To see the modern operation Goorin Bros. is today, you would never guess it’s a brand that turns 127 years old later this year.
A successful omnichannel hat retailer, Goorin Bros. sells direct to consumer, wholesale — including to large retailers like Nordstrom and Zappos — and through online marketplaces like Amazon. It’s a remarkable evolution for a brand that Cassel Goorin started in 1895 with a horse cart in Pittsburgh and that is still owned by the same family. The company relocated to San Francisco in 1949 and is now run by Cassel’s great-grandson, Ben Goorin.
For much of its history, the business model of Goorin Bros. didn’t change. Until the early 2000s, it was strictly wholesale, distributing headwear to retailers small and large. That changed when Ben took over the company and started opening retail stores; the company now has 12 stores across eight states. When the 2010s arrived and the staying power of online shopping was clear, the brand launched an ecommerce site.
Piecemeal Solutions Cause Integration Problems
Each time Goorin Bros. opened a new channel or made a change to an existing one, it introduced new cloud-based technology and created unforeseen complications, often related to integrations. Various systems for ecommerce, point of sale (PoS) and taxes all connected to its ERP system via custom code. Updates to any of those systems broke the integrations and required the assistance of specialized, hard-to-find developers with the requisite product knowledge.
These problems only mounted as the company grew and evolved.
“Our tech stack became too hard to manage, because when you’re making changes for one component of your business — whether wholesale, retail or ecommerce — you’re not always aware of the consequences that will have on other areas,” said Aaron Wyse, Goorin Bros. controller. “Business requirements change, and systems have an obsolescence date.”
These antiquated systems created a lot of manual work, and staff depended on spreadsheets and other workarounds outside of the ERP system, hurting efficiency.
When Goorin Bros. saw support ending for its hardware-based systems and costs increasing dramatically, it seemed like the right time to complete the jump to the cloud. It wanted to eliminate these issues around integrations and maintenance once and for all.
Simplifying Omnichannel Integrations
In 2019, the retailer chose NetSuite to replace its on-premises ERP and manage financials, inventory and all reporting. Part of the appeal of NetSuite was that a single partner – Celigo – had prebuilt SuiteApp connectors for its other retail solutions that were tested and that receive automatic updates. The ERP system could seamlessly connect to Goorin Bros.’ Shopify ecommerce store, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and its PoS system to create an omnichannel operation(opens in new tab).
“If we didn’t have that prebuilt ecosystem, a lot of our integrations would have to be custom integrations, which means you’re playing a very long, expensive, back-and-forth game with developers to get anything implemented, plus any future support and maintenance, because they wrote it,” Wyse said. “By NetSuite having lots of resources where stuff is prebuilt to a degree, it’s more plug-and-play, and it speeds up those integration projects considerably. SuiteApps(opens in new tab) with managed updates have led to huge cost savings for our organization to be able to redeploy resources elsewhere.”
It was also far easier to find NetSuite experts than it was with the previous system. The company now has all the resources it might need at its disposal.
Realizing the Benefits of a Unified System
The retailer went live on NetSuite on March 16, 2020, the same day San Francisco Mayor London Breed ordered non-essential businesses like Goorin Bros. to close their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. But even with stores and offices closed, the cloud system immediately showed its value, allowing the retailer to maintain operations with minimal disruption.
Together, NetSuite and order management/PoS system NewStore helped Goorin Bros. quickly move older inventory by making it available through both online and brick-and-mortar stores. This has helped the company improve its fulfillment KPIs(opens in new tab).
Goorin Bros. generated additional savings by using the system to identify whether it was better to fulfill orders from stores or through its 3PL partner. In fact, stores fulfilled 60% of online orders in the fourth quarter of 2020, a cost-saving option as 3PL prices “went through the roof” due to more people having to shop online during the pandemic, Wyse said.
With unified financials and inventory, Wyse and his team can view profitability and other key metrics to determine how to best allocate inventory among different channels. That, too, can help boost the bottom line.
“Pretty much every single data point that’s important, financial or otherwise, is in NetSuite,” he said.
Goorin Bros. also replaced bulky PoS stations with iPhone-based terminals that free up space in stores and get customers out the door faster. With this new setup, customers can check out anywhere in the store. They can even scan a QR code generated by the NewStore mobile PoS, which is tied back to NetSuite, for a speedier experience.
In offering advice to other companies who may be going through a similar overhaul of their business systems, Wyse noted the importance of looking for technology that can meet your company’s requirements not only today, but over the next three-to-five years. Most of all, he stressed the importance of a system that keeps all your data in one place, which will enable a key priority for Goorin Bros. going forward: deeper data analysis.
“Really getting into data analytics and building out lots of actionable KPIs and dashboards and insights that we can look at for the entire company and create for departments is something we’re really focusing on,” Wyse said.
Learn more about NetSuite software for apparel and footwear companies(opens in new tab).