Half Price Books Goes Online
It was 1972 in Dallas, Texas. Ken Gjemre and Pat Anderson had just opened their first store in a converted laundromat with a collection of 2,000 books from their personal libraries and the desire to offer a great product at a great price.
After its initial success, the company quickly began to open new locations, buying and selling “anything printed or recorded, except yesterday’s newspaper,” in retail spaces scattered across the United States. Today, Half Price Books has accomplished the small-business dream of growing into a successful medium-sized business. Presently, it has 120 brick-and-mortar locations in 16 states, plus an extensive online store. Half Price Books is still family-owned, now under the leadership of Pat’s daughter, Sharon Anderson Wright.
Back in 2007, Half Price Books first started selling online to further expand its business. As part of this move, the company looked to upgrade and simplify its operations. After researching different options, the team opted to try Endicia and Monsoon Commerce for its shipping and order-fulfillment needs.
Endicia and Monsoon Commerce Scale with the Growth
Endicia and Monsoon Commerce have helped Half Price Books ramp up its online presence to support the long-term growth needed to transition from a small to medium-sized business.
Kent Hedtke, online sales manager at Half Price Books, and his team use the Monsoon Marketplace solution to manage marketplace integration, inventory levels, and order and fulfillment. Additionally, this service provides dynamic pricing — automatically re-pricing the products to stay competitive against other sellers, even when market conditions change. Half Price Books sells on marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Alibris and AbeBooks.com.
Depending on shipment volume, Half Price Books uses either DHL or USPS. The company relies on Endicia to ensure that all labels and forms are prepared in a timely manner and filled out accurately. Endicia identifies the most cost-effective option for each package and verifies the destination address before it leaves the warehouse.
With the Endicia Label Server API service, Half Price Books has been able to streamline its 120 store locations into one comprehensive shipping account. Also, the Half Price Books warehouses use Monsoon Marketplace, integrated with Endicia for shipping and label needs.
Endicia and Monsoon Commerce have scaled to meet the seasonal influxes and long-term growth of Half Price Books — with more than 2 million packages shipped just last year and a 100 percent seasonal spike in orders that comes around every back-to-school season. Mikhail Ledvich, director of product marketing at Monsoon Commerce, explains, “When Half Price Books signed up for Endicia and Monsoon Commerce, it was by definition a small business. Now it’s easily a medium-sized business, and the platforms are still able to function exactly the same for Kent and his team.”
“Since bringing our business online, we have seen tremendous growth year over year,” added Kent. “With Endicia and Monsoon Commerce, we’re able to keep up with order fulfillment, price our products competitively and ship off our products hassle-free.”
The Partnership: Endicia and Monsoon Commerce
Monsoon Commerce has been around for more than a decade, providing order and marketplace management systems to small and medium-sized businesses.
Endicia and Monsoon Commerce have been partners for almost as long, evolving together to share expertise on each other’s products and develop a blended customer base.
Endicia’s relationship with the USPS and its innovative postage solutions make it possible to give merchants the ability to get orders out the door in a flash. Monsoon Commerce provides affordable market-leading capabilities for inventory, order and customer management, purchasing and fulfillment.
“The relationship between Endicia and Monsoon Commerce has been around for more than 10 years, which speaks to the history of the partnership,” said Mikhail. “Both companies know each other’s products well, and we have a lot of mutual customers. That means we’re working together toward the best customer experience we can offer. Plus, we get to support small businesses as they live out their dreams of developing into a larger business, just like Half Price Books has done.”