Thai Fashion e-Commerce Site Eyes Singapore ‘Offline’ Store
Pomelo Fashion, the Bangkok-based fashion e-commerce site that counts JD.com as an investor, is looking to open its first micro-retail store in Singapore as it seeks to expand its online-to-offline business model in Southeast Asia.
The company, started by former Lazada Thailand managing director David Jou, positions itself as a digitally native fashion brand that is vertically integrated – that is, it works with manufacturing partners and handles its own sourcing of materials to design to retailing.
Pomelo is betting that by enabling shoppers to narrow down their choices online and then sending the chosen pieces to physical retail stores for trying on for fit, it is able to marry the convenience of online commerce and offline service.
The company is also able to rent smaller spaces at prime shopping districts with high traffic to make it convenient for its customers to try on the pieces they have selected online. This type of business model can also significantly cut down on the number of returns.
“Discovery for fashion is going online, where you’re not constrained by having to display the entire catalogue,” David Jou, Pomelo co-founder and CEO, said in an interview last week in Bangkok.
“But e-commerce for fashion is plagued by the problem of returns because the clothes don’t fit or they don’t look good. Having the online-to-offline model cuts down returns because the consumer only buys what they have tried on.”
Pomelo is part of the wave of companies promoting the so-called online-to-offline commerce, a business strategy to increase the conversion from browsing to buying by blurring the line between online and physical retail.
Customers can be drawn from online channels to make purchases in physical stores, or complete their buying online after checking out an item in a bricks-and-mortar space.
JD, the Chinese e-commerce operator, led a US$19 million investment round last year into Pomelo, which also counts investors like 500 Startups, Hong Leong Group and Jungle Ventures.
Source : South China Morning Post