Sharp as a Knife is the D2C branch of a well-known company that has been in business for over 50 years. They specialize in providing high-quality knives, blades, scissors, kitchen goods, and outdoor-living accessories.
Their D2C model is the result of the wider shift taking place in supply chains. Across many sectors the entire supply model is becoming more consumer-focused. Traditional roles are changing, and there’s a greater emphasis on the importance of marketplaces for reaching customers.
Sharp as a Knife’s consumer focus includes the manufacturing of their own products, in addition to the quality brands they already sell. By taking on a manufacturing role, while also being intimately connected to the consumer, they are better able to provide the quality products their customers demand.
Marketplaces are becoming the dominant shopping method for the new digital consumer, who routinely uses marketplaces as a search engine to find what they want - now.
Sharp as a Knife takes a fresh approach that uses D2C marketplace selling as a central strategy. This way they have been able to rapidly expand sales in new markets, and reach customers that were inaccessible before.
In just a few short years, the business has grown from launching its first website (only six years ago!) to becoming a multinational retailer with a presence on key marketplaces. This winning strategy is bringing the company even closer to the customer. It is also helping to reshape their role as a serious contender in a thriving retail and Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) market.
With an eye on expanding their reach into new markets, Sharp as a Knife had already taken the step of starting selling on marketplaces. This had broadened their reach into the Benelux countries. Still, with over 11,000 different products in their portfolio, they recognized that branching out into yet more marketplaces and countries would require much time using their old methods.
Sharp as a Knife was already selling successfully on Bol.com in both The Netherlands and Belgium. Still, it wanted to expand its sales even further by optimizing their sales and reaching customers on different marketplaces and in other countries.
To achieve their ambitions, Sharp as a Knife would require more powerful tools that could manage a growing portfolio of products, and a wider range of sales channels across Europe - and beyond. They needed to automate time-consuming processes such as entering new products on marketplaces and managing inventory levels across multiple channels.
In April 2020, Sharp as a Knife started to use ChannelEngine as a marketplace integration solution, beginning with key marketplaces in the Benelux region.
Sharp as a Knife has found ChannelEngine to be incredibly powerful once it is all set up. The time savings for all those regular processes has translated into greater productivity and efficiency.
Sharp as a Knife’s Product and Marketplace Manager, Rob van Gurp, has some crucial advice for retailers who want their implementation of ChannelEngine to go as smoothly as possible: focus on the product data to ensure it matches all the requirements. Rob continues, “The first thing to address before you integrate is to make sure your data is correct – know your data and how it needs to work with ChannelEngine.”
According to Sharp as a Knife, the switch to ChannelEngine has been a great success.
In their first year with ChannelEngine, revenue increased approximately 350% year-on-year. There was phenomenal growth in certain segments and brands, with one brand in the Knives and Knife Blocks segment experiencing a stunning 1150% growth in sales. That’s an incredible result.
In addition to sales growth, the business is benefiting from more rapid processes that reduce the burden on staff. Sharp as a Knife is now using ChannelEngine’s intelligent tools to automate and optimize pricing strategies. These tools have not only increased operational efficiency - they have had a positive effect on conversion too.
In fact, one of the most significant factors in their remarkable sales success has been the repricing tools and advice for achieving the ‘Buy Box’. Quite simply, “It’s the fact you can automate pricing,” says Rob. ChannelEngine’s automatic repricing tool is one of the most popular features with brands and retailers. It leads to an optimized conversion rate, better sales, and reduced workload.
Last year, Sharp as a Knife focused on learning how to use ChannelEngine and exploring options for marketplace sales. This year, their focus will be on optimizing sales and possibly expanding into new marketplaces as well.
They’re also looking into automating even more of their current processes to boost efficiencies and ensure uniform quality.
Are they going to keep using ChannelEngine? You bet they are! “We definitely plan to go on with ChannelEngine…it is still the most mature [of the available integration solutions]”, asserts Rob.
Sharp as a Knife takes a measured approach that reflects its company values and its dedication to providing consistent and reliable quality and service. In the medium-term, they see new opportunities for expansion across the EU and into the UK. They also plan to start selling on carefully selected new marketplaces such as Amazon, Blokker, VidaXL.
Given their success with using ChannelEngine over the past year, we’re confident they’ll achieve excellent results in these new areas too!
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