'We had a completely different business overnight': Agility in the time of COVID-19

'We had a completely different business overnight': Agility in the time of COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to take its toll on businesses across the globe, many companies have had to completely rethink their business models to adapt to a new and unpredictable economic landscape.

One such company demonstrating innovation and resilience during this time is Queensland-based gym equipment company, VERVE Fitness.

"Currently there’s very much a lockdown in Queensland. The state borders are closed, and you can even get a fine for leaving the house without good reason, but our company is fully operational by taking orders online and delivering via couriers," explains Niall Wogan, Manager at VERVE Fitness.

With their showroom in Nerang temporarily closed, the company has adapted by moving their business wholly online.

The introduction of social distancing measures in Australia has led to the temporary closure of public gyms, and many are keeping active by working out at home. As a result, the team quickly had to adapt to cope with a large influx of online orders for gym equipment.

"The night the government announced the gyms were closed, the level of orders went through the roof," Niall says. "The biggest challenge we faced was that overnight, we had to adapt our systems to a new model. We had a completely different business overnight."

"We’ve had to enlarge the team very quickly. It was bordering on stressful for the first few days as there was a tidal wave of orders; if you can imagine thirty times your workload and hundreds of customers seeking a response. We had to decide that we could no longer answer the phone lines as we had to focus on dispatching the orders, so we instead moved to web chat."

With twelve people now on the team, the company is in the fortunate position of being able to continue trading internationally.

As they manufacture their equipment in Asia, VERVE Fitness uses CurrencyFair to access low-margin FX rates to pay overseas invoices.

"CurrencyFair is the only method we use for making payments to suppliers based overseas.

"We save a huge amount, and every 1% makes a big difference on the volume we’re doing. We no longer do any foreign currency exchange with a bank."


As for the road ahead? Despite the current economic climate, 2020 will be a big year for VERVE Fitness.

"We’re focusing on strengthening our foundations, building our systems, and building a really strong team because we’re beginning to get more and more international inquiries. I love seeing customers delighted with their new gear. We are the highest-rated fitness supplier in Australia and we work really hard to make all of our customers happy," Niall says.
 

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