SidelineSwap is a peer-to-peer marketplace for new and used sporting goods. By getting equipment back into the market globally, SidelineSwap gives it a second life and reduces the barrier to entry for gear-intensive sports by connecting buyers and sellers across the country and the world.
About SidelineSwap Case Study
Founded in 2015, SidelineSwap is the leading marketplace for sporting goods. “Our goal is to reduce the barrier to play by reducing the cost,” says SidelineSwap co-founder Kevin Guiltinan.
“Sports like hockey, lacrosse, baseball and golf are all high-cost, gear-intensive sports, and, as any sports parent will tell you, they have more stuff sitting around at the end of the season than they know what to do with! We help get that inventory back into the market and give it a second life that you might not be able to find a perfect fit for locally.”
As e-commerce boomed in 2020, the SidelineSwap team faced challenges with reliability on their previous shipping platform. Multiple times, their customers were unable to obtain shipping rates during key holiday weekends and promotional periods.
“One of the biggest challenges is obviously buyer satisfaction; they want their item as quickly as possible. If our seller can’t get a shipping label because the service is offline then there’s now an additional 24-48 hour delay to get the product into the mail stream and then we have an unhappy buyer.”
When these issues did occur, their previous platform’s support team was either absent or unhelpful. “We just honestly weren’t getting the response times that we needed when there would be an issue. Their team was not accessible, and we didn’t have a dedicated account manager.”
They knew it was time for a change.
In light of the challenges they faced, SidelineSwap selected Shippo to provide a fast, reliable and cost-effective shipping platform for their customers. In addition to the upgrade in reliability, Kevin and the team are supremely satisfied with the level of service they receive from the customer success team, including a dedicated account manager.
Simultaneously, SidelineSwap decided to switch to a microservice-based model for all of their backend functions, including shipping. Throughout the transition, SidelineSwap had access to support engineers, dedicated account managers and the entire Shippo knowledge base around shipping. “They understood where we were coming from as a partner integrating in. That was the first piece that was a really big trust-building exercise.”
Shippo also has the advantage of having seen hundreds of shipping implementations and was ready to share best practices with the SidelineSwap team. “There’s always a really high level of accessibility and knowledge sharing. Saying things like ‘Here’s how other partners have approached this problem’ or ‘Here’s a creative solution that might work’ rather than leaving us to figure it out on our own.”
Finally, cutting over a large business from one provider to another can be a daunting task. “We were an established product at that point. We couldn’t just cold turkey move over and have something not work. As we were getting ready to transition, Shippo was very accommodating, helping to validate our testing strategy as best practice and building our confidence.”
SidelineSwap was able to power their shipping with Shippo, creating a more reliable experience for their customers and increasing their shipping margin by more than 50%.
On the economics side, Guiltinan calls out Shippo’s clear revenue sharing agreement and per-label fees as opposed to an upfront, annual commitment as big factors. “One of the learnings from COVID was that you don’t want a ton of unnecessary fixed costs if you have an unsure future.”
Shippo also allowed SidelineSwap to be more creative with shipping solutions, integrating regional carriers to further increase satisfaction with delivery times and lower costs.
“We couldn’t be happier with our transition to Shippo,” Guiltinan concludes. “The entire company supported us, and it was honestly an awesome experience from start to finish.”
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.