How Southern Tide achieved 3,000 percent growth

One of America’s fastest-growing companies shares how shipping played a role in its success.

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The right relationship means everything.

When Allen Stephenson started the sportswear collection Southern Tide with his mother in 2006, he never imagined they’d make the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies. What’s more, the company experienced a 3,121-percent growth rate in just three years—an achievement partly due to the close relationship it developed with UPS from the beginning. Jim Twining, the company’s CEO, says, “Convenience, ease of use, and confidence in the UPS brand” drove the decision to team with UPS.

Investing in technology is key.

In 2008, Southern Tide was shipping 100 to 200 packages a day and shifted the operation of its warehouse to a third-party logistics provider. Coordination among the corporate office, the warehouse, and UPS was essential. Southern Tide invested in technology to make this three-way integration as seamless as possible.

By 2012, Southern Tide began to ship as many as 2,000 packages a day using WorldShip®for warehouse shipments and UPS CampusShip® for shipments originating from corporate offices. More than 95 percent of orders received by noon are now shipped the same day.

Speedy deliveries mean better service.

With the help of technology, Twining can improve customer service. According to the CEO, “When we can get a shipment to a retailer in Texas out at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, rather than Wednesday [morning], we’ve just picked up a weekend, which can represent 30 to 40 percent of the week’s sales in many retail stores.”

Create a brand that inspires loyalty.

Twining’s goal is for Southern Tide to inspire the highest brand loyalty among customers of any brand in the country. And the company is well on its way. Says Twining, “It is what we’re striving for when we make decisions about product development, hiring, and distribution.”

Make your returns policy simple.

To reinforce its brand, Southern Tide worked with UPS to include the corporate logo on shipping labels and packaging. “A big part of our consumer strategy is to make it easy to return things that don’t work for whatever reason,” Twining explains. A vital element in the returns process is the ability to track returns, and “with UPS technology, we can track every returned package,” says Twining. The company uses Quantum View Manage® to keep tabs on all its shipments.

The company has doubled revenue multiple times since its launch. With the help of the right partner, Southern Tide keeps on rising.

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