About the Stuga company
Stuga, founded in 2018, is a fast-growing, direct-to-consumer e-commerce company selling premium engineered hardwood floors. The brand partners with Scandinavia’s most forward-thinking hardwood flooring companies to curate a 22-style collection that’s easy for homeowners to browse, sample, and buy online—and get delivered right to their doorstep.
Renovation is complicated; finding beautiful flooring and stair solutions shouldn't be says Marc Bacher, Stuga’s founder and CEO, stressing that the company is out to change how people buy hardwood forever. But, he adds, selling floors is challenging, to say the least what with the sheer size and weight of the product and the ever-changing nature of production and shipping lead times.
Our whole brand is built on what we call ‘every step can be beautiful’—it’s both a beautiful shopping experience and a really beautiful product.
The "hard" future-date delivery problem
Stuga ran into a sticky issue with future-date shipping.
We wanted to offer future-date shipping because, as you can imagine, renovating a home is really complicated—and managing timelines is incredibly challenging says Bacher.
A successful future-date shipping program would allow customers to place an order now for delivery later on—and free up current Shopify inventory for Stuga to sell to someone else. Win-win.
There was just one issue: There exists no technology out there that actually does this, says Bacher. We needed something that showed the entire ecosystem—and it had to plug into Shopify to be an easy way to manage all the orders.
On the backend, the Stuga team needed to be able to clearly see the current in-stock inventory for each product, the quantity on hand (taking open orders into account), and most importantly, the orders that had been placed with a delivery date in the future. In addition to that, the company also needed to account for planned incoming stock at future dates.
But this wasn’t just a backend problem.
On the front end, Stuga knew their customers also needed a clear picture of what they could buy now vs. in the future, allowing them to efficiently manage their renovation and have a shopping experience that would keep them coming back for more.
An archaic e-commerce ERP system sparked an idea
Bacher had used an archaic ERP system at a Swedish hardwood flooring company in the early aughts. Still, it had the valuable ability to manage orders in the way his company needed. The founder knew Stuga needed a partner to make this ERP system modern by creating something new that could plug into Shopify.
That was what I gave to [Bluedge USA] as the concept says Bacher, emphasizing Bluedge USA founder Nico Alessandra’s experience working with inventory management and manufacturing: He really got the challenges we had.
Bluedge USA works with a lot of different types of DTC companies, which is really valuable for us. They back up and understand the problem we’re trying to solve rather than jumping into the solution too soon explains Bacher.
Nico adds, Right from the start we saw Marc had a clear view of what he was trying to achieve for his team and customers. We saw he understood the immense value of having a plan and process when starting a complex project—making it the perfect merchant and Custom Shopify Development pro pairing.
Bluedge USA also understood Stuga’s suppliers were still working with information systems from the 90s—and that Stuga needed a technologically forward solution to transform raw data points into a sophisticated program.
On top of that, Stuga’s team of three is small and sturdy, so the final marching orders? Automation. It’s really important that we have things that scale Bacher mentions.
A Shopify Custom App solution
Since Stuga was already using Shopify, Bluedge USA knew they needed to build a Shopify Custom App that would allow for full access to Shopify data and events while remaining a safe and familiar platform for the company.
The Shopify App also gave the Bluedge USA team access to the best of both worlds: A fully integrated Shopify solution with the flexibility and power of custom development.
Being Shopify experts, we know the ins and outs of Shopify systems. On the backend, it was obvious a Shopify Custom App would offer the best solution opines Nico of his team’s proficiencies.
How did they do it? By developing unique algorithms that compute the interactions between stock availabilities, lead times, and incoming transfers, taking into account order date, incoming inventory date, and optional future delivery dates notes Nico. In other words, Bluedge USA took care of managing Shopify inventory at current and future dates.
Right from the get-go it was clear to us that coding the entire set of algorithms using data streams was the best approach to deliver updates in milliseconds without overloading or blocking the server. This approach also makes future development easier to integrate and scale says Nico, effectively fulfilling two of Stuga’s biggest wish-list items: in-the-moment Shopify inventory data and automation.
