Piecework Puzzles

How Piecework Puzzles finds its missing piece with dropship automation

“When it comes to dropship, if it’s not easy I’m not doing it anymore.”
Mark Tingey, Director of Operations



Piecework Puzzles

Piecework Puzzles
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Piecework is a puzzle company dedicated to quality time in the great indoors. The name Piecework is a nod to the importance of the process — it’s about fitting something together by hand, working it through, piece by piece — instead of the outcome. Whether working alone or at a gathering of friends, we see puzzles as a means to slow down, connect, and live in the present.

The Goal

Grow with Retailers Focused on Reducing Friction for Vendors

Piecework pioneered chic puzzles as a direct to consumer (DTC) brand in 2016, shaking up a category long overdue for a fresh take. Their unique puzzles quickly took off, with rapid growth in direct to consumer channels resulting in broad exposure and awareness with major retailers. On the fast track to growth, they began to work with retailers specializing in everything from books and music to home decor. With some it was easy. With others, it was anything but.

“When you’re working with big retailers, it’s not a choice. You have to jump through hoops and do things their way” says Mark Tingey, Director of Operations.

They soon realized that saying yes wasn’t always the right answer. In fact, it could lead to unprofitable business.

The Challenge

Finding a Profitable Path to Dropship with Retailers

When Piecework Puzzles explored dropshipping to get a foot in the door with additional retailers, they found the cost of entry was higher than expected. Especially with retailers where the path to partnership is through EDI. With no guaranteed order volume, EDI based retailers hand off upfront implementation costs, subscription fees, per order charges and manual order processing to their vendors.

From receiving, confirming and inputting the order, shuffling it to the warehouse, communicating with the retailer and more, brands like Piecework Puzzles take on significant labor costs to do business with retailers.

Mark says, “Even if we did do it and were willing to deal with the headaches, it’s just not a smart business decision.” 

“When it comes to dropshipping, if it’s not easy I'm not doing it anymore.”

They needed to find a lower cost path to sell with retail partners.

“Machines are better at this than humans, let’s put it that way. I haven’t logged into Convictional in six months, and we’re actively doing business through the platform.”
Mark Tingey, Director of Operations

The Solution

Solving the Dropshipping Retail Puzzle with Automation

Piecework’s search for retailers with a lower barrier of entry and operating expenses led them to The Verticale, a retailer that was rapidly expanding their assortment using Convictional’s automated approach to onboarding and doing business with new vendor partners.

“Machines are better at this than humans, let’s put it that way,” said Mark. “I haven’t logged into Convictional in six months, and we’re actively doing business through the platform.”

For Piecework, the cost of doing business with The Verticale on Convictional vs. manual and EDI based approaches with other retailers is night and day. After connecting to Shopify during the onboarding process with The Verticale, they were able to automate everything from product and pricing synchronization to order management and payments.

The Results

The Puzzle of Profitable Growth in Retail Channels is Solved

Working with The Verticale on Convictional, Piecework spends less time managing orders and more time finding ways to attract new customers, leading to faster growth with better margins.

Aside from lowering operational costs, they use Convictional’s integration with Stripe to get paid immediately on a per order basis. This removes the need for Piecework to put together monthly statements and reconcile them with retailers, a process that has led to dropping certain retail partners in the past.

Expanding distribution is a high priority for Piecework, with wide ranging benefits from boosting SEO to increased brand credibility when approaching new retailers. When they find new retail partners however, they make sure automation capabilities are in place before moving the conversation forward.

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