Locad’s Supply Chain Lab: An Evening of Networking, Insights, and Launching Locad’s Cross Border Services

Table of Contents

Get the latest e-commerce industry news, best practices, and product updates!

Reading Time: 9 minutes

E-commerce networking events are the perfect opportunity to discuss trends, success stories, learnings, and what lies ahead on the horizon. On May 29, 2024, Locad hosted its first-ever event, Supply Chain Lab, in The Gallery in Astbury, Makati City. What followed was a panel discussion where industry experts shared their experience in the Philippines’s e-commerce space and what lies ahead for businesses with ambitions of going global.

Get a round-up of the highlights of the day, surfacing major talking points from industry leaders. Find out why cross-border e-commerce is an opportunity that warrants your attention and how to be ready for this new leg of business expansion.

Stories of starting up, scaling, and winning customers

Today, they are successful and are chasing bigger dreams. Before the glitz and glamour, there are always humble beginnings. Our guest speakers reflected on their journey, the challenges they faced, and how they powered through it. 

Lesson #1: Maneuvering the Big Beauty Wave with a Small Team 

Saipo, a beauty and skincare brand, has taken the Philippines by storm with its lineup of clean, cruelty-free, and vegan products. Founders Isabella Madamba and Ludwig Tayona joined the session to discuss what it took for Saipo to scale with a lean team.

The beauty and personal care category in the Philippines is highly competitive. Locally, emerging brands face high competition that goes up a notch under the low-price subcategories. For Bella and Ludwig, their core differentiator was a great product supported by a great customer experience. In the Philippines, nothing hits the home run, and there is fast shipping and great customer service. 

Saipo found its tribe when the founder decided to experiment with short-form videos on TikTok. Soon, the engagement from the platform led to wider recognition and subsequently brought in more sales. Usually a sign of a thriving business, more sales uncovered some alarming challenges, ones that needed a quick remedy.  

Locad's Supply Chain Lab: An Evening of Networking, Insights, and Launching Locad's Cross Border Services

“We were scared that, oh my god, we have to fulfill a lot of orders. This was our daily struggle during peak sales, essentially capping our growth. Scaling with a small team requires assessing core strengths and weaknesses and finding partners to take care of those non-core activities.”

Isabella and Ludwig realized they were spread too thin. They knew that to scale, they should be directly adding value to the business’s key activities. The founders realized that they were, first and foremost, a skincare company, not a fulfillment company!

After handing off their outbound operations to Locad, they were able to focus on where they could add value –  to create effective, value-for-money skincare products.

Saipo has been able to manage inventory. The brand has successfully achieved healthy fulfillment and customer service metrics.  And customers? Saipo’s quick move to reassess its business operations has paid off. The brand today is on its way to winning more customers, evident from the rising ratings for the brand across all marketplaces. 

TL;DR: Scaling a small team requires: 

  1. Assessing core strengths and weaknesses, 
  1. Finding partners to take care of non-core stuff, 
  1. Leaning into your strengths and investing in areas where you can directly add value.

Lesson #2: Accessibility makes your brand a clear winner

Who wouldn’t prefer a healthy, glowing skin? Well, that’s what DMD Skin Sciences wanted their customers to achieve. With beauty ranking fourth in the e-commerce category that Filipinos spend on, DMD Skin Sciences knew they had a market that they could cater to. They tapped into the demand by making dermatological services and skincare products more accessible. The brand soon began dispatching its products to shoppers with valid prescriptions. What started out regionally soon scaled to meet national demand. During the lockdown, the brand experienced challenges as its patient list grew and was mostly situated outside Metro Manila.

That’s when they needed to act quickly and required a partner who would support fulfilling their order and helping the brand reach its patients. “We outgrew fast. Many were complaining that it was very hard to order from us, and that’s why we had to pivot,” says Ena Louise Quitain, COO of DMD Skin Sciences.

Evaluating different partners, they also had to consider setting up their online stores in top marketplaces simultaneously. That’s when Locad answered their call. And the rest? Well, not only did Locad help handle inventory storage, fulfillment so that the brand could focus their time and effort predominantly on areas of product quality and market efforts.

