It’s like having a hangover but none of the fun that precedes it …
If anyone were in the office during the wee morning hours Chris Tran routinely drags himself in, they’d probably look away immediately after making eye contact. The disheveled appearance, springless step, and all-night fog that won’t soon lift from Tran’s face is a combination that can make even the most empathetic co-worker hesitant to pry.
Is Chris okay?
Do I really want to know?
“It definitely takes a toll. I’m a bit disengaged after being up all night and certainly not as productive.”
Chris Tran, Engineer at 100% Pure
The sun isn’t up and Tran has already crashed from his first caffeine high. You see he’s the guy the office turns to for quick turnarounds of epic proportions; up working until 2am and back in the office a few hours later to measure the fruits of his labor.
“I’m definitely a coffee guy,” Tran says. “That’s the main fuel.”
If it sounds like torture you might be wondering what Tran did to deserve such a fate? It all started in a California farmhouse after a chilling laboratory accident.
The “To Do” List From Hell … Times Four
The table top bubbled as Susie Wang looked on in horror.
Wang was formulating an eye cream for major cosmetics companies when she spilled a key ingredient on her laboratory table and noticed a violent chemical reaction. The chemical, which cosmetics vendors say can cause tumors in lab animals, was so strong it warped the table and permanently altered the chemical properties of the table’s surface.
As Wang puts it:
If this is what this chemical does to a table, what’s it going to do to someone’s skin? There’s gotta be a better way.
The chemical in question, according to vendors, is used widely throughout the skincare industry to make products look better, smell better, and last longer on store shelves. The accident troubled Wang so much, she and two partners quit their jobs to launch a small line of organic cosmetics out of a farmhouse they shared in Napa, California.
That’s how it all began in 2005 for 100% Pure, a multimillion dollar manufacturer of beauty products made of natural ingredients with twelve retail locations and five international ecommerce stores now growing 40% year over year.
“We want people to switch away from dirty cosmetics to a pure cosmetic,” says Ric Kostick, a co-founder. “It’s like health food for the skin and it’s something we’re passionate about.”
Fast forward several years and Tran joined the 100% Pure team as an engineer. One of his responsibilities as a front-end developer is to prepare the company’s site for major sales, product releases, and campaigns.
It’s work that often requires major site overhauls which means it can’t be done during normal business hours when customers are shopping as Tran must manually unpublish the core site and publish a new site.
“It’s usually me who stays up late to do it,” Tran says. “It’s really hard to get to sleep afterward especially knowing I have to be in the office early the next morning to make sure everything in working.”
Preparing the site for a major sale is a painstaking and time-consuming process Tran often starts around nine or ten at night and doesn’t finish with until two the next morning. But what exactly is it that Tran is up working on all night prior to a sale?
It’s a pre-launch “to do” list that includes:
- Creating special product pages and collections
- Adding line item discount and shipping scripts
- Loading sliders, modules, and inventory tags
In Trans’ words:
It’s a lot of work and it’s all manual. On a scale of 1-10, it’s a 15. It’s extremely tedious.
It gets even worse for Tran …
He has to do all this for each of the company’s ecommerce stores in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Europe.
“You have to multiply the pain by four,” Tran says.
It’s probably no surprise then to hear Tran recently quit. He no longer works midnights preparing the company’s sites for major sales.
Sounds like a big loss for 100% Pure, right? So, why is the company cheering Tran’s move?
“It’s Like NASA” to Automate Ecommerce Sales
Tran’s replacement doesn’t get tired…
In fact, it can work around the clock without any sleep at all.
Yes, you read correctly. Tran’s replacement is an “it.”
While it’s true that Tran quit the tedious tasks necessary to prepare for major campaigns and sales, he didn’t quit the company. Instead, he freed himself to do more important work by using Launchpad to automate ecommerce sales and events.
Rather than doing it all yourself, we’ve created Launchpad to help you plan, schedule, and automate everything from flash sales to product launches to holiday campaigns.
To find out how you can put your do-list on autopilot …
Already on Shopify Plus? Install Launchpad now
The application, which is exclusive to Shopify Plus merchants, allows you to schedule, coordinate, and automate ecommerce sales and major events in advance. With Launchpad you can pre-plan everything on your to-do list and instantly roll it all back once the sale or event is over.
In other words, it means Tran’s grueling all-nighters are over.
Launchpad allows us to do so many great things for the company. I love this tool.
For example, automating the tasks Tran once did manually saves the company a significant amount of time:
- Tran spent two hours preparing for a sale and an hour rolling it back
- Multiplied across four stores, Launchpad is saving Tran 12 hours per sale or campaign
- Over the course of a year, Tran can save the company hundreds of hours when you consider the plan is to begin using Launchpad for smaller campaigns and sales
“Launchpad saves us a bunch of time,” Tran says. “Instead of doing all of that tedious manual work I can now focus on more important work like mining our analytics to discover patterns that’ll help increase sales.”
Besides being extremely easy to use — Tran says marketing now stages sale themes instead of engineering — the ability to automate an ecommerce sale or event reduces the risk for error while executing an event. Importantly, it also allows 100% Pure to monitor campaign performance with real-time reporting.
Think of Launchpad as your command center for major commerce events; the place where customer-facing automation and dashboard reporting meet. The real-time analytics dashboard allows merchants to monitor event performance and make real-time adjustments.
For instance, when 100% Pure notices inventory of a featured product is running low, the company can emphasize another product with a higher inventory count.
“It’s like NASA’s command and control center,” Tran says. “The live reporting is amazing. It’s a one-stop-shop that offers everyone the same view and keeps us all on the same page.”
Afterward, instead of waking up at midnight once again to manually halt a sale or campaign and re-publish the original theme, Launchpad rolls everything back automatically while Tran sleeps:
The real benefit is efficiency. We’re able to do more with fewer people.
Why then would Tran consider stopping Launchpad in its tracks?
Automation on Steroids
“We don’t shoot in the dark,” Tran says.
The briefing the 100% Pure team has the day after each Launchpad powered campaign or sale positions it to make the next campaign even more lucrative. For example, Launchpad’s reporting illustrates top selling products which helps the team determine which items might be bundled together to increase AOV and which may be used as upsell opportunities.
“We’re not guessing, we just rely on the data,” Tran says.
Even more impressive, Tran and his team are now using Launchpad in conjunction with Flow — ecommerce automation software that allows Shopify Plus businesses to customize unique backend business workflows without the help of costly developers.
For example, Tran uses Flow to tag popular sale items so he receives real-time inventory updates during campaigns and sales. If the items featured in a sale sell out early, Flow instantly notifies Tran who can then stop Launchpad and the sale early to prevent customers from being disappointed.
“The more we automate the more money we save,” Tran says.
Automation is going to play a big role in our future. It’ll allow us to focus on being merchants and growing the business instead of the repetitive tasks that slow us down.