Premium Handbag Maker Uses NetSuite & Shopify Plus to Reinvent its D2C Sales Channel

Kristine Yon, Sr. Manager, SDN Marketing

August 30, 2022

Hammitt’s luxury handbags and accessories celebrate both fashion and functionality and come with an attractive promise for customers: a lifetime of complimentary repairs. Based in Los Angeles, the company has more than 800 wholesale partners, including Dillard’s, Von Maur, The Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton Hotels and Montage Hotels & Resorts. 

When Dan Goldman came onboard as Hammitt’s CTO in 2014, all of the company’s web orders were being manually entered in NetSuite, the enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform Hammitt’s has used since opening its doors in 2008. Knowing that the company was in growth mode, Goldman was concerned that this unscalable arrangement would fail if a high volume of orders began coming in online. 

“I knew this wasn’t going to fly,” said Goldman, who took the issue up with company founder and current chairman Tony Drockton. “If we woke up one morning with 100 new orders, what were we going to do?”  

Small Team, Big Needs

When Hammitt began using NetSuite to run the wholesale side of its business, it had five employees and a desire to automate as many manual systems as possible. That would not only allow the small team to do more with less, it would support growth. 

In 2014, as more customers began shopping online, Hammitt’s leadership knew the company needed an ecommerce storefront to replace a proprietary website that wasn’t set up to manage online orders. 

“We found Shopify Plus, which was the online true cloud-based solution back then,” Drockton said. “We got Shopify Plus up and running and quickly began selling [direct to consumers]. The combination of the two — NetSuite and Shopify — has really given us a huge strategic advantage.” 

Hammitt bags

Shopify Plus is a robust ecommerce platform designed for merchants that have significant monthly sales volumes.  

Next, Hammitt had to get its new ecommerce platform and existing ERP to “talk” to one another, share data and create simplified order flows. After onboarding to Shopify Plus, the company discovered the NetSuite Connector for Shopify and knew immediately that it would fill the gap between the two solutions.

“After onboarding Shopify Plus and Shopify Point of Sale, we found the NetSuite Connector and integrated it,” Goldman said. “We’ve been using it ever since.” 

Leaning into D2C  

When the COVID-19 pandemic drove US ecommerce sales volumes up by 45%, Hammitt already had the technology in place to handle a massive uptick in orders. 

“When the pandemic hit, we really leaned into D2C,” said Drockton. “We knew that was where most of our revenue would be coming from, and we wanted to be able to leverage that opportunity.” 

At the time, Hammitt had a large volume of transactional data stored in NetSuite and Shopify Plus. It took a hard look at that data with a focus on what was and wasn’t working, which designs were selling better than others and which sales channels and retail partners were performing well. The company also performed pricing analysis and then used all these insights to design a more accurate, reliable forecasting methodology. 

Orders Flow With Zero Issues

With technology in its corner, Hammitt didn’t have to lay off any employees during the early phases of the pandemic. Instead, its leaders adopted an “if we work hard, we’ll get through this together” attitude that got the retailer through that difficult time.  

“It was a bit up and down in 2020, but from there our D2C took off, and since then our wholesale partners have come back strong,” said Drockton. “Our sales are up more than 100% since 2019.” 

The company’s order volume has also rebounded and continues to climb. During one of its most recent sales events, for example, it was processing about 14,000 orders per week. 

“We’re at the point now where instead of waking up to 100 orders it’s now more like 1,000,” said Goldman. “NetSuite, Shopify Plus and NetSuite Connector don’t care about the high volumes. It all just flows with no issues.” 

The platforms also help Hammitt simplify its fulfillment processes. When the company launched a “Build a Bundle” campaign for its trendy handbags about two months before Christmas in 2021, it designated one of its California fulfillment centers to pack, fulfill and ship those items. 

Build a Bundle lets customers choose a base handbag and then select from a group of small leather goods like sunglass cases, wallets and à la carte straps, plus one complimentary gift for the recipient. 

For the pre-holiday campaign, those orders were received in Shopify Plus, which tagged the orders as bundles and then synced that information through the NetSuite Connector. Then, using a combination of workflows in NetSuite, Hammitt was able to route those orders directly to the designated fulfillment center. There, orders were received, fulfilled and shipped out to customers. 

Inventory Is ‘100% Spot On’

If Hammitt’s inventory counts are ever inaccurate, the company may wind up selling out of products or oversell on its website. Because the company sells a wide variety of stock keeping units (SKUs), if these discrepancies were to multiply across its product line, that would lead to even bigger problems.     

Fortunately, Hammitt doesn’t have to worry about either thanks to the integration between NetSuite and Shopify Plus. As soon as orders ship, tracking information is sent to Shopify Plus in real time and then shared with the customer. 

“Our inventory is always 100% spot on,” said Goldman. “So our customers are always happy, and that’s our ultimate goal on every order.” 

Investor Love 

Hammitt has also used its technology to position itself for funding from private equity firms. At one meeting with investors, for example, Drockton flipped the screen around on his laptop and displayed key performance indicators, like customer lifetime value, plus other financial data that was part of the investors’ due diligence process. 

“We got offers to be funded from every investment firm that we met with,” Drockton said. The company closed with one private equity firm, which was subsequently given real-time access to NetSuite, Shopify Plus and Google Analytics. Together, the platforms helped paint a real-time picture of a successful, thriving operation.

“The investors loved it so much that we won Portfolio Company of the Year,” Drockton said. “They’re so happy with that real-time information that the investors have since put the same systems in place for about six of their other portfolio companies.”

NetSuite Connector enables data mapping between NetSuite and your ecommerce storefront, POS system, online marketplaces and 3PL providers. Learn more. (opens in new tab)

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