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Adventure gear brand scales new heights with Inventory Planner

On behalf of Inventory Planner by Sage

Key facts
  • Oz Backcountry is a thriving online outdoor and adventure equipment retailer, based in Australia and powered by Shopify
  • Uses Inventory Planner to accurately forecast demand for 1,000 of SKUs, place 32 inventory orders a month and maintain a super-lean inventory that minimizes risk
  • Impact: 100s of hours saved every month, huge cost savings, growing product range is managed with ease and precision

Our business simply wouldn’t operate without Inventory Planner. It’s absolutely worth the investment for us – the ROI is massiveJohn Mac, Co-Founder

What’s the secret to starting a new business, in a new market, and making it a massive success? 

According to John Mac, co-founder of Australian outdoor and adventure gear brand Oz Backcountry, it’s all about finding smart ways to do things better than your competitors – especially when it comes to managing every retailer’s biggest asset: inventory. 

“To succeed, you need to figure out how to do every element of your business at least 1% better than everyone else,” John says. 


“Lots of our competitors are not good at inventory – they often hold way too much, which is expensive, and end up with deadstock they have to flog at a loss in flash sales or they frequently run out of key items. We’ve used Inventory Planner to plan and manage our inventory from the very start and it’s given us a huge competitive advantage.”

Ahead of the pack

Handling 800 orders a month, Oz Backcountry is a fast-growing online outdoor and adventure equipment retailer, specializing in hard-to-find gear for extreme sports and activities, from avalanche rescues to cold water swimming. 

As part of a focused organic growth strategy, Oz Backcountry carries a super-lean inventory, designed to minimize the significant risk to cash flow from excess stock and stockouts. 

This requires accurate demand planning and careful, frequent purchasing – which is where Inventory Planner comes in.

As a top-rated inventory planning app on Shopify, Inventory Planner shows busy merchants like John which inventory to order, how much to order, and the perfect moment to order it, based on an accurate calculation of how much will sell. 

The forecasts factor in supplier timescales, seasonality and promotions alongside historical sales data, which are then turned into easy-to-understand buying recommendations.

POs can then be created in a matter of clicks – even for multiple warehouses and forward orders – and all suppliers can be easily managed from one handy dashboard. 

A wild success

“I tried five different inventory planning and management apps and it very quickly became clear that Inventory Planner is the best by a long shot,” says John. 

“The workflow is extremely well-built and works exceptionally well, from forecasting right through to automatic PO creation. The time savings we’ve achieved as a result have been huge. I order hundreds of different products, worth $10,000s, from about 10 different distributors every week.

“It would previously have taken hours to do one PO, now I can do tens of them in a couple of hours. In just five minutes, I can accurately assess whether or not I need to order at all. We’re saving hundreds and hundreds of hours a year – equivalent to tens of thousands of dollars of human resource – and that’s just on purchasing.”

Thanks to Inventory Planner, Oz Backcountry never risks missing out on a sale because the software enables the management of negative inventory values, so the business can take preorders and then quickly replenish when stock becomes available.

It can also place forward orders 12-18 months ahead of time and make informed decisions about placing larger orders if a drop in supplier pricing offers a bigger ROI.

Tasks like invoice reconciliation and matching up goods received with POs to check for discrepancies on price and quantity are streamlined and tracked easily within the software. 

John adds: “The forecasts help us only spend money on stock we can quickly sell and because creating POs is so quick and easy, we can place orders with very high frequency without issue – keeping our inventory lean. That’s critical for us as a low margin retailer as it means we minimize the costs of carrying inventory and mitigate the risk of deadstock.

“The forecasting is very flexible, too. We love that the software integrates seamlessly with Shopify and that we can filter our forecasts at a granular level – for instance, by vendor or product category – to get insights that are always up-to-date and accurate.”

The sky’s the limit

With an inventory of 1,000 SKUs, and plans to grow it to 5,000, Inventory Planner has become an indispensable tool for Oz Backcountry, ensuring the company’s massive and diverse product range is managed with ease and precision. 

John says: “We’re adding product ranges all the time and will likely add warehouses in other countries in the coming years. 

“Inventory Planner effortlessly handles complex, large volume operations and we know it will be able to support us as we grow. We simply couldn’t operate without Inventory Planner now. To be honest, I don’t see how any fast-growing business could.”

“Inventory Planner saves us hundreds and hundreds of hours a year in time – which equates to tens of thousands of dollars of human resource. You can’t run a growing business John Mac, Co-Founder

Want to follow the trail of Oz Backcountry? Book a tailored Inventory Planner demo now. 

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