LOCAD’s automated fulfillment solution allowed Manila Athletica to deliver orders faster and provide an amazing customer experience.
- 40% increase in positive customer comments since switching to LOCAD
- 3x faster delivery with fulfillment by LOCAD
- 300% expected growth in inventory and product offering with LOCAD
About Manila Athletica
Manila Athletica is a nationwide online fitness and gym equipment retailer. The brand’s philosophy is fostering a culture of fitness – as a journey – that is inclusive. From kettlebells and dumbbells to booty bands and skip ropes, Manila Athletica provides premium and high-quality fitness tools and equipment that caters to the workout needs of everyone, regardless of gender, identity, or level of endurance.
For founder and owner Aencille Santos, Manila Athletica is the combination of her passions and livelihood. “I researched, researched, and researched,” she recalled the time when she was deciding what type of business she wanted to set up after leaving her full-time job. “I stumbled upon an Amazon consumer report [showing] that one of the top 10 things consumers [buy] in the pandemic is fitness equipment.” And with years of experience doing CrossFit, she knew it would be the best way to pair her interest in health with her business knowledge.
“My decision [to start Manila Athletica] wasn’t a eureka moment or a light bulb moment that the big screens show,” said Aencille. “It’s a meticulous process of researching and evaluating what business to pursue.”
The key to customer happiness is faster delivery
“We place the highest value in our consumer feedback to give them what they need, whatever situation or fitness level they are in,” explained Aencille. When picking, packing, and shipping out every single order was still a one-woman job, Aencille experienced customer reviews falling short of a five-star rating solely because delivery took longer than expected.
In the age where next-day delivery is now the standard, customer expectation for faster delivery and shipping is growing.
“On a micro-scale, everything is manageable—marketing, advertising, order fulfillment, sourcing,” she said. But when Manila Athletica started to grow and more orders came in, managing both her time, manpower, and energy to stay on top of every part of her business became an obstacle to scaling her business. “There were times that the quality of my fulfillment and marketing were compromised, hence affecting my sales,” she shared.
Aencille realized that in order to achieve the goals she had set for her business in terms of growing her product line and offerings, she had to look for a partner that could fulfill her orders for her.
Since delegating her e-Commerce fulfillment to LOCAD, Aencille has seen a significant 40% increase in high-rating customer feedback mentioning fast delivery as a key point to their positive shopping experience. Now, she is able to make and keep promises to her customers on fast and reliable delivery.
Fulfillment unlocks new opportunities
“Manually fulfilling orders on top of the executive decision making, maintaining good customer service, and marketing is highly demanding,” said Aencille, adding: “And ensuring the accuracy of all orders is difficult.”
In spite of the challenges of fulfilling orders on her own, she confessed to some hesitation on her part to entrust logistics to a fulfillment partner. Before enlisting the fulfillment services of LOCAD, she considered building her own in-house logistics team but she was uncertain if she had the bandwidth and time to invest in hiring, training, and managing people. “As someone who transitioned from being an employee to [a] business owner, it’s difficult to shake off the habit of doing everything yourself.” But for Aencille, the benefits outweigh the risks. She recalled spending her days from 10am to 12 midnight and only being able to pack a maximum of 50-80 orders. “That’s not really sustainable especially when I have a goal of increasing my orders and volume and doing that by myself is impossible.”
She knew that shifting the time and energy she spent on packing orders towards business strategy could help her set and achieve long-term goals that could help her grow her business. From running every division of Manila Athletica herself from the time she woke up to the moment she went to bed, she decided that outsourcing fulfillment was a strategic decision necessary to scaling her brand and company.
Now, with LOCAD handling her end-to-end fulfillment service, she felt it was the best time to continue the expansion of her business.
“We no longer need to worry about the order fulfillment aspect as LOCAD has it covered,” said Aencille. “It’s just been two weeks since I started but the bulk of the 10.10 sales fulfillment [has] been lifted off my shoulders.”
Manila Athletica’s bestsellers include jump ropes, resistance bands, and exercise mats, which she classifies as affordable entry-level fitness equipment. With more time to think and plan ahead, she is sourcing out new items to introduce to her customers and working on exponentially increasing her store inventory for 2021.
Aencille describes her relationship with LOCAD as worry-free. “I took the jump [to work with LOCAD] and I believe I’ve made a good decision,” she said. Comparing LOCAD with other service providers, Aencille shares that it was LOCAD’s “impressive system, organized processes, and quality customer service” that assured her of her choice. “[LOCAD’s] company values and principles align with Manila Athletica’s,” she said. “Not to mention, the [LOCAD] team assigned to me [is] responsive, helpful, and addresses my concerns as a solo business owner.”
In her experience, she said that it was easy to gain confidence in LOCAD’s ability as she underscored how she received a response from LOCAD’s team within 12 hours of her inquiry. “[From then], I feel I was assured that they were going to take care of my brand, on top of how the rates were more than reasonable.”
Aencille highlights the LOCAD dashboard as the major game changer for her business. Instead of back-and-forth emails with a point person to monitor her data and analytics, she is happy to be able to check, track, and see the status of her sales targets and inventory health whenever she wants. “It’s easy to see – in a snapshot – what category to focus on,” she explained. The real-time data and information presented on the LOCAD dashboard help her make informed decisions on what campaigns to run, which items should be put on sale, what products are doing well and what are not. “In less than 5 minutes, I can decide on what to do for next month or next year,” said Aencille.
A marketer by profession, Aencille identifies that the biggest benefit of switching to LOCAD is being able to work on what she is passionate about.
“With the mental load and burden of fulfillment out of the way, I can come back to learning more about marketing and creativity and peace of mind as well,” said Aencille. “My team and I can focus on branding and marketing, and have zero worries that the order fulfillment c/o LOCAD will be secured despite the holiday peak season.”