In collaboration with eTail Asia 2022, Asia technology thread had the pleasure of interviewing Joan Yeoh, Country Director of Love Bonito. Together we discussed omnichannel experiences, trends, new technologies and future plans.
About two decades ago, e-commerce was still in its infancy. While there were already brands building their online presence, many consumers still preferred offline shopping. However, as technology continued to improve, so did e-commerce.
Realizing the endless opportunities of e-commerce, brands soon expanded their digital presence, delivering greater savings to consumers. One such brand was Love, Bonito. What started in 2005 as a blog marketplace for pre-loved clothes has quickly grown into one of the largest fashion retailers in Southeast Asia.
In fact, the digital fashion industry has evolved tremendously in recent years as technology has enabled companies to meet specific customer needs. Today, fashion apps and websites for ecommerce offer consumers a seamless experience, from the moment they open the app to receive the product.
For brands like Love, Bonito, technological innovation in e-Commerce has enabled them to expand their businesses and be the largest direct-to-consumer womenswear brand in Southeast Asia. Love, Bonito also recently has $ 50 million for his Series C financing, led by global investment firm Primavera Capital Group with participation of Adastria and Odine Capital.
With a dominant presence in Southeast Asia, the brand is looking to expand into key markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines and the United States. This includes plans to increase omnichannel offerings in these markets, with plans to open brick-and-mortar stores in Japan and Hong Kong.
Fashion needs an omnichannel experience
Part of the brand’s success is its ability to provide consumers with a seamless experience on their platform. Love, Bonito continues to invest in emerging technologies and is now focused on perfecting the omnichannel experience for its customers.
“Omnichannel is no longer just about having a separate online and offline channel for different customer segments. We believe the future of retail is not just online or offline, but an integration of both. Customers don’t just expect convenience, they also seek connection and being part of a community, ”said Joan Yeoh, Love’s Country Director, Bonito.
For Yeoh, the fashion industry is quite different than other industries as some customers still prefer physical stores to try on and try on new clothes. As such, he believes that while brands look to ecommerce, physical and social touchpoints shouldn’t be overlooked.
At the same time, the brand also recognizes the importance of an in-store experience in e-Commerce for customers who may not be able to reach the stores. For example, Love, Bonito streams live on its social media pages to help give customers a better idea of what clothes look like when tried on on real, on-the-go women.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the brand was able to leverage its omnichannel experience by moving from offline to online due to blockages.
“What we did then was rethink omnichannel efforts to put more emphasis on online as there were uncertainties about motion control measures,” commented Yeoh.
The pandemic has also brought new trends that have evolved customer needs, for example, as more people work from home, this has resulted in less demand for workwear, and instead, women have started looking for comfortable but presentable clothing. for virtual meetings at home. Yeoh added that the brand has focused on designing comfort garments such as its Staples and Loungewear line to meet demand. In addition, the fashion retailer continually optimizes to replicate the benefits of physical online stores, for example by organizing virtual styling sessions.
Emerging data and technologies at Love, Bonito
When it comes to understanding customer wants and needs, data is critical to any organization. Most companies today use customer data for predictive analytics.
“I love the way we combine art and science in our projects. We have a team of talented designers and seamstresses who work tirelessly to create our garments and our in-house prints, and I personally think they are works of art! commented Yeoh.
According to Yeoh, Love’s in-house data team, Bonito tracks and monitors over 