The Pioneer Archery Designs journey began in 2014 when two archery teammates were shooting outside in windy conditions, getting beat by the elements and wishing there was a product that could help them combat this issue. They began discussing how stabilizers can change the way a bow reacts before their conversation broadened to vibrations and stabilization theory. It wasn’t long before they found some gaps in the archery industry, exciting Zach Garrett and Joe Fanchin with the idea of developing a company and product completely new to the archery market.
Over the next year, the duo spent many hours designing and testing Pioneer Archery Designs’ first product line “RamRods”, which was centered around wind efficiency. Based in Chula Vista, CA, where the Olympic Training center is, the company was able to expose their product not only to their own teammates, but to athletes all around the nation and globe. By the end of 2015, prototypes of the RamRods stabilizer were being used in competitions by Garrett and many other archers at the highest international levels.
As the demand for RamRods increased, Garrett and Fanchin looked into designing other products beyond stabilizers. They were determined to dedicate the future of the company to pioneering innovative archery products and sharing their technical expertise in archery with the broader archery community. In 2016, the duo brought in another one of their archery teammates, Josh Smith. Smith and Franchin have since taken over RamRods Archery, and together, they are developing and launching new products, going to trade shows, and expanding their business into international markets.
As a company started by competitive archers with no background in business, the RamRods team had to learn by doing. They had to learn how to pay their business taxes properly, understand cash flow, and the supply chain as a whole. They focused their efforts first and foremost on perfecting their product, doing their best to fill gaps on the business side as required.
Because archery is such a niche sport, the RamRods team knew they couldn’t simply set up a store in one location and see the number of sales they hoped for. Archers are spread around the country and the world, creating a need for a business model that would help them reach customers no matter where they are.
The RamRods team decided they needed to ship their products to customers, but quickly realized how difficult that can be. While there was a lot of interest in their products, they faced many challenges getting their products to their customers. They started by taking packages directly to the post office and paying as they went, making shipping accounts with every major carrier in the world, and trying many different shipping softwares. However, all of this was expensive, inefficient, and not fulfilling their business needs, which caused them to realize how important fulfillment is to a business’ success. They knew they needed to find a reliable, cost-effective, and efficient shipping solution to support their business model.
After trying out several different shipping softwares and solutions, the RamRods team realized which capabilities they needed in a shipping solution – and which they didn’t – and identified Shippo as the best solution for their business. Shippo is able to save them time and money, which is vital to their small business’ success. Shippo is able to handle all things shipping so they can focus on running their company and building their product. “I’m shipping 10-20 packages a week, and we’re a two man operation right now. Just running the company and building the product is enough work on its own – we don’t need to waste time figuring out how to ship things to people as well”, shared Smith.
With Shippo’s integration with WooCommerce, Smith gets an email notification from the RamRods website whenever they receive an order. He then simply boxes up the order, prints the label along with any customs documents, pastes the label on the package, and drops it off at the post office. “It was so quick and easy – I just installed it and I was using it! One of the reasons I really liked Shippo is that it is really intuitive and the set up is minimal to nothing. All we had to do was connect the plug in – which took 5 minutes– input my box sizes and any rules on what services I wanted customers to see, and everything else on the backend is as easy as clicking an order, clicking print, and you’re good to go”, stated Smith.
Shippo’s customer service, strong and simple integration tools, and clean interface save the RamRods’ team time while making printing labels easy. “One of the biggest reasons that I was so happy with Shippo’s service has been the customer service experience. For example, we wanted to be billed less frequently to make our bookkeeping easier to lessen my workload. I sent one email and they took care of it, which makes my life easier! Little things like that – being able to send out an email and knowing that it’s taken care of and you don’t have to follow up is really nice”, shared Smith.
With Shippo, RamRods has an end-to-end shipping solution that works seamlessly with their business. “I would measure success from a shipping perspective as having an entire system from the order being placed to the package being getting to the customer that saves me time and money and removes any issues that can possibly happen for the customer”, said Smith.
“The time savings for printing a label, more affordable and quicker shipping options, and fast customer service all combine to make our entire shipping system at least 50% more efficient than we saw in the past”, highlights Smith.
With Shippo, RamRods saves an average of about 2-3 minutes per domestic order and 5-7 minutes per international order. With an average of 10-15 orders a week, the team enjoys at least 30 minutes a week of time back to focus their efforts on their business.
Additionally, RamRods’ delivery time to customers has been much quicker since they are getting cheaper UPS rates with faster delivery service on average in comparison to their previous carriers rates. On average, RamRods saves their customers 1-3 days per package for domestic orders and 1-7 weeks per package for international orders, depending on where packages are going. As a company that ships both domestically and internationally, this made the greatest immediate impact for their customers.
Alongside that, the RamRods’ team had to wait a couple of days for resolution on a shipping question or issue with previous shipping services. With Shippo, most questions are resolved the same day and sometimes in minutes with the chat feature.
“I’ve used a lot of services up to this point and I’ve never found one that was as enjoyable to use as Shippo”, shared Smith “I would recommend their solution to any small or mid-size business that is growing and needing to scale things up and operate more professionally – give Shippo a try and see how much time and money you can save. I don’t think you’ll regret it!”
A Shipping Solution for Businesses of All Sizes
Shippo is a single, easy-to-integrate program that powers everything leading e-commerce brands need for shipping. From a single integration, businesses gain access to over 85+ global shipping carriers. And since all carrier interactions are standardized, Shippo makes it easy for businesses to compare rates and ETAs, print labels, schedule pickups (with USPS and DHL Express), track shipments, facilitate returns, and more across several carriers, all in one place.
Connecting your online store is also fast and easy with Shippo’s pre-built integrations. Shippo can automatically connect with several popular e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, and getting set up can be done in a manner of minutes without the need for any technical developer resources.
You also have options for using Shippo: online through our web application or connected via API. The great thing about these options is that Shippo has the ability to grow with you as your business needs evolve.
For businesses that want to get started right away, the web app is a great solution. And getting started is as easy as opening an account, entering some basic information, and creating your first shipping label. For businesses looking for an even more customizable solution, Shippo’s API is the next step. With Shippo’s developer-centric API, businesses can take their automation efforts even further. Visit Shippo’s API information page to learn more.