Empowering Online Retailers: OSM Worldwide’s Role in PulseTV’s Success

A woman opening a box from PulseTV received through OSM

Overview

This case study explains how OSM Worldwide helped a growing business, PulseTV, transition from a primarily television-based market to an online marketplace ruled by giants like Amazon.

Customers expect free shipping when shopping online, but for small, family-run businesses like PulseTV, that’s often unrealistic. OSM outperformed larger competitors — including UPS and FedEx — by offering a flexible domestic shipping solution, a willingness to experiment, and a personal touch to PulseTV. The partnership resulted in both companies benefiting from the success of the other.

The Client

PulseTV is an online retailer listed as one of the Top 1000 North American Online Retailers by Internet Retailer Magazine and was recognized by Crain’s Fast Fifty as one of the Chicago Metropolitan Area’s 50 fastest-growing companies.

Founded in 1996 by siblings Jaffer and Anisa Ali and their cousin Tom Zegar, PulseTV is a growing online retailer. The family-owned company, based in Tinley Park, IL, markets a wide range of products — including electronics, health and beauty products, toys, DVDs, cookware, and more — via the television direct response, catalog, and print mediums. In the two decades since its conception, PulseTV has more than 2 million satisfied customers. The company prides itself on providing a stellar online shopping experience, working directly with manufacturers to secure competitive savings for its customers. As an online retailer, PulseTV makes online shopping easy by combining reliable customer service, quick order shipping, and dependable delivery. Moreover, the company is continually growing — resulting in an increasingly diverse product selection and a broad, expanding customer base.

The Challenge

The company needed to find a way to remain competitive in a retail world dominated by massive businesses like Amazon.

PulseTV found itself confronted by a number of challenges. The company initially made its mark in retail by marketing VHS videos — including Riverdance, STOMP, and other popular hits — on TV. However, the rapid growth of the internet rendered this approach obsolete, as television commercial inventory previously available was bought up, leading to a sharp spike in media rates. Unable to compete with the growing web-driven media market, PulseTV took to the internet to sell videos online. After establishing its website, the company dramatically expanded its inventory
to encompass a wide array of products beyond videos — solidifying its position in the e-commerce domain. Eventually the company began producing product videos, and currently employs an in-house studio to create videos for approximately 80 percent of its product offerings. PulseTV also expanded its email lists after large growth.

As a family-run business that places high priority on employee livelihood, PulseTV faced one additional challenge: remaining competitive in a retail world dominated by massive businesses. While Amazon and other big-box online retailers could offer customers free shipping, PulseTV’s commitment to employee welfare meant it could not afford to eliminate shipping charges altogether. A new question arose: How could PulseTV remain competitive when customers expected free shipping on all their online orders?

In addressing this question, PulseTV Co-Founder and COO Anisa Ali highlighted the need for a eCommerce shipping partner that would work just as hard as the company’s employees to achieve customer satisfaction — and in turn, business growth. Noting that many reliable, big-name shipping companies dramatically increased shipping costs per package in recent years, Ms. Ali emphasized PulseTV’s need for a domestic shipping partner attuned to the company’s goal of expanding its reach.

The OSM Worldwide Solution

OSM dramatically improved its efficiency by eliminating double labeling.

To solve its shipping conundrum, PulseTV conducted a rigorous search for the ideal partner. The company first explored UPS pricing and policies. After nearly signing on to a partnership with FedEx, the company received a call from OSM. From there, the PulseTV team met with OSM President and Co-Founder Jim Kelley to better understand the benefits of working with a flexible, local brand prioritizing interpersonal communication.

In its work with PulseTV, OSM displayed impressive efficiency, most notably by eliminating double labeling from its supply chain process. In concrete terms, the company saved more time and money by cutting the application of extra labels to an average of nearly 2,000 packages daily, and 6,000 during the holiday season. This was just one way OSM demonstrated its willingness do what other shipping providers could not for PulseTV.

OSM’s vigilance also meant less need for day-to-day communication — which allowed PulseTV employees to focus on their duties rather than checking shipping errors and discrepancies.

The Results

OSM helped PulseTV improve its conversion rate, translating to lower product pricing and higher customer appeal.

Partnering with OSM has proven beneficial for PulseTV in a number of ways. OSM’s ability to maintain lower shipping rates than its competitors helped PulseTV improve its conversion
rate. On top of achieving maximum cost efficiency by ensuring PulseTV receives the best possible pricing — including postage, shipping, and fuel surcharges — OSM has proven itself a quick
and reliable shipping partner. Today, the PulseTV warehouse department maintains close, personal relationships with OSM drivers, who arrive on schedule and boast an average product delivery time of 3.5 days. For PulseTV, the combination of OSM’s affordability and reliability has yielded remarkable returns. Through its partnership with OSM, PulseTV is not only retaining its long-time customers, but also growing its business by offering competitive product pricing to potential new ones.

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