Goodbye Amazon MCF: Why FLIK took 5,000 backorders to OTW Shipping for better service
Read more about what FLIK did when they were stuck with over 5,000 backorders and a shipment coming in a few days originally destined for Amazon.
Chances are, you may have seen an LED hand waving at you from the back of a car window sometime in the past year. Or, if you aren’t the best driver, it may have actually been a middle finger. Well, that’s a FLIK.
FLIK is the brainchild of Evan Tripp. Evan works as a CPA, but finds joy in developing new products and ideas. The idea for the FLIK came to Evan when he saw an image of a smiley face in the back of a car window online. He did some research and found his version of the concept didn't yet exist, so he sought to make it himself.
“We are very proud of how well the FLIK has been designed and built. But the most important fact for you is that the FLIK makes your driving experience much more enjoyable.”
Evan Tripp, Founder of FLIK
The FLIK origin story
As told to OTW Shipping by Evan Tripp, Founder of FLIK.
So what is FLIK?
FLIK is an innovative product that allows a simplified method for driver feedback while on the road. The battery-operated device illuminates a hand as either a wave or middle finger with just the click of a button. FLIK helps replace dangerous driver communication such as brake checking, with a safe and humorous feedback alternative.
How did the FLIK come to be?
I prototyped in my kitchen for about two years with various designs. Once I had a satisfactory product it took about a year and a half to get inventory from an adequate supplier. Our first inventory was listed in 2019 and we found that our product successfully encourages more courteous driving by helping you say “Thank You” on the road. FLIK also helps drivers communicate negative feedback in a humorous and safer way which leaves the recipient thinking about your cool new gadget.
Fulfillment with Amazon
When did you first outsource your fulfillment and to whom did you outsource?
After developing prototypes myself for about 2 years, I [finally] had a satisfactory product. I started off fulfilling incoming website sales from my house. As the business scaled, it was harder to keep up with fulfillment, and I wanted to give Amazon’s FBA option a try.
Amazon was really good in theory: sending inventory to one place. But when demand increased, we quickly sold out. When we sent inventory to the warehouse [Amazon], most of the inventory sat [waiting to be received] for about a month before it was fulfilled.
Amazon was also constantly canceling orders. Orders would show as pending and then be canceled and added back into inventory which forced me to fulfill those products myself. Amazon is just too big and it was hard to get through to someone who cares or can do anything. So I decided I needed a new distributor.
Finding the right fulfillment partner
Why did you choose OTW over ShipBob?
After trying Amazon, I wanted to find someone closer to the west coast and more sophisticated around the processes and software used. I also was looking for a more personal fulfillment relationship and you guys [OTW Shipping] offer better customer service and communication than ShipBob. It was the fact that I am working with you directly and can email you knowing you guys get back to me right away.
During the interview process, I asked questions such as “let me see the address, let me see the facility, give me a walk-through, tell me your processes”. ShipBob would not have easily given answers to those questions. So it was very valuable for me to see how you actually do things and was the validation for me to say that you guys are truly legit, these guys are responsive, and they care about my business.
When things come up, your team is insanely responsive. That is something that can’t be overlooked in a fulfillment partner. The other end of that is consistency. You need somebody to ship out your product on time and accurately. You don’t screw that up. Those are the two things you look for. Those are the two things that you need.
“In starting a business you find a lot of people you don’t want to work with, and then when you find the people that are killing it you feel so lucky. I think of you in that latter half.”
Evan Tripp, Founder of FLIK
What's next for FLIK?
Being the kind of guy Evan is, he is already in the works on FLIK 2.0. He also has some new ideas in the works as he plans to expand their product offerings soon. Based on the response to the FLIK, we’re all excited to see what comes next.
Want to lower shipping costs and improve ship speed without sacrificing customer service? Our fulfillment services are designed to emulate in-house fulfillment with your own personal discussion channel so you can speak directly with our warehouse team, support, and leadership.
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