, Scandiborn, asked us to explore dropship with Convictional. It took two weeks to get up and running and have our products on Scandiborn’s website.
What’s the biggest benefit of dropship for you?
It’s allowed us to get a wider assortment of product listed with current customers. There are 2-3 customers that we had assortments and we worked with and we’ve managed to grow their business with us by adding a wider range of products.
Warehousing and cash flows have been barriers in the past for them to add products. Dropship has enabled us to get our brand to people in places where we already have a presence.
What’s been the biggest lesson from your dropship journey so far?
The biggest lesson has been the more we can list products with our customers, the more chance we have to be successful. We’ve seen some trikes that we’ve supplied Scandiborn that have performed really well that they didn’t really expect. The customer doesn’t always know what’s going to work, so dropship is a great way to try products out and see how they perform.
We’ve seen that in the financials of our dropship program. We started with 100 SKUs and have listed over 500 SKUs. Our dropship program started at a handful of orders processed manually to hundreds of orders processed in an automated way.
What tips do you have for brands who want to be successful with a dropship channel?
Build a logistics tech stack that is scalable. You’re going to have peak periods where the volume will be difficult to deal with unless you’re efficient and organized. Make sure you’ve got integrations with carriers or with a carrier management platform so that you can handle your orders at scale.
If you don’t have the right tech stack, you won’t be able to offer good customer experience and your customers will go elsewhere.
We use Scurri as our carrier management platform. They deal with all our carriers and send orders based on rulesets: where an order is going, what the channel is, what the value of the order is. For example, a customer is willing to pay for expedited shipping, it prints the right label for that and sends it to the appropriate carrier. It allows our team to be flexible and not have to make too many decisions around critical pieces like shipping.
Thanks to Sam for participating in this conversation!
This post was originally published in our weekly newsletter The Assortment. Subscribe on Linkedin to get the latest customer stories, retailer recommendations, and Convictional product updates.