The champion of racket sports: Zerv sells across nine webshops

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Tea Krestine Johansen
by Tea Krestine Johansen 08/02/2021

Torben and Mikkel from Zerv have nine webshops. They manage all orders and all shipping efficiently from one system: Shipmondo. Read their story.

Torben van den Brekel Kulmbak and Mikkel Normann are the stars behind a large business in the racket sports market, with sales of equipment for tennis, badminton, squash and paddle tennis. The company, Zerv, runs nine webshops, having one store in Denmark and selling to both beginners and professionals in Sweden, Germany, the UK and Denmark. The webshops sell both equipment from well-known sports brands and self-produced items under the name Zerv.

With impressive numbers and expert pitching skills, the two entrepreneurs got two series investors on board in the latest season of Løvens Hule (Dragons’ Den) on Danish television, and together they are ready to gain market share throughout Europe.

Match point

The recording of the show Løvens Hule took almost two hours, although only about 10 minutes were shown when the show was broadcast on Danish television in January.

The viewers love to see the tough negotiations, but at that point we had already been through the practical information, numbers and the partners we use. But it was a crazy experience, and we are happy. It has been very busy ever since, says Torben.

It was an intense battle between the investors in the studio. Jacob Risgaard, Jesper Buch and Jan Lehrmann were all eager to get involved and invest in Zerv, and with an offer of 2 million DKK for 20% of the company, the match point was won. After careful consideration, Torben and Mikkel accepted the offer and were able to leave with two new investors, namely Jesper Buch and Jan Lehrmann.

It’s clear that when you’re exposed in a TV show like this, the turnover and number of orders will increase, and we have definitely felt that, too. Therefore, we were also happy that our order and shipping setup was in place, so we could manage that quantity without problems, Torben explains.

Torben and Mikkel presented a summer house package that includes badminton rackets, a net and outdoor balls in the TV programme, and sales of this package in particular exploded after the show was aired.

Zerv Løvens Hule

Nine webshops, one store and all of Europe

Torben has previously played in the badminton league, and has since then had a hard time letting go of the sport. He founded badmintonsshopppen.dk and, in 2016, he took over the physical store Ketshop in Odense, Denmark, which sells all kinds of equipment for racket sports. Thereafter, the name was changed to the current Zerv to signal a wide range within several branches of racket sport.

In the meantime, Mikkel had fought his way up from student worker stringing badminton rackets to store manager in Ketshop. He joined Zerv as a partner in 2018.

Up to 80% of Zerv’s turnover is generated online, so there was a solid foundation for expanding with more webshops. This explains why Zerv now sells equipment across countries in the Swedish, German and British markets – and their future ambitions cover most of Europe.

Zerv now consists of nine webshops and one physical store with more than 5,000 SKUs in their warehouse – not including variants.

An intelligent solution

With the growing volume of orders, Zerv needed to create an efficient and automated workflow in the warehouse. With many employees in the warehouse, a user-friendly and simple flow was necessary.

We were looking for an intelligent way to handle our packages and in the process we found Shipmondo, which is a super match for us. All processes are automated and this was a significant difference compared to our previous, manual approach.

See what a busy work day in the warehouse looks like here:

When an order is placed in one of Zerv’s nine webshops, all built on the Dandomain platform, a pick list is printed automatically. Each webshop is set up with Shipmondo’s free order integrations.

Then three or four employees pick the items in the warehouse at an impressive speed, while another employee is ready to scan the pick list at one of the two packing stations. With a single scan, the delivery note and shipping label are automatically printed. At the same time, an personalized email with tracking information is sent to the customer.

When a Swedish customer places an order to be shipped, this email is sent:

Personal message with tracking

The customer information is automatically transferred to the email. The sender name is transferred from each order integration, meaning that the sender name is matched with the webshop the customer placed the order in. For example, if a customer places an order on badmintonshoppen.se, the sender name on the email will correspondingly be badmintonshoppen.se.

When the pick list has been scanned, the return note, label and delivery note will be passed on to the packing employee, who folds the box with great expertise, packs the items and encloses the papers. The shipping label is attached and the package is placed among the other packages waiting to be picked up by the carrier. With hundreds of daily packages, they are collected up to three times a day by PostNord, GLS and Bring.

Torben explains more about the choice of Shipmondo as their order and shipping solution:

It was important to us that we could manage orders from all nine webshops in the same administration, and that is possible with Shipmondo. The coolest thing is that we don’t have to think about it - it just runs smoothly, and it has done so from day one. It has saved us enormous amounts of time.

It is not only the packaging process that has been perfected at Zerv. The same applies to the return process.

In every one of Zerv’s websites, the customer can access a Return Portal and order a return label. So the customer doesn’t have to contact customer service in order to return an item, and Zerv will only be invoiced for the shipping if the customer submits the return package.

Padelxpert Return Portal

Next chapter in the racket story

Zerv watched the market trends closely within racket sports, and when paddle tennis took Europe by storm, the company acted quickly. They set up the webshop padelshoppen.com and launched paddle production under the brand name Zerv.

Zerv will continue to watch market trends and go on to conquer the racket market throughout Europe.

The next step is to activate the investors; they must help us become even sharper and even stronger. Then we will move on to the rest of Europe, and Shipmondo is of course a part of that journey too, says Torben.

With Shipmondo, Zerv is ready to ship packages all over Europe, and also to countries that require customs clearance. In fact, in Shipmondo, customs clearance can also be automated.

More entrepreneurial stories

Zerv is an impressive case story, and if you want to read about others that have impressed us with their hard work, great results and inspiring stories, then take a look at Rito, Myselfie and Jule-Sweater, to name just a few, or get a complete overview of our case stories here.

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