Brooklyn-based plant shop Greenery Unlimited operates their omnichannel business and manages their complex, ever-changing inventory of live plants using Stocky by Shopify, the powerful inventory management app included with Shopify POS Pro.
Stocky by Shopify has enabled Greenery Unlimited to:
- Create, customize, and send purchase orders across a huge range of suppliers, quantities, and timelines.
- Organize and transfer stock seamlessly from one part of the business to another.
- Fulfill local pickup orders from their warehouse and deliver them to the store the day of pickup, so their brick-and-mortar store stays stocked.
- Calculate the cost of goods sold, to help them understand the health of their retail business.
Adam Besheer and Rebecca Bullene are on a mission to promote the meaningful, lifelong benefits of plant ownership.
They started their Brooklyn-based business helping high-profile companies add greenery to their workspaces, and in May 2019, they opened their first retail store, Greenery Unlimited.
Their goal is to give people the tools and information they need to keep their plants growing and thriving for the long term.
With thousands of different plants from multiple suppliers, one of the biggest challenges for retail stores, inventory management, becomes infinitely more complicated.
But with the right tools and inventory strategy in place, Adam and Rebecca were able to turn one of their primary pains into their biggest gain.
"With thousands of different plants from multiple suppliers, one of the biggest challenges for retail stores, inventory management, becomes infinitely more complicated."
Shopify’s smart inventory management app, Stocky, allows Greenery Unlimited to streamline their operations and keep track of their live, ever-changing supply of plants.
Plants, of course, grow and vary in size and shape from week to week and need specific conditions to thrive. They’re also susceptible to pests and disease, and sick plants need to be kept separate from healthy ones.
Adam explains why this makes for such a big inventory challenge:
“If you run a grocery store, and a tomato gets bruised, you can just throw it in the trash. But if we have a two-hundred-dollar tree that’s suffering, we’re not going to throw that away. As long as we’re able to take care of it, it can come back as good as it was before, if not better. But we need to make sure we can track that.”
Added to that is the challenge of managing their evolving inventory across the entire business. Plants need to shift constantly between the company’s consulting wing, retail store, and online store.
“For a long time,” says Adam, “we didn't even keep track of our plant inventory. Our B2B wing and our B2C wing are in the same warehouse, and plants would just get taken from one to the other. Our maintenance team would grab plants to put in installations, and they’d just go missing. We’d have orders that required these plants, but they’d be nowhere to be found.”
Because Greenery Unlimited offers such a wide arrangement of plants, the team works with a huge list of suppliers. Adam explains that the company can’t just buy plants from a single grower.
Growers all have plants at different times, and plants all grow at different rates.
“It's not like you’re buying a manufactured product from a factory, and maybe you make some tweaks to the product every year or two. It's nothing like that at all. Not even close. We’re talking about living organisms, and all the different manifestations of them.”
"It's not like you’re buying a manufactured product from a factory... It's nothing like that at all. Not even close. We’re talking about living organisms, and all the different manifestations of them."
1. Organize inventory based on need
Greenery Unlimited’s first step was to organize their inventory based on business needs and where the plants are in their lifecycle.
Since all of their inventory for their retail store, consulting business, and online store are housed within the same warehouse location, they designated different areas of the warehouse for different purposes.
“We assigned inventory to different locations, like warehouse quarantine,” explains Adam. That’s how the team codes the plants that need to be pulled aside. “So we're still able to keep track of them, but treat them separately while they’re being rehabilitated or just waiting to reach the right size to be sold.”
To do this, Greenery Unlimited created inventory locations within their Shopify admin, which are pulled into Stocky by Shopify. That way, as the team receives and manages inventory, they can organize and track it seamlessly.
Being able to manage inventory that’s used in different parts of the business at different times is critical to preventing stockouts for Greenery Unlimited.
No matter what team member is pulling inventory, the item is always on hand and neatly organized so they can make the sale or complete the project.
2. Centralize orders from wide range of suppliers
When it comes to working with its huge list of suppliers, Greenery Unlimited uses Stocky by Shopify to create customized purchase orders for each one.
“Every grower does things their own way,” says Adam. “There’s no industry standard for anything. The level of complexity involved with products and growers is infinite. But with a tool like Stocky, we've been able to get it under control and make sense of it.”
"There’s no industry standard... the level of complexity involved with products and growers is infinite. But with a tool like Stocky, we've been able to get it under control.”
Adam says that being able to centralize all of those orders is especially helpful if there’s ever a miscommunication or mistake with a supplier, allowing them to trace the source of truth back to the PO.
3. Transfer inventory based on demand
Stocky by Shopify allows the Greenery Unlimited team to easily transfer inventory based on demand.
When the pandemic hit, for example, in-person sales ground to a halt, but Stocky made it easy for Adam and Rebecca to shift their focus online to address the growing trend of house plants.
“Everybody started buying house plants!” says Adam. “Stocky made it simple to move a lot of our inventory from the retail store to our warehouse and then distribute it through our online channel. Our online business increased by 500% for several months.”
"Stocky made it simple to move a lot of our inventory from the retail store to our warehouse and then distribute it through our online channel. Our online business increased by 500% for several months."
The team also uses the warehouse to fulfill local pickup orders. This helps them keep essential stock in-store, which has now reopened, for foot traffic.
Their warehouse team delivers local orders to the store each morning, and the company uses Stocky to seamlessly transfer inventory as needed to make sure all channels are able to keep up with demand.
“Stocky does a really good job of making transfers a quick process,” says Adam.
4. Get Accurate Financial Reporting
The team has also found Stocky’s cost-of-goods-sold feature very useful. “Being able to extrapolate our average cost has been very helpful for us in our financial reporting. Accurate data is everything to us.”
Using Stocky by Shopify as part of their Shopify POS Pro subscription has really helped Adam and Rebecca pursue their mission of helping people cultivate long-term relationships with their plants.
They believe that when people engage with plants in their homes and work spaces, it increases their quality of life. Having healthy, vibrant plants on hand at all times, across all channels of the company, is a big part of how they are bringing that belief to the world.
Being able to organize a complex ecosystem of inventory helps Adam and Rebecca focus on the bigger picture: managing their growing business and coming up with new ways to engage shoppers.
Using Stocky by Shopify has allowed the team at Greenery Unlimited to:
- Organize their inventory across different facets of the business.
- Centralize purchase orders across suppliers and keep clear records to help deal with discrepancies.
- Transfer stock based on demand to avoid stockouts.
- Make the sale, every time, by making sure they have the right inventory, at the right place, at the right time.
Need to get a better handle on your inventory?
Learn more about how Stocky by Shopify can help you manage your business, and download it today – it’s included in your Shopify POS Pro subscription.Download Stocky