Pre-development wireframes of the Shopify Custom App used for the project Validation with stuga, and as a visual guidance for the developers.
Backend Shopify integrations
Stuga now had a clear view of the stock situation for each product with meaningful tags and colors to help them make decisions.
All of the Shopify order data for specific items that we want to see loads right into the App. It’s a one-stop solution. We can go in, open up the App, and all of the orders are automatically there. Any notes that we put into the orders in Shopify automatically load there notes Bacher.
The server shares live data with the Custom App, so if someone changes information in Shopify, something is updated in the App, or the algorithms return new data, all the values automatically update on the screen of each Stuga employee connected to the App.
We based it all off of questions that we get from customers. How do we solve the customer’s needs, and then where Bluedge USA comes in, how do we build something that my team can use to manage everything? says Bacher.
The solution came in three main parts.
First, live and future quantity on hand
The App gives a clear view of open orders along with the quantity on hand for each product, including information about future orders and incoming inventory that impacts availability.
The App also allows Stuga to upload a CSV file with the most up-to-date inventory quantity from its suppliers. The App automatically compensates for open orders and reserved quantities before rerunning the algorithms to reflect the current status of each product.
The App’s algorithms and forecasts also update each time an order is placed, is updated, or is completed, so Stuga knows the forecasts are always up to date.
In the past, we’d have to look in Excel sheets to see how much material was available, and then let the customer know. Now, with inventory in the App, we immediately know how many boxes of something we have in stock Bacher raves.
Plus, we piggybacked all the order data on top of that so we can tell the customer how much inventory we have available to sell.
Second, incoming orders—in order
Without Bluedge USA’s Custom App, Shopify puts order data in the—well, order—of when they were placed.
With the Custom App, if someone placed an order yesterday for delivery four months from now, and someone places an ASAP order today, Stuga can move the order from yesterday after the order that was placed today.
The ability to move things up and down the screen was really valuable because it changes the entire situation for what we can or can’t sell mentions Bacher.
Third, inbound inventory ahead
Yet another view in the App allowed Stuga to enter future inbound inventory.
If in three weeks, the company has 500 boxes coming in, the team can see that information and tell a customer that they can fill their order in the future.
Making every shopping step beautiful—and valuable—with live inventory
The solution also needed to display relevant stock information to customers on each product page to reduce calls and questions about availability.
Bluedge USA, Stuga, and design studio The Graphic Standard collaborated to define just the right amount of information to make visible on the front end.
It was all based on discussions with Marc and knowing the specificities and challenges of Stuga delivering the best user experience. We saw the opportunity to send some of the algorithms’ information to the Shopify store for customers to see a product’s current and future availability reports Nico.
They landed on two things to present publicly: the current stock of a product and when to expect more quantity (shown in a convenient pop-up card). This allows the customer to understand what quantity they can expect right now and at different times in the future to match their project timeline.
If people see that a product is getting lower in stock, they’re incentivized to order, and we hear that directly from them. It creates that urgency says Bacher.
Plus, the Shopify store routes to the Shopify Custom App through a safe Shopify tunnel to retrieve relevant and live stock information for each flooring product.
It’s pretty real-time, so if someone places an order, that number on the site immediately changes, which is fantastic—we don’t have to go in and manually update any of that asserts Bacher.
Seeing tangible results
Bluedge USA’s Shopify Custom App lets the Stuga team perform more efficiently, reducing not only human error in manually entering data but also time spent taking customer calls.
It’s a big value-add for the customer. People aren’t asking for inventory availability anymore—that has completely dropped. Our whole goal is to put the power back into the customers’ hands—we get feedback from customers telling us how much they like it notes Bacher.
Plus, it lets Stuga’s employees put their minds toward what really matters.
My team can now focus more on how we get people to buy, selling products better, talking about the things that are going to help customers make a decision. Let’s help them find the right product explains Bacher.
Our future-date shipping program is a huge asset for us; a huge differentiator. I don’t know of any other companies that do it. And we can’t operate without Bluedge USA’s solution.Marc Bacher