Partner Spotlight: Avoid a Possible Stockout and Manage to Expedite Purchase Orders with Adii Pienaar of Cogsy


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Hey, thanks for tuning in to another Partner Interview at EcomBalance. At EcomBalance, we’re all about creating win-win partnerships where we are able to grow with other companies in the eCommerce space. 



In this exclusive interview, we interview Adii Pienaar of Cogsy, Entrepreneur & 3X Founder (Cogsy, Conversio and WooCommerce). Author of “Life Profitability: The New Measure of Entrepreneurial Success.”


We hope that you enjoy the interview and that it brings value to you as an eCommerce business owner. 



Connor: Hey Adii, thanks for taking the time to chat with us here. We love getting to know our partners better so that our community can benefit from what our partners are offering and doing in the industry. To get started, can you give us a high-level overview of Cogsy and how it got started? 


Adii: The original idea for Cogsy was an alchemy of a few different things: doing my bachelor’s degree at university in accounting, building two other companies – WooCommerce and Conversio – that sold to ecommerce brands and especially supporting my wife in building her own ecommerce business. I saw how my wife and her team often didn’t have great “operational” tools available to them and figured that I could build something better.


At the start, we were going to build a traditional inventory management system (hence the COGS in our name), but instead focused on building an optimisation and intelligence layer for inventory. Today we’re building the operational source of truth for modern retail brands, especially those that sell multichannel and have multiple inventory locations.



Connor: That’s awesome! Can you dive a bit more into the operations platform that you offer to brands which makes it easy to always have the inventory they need to grow; at the pace they desire? I’m sure our audience would love to know exactly what problems you could solve for them. 


Adii: At the core of Cogsy, we’ve built a data layer that will ingest all of a brand’s SKU-level data. We then consolidate data from multiple sources to achieve two outcomes: give operators holistic visibility into their whole supply chain and empower them with insights to be more proactive about addressing issues.


One of the primary functions that Cogsy powers is a brand’s demand planning. Using a combination of programmatic forecasting (some involving machine learning) and qualitative inputs from the operator (a marketing events calendar to understand growth campaigns), Cogsy can accurately help operators determine the optimal levels of inventory they should be purchasing from suppliers. Since the machine is always on too, Cogsy will update this on a daily basis and alert the operator when that plan needs to change. (Something which is much harder to do in a daily spreadsheet.)


Connor: Jumping off of that…if there was one problem, you’d say that Cogsy solves best for your clients, what would it be? Why? 


Adii: Cogsy has embraced a human plus machine perspective. Our goal is not to build a black box and label it as “Artificial Intelligence”. Whilst there are some parts of our product that falls in that realm, our goal is always to empower a human with the insights to proactively take better action. We don’t pretend that we can shorten your average order lead time from suppliers. But Cogsy can tell you that you can avoid a possible stockout if you manage to expedite that incoming purchase order by a week.


Connor: As the company continues to grow over the next year, what are your plans for expansion? Any new products or offerings or enhancements to your current products? 


Adii: Today we already serve many brands that sell across multiple channels (example: Shopify for direct, Amazon FBA and a B2B or wholesale channel) and a key initiative is to extend our capabilities in this regard. Expect Cogsy to build more growth and demand planning tools for multichannel brands.


We’re also soon releasing a new feature specifically aimed at brands that have subscription products where we’re helping operators retain a certain level of safety stock specifically for subscription renewals. We are betting that not being able to fulfil a subscription order likely leads to churn, so Cogsy is trying to increase subscriber retention and LTV with this feature.


Connor: And how specifically would you say that Cogsy and your team is different from other similar businesses in the industry?


Adii: Our About page shares a bit more about who we are and how we think. I’d probably call out two things though:


  1. Stefano (co-founder/CTO) and I have been working together for 8-plus years now and Cogsy is our second rodeo together. One of the results for that is that we are very intentional about our culture and values which is always very human-centric.
  2. Empowering is one of our values and we truly live that; both in how we work as a team, but also in how we interact with our customers and the product that we hope to build for them.


Connor: What made you decide to get involved in the inventory and sales space? What’s your starting eCommerce story? From what we’ve found, a lot of business owners in the inventory and sales space have fun stories of how they first started…


Adii: I partly touched on this before, but I’ll elaborate. Back in 2007, I built the first product that became WooThemes before we eventually rebranded to WooCommerce. So I fell into ecommerce in a serendipitous way.

From there I founded Conversio (an email marketing automation tool primarily build for Shopify brands) which got acquired in 2019. Getting into inventory was partly about me staying in my lane where I understand ecommerce, drawing on some accounting geekery and seeing a space that hadn’t had a lot of innovation lately.


Connor: Love it! Talking more about the eCommerce industry, where do you see it going in the next 1-2 years? Any unique predictions that you could share? 


Adii: I’m cautiously optimistic in that I believe it will continue to grow overall.


I think we’ll see more of brands’ tech stacks fragmenting before we see more consolidation.


And I expect we’ll see breakout brands that expand in sell internationally (hint: cross-border fulfilment will be a space to watch).


Connor: Giving you an open mic for a minute, what is something you’d want the EcomBalance audience to hear?


Adii: I’m very vocal about why brands should invest in getting their COGS as accurate as they possibly can. Profitability matters (now more than ever) and truly understanding how your COGS fluctuate is a super-power in growing your business well.


I also like the idea of calculating “fully loaded” COGS. Generally speaking, you would include material costs (packaging included ideally) and any landed costs (freight, duties etc). If you can also include storage costs, financing cost (if it’s directly tied to inventory) and outbound fulfilment, I believe you’re getting a perfect perspective of your actual COGS.


Connor: Changing gears a little bit…When it comes to bookkeeping and accounting, what do you think the biggest pain points for business owners are? Feel free to speak from personal experience as well. 


Adii: There are two things that I’m somewhat maniacal about when I do the bookkeeping for Cogsy:


  1. Making sure that you consistently and perfectly allocate line items to the right accounts is critical. If in one month you allocate the invoice from your marketing assistant freelancer to “Freelancers” and the next month to “Misc”, then you’re not comparing apples and apples anymore. You have to trust your data and the first step is perfect allocation.
  2. We do proactive bookkeeping on a weekly basis. That means that at any stage during month we have at most a week’s gap between actuals and what we’ve accounted for already. It also means that month-end accounting and getting management accounts is super-quick and easy.


Connor: As we close this out, I just have one more question. Where is the best place to find and follow you and the company online? Also, if you have one, is there any special offer that you’ll be offering to the community today? 


Adii: You can find Cogsy at and I’d like to specifically call out our weekly newsletter which is great.

If you’d like to give Cogsy a go today, they are offering 20% off for the first year.

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Connor Gillivan

CMO and Founder of EcomBalance. Founded FreeUp (acquired in 2019). Founder of Outsource School. Published Author. Investor.

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