Laird Superfood’s wholesale channel now sells more than its consumer business
Food and beverage
In the superfood space, you might be hard-pressed to find a finer brand ambassador than Laird Hamilton, he of the legendary big-wave surfing career, the too-buff beach bod, and the supermodel/volleyball pro wife, Gabrielle Reece.
Yet Hamilton is no mere mascot. In 2015, he co-founded Laird Superfood, maker of superfood products as health-obsessed as the man who shares the company name. With Shopify Plus, Laird Superfood has enjoyed:
- 550% quarter-over-quarter sales growth
- Sales growing 15% month-over-month
- A wholesale channel that now outpaces consumer sales
It’s really exciting Shopify Plus had already built exactly what we needed for wholesale. It works great and saves us tons of timePaul HodgeCEO, Laird Superfood
The office was like the site of a telethon. In central Oregon, at the Laird Superfood headquarters, phones were ringing off the hook. Staffers rushed about, hurriedly taking calls, tapping at a tremendous pace into their computers.
They were taking wholesale orders. Laird Superfood had long run a successful consumer business online, but its wholesale operation was far less sophisticated. For a time, the company could only accept wholesale orders by phone or email.
“It was a really labor-intensive and time-consuming process,” says Paul Hodge, Hamilton’s founding business partner and Laird Superfoods’ CEO. “We needed to switch. We needed a robust platform that offers an automated wholesale portal customers can access anytime they like.”
The irony was clear: in surfing, Hamilton often tamed 70-foot ocean waves, no danger seemingly too great for him to conquer. But would the complexity of a growing business wipe Hamilton out instead?
In 2016, Laird Superfood migrated to Shopify, and soon upgraded to Shopify Plus. At the top of its wishlist in the move was a totally revamped wholesale portal to bring its business-to-business (B2B) revenue stream up to speed.
What the company found was a new backend experience—a wholesale storefront that incorporated its current branding and was automatically generated for mobile without any additional development or coding costs. Suddenly, wholesale customers could place and track orders in the kind of way the company never was able to offer before.
It was B2B that felt like consumer shopping. Laird Superfoods’ wholesale portal provided password-protected logins for its business customers, as well as the ability to set custom or negotiated pricing that only certain clients could access. It was reliable. It was scalable. More than anything it worked, ready to take orders 24/7.
The phones stopped ringing. In central Oregon, sanity was restored.
Being able to automate the wholesale process changes how we build our team. It prevents us from missing 2 a.m. orders and keeps our customers from having to wait to place an order until we’re in the office. It just solves so many problems.Luan PhamCMO, Laird Superfood
Anecdotally, Laird Superfoods’ new wholesale portal made life easier for the company. But there was also no overlooking the customer experience.
Order placement became easier—customers could log into the portal and place orders anytime without having to interact by phone or email with a Laird Superfood sales rep. Order history became simpler to view—in the portal, readily available invoices gave customers the visibility they lacked before. And order tracking was a breeze—the portal ensured all shipments were trackable through shipping information always at the ready.
It’s fair to say that having the wholesale portal will save us the equivalent of one employee a year. That’s $50,000-$60,000 a year, and covers the cost of Shopify Plus several times over.Paul HodgeCEO, Laird Superfood
Wholesale was changing this business. Where once it accounted for 25% of Laird Superfoods’ sales, Hodge figures wholesale could soon account for 75% of all revenue.
The market is certainly bullish. Laird Superfood recently secured a $32 million round of funding led by tech firm WeWork, who will offer Laird Superfoods’ products to its members and employees.