ALOHA knew that they needed to optimize their fulfillment to meet customer expectations for delivery before ramping up their D2C sales efforts. Find out how machine learning and AI showed them exactly where to place their warehouses to improve speed to delivery and generate demand.
Plant-Based for Good
ALOHA is an organic, plant-based protein brand committed to delivering delicious and high quality foods and drinks that can be enjoyed by vegans and carnivores alike. Their products are USDA certified organic, vegan, and non-GMO. As a newly-certified B-Corp, they are dedicated to sustainable practices and to taking care of their employees and their communities. In short, more than just selling great-tasting products, ALOHA is committed to building a business that’s built for good.
In 2019 the company underwent a complete overhaul to take advantage of the growing direct to consumer (D2C) market. Plant-based products had become the fastest growing sector of the food and beverage industry, and ALOHA knew they had to act fast to expand their market share through D2C sales.
ALOHA began plans to redesign their website for ecommerce sales, ramp up their email marketing efforts, and bolster their social media presence. However, they knew that in order to be successful in the ecommerce marketplace, they needed a fulfillment solution that could scale up quickly with their D2C sales channels and meet consumers’ high expectations for ecommerce delivery.
Before the overhaul, they were working from a single distribution center, primarily fulfilling LTL retail orders. Their warehouse would fulfill small parcel D2C orders when necessary, but their operations weren’t optimized to handle small parcel shipments at scale. They couldn’t offer the packout SOP’s necessary to ensure safe delivery or the level of unboxing experience consumers expect from ecommerce orders.
Building Their Network
When ALOHA came to Ware2Go, they knew that a distributed warehouse model would be the best way to reach their customers quickly, but they didn’t have a clear picture of how many warehouses they needed, where those warehouses should be located, or the cost implications of forward stocking inventory. This is a challenge most merchants experience when incorporating additional warehouses into their fulfillment network. The work of analyzing order and shipping history to identify the ideal warehouse locations is typically done by pricey consultants that can take weeks to compile reporting. As a growing brand ready to capitalize on a new market opportunity, ALOHA needed to act quickly to optimize their fulfillment network.
Fortunately, Ware2Go, seeing this need, had built a tool to make getting a full network planning analysis quick and easy for merchants of any size. Using the tool (NetworkVu), ALOHA was able to see where their customers were geographically located and where they should stock inventory in order to serve those customers with 1 to 2-day ground shipping. They also saw bottom line cost implications of distributing their inventory and compared multiple warehouse network scenarios side-by-side. They learned that getting their inventory closer to their end customers not only improved their delivery speed but also saved them money per shipment. By eliminating long-zone shipments, they reduced their final mile delivery costs and increased the profitability of each order. Armed with this information, ALOHA was able to choose the right warehouse locations for their D2C customer base, rather than simply being assigned warehouse’s based on space availability or limitations within the network.
Poised for Growth
Using their network analysis, ALOHA chose a 3-warehouse network that gave them 98% 2-day coverage and 42% 1-day coverage to their growing D2C customer base. And once they began offering 1 and 2-day delivery, they quickly saw that there was another advantage to increased service levels — increased sales. Between the excellent ecommerce shopping experience they built into ALOHA.com and their guaranteed fast shipping, ALOHA grew their D2C sales by over 300% after onboarding with Ware2Go. They ultimately doubled their revenue through the course of 2020 and are already up 300% in 8 the past months of revenue.
NetworkVu enabled ALOHA to make smart decisions about their fulfillment and to build a network that would support their aggressive growth goals. They found that by being strategic with their fulfillment they not only increased their customer satisfaction but were also able to convert new customers with a 1 or 2-day shipping promise. While still serving their vast retail network, they were able to capitalize on a new market opportunity, diversifying their customer base, and future-proofing their business.
Always Be Optimizing
After all of this growth, ALOHA is ready to perform another network analysis to see how their order profiles and customer distribution have changed. With NetworkVu’s self-service portal, they can easily plug in their own data or connect their sales data through a direct integration with Shopify or BigCommerce to generate a full report that will help them identify any new opportunities to reposition their inventory and further optimize their network.
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