RUBY x Starshipit

Tailored to perfection: Inside RUBY's ship from store success


Written by Kimberley Hughes

Since 2002, RUBY has been a beloved New Zealand brand, known for its deep connection to the community and designs that reflect its wearers. This connection is more than just geographical; it's about crafting collections that resonate with the lifestyle, values, and stories of those who wear them.

With a commitment that goes beyond the latest trends, rooted in a steadfast commitment to leveraging technology, nurturing their community, and prioritising environmental responsibility. RUBY now has 8 physical stores across the country and uses an optimised ‘ship from store’ strategy to reach customers at home and abroad.

Using Starshipit alongside strategic partnerships with tech leaders Cin7, and BDO, RUBY has not only elevated their operational efficiency but also redefined what it means to be a customer-centric retailer in today's ever-evolving market.

Let’s explore how RUBY navigated the challenges of in-store fulfilment, and how they’ve built a community of loyal ‘Rubettes’ by seamlessly integrating their physical stores with the digital world to create one unified shopping experience.


Overview – enter the RUBYVERSE

Founded in 2002 in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and owned by Christine and Vere Sharma, RUBY has blossomed into a staple of the kiwi fashion scene. Now, RUBY are celebrated not only for their distinctive designs but also for their deep-rooted commitment to community and sustainability. With 8 bustling stores across the country, RUBY's journey has been characterised by a continuous mission to bring innovation into every aspect of the retail experience.

Central to RUBY's ethos are the 'Rubettes' – a term affectionately coined to describe the brand's loyal customers. The Rubettes are at the heart of RUBY's ship from store strategy, which has been carefully crafted to ensure that the warmth and personal touch of in-store shopping are vividly reflected in the online world.

The ship from store model at RUBY is not just about logistics; it’s about extending the in-store experience, ensuring that every customer, regardless of their location, feels connected to the ‘RUBYVERSE’. This innovative approach has allowed RUBY to optimise their stock management, making their limited-run, exclusive designs accessible to a wider audience – elevating the RUBY shopping experience to new heights of convenience and connection.

The challenge: cutting through complexity

Balancing in-store and online inventory

RUBY's approach to creating unique, limited-edition pieces presented a significant challenge in keeping a consistent inventory across both physical and online channels. The nature of their business meant that once an item sold out in-store, its availability online was significantly reduced, leading to a lack of options for online shoppers. Head of Digital & Logistics at RUBY, Olivia O’Neil says, “We don't produce large runs of our styles so if we weren’t able to offer stock in the physical store, that would mean a very limited offering for our online customers.

This discrepancy created a gap in the customer experience, as the RUBY team prided themselves on offering a wide and accessible range of products to their customers.

Ruby Store illustrations

Refining the ship from store strategy

While RUBY was already operating a ship from store model, their approach needed an upgrade to meet the evolving expectations of their customers, and to align with the brand's environmental goals. The initial setup wasn’t fully optimised to make the most of the strategic advantage of shipping from the store closest to the customer, which could significantly enhance delivery speed while reducing shipping costs.

The process also relied on a lot of manual input, which increased the likelihood of human error and inefficiencies. RUBY recognised the need to streamline the ship from store process, incorporating more automated systems to fulfil orders and manage inventory.

The solution

✨ Starshipit's sparkle – streamlining RUBY's fulfilment

Starshipit played a pivotal role in transforming RUBY's approach to order fulfilment, making the process more efficient and customer-focused. By utilising the Starshipit platform, RUBY could leverage the power of technology to streamline their ship from store strategy, significantly cutting down shipping time and costs.

Efficient order processing and fulfilment

A crucial part of the solution was the ability to fulfill orders from the store closest to the customer's location. This not only shortened delivery times but also reduced shipping costs – a win-win for both RUBY and the Rubettes. Starshipit's integration with Shopify enabled seamless order routing, allowing store staff to access orders through individual Starshipit child accounts linked to their specific store locations. This setup ensured that the fulfilment process was as smooth and efficient as possible, utilising in-store resources effectively and reducing overall operational costs.

Flexible courier selection

The Starshipit rules engine took RUBY's in store fulfilment a step further by automating the courier selection process. Depending on the service chosen at checkout – be it standard, express, or same-day shipping – Starshipit would automatically assign the best courier option. This automation ensured that RUBY could offer more choice at checkout when it came to shipping options, to meet the diverse needs and preferences of their customers, ultimately reducing the likelihood of cart abandonment.

Enhancing customer experience with delivery options

Starshipit also helped to enhance the customer experience by expanding the delivery choices available. By integrating with Uber Direct, RUBY was able to offer same-day delivery for locations near their stores, a service that proved invaluable during peak times like the Christmas season. Customers placing last-minute orders could receive their items within hours, ensuring they could enjoy their RUBY purchases without delay.

🔎 Cin7’s clarity: fine-tuning RUBY's inventory

Cin7 is a global leader in integrated inventory management solutions, streamlining stock control across multiple channels and locations to empower retailers and wholesalers with real-time visibility and control over their operations.

Cin7 stepped in to optimise inventory levels across RUBY’s expanding network of locations and sales channels. As RUBY grew, managing stock became more and more complex, with the need to balance availability across physical stores and online channels.

