Start-up fulfillment with a success factor

Start-up fulfillment with a success factor

Meister Messer is a Swiss online store start-up that specializes in the import and distribution of knives, archery, outdoor and medieval articles. The online store is one of the largest suppliers of knives in this country and now has a huge range of over 7,500 items in more than 300 categories. Meister Messer mainly sells its products via its own web store – and occasionally also via online marketplaces. In order to be able to focus better on its core business, Meister Messer outsourced its fulfillment after six years of operation and has always relied on solutions from MS Direct.

If you search for the german term “Messer” (knife) online in Switzerland, you will quickly come across Meister Messer. The online store is now one of the most popular places to buy knives in the Swiss online world. And rightly so: anyone visiting the store will be immediately struck by the wide range of products and the passion for blades of all kinds. Behind this enthusiasm is Fabian Meister, a trained computer scientist who founded the store in 2015. What started out as a sideline project with a few dozen knives in less than ten categories has grown over the years into a range of over 7,500 items from around 190 brands in more than 300 categories. Fabian has been running the store full-time with his partner since 2021. But the ambitions do not end there: in future, the store would like to establish itself even more strongly as a point of contact for camping, archery, hunting and outdoor activities.

The Meister Messer online store offers over 7,500 different items.

Behind Meister Messer’s successful concept is a passion for the subject, but also a lot of clever entrepreneurship, as Fabian explains: “It has always been a desire of mine to set up my own thing. Meister Messer is therefore not only the result of a lot of passion on my part, but also a lot of code. As a self-made programmer, I started out looking for a store solution that I could adapt to my needs. Automation and new systems have always been topics I’ve been passionate about. So if we encountered a problem somewhere with our store, I simply established or programmed new functions that made our work easier again afterwards.”

The challenge

As with most start-ups on the road to success, the increasing size of the product range and the rising order volumes also presented Fabian with a challenge over time: “For the first six years, we stored all the items at home and handled the order processing ourselves. When we were on vacation, my father or a friend took over. However, with the increasing volumes, this became unreasonable over time. Our cellar was bursting at the seams and order processing took up more than two hours a day – and then there was the processing of incoming goods. Our resources were increasingly tied up and the time window for further developing the store was getting shorter and shorter. At the time, the situation presented me with a difficult question: do I organize a warehouse myself, hire staff, manage it and do my own thing, or do I hand over fulfillment to an external service provider and retain my freedom? In the end, I opted for the latter – not only because I wanted to concentrate on developing my store, but also because, as a father, spending time with my children is important to me. In my search for a fulfillment provider, I came across MS Direct on the Internet. Even the initial consultation was very informative.”

«We really appreciate the uncomplicated cooperation with MS Direct. Outsourcing our warehouse and order processing was an important step for us. We suddenly had time again to further develop our shop.»

Fabian Meister, Ihnaber Meister-Messer.ch

  • Scalable warehouse
  • Professional fulfillment & returns services
  • Simple communication
  • Transparent processes and stock levels

The solution

Fulfillment solution

The optimal solution was quickly ready for Meister Messer: Within 10 working days, the set-up was ready at the MS Direct site in Muttenz. A special feature of the range are the numerous sensitive bulky items such as swords, axes, clubs, arrows and much more. To this end, Fabian worked with MS Direct to define the desired packaging process so that the orders reach the customer safely and in line with their needs. MS Direct created special cardboard formats for shipping and secured the items with additional stuffing material. Together with Meister Messer, MS Direct trained its employees and has been in charge of quality control ever since.

“The handover of fulfillment was very emotional for me,” explains Fabian. “As a store owner, I have a certain connection to my products and know how best to handle them. Handing over this step to someone else required a certain amount of trust. MS Direct earned this through their uncomplicated and pragmatic way of working – the benefits of the collaboration quickly became apparent. I can simply turn to my contact person with a request, who then takes care of everything.”

Returns processing

As part of its fulfillment service, MS Direct also handles returns processing for Meister Messer. The MS Direct processing stations are set up to enable efficient working. Employees specially trained in the products open the returns, record them and check that they are complete and correct. The status of returns can be viewed at any time via an interface to the store system. As an additional service for Meister Messer, product damage and defects are recorded in detail and damaged goods are returned to the manufacturer. Flawless goods are put back into storage and are ready for resale.

“Today, many customers expect a returns service. When I was still processing returns myself at the beginning, it was not only time-consuming, it also had a personal touch for me. I am grateful that MS Direct also handles returns, including the damage report, as part of its fulfillment solution.”

Scalable storage space

Both the storage spaces and the services from MS Direct are scalable and adapt to the customer’s growth – as was the case with Meister Messer: “The warehouse was a great relief for us. In our apartment, we had to fight for every free space. Now we can add new products to our range without any worries and always have an overview of what’s in our warehouse.”

Marketplace connection

Another advantage of MS Direct’s work processes is that they also fulfill the strict service level agreements (SLA) of marketplaces. This makes it easier for MS Direct customers to expand their sales channels if they wish. In the case of marketplace orders, MS Direct automatically coordinates the shipping process in accordance with the respective SLA and attaches delivery documents tailored to the channel Meister Messer also offers individual products on online marketplaces today, as Fabian explains: “I see marketplaces as an opportunity to gain a few new customers. For me, however, my own webshop is and remains the most important sales channel. Because here I can look after my customers in my own way and am not just one anonymous supplier among many.”

  • Scalable storage solution
  • Professional shipping according to customer specifications
  • Returns processing with detailed damage logging
  • Marketplace-specific verses and documents
  • Customer Success Manager for personal support

Excursus: Professional customer service

As part of the MS Direct Group, MS Direct is part of a complete ecosystem that offers services along every customer journey. The MS Direct Group thus covers all steps from initial contact to online campaigns or personalized print mailings to logistical processes and customer service support. And it is precisely the latter that Meister Messer has recently been benefiting from. MS Direct’s sister company DialogWorld advises end customers in the appropriate dialect, collects relevant information and provides or sets up telephone infrastructures. DialogWorld uses AI to analyze all calls, which captures both customer sentiment and qualitative processing. Dialog World thus guarantees transparency in its work and high quality.

“I used to do the telephone customer service myself. It was important to me that I was available for my customers and could help them. As my success increased, so did the number of calls and this took more and more time away from my core activity. So I looked for a customer service provider. DialogWorld ultimately came out as the favorite in our evaluation. It’s relaxing for me to know that my customers can reach someone who can help them competently if they have any questions. And I myself can focus more on the store again.”

The benefits

With the services of MS Direct and Dialog World, Meister Messer now benefits from a professional solution for fulfillment, returns and customer service. With its scalable storage solutions and high-quality processing, MS Direct not only creates a positive customer experience, it also relieves Fabian in his day-to-day business by giving him more time for important projects that help his store move forward.

“The scalable warehouse from MS Direct has helped us the most, in addition to the enormous relief from the transfer of fulfillment. We suddenly had time again to take care of the store and develop our company further. Outsourcing was an important step for us. We also really appreciate the uncomplicated cooperation at a personnel level. I can therefore only recommend MS Direct.”

  • Scalable warehouse for carefree product range expansion
  • Strong time gain for strategic projects for the store
  • Satisfied customers thanks to professional fulfillment and returns processes

About Fabian Meister

Fabian Meister is a qualified computer scientist and father of three children. Fascinated by new technologies, he taught himself programming as a child in order to develop simple computer games. He expanded his webshop Meister Messer, which he founded in 2015, according to his wishes and now runs the store full-time together with his wife. In just eight years, his store has become the largest and most popular knife store in Switzerland.