Learn how Nice Commerce sets itself apart from old-school box-and-send distributors
Nice Commerce handles fullfillment for local brands such as Jack Rudy Cocktail Company.
Gray Anderson can’t let a good idea get away. The College of Charleston graduate is a serial entrepreneur and e-commerce wizard, responsible for brands such as Mr. Stick’s “Just Add Butter” seasoning and Monument Shutter Company. But those are side hustles, fueled by his primary venture, Nice Commerce.
In 2016, as partner of an e-commerce consultancy, Anderson visited a 400,000-square-foot distribution center in Alabama, representing an apparel brand client. He knew the value of personalized marketing in e-mail and SMS outreach and wanted to infuse that into a customer’s unboxing experience. “I said, ‘I’m going to create an automated system that tags first-time customers. I’ll handwrite a bunch of notes, and you can drop one into each order that has the first-time buyer tag,’” he recalls.
The fullfillment company expanded to a 40,000-square-foot warehouse in North Charleston in November 2020 and is upfitting the space to further increase its capacity.
The warehouse couldn’t do it, so Anderson went to work starting a third-party fulfillment center that could. Nice Commerce began in 2018 in a 4,000-square-foot facility in West Ashley. The company built a customer base that includes local brands such as Jack Rudy Cocktail Company, Red Clay Hot Sauce, and Smithey Ironware, quickly necessitating a move to a 40,000-square-foot warehouse in North Charleston. That transition happened in November 2020, at the peak of COVID-era holiday shopping. “It was pure chaos,” Anderson recalls. “We had to move everything over and scan inventory into a new system, while upfitting the space and installing new racking. It was like changing a tire while the car was moving.”
It’s been years since Anderson enjoyed a Thanksgiving without an open laptop, but that’s part and parcel of leading a company that’s tripled in volume in two years. Although Nice is inherently a behind-the-scenes operation, it markets as if it’s consumer-facing, including trendy schwag and apparel. “We resonate with our customer base by acting like an e-commerce brand,” Anderson explains.
(Right) Nice Commerce founder Gray Anderson
That familiarity, plus a healthy dose of marketing analytics chops that help to max out shopping carts, sets Nice apart from old-school box-and-send distributors.
Nice is working to expand its network to warehouses in other strategically located states. For Charleston-based customers such as Natalist that could mean greater access to the West Coast, since products could be shipped in bulk—at far lower rates—before being sent out to consumers.
For an e-commerce business owner, perfecting fulfillment can be the grind that slows growth and potential. “It’s a hard thing to let go of when it’s your baby,” says Anderson. Nice Commerce strives to make the handoff easy.