SBIA PARTNER PROFILE – BRANDSCOPE
Brandscope is one of the SBIA’s valuable partners and is working with a number of our members. Here’s a rundown on how Brandscope works and feedback from SBIA members on working with them.
Brandscope Pty Ltd has developed an innovative B2B web platform that streamlines trading inefficiencies in the “cost-squeezed” and resource hungry billion dollar global Action Sport and Lifestyle Fashion wholesale market.
This centralised trading hub with over 2300 ANZ Retailer users, facilitates seasonal releases representing over 70% of wholesale sales, in a more efficient and cost effective manner for Suppliers, Agents and Retailers using a unique combination of services and online tools.
Brandscope’s end goal is to generate a shared, supplier-integrated platform that digitally connects, streamlines and enriches the relationship between Suppliers, Agents and Retailers, generating opportunity, variety and growth for established and emerging global brands.
Brandscope has secured $330,000 in Commercialisation Australia Grants to build and launch a proprietary system that could cater for the unique demands of the action sport and lifestyle fashion industry.
“We knew there were plenty of sales applications out there but none were holistic in their approach to our industry and simply didn’t have the specialised tools and processors required for users to embrace the system,” said Mr Blockey, founder of the system.
“The Government is very aware of how much the action sport and lifestyle industry contributes to the economy and, like the entire global wholesale industry, was under a margin-squeeze as a result of web, vertical retail and increasing manufacturing costs.”
“They were keen to provide support at a commercial level and assisting in streamlining the costly grassroots processes was a direct approach”.
Brandscope’s first national client was Volcom Australia & New Zealand who has launched over 12 consecutive ranges on the system. General Manager and industry visionary, Dougall Walker, immediately saw the system’s commercial benefits.
“The primary mover was to streamline the sales process and associated expenses in an effort to make more efficient use of internal resources”, Mr Walker said. “In the future, a growing customer and salesperson reliance on the system will reward the Volcom business with fewer samples, shorter indent periods, greater control on stock ordering, a higher re-order rate and a more powerful communication link with our customer base. We’re already starting to see some of these benefits”.
“We can develop our own system”, Mr Walker continued “but the cost of maintaining it and driving people to use it simply isn’t economically viable, especially now that a specialist platform is available at a cheaper price, constantly evolving and doing the job that’s required. Compounding this is the reality that Retailers will repetitively use it as more brands come onboard.”
O’Neill Australia have also committed to launching over six seasons on the back of Volcom’s experience.
“It was the need to enhance our B2B system and become more customer facing that inspired our investment to the Brandscope system which we then validated with the Volcom guys”, commented O’Neill National Sales Manager, Ryan Stanistreet. “There’s a huge upside for the industry if we can all adopt the one system as it will eliminate the confusion of multiple passwords and multiple systems in our market. These factors, though seemingly small, are actually huge inhibiters to our retail customers and salesmen adopting a digital option. Once people use the system, all the other benefits will be realised”.
Brandscope’s current partners include Volcom, O’Neill, Depactus, Smith, Skullcandy, Surf Hardware Group, Futures Fins, XTM, Firewire, Surfboard Agency, Flexfit, Starter, The Mad Hueys, Ocean & Earth, Folklore Skateboards.
From an Agents perspective, the Brandscope platform also represents tangible benefits.
Craig Barrett, of Tiapora Trading Agencies servicing Sydney metro and northern NSW for Volcom, was one of the first Agents to use the system at the grassroots level.
“The engine of our business is reach and getting our clients to view and buy product within a very short window”, he said. “The application delivers extraordinary reach very quickly and helps me work through the ordering process far more efficiently”.
“You still need to be very proactive on a service level and maintain that one-on-one connection, but the system allows me to deal with my customers on a much more professional and informative level resulting in a better service and greater support”.
Empowerment is the presiding benefit that the system provides retailers as the system provides them with live, visual access to their respective supplier’s inventory levels. This allows them to capitalise on refill opportunity at will.
From and indent perspective, the system streamlines the link between agent and retailer where agents can submit visual Buy Plans directly into their respective retailers Brandscope accounts.
“We always worked on the premise that the retailer and sales rep had a very tight working relationship”, explained Mr Blockey. “The system strengthens and streamlines the relationship by allowing agents to build very visual Buy Plans for their clients based off best-sellers reports which can distributed to one or many retail customer in seconds”.
“From a retailer point of view, the system presents the Buy Plans in a highly visual environment where products can be manipulated with ease to construct a viable line-plan. To approve, it’s a matter of simply hitting a button, a lot easier than dealing with a combination of catalogues, order forms and look books.”
“I can access live inventory, past and future orders, educational and marketing information to assist my customer on the one site using the one password across multiple brands.”
According to Susan Brown, proprietor of Last Wave Watersports who was the Surf Industry Awards “QLD Retailer of the Year 2013”, the platform offers an exciting future.
“Customer service drives our business and anything that helps me achieve this is fantastic”, said Susan. “I can access live inventory, past and future orders, educational and marketing information to assist my customer on the one site using the one password across multiple brands.”
“The biggest benefit though is that I can buy from the comfort of home or work and not travel to see all my ranges which saves me time and money.”
The uniqueness of the Brandscope concept is in its end-to-end process for seasonal releases, from raw samples to the final order. Suppliers provide Brandscope with a sample range where it’s processed, photographed and loaded onto the website along with supporting sales and marketing information. Agents then work in conjunction with their supplier to build Buy Plan assortments before assigning them to respective retailers or retailer groups. The platform then informs retailers that the range is ready to be viewed and provides access via a securitised link requiring usernames and passwords to an assortment of model featured products, video’s, look books and other assorted online sales/marketing information within a brand customised environment. The sales process is furthered by electronic communication from the platform that advises of best sellers, key items etc. to guide the buy. The system also supports reporting of the entire sales process.
The system as the brainchild of Simon Blockey and Bryan Heenan. Mr Blockey has worked in the action sport and lifestyle fashion industry for over 20 years as both product developer for Billabong, National Sales Manager for Oakley and as an Agent based on the Gold Coast. Mr Heenan has 20 years experience in design and development of IT architectures for globally recognised banks, Telco’s and media bodies.
They built an Alpha site that was tested through Mr Blockey’s Gold Coast Agency on 80 Retailers for six months.
“We’re very fortunate in that Bryan is a very talented system’s analyst and programmer and was able to work very closely with me in digitizing the overall sales process”, said Mr Blockey. “Though the early stages of the system was very trying on our trial Retail Users, that grassroots connection of salesman and programmer resulted in something that is extremely intuitive in its core role of selling product to a target market!
“The focus was in minimizing clicks and mimicking the traditional sales process. With any B2B tool, complexity can be the killer or deterrent in use.”
“I think that’s the real power to our retail partners… the fact that the system is just so damn easy to use and they can access a number of brands with one password and username. Every else stems from these core attributes!”.
Brandscope Pty Ltd secured a second round of funding from Commercialisation Australia funding in 2015..
“You really have to be offering something very special to secure this type of funding in the first place as you’re up against some very big industries such as mining and medical” Mr Blockey said, “but we’re achieved all our milestones so felt confident enough to go for another round.”
“Though the funding is really helpful, it’s more the validation of the concept from a high level Government body and that fact that it’s got true potential to assist our industry,” he said.
“From a founder’s perspective the real achievement is the opportunity to reduce our industries carbon footprint in reference to printed materials and fossil fuels and in process, offer huge time and cost savings,” Mr Blockey said. “As an action sport and lifestyle industry with strong connections to our environment I think we should all be considering this.”
For more information visit the Brandscope Partner Page or contact Simon Blockey on 0411 755358.