Cin7's solution provided RUBY with the tools to optimise inventory, ensuring that stock levels were managed efficiently to prevent both overstocking and understocking. This not only safeguarded RUBY's cash flow by reducing capital tied up in excess inventory, but also ensured that the right products were available for their customers, maintaining the brand's reputation for accessibility.

RUBY using starshipit

One single source of truth

In using Cin7, RUBY gained a centralised system that offered real-time visibility into inventory across all locations and channels. This 'single source of truth' became invaluable for managing the complexities of multi-channel retail, allowing RUBY to understand where stock was held, where it was needed, and how to best route orders to meet customer expectations.

💎 BDO’s cut: crafting precision with key insights

BDO’s expertise in business advisory services provides strategic insights and solutions tailored to enhancing shipping and logistics operations, helping companies like RUBY streamline their supply chains and improve overall efficiency.

BDO brought a great deal of strategic insight to RUBY's ship from store model, focusing mostly on the efficiency of stock management and enhancing customer engagement. By providing key insights on pooling stock availability across all RUBY locations, BDO helped address the challenge of stock inconsistencies that often resulted in sell-outs or over-stocking – both common challenges in the world of retail fashion.

The key to BDO's approach

Integral to BDO's approach was aggregating and automating stock across multiple stores and channels, aiming for a more unified inventory system that could minimise the risk of stockouts while maximising the potential for sales. This vision of an optimised stockholding system, where every unit is accounted for and made available for sale, was ambitious but essential for RUBY's goal of seamless inventory flow.


Boosting the local connection

Aside from logistics, BDO emphasised the importance of maintaining strong local customer engagement by ensuring that online purchases carried the same personal touch as in-store experiences – this helped RUBY strengthen their community of Rubettes. Associate Director at BDO, Josh Ambler, agrees “We feel like ship from store fulfilment drives that customer connection even though the sale was made online.”

This strategy not only enhanced the customer experience but also promoted a sense of belonging, encouraging repeat business and deep brand loyalty.

❤️ RUBY’s radiance: shining light on ship from store success

After refining their ship from store strategy, RUBY has gained several insights that are key for anyone considering implementing a similar approach. Here's a breakdown:

1. Embrace the full potential of ship from store

RUBY discovered that in-store fulfilment opens significant opportunities to boost online sales by making in-store stock accessible online. This approach helps reduce the risk of deadstock and eliminates the need to transfer unsold items back to warehouses, ultimately saving on logistics costs. Their advice? Dive in and explore the full scope of ship from store fulfilment to enhance your online presence and sales potential.

2. Team engagement is key

A vital element in RUBY's success was ensuring their team, both in-store and online, were fully on board with the process. They stress the importance of team buy-in, as it requires a cohesive effort to streamline the fulfilment process efficiently. Engaging your staff and fostering a collaborative culture is essential for a smooth ship from store operation.

"Make sure your team from both a brick and mortar and online perspective are really into it – getting their buy-in is important as they need to work together as one team to make it as efficient as possible.”

Olivia O’Neil - Head of Digital & Logistics

3. Sales attribution and team unity

Addressing sales attribution within the framework, RUBY took on a more holistic view, attributing online sales to their website – regardless of which store fulfils the order – while viewing their inventory as a shared resource across all stores. This approach helped maintain a united team spirit, emphasising that every sale contributes to the collective success of the brand.

Helpful person holding lightbulb

4. Leverage technology and training

RUBY highlights the role of technology in optimising their ship from store system, specifically the use of platforms like Starshipit for fulfilment and inventory management systems like Cin7. Equally important was the training provided to their team, ensuring every team member was across the new systems, which were designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. Olivia says, "We were moving 7 pieces of tech at the same time, so there was a lot of training going on all at once.” Thankfully their Starshipit training only took around half an hour, and the team were ready to hit the ground running!

Wrap up

After refining their ship from store strategy, RUBY has not only addressed their immediate operational challenges but also carved out a new frontier for their retail fulfilment journey. The tangible results – faster deliveries, optimised inventory, and strengthened customer engagement – speak volumes about the effectiveness of their approach.

Looking ahead, RUBY sees a ship from store model that continues to evolve with consumer expectations, particularly around delivery speed and flexibility. They anticipate adapting to trends set by retail giants like Amazon when it comes to delivery speed, ensuring they can offer similar levels of service while keeping their unique brand identity and commitment to sustainability.

RUBY believes the future of ship from store lies in its ability to offer a personalised shopping experience that supports local stores, reduces environmental impact, and meets the expectations of their tight-knit community of Rubettes.

For this New Zealand fashion institution, the sky is the limit.

Ship from store ebook

Interested in unlocking the potential of ship from store for your business? Download our in-depth eBook now. It's filled with actionable insights, best practices, and case studies to help optimise your fulfilment process, manage inventory more effectively, and build a stronger community of customers just like RUBY did.

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Kimberley Hughes

Kimberley Hughes

Kimberley is Starshipit's Content Marketing Lead. Her days are filled with creative storytelling and innovative content strategies. Off the clock, she's an all-seasons iced coffee fan, a Catan strategist, and skincare explorer. For a peek into her world, find her on LinkedIn.

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