May 22, 2013, 8:52 AM

A western apparel retailer corrals its orders with new software

Dang Chicks chooses Brightpearl to manage retail and wholesale sales.

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At Dang Chicks LLC, growing demand from consumers and retailers for women’s casual clothes and accessories the company has designed has put it on course to double annual sales over the next couple of years, says co-founder and chief operating officer Tim O’Connor.

“We’ve grown about 90% to 120% per year since launching in 2009, and we expect that growth rate to continue through 2015,” says O’Connor, who founded the company with his wife, Stephanie, an apparel designer. Dang Chicks has helped to spur its growth by using social networks like Facebook and Twitter to promote its western-style clothes such as casual tops that feature western illustrations and sayings like “Dang Proud” with an American Flag or “Dang Country” with a guitar image.

But Dang Chicks, which O’Connor says does under $5 million a year in total sales, has been experiencing growing pains, he adds.

The company operates its e-commerce site, DangChicks.com, on the BigCommerce software-as-a-service which the vendor hosts and Dang Chicks accesses via a web connection. But with growth in orders coming from three channels—its direct-to-consumer online sales, online wholesale sales, and sales to special accounts with buyers including hotel chains and western rodeos—it needs a better way to manage orders, inventory and financial records across all channels, O’Connor says.

Dang Chicks is preparing to address that need by connecting its BigCommerce platform to software from United Kingdom-based Brightpearl, a company that recently opened an office in San Francisco and attracted $8 million in venture capital. Launched in 2011, Brightpearl has raised a total of $14 million from venture capital firms, which it plans to use to continue developing its Commerce Acceleration Platform and to expand its market in the United States as well as in the U.K., CEO Salman Malik says.

With the hosted Commerce Acceleration Platform, which Dang Chicks has operated in a beta test program and plans to fully deploy soon, the apparel company will be able to update orders, inventory records and financial accounts in a single system regardless of where orders come from, O’Connor says. The system will also automatically generate new purchase orders to replenish stock, and update inventory availability for customers shopping online as well as for customer service and sales reps handling telephone or in-person orders, he adds.

In addition, integration of Brightpearl’s technology with the BigCommerce e-commerce technology through an application programming interface, or API, will enable Dang Chicks to use the Commerce Acceleration Platform on multiple BigCommerce sites. Instead of having to process both retail and wholesale online sales through the same e-commerce site, Dang Chicks now plans to sell to consumers through DangChicks.com and manage wholesale orders separately though DangChicks.biz.

Dang Chicks also plans to begin selling through the Amazon.com marketplace—using Brightpearl to manage sales and inventory records across all selling channels, O-Connor says. In addition, the company plans to launch an e-commerce site using BigCommerce and Brightpearl in Australia, where it will fulfill orders from a local warehouse.

A Brightpearl dashboard will provide real-time data on sales and profit margins through each selling channel. During the test period, O’Connor says, Dang Chicks found that the Brightpearl system would free up one full-time employee to focus on matters other than order and inventory management.

Brightpearl charges subscription fees of $99 per concurrent user within a client company per month for services including order and inventory management. A client paying for five concurrent users, for example, could have as many as five employees logged onto the Brightpearl system at the same time. Additional fees can include $120 per month per client company for connecting to one or more sales channels, including an e-commerce platform such as BigCommerce and e-marketplaces such as Amazon.com and Shopify.

Brightpearl’s financial backers include Eden Ventures and Notion Capital.

Brightpearl, which will be an exhibitor at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2013 in Chicago in June, also announced this week that it has named Andy Young as chief marketing officer and Adam Smith as senior vice president of finance and operations. Young is a former marketing executive for Intuit Inc.’s TurboTax software and a former vice president of marketing at Adobe Systems Inc. Smith is a former director of e-commerce development for Dixons Stores Group.

E-commerce technology will be addressed in several sessions at IRCE 2013, including a presentation by William Bartley, chief product officer for women’s shoe and accessories e-retailer Sole Society, entitled “How to migrate to a new e-commerce platform without losing sales and driving your tech team nuts.

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