When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mack’s Prairie Wings found itself in a spot familiar to nearly every retailer in the land: Uncharted territory.
Online became everything for Mack’s, a cathedral of outdoors outfitting revered by duck hunters nationwide. The brick-and-mortar operation shifted to curbside pickup only. The company leaders’ focus was on bracing for the potential of a severe drop in sales. It was time for doing more with less — just in case.
“We were blessed that we already had a significant ecommerce following, but knew we had to be conscious of every dollar spent,” explains Mack’s Prairie Wings’ CFO and COO Debbie Pinckard.
No matter that Mack’s has a 76-year-old legacy and that its one physical location is situated in the duck capital of the world. The retailer’s leaders turned to a state-of-the-art strategy using data and elbow grease to find efficiencies. Pinckard and her team began considering tech-oriented partners that could help Mack’s ride out the disruption of COVID while not skipping a beat in terms of its legendary customer experience.
Seasonal orders spikes make fraud review a challenge
First up was fraud protection and Signifyd. Even before the pandemic, Mack’s struggled with the challenge of running a business that experienced a dramatic seasonal sales spike. Fall is duck hunting season and Mack’s orders would surge from November to January.
Pinckard would bring on temporary workers — mostly local rice farm workers finished with harvest and waiting for planting — to handle the three months during which Mack’s historically sees 70% of its sales. The Mack’s team would double to about 120 employees during the busy season.
With Mack’s previous fraud solution, workers were increasingly spending their time manually reviewing orders to determine whether they were legitimate or fraudulent. The work was time-intensive and at times required that employees call customers to try to confirm their identities. All that was a problem for a retailer that promises customers that orders made by 1 p.m. will be shipped the same day.
“We could not approve their order or fulfill their order until we got back with them. Sometimes it would be one or two days delay,” Pinckard says. “We live in an Amazon world and people expect their orders in one or two days. When it takes five days, people are not too happy with that.”
Mack’s needed a more efficient way to review online orders from its loyal following
So, in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic, Mack’s found itself looking for a commerce protection partner that could increase its percentage of approved orders, reduce its chargeback expenses and reduce the amount of time staffers were spending reviewing orders and deciding whether they were fraudulent or not.
Mack’s turned to Signifyd. Signifyd’s Revenue Protection checked all three boxes.
“We saw the demos and we were like, ‘If we don’t have to do manual review, that’s amazing,’” Pinckard says. “That’s what really sold us. And the speed.”
Speed, as in by the time an agent finished taking a phone order, the transaction would be approved and the goods would be ready to ship, she says.
In all, Mack’s tale of the tape with Signifyd was:
- Approval rate increased to 99.68% from 94%
- Chargeback rate reduced to .014% from .059%
- Chargeback costs reduced by 71.49%
- Seasonal payroll reduced by 60%
The introduction of ecommerce order automation meant Mack’s was able to reduce its seasonal customer support payroll by 60%. And it meant Mack’s customer service was able to meet the retailer’s high standards.
“The customer experience has heightened,” Tricia Barnard, Mack’s call center manager says, “because we are not having to call customers to verify orders.”
Signifyd’s chargeback investigations were FBI-worthy
Finally, Mack’s saw a marked reduction in chargebacks and a marked increase in winning cases in chargeback fraud prevention with Signifyd’s help. Challenging a chargeback can be a bit like courtroom drama, complete with the need to build a case file that convinces the credit card companies that the complaint waged against the merchant was unfounded.
“When we got those first reports back that your fraud team sent and we were able to send them to the credit card companies, we said, ‘This is like an FBI report, it’s so detailed,’” Pinckard told Signifyd. “And we haven’t lost a case since we went to Signifyd.”
The experience left Pinckard with one piece of advice for merchants searching for their own solution to the increasingly complex challenge of online fraud and consumer abuse: “Without a doubt, go with Signifyd. Hands down they are the best we’ve had.”
Similarly, digital marketing and ecommerce provider Tadpull allowed Mack’s to do more with its existing team. Just as Mack’s Prairie Wings found success with the help of Signifyd’s artificial-intelligence-driven solutions, it saw its business accelerate with the help of Tadpull’s machine-learning-driven digital marketing and commerce solutions.
Tadpull made the impossible possible for Mack’s Prairie Wings
“I can’t say enough good things about Tadpull,” Pinckard says. “Tadpull is what we consider our marketing and ecommerce team. Anything we want developed or done in NetSuite, they are the ones we call on.”
In fact, Tadpull not only designed Mack’s entire webstore, but to date they still support Mack’s in-house digital marketing team while building out and managing their predictive analytics datasets for driving future growth. And when Mack’s Prairie Wings migrated its online store to NetSuite about four years ago, Tadpull helped them get it done in 100 days. It was no small task, which included migrating all existing datasets and integrating Mack’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and point of sale system. Tadpull’s framework for scaling ecommerce using AI, combined with Mack’s expertise and knowledge in the waterfowl hunting space, has unleashed remarkable growth for the company which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.
“There were three of us here — and Tadpull,” Pinckard says. “I don’t know how we did it. It was a lot of long hours, but we were able to pull it off.”
Honestly, given the small staff involved, NetSuite had its doubts, Pinckard says.
“They kept telling us, ‘You can’t do it,’ and we were like, ‘Yeah, we can.’ But it was because of Tadpull that we were able to do it.”
Getting things done is something of a theme at Mack’s — not only surviving but thriving during the pandemic being only the latest example. With the world opening up again, duck hunting season will be here before you know it.
And one thing is certain: Mack’s Prairie Wings is ready.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
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