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    Jen Gulley of WestPoint Home: How To Grow Ecommerce Margins With D2C Channels

    August 2, 2021
    7 minute read
    Jen Gulley of WestPoint Home: How To Grow Ecommerce Margins With D2C Channels

    I started the ecommerce division at WestPoint Home about seven years ago. Back then, managing our digital shelf was a really time-consuming process.

    Watch Jen Gulley, director of direct-to-consumer (D2C) ecommerce sales at WestPoint Home, share how her team grew ecommerce margins with Salsify.

    We had to copy and paste all product information into about 30 different forms — and that was after translating our data from "manufacturing speak" to something that would work for ecommerce.

    My boss and I knew that there had to be a better way, even back then. Then one day, my boss went to a professional meetup and heard of a brand new company out of Boston called Salsify. We set up a call with them right away and signed up soon after that — and we were amazed by how much it helped.

    My name is Jen Gulley, and I'm the director of D2C ecommerce sales at WestPoint Home. We were one of the earliest adopters of Salsify, and we've had the opportunity to grow our digital shelf capabilities as the solution itself grew.

    From the very beginning, we were amazed at how easy Salsify made it to load data and have that data copied out to so many different forms. Over the years, the value we've been able to draw from Salsify has only grown.

    Expanding Digital Transformation With Hard Proof

    "Our D2C sites are a way for us to tell a better story about each of our brands and promote each of the product lines across these different websites. We have brands that have been around for over 100 years — so we have this huge heritage. We are a leader in the industry. We should be making a stand with all these products, the story, the content, and owning that."
    — Jen Gulley, Director of D2C Ecommerce Sales, WestPoint Home

    We’ve been gradually increasing the extent to which Salsify is used in the organization. It took some time to get full leadership buy-in, but we eventually achieved it simply by proving its case time and time again. Over the last year and a half, I focused on persuading the executive team of Salsify’s value.

    I began using Salsify as a verb, saying “I can Salsify that” whenever I hear an issue or complaint raised in a meeting. I’d offer to code people’s forms or convert their data or images and get it done faster than any other method could have.

    After about five or so demos like this, the people on the executive team started asking, “Why aren’t we using this company-wide?”

    Now, we’ve updated all of our forms to be more Salsify-specific, and we’ve done all kinds of internal training to help different teams in the company learn to use it. As a result, people are constantly coming back to us and telling us how much the tool saves them time.

    So we’ve been able to get great adoption throughout the organization because we were dedicated to proving its value time and time again.

    Growing Ecommerce Margins With D2C Channels

    One area where we’re currently focused on optimizing Salsify is in setting up our D2C channels. D2C is important to us because it lets us maximize our margins.

    There are several reasons why D2C has become a focus for us as a business. When it comes to our wholesale channels, you end up giving them a considerable cost concession by paying for things like accommodation fees and freight.

    At the end of the day, you can make probably three times more with D2C while maintaining control over how we tell our brands’ unique stories.

    Each of our D2C sites is on Shopify, making it easy to syndicate the data across all of them.

    Salsify’s API connection with Shopify helps the process along — it’s just a matter of using the template we picked on Shopify and coding those fields to our data. It has made it a super-easy way to manage our D2C efforts.

    Embracing the Learning Process

    Using Salsify has really made things easier across the board. But if I were to name one challenge, it would be learning the Excel skills needed to flourish with Salsify. I think you do need to have upper-level knowledge of Excel to code some of the forms because the accounts can be particular.

    When I first started on Salsify, there weren’t specific channels set up yet. Everything was a blank slate, and we had to figure out how to code all the formulas we needed in Excel. I didn’t know how to write code in Excel then, so I’d be on the phone with colleagues for some time figuring it out together. This was actually a really fun experience for me — I had a blast learning and growing with the team.

    If you’re looking to adopt Salsify, definitely be prepared to learn and grow.

    I’d also advise companies starting this journey to have one or two dedicated, full-time staff members focused on it. It’s not a side project: It really does require dedicated resources.

    You also need to have your data organized from the start and really understand what your company needs from the solution. This will help you get started on the right foot.

    Growing Alongside Salsify

    I’m the type of person with a constant desire to learn and find a better way to do things. I think Salsify is similar as a company.

    It’s been really cool to see how fast Salsify has evolved over the years to deliver so many capabilities we could have never dreamed of in the beginning.

    Being one of Salsify’s earliest customers, it feels like we’ve had the chance to grow and learn alongside it. As we continue expanding Salsify throughout the organization and improving our D2C reach, I believe this mutual growth will continue.

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    Written by: Jen Gulley

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