People viewing a solar eclipse and wearing special glasses received via fast order fulfillment ahead of this special event

What do event-based sales, product drops, flash sales, and peak seasons have in common?

In the ecommerce world of peak season shipping, event-based sales, much like product drops and flash sales, lead to massive spikes in order volume that can break fulfillment processes. They can also lead to unhappy customers who didn’t get their orders on time. The pressure is especially high in event-based sales because a delayed order that misses the delivery deadline can potentially ruin the event experience.  

Businesses with frequent event-based sales needs flexibility to rapidly increase fulfillment velocity and keep pace with peak shipping demands. Here’s the story of how American Paper Optics scaled shipping operations ahead of a rare solar eclipse event

American Paper Optics

Speeding Up Omnichannel Fulfillment with Shipping Software

American Paper Optics, the world’s leading supplier of 3D eyewear, replaced limited shipping practices ahead of a major sales event to prepare for the anticipated spike in order volume. With automated workflows, seamless Shopify integration, and faster, cheaper shipping via the Descartes ShipRush™ multi-carrier shipping solution, the company increased the efficiency and productivity of its fulfillment process across multiple sales channels. By elevating its ecommerce shipping, American Paper Optics achieved faster fulfillment to easily manage peak volumes, reduce shipping costs, and enhance the customer experience.  

The Challenge: Managing Explosive Growth and Dramatic Volume Peaks 

American Paper Optics has a complex omnichannel distribution network, selling its eyewear products globally via three ecommerce platforms—The 3D Market (primary site), Holiday Specs (holographic glasses that transform a bright light into holiday images), Eclipse Glasses (protective eyewear for solar eclipses)—plus Amazon and various retail and B2B partners. The multichannel merchant experiences seasonal peaks (e.g., Christmas holiday 3D glasses) and massive event-specific order volume spikes, driven by singular occasions such as a solar eclipse or July 4th fireworks. Case in point: the lead-up to the 2017 eclipse catapulted sales volume from less than 50 daily orders to close to 14,000 per day! With the aim of shipping 75 million eclipse glasses for the April 2024 eclipse, American Paper Optics could no longer rely on the limited shipping capabilities of its backend system that was struggling to keep pace with the volume and complexity of the company’s fulfillment requirements. 

“Frankly, we were looking for a shipping solution that seemed too good to be true in terms of ease of use and a simple plug-in to all our sales channels but, within an hour, Descartes ShipRush was up and running—like magic! Now we’re able to handle extreme daily shipping volumes and meet customer expectations without missing a beat, or having to triple our warehouse staff like in the past, while simultaneously keeping shipping costs in check.” 

- Jason Lewin, CMO, American Paper Optics

Founded in 1990, American Paper Optics is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of paper and plastic 3D eyewear, as well as eclipse glasses, and offers an endless variety of frame styles, specialty optics, full color printing, and intricate die-cutting capabilities to make it easy for its customers to achieve amazing 3D promotions. 

The Solution: Automation Accelerates Shipping Across Multiple Sales Channels

To support escalating shipment volumes­­­—from individual consumers, schools, institutions, churches, various retail and B2B customers (e.g., Walmart, NASA)—American Paper Optics replaced its inefficient shipping practices with Descartes ShipRush integrated seamlessly with Shopify. The 3D eyewear manufacturer dipped its toe in the shipping automation waters by rolling out the cloud-based Descartes solution to the Eclipse Glasses storefront in February 2023, in anticipation of the 2024 eclipse.  

“The deployment was super simple and required minimal training, so we quickly rolled out ShipRush to our other ecommerce sites and marketplaces in the following weeks,” said Jason Lewin, CMO at American Paper Optics. “The automated shipping workflow—including labeling, tracking info, and reporting—is fast, easy, and accurate; it just works. And if we ever have questions, the online chat support is a click away.” 

American Paper Optics manages shipping for all three of its ecommerce storefronts, plus Amazon and B2B orders, through the single Descartes interface. “Prior to implementing ShipRush, we struggled with limited shipping automation and time-consuming manual tasks, even with lower daily order volumes. We were spending too much time putting out fires, such as dealing with missing tracking numbers of frustrated customers,” said Lewin. “And when faced with extreme shipping volumes, like the explosion in orders for eclipse glasses in 2017, we were completely under water.” 

“In the lead up to the April eclipse, we’ve been regularly shipping 1,000-1,500 orders per day. And ShipRush will scale easily to manage even greater volumes to come without any costly hiccups,” Lewin added. “Plus, with automated order data flow between Shopify and ShipRush, we’ve increased fulfillment accuracy and speed to keep customers happy and coming back for repeat purchases.” 

With the Descartes ecommerce shipping solution, American Paper Optics is also able to protect its margins through lower costs by accessing shipping discounts for UPS, FedEx, and USPS through pre-negotiated Descartes ShipRush rates.  

The Results  

Explosive Growth in Shipping Volume 

Ahead of the April 2024 eclipse, the 3D eyewear supplier is using Descartes ShipRush to push 1,000 to 1,500 orders out the door every day. At peak, the company expects upwards of 15,000 orders/day, with an estimated 75 million glasses to ship in anticipation of the phenomenon.

Bottom Line Boost 

By easily setting up its carriers of choice in Descartes ShipRush, American Paper Optics saves up to 82% off retail shipping rates with the UPS Digital Access Program, up to 89% with USPS, and up to 21% with FedEx by leveraging Descartes’ programs

Faster Fulfillment Velocity 

By eliminating inefficient, error-prone processes, the automated Descartes solution optimized American Paper Optics’ fulfillment speed. The company is able to scale easily to ship orders quickly and accurately—regardless of order volume—to ensure customers get the right order, on time, every time. 

Rapid, Easy Deployment 

American Paper Optics successfully rolled out Descartes ShipRush to its first Shopify ecommerce storefront within an hour. With live support, the company systematically deployed the user-friendly shipping solution across all its sales channels, quickly and smoothly.

Success Story

American Paper Optics


Descartes ShipRush™

Multi-carrier shipping software built for growth; spend less time shipping and save money.

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