Locad's Supply Chain Lab: An Evening of Networking, Insights, and Launching Locad's Cross Border Services

So right now, DMD Skin Sciences has 4.9 stars on Shopee Mall and TikTok Shop Mall and positive seller ratings on Lazada. And also for our website, Locad helps us ship our in-house fulfilled products to our patients nationwide, giving more access to patients who don’t have a nearby pharmacy or dermatologist

TL;DR: Catering to nationwide demand needs: 

  1. Increasing accessibility by setting up presence in multiple online store, 
  1. Finding the right logistics and fulfillment partner who aligns with your goals,
  1. Outsourcing logistics to focus on core product vision and market efforts

Lesson #3: Fulfillment – A Quintessential Necessity for Success

A brand like Armada has several D2C businesses in its category. But we look at the incredible journey of Nuprene and Goodies Nutrition. The former is a travel and luggage brand, while the other is a health and wellness brand. Armada has a diverse portfolio, and their goal was for the brands under their label to not just thrive but become a shopper’s favorite. The path to the Filipino shopper’s heart lies in consistently delivering a customer experience. And for a newly launched business like Nuprene and Goodies Nutrition, Armada found its answers through Locad. Why does it matter that a brand like Armada stays committed to customer excellence? Kyle Lasalita, Operations Manager of Armada Brands, spoke to address what it means to deliver exceptional customer experience.

Locad's Supply Chain Lab: An Evening of Networking, Insights, and Launching Locad's Cross Border Services

“There are three reasons why we like working with Locad – Scalability, Expertise and Simplicity. Locad was able to address our fulfillment needs so that we were able to focus on our core skills. A right fulfillment partner by your side can be your unfair competitive advantage.”

Kyle further elaborated that, with Locad, they were able to minimize spends by opting for affordable software that powers their operations. Second, they could access reports and analytical tools that would help in making data driven decisions to  optimize sales and operations. Third, Armada brands had access to expert solutions to make critical decisions like the product lines that sell well, the markets they can enter, and how they could increase customer service.

With Locad, Armada Brands found a fulfillment partner that offers services beyond order delivery. They were able to access metrics that could help them scale their success, fine tune services to improve offerings, and level up sales through excellent customer services. 

TL;DR: Winning customers with consistent experience calls for: 

  1. Investing in affordable solutions that helps you offer competitive pricing, 
  1. Extracting actionable insights for effective decision making,
  1. Simple solutions that can easily integrate with people, tools, and the business

Exploring new horizons that maximizes business success

Locad's Supply Chain Lab: An Evening of Networking, Insights, and Launching Locad's Cross Border Services

As the founders interacted, the event participants were able to gain valuable insights, and how proactive problem solving could help steer the course of a business. It was back to Victoria, who walked the crowd through Locad’s new offering – Cross border trade service for e-commerce businesses.

As e-commerce makes shopping increasingly accessible, businesses today are able to sell to international customers. But, shipping costs, shipping timelines, returns management can cause shoppers to abandon their carts even before check-out. But businesses don’t have to sell to shoppers across the borders this way. Not anymore. With Locad’s Cross Border service, brands can tap into Locad’s presence across Southeast Asia to store inventory and fulfill orders. With Locad’s scalable solutions and network of warehouses, e-commerce businesses can expand into newer markets without heavy capital investments.

In terms of e-commerce market in APAC, it’s a 22 trillion USD valuation. We’re still a very small speck in that market. What this tells us, really, is that the potential for that growth in these markets is really there.

That the typical consumer will not just go to a brand, they will want to compare their choice. So in this case, an international brand is competing with regional players. And most times, it always comes down to shoppers being able to get the best deal with affordable shipping delivered as quickly as possible.

And that’s where businesses can gain the upper edge by selling like a local from where they are.

Locad’s Cross Border Service offers businesses all the support they require to set their brand to win in the new market. Businesses get a team with trade service expertise to counsel them on tax, product registration, marketplaces, custom clearance, IoR and SoR services, product licensing, and freight options. With Locad’s Crossborder services, businesses can tap into premium markets across the APAC region, the US, and the Middle East to go global and take their business to new heights.

Experience fulfillment by LOCAD

Grow your business through Locad’s simplified and automated fulfillment solution

  • Unlimited and scaleable warehousing
  • Pay only for what you store
  • No hidden fees or lock-in periods
  • Zero inbound costs
  • Wide integration with marketplaces
  • Automated logistics and delivery
Get the latest e-commerce industry news, best practices, and product updates!

Don't miss out on the latest news!

Get the latest industry news, best practices, and product updates!

Exclusive benefits to ace your e-commerce game this 2023 with Locad’s desk calendar!