Adam Johnson once owned an online gaming business, but now works as a Sales Director at eCommerce fulfilment provider, Zendbox. In this Q&A, Johnson shares his experiences with his previous fulfilment provider and explains why their poor service played a role in him deciding to sell his business and work for their competitor…
When and why did you start your gaming business?
I started the business in December 2019. Due to a good professional career, I was lucky enough to reach a stage in my life where I was financially capable of doing something that my brother and I had always dreamed of, which was to launch a gaming business. The idea for Rev Gaming arose from the fact that we’d both been gamers from the age of five, and our background was such that gaming gave us an escape.
Rev Gaming was an ecosystem for the gaming community – not only did it serve as an eCommerce store for gaming equipment, but it had a professional Esports team behind it and provided a pathway for amateur gamers to become professionals. Our Esports team operated much like a football team with sponsorship deals and the like.
What caused your fulfilment provider to lose your stock?
The gaming world relies on creating hype for product drops. These products are often special items that are brand new and limited-edition, and you create hype around them through your influence in the market. It can take three to four months for these products to arrive from manufacturers overseas and there is a quick turnaround in terms of fulfilment when they do eventually land.”
With Rev Gaming, we could receive stock from Asia on Friday that would have to be released to customers the following Monday. In my experience, traditional fulfilment providers have always struggled massively with these short turnaround times. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Rev Gaming just blew up and our fulfilment provider couldn’t handle our increasing order volumes and the short turnaround times. As a result, there were stock inaccuracies and approximately 50,000 units of stock were lost and written off. We were compensated but we never recovered these goods.
Did you have any issues with your fulfilment provider’s service prior to this?
We worked with two different fulfilment providers, one of which was simply not able to fulfil the volume of orders we were taking in. This reflects how operational and process-driven eCommerce fulfilment is. If a business makes a request outside of a fulfilment provider’s normal process, or if that business demands more from the service, most providers can’t cope. Ultimately, eCommerce brands are demanding more from their fulfilment partners, who need to be flexible and adaptable if they are to remain competitive. Two weeks after I sold Rev Gaming, I realised I wanted to join a company where I could help make this happen.
How did this event personally impact you and how did your fulfilment provider offer to rectify the issue?
I experienced significant mental and financial stress, especially because the stock loss was at a cost to myself personally. There was also general business strain – at the time, I was running the whole company myself so the challenges with our fulfilment providers were simply another headache I didn’t need. We went through a compensation process and although I wasn’t satisfied with the overall outcome, compensation was the only option available to us at the time.
Why did you decide to sell your business to work for Zendbox?
The decision to sell Rev Gaming was primarily family and finance driven. Although I had a purpose-built office and running the business was within my professional remit, I had no evenings or weekends. There was no work-life balance and my whole family was consumed by the business, which was never the point. It made complete sense to sell the business when a lucrative offer was then made to purchase the data that we had been collecting from gamers worldwide.
After the sale, I took two weeks off to readjust and consider what I wanted to do. Although I was looking for a challenge, I didn’t know fulfilment was that challenge. I’m still young and saw an opportunity with Zendbox. I met the company’s Chief Executive Officer, James Khoury, and he resonated with me as an entrepreneur with a mission. Selling my business and joining Zendbox was a case of the stars aligning with what I thought I wanted to achieve.
Has your experience with other fulfilment providers been a driver for you at Zendbox?
The gaming industry has always operated lightyears ahead of other sectors, but the eCommerce market is going the same way. My experience with other fulfilment providers opened my eyes to an opportunity – one in which I can work with a fulfilment provider that has the same vision to fill a niche and deliver outside of traditional processes when possible. If we can do that, then it won’t be long until Zendbox is a market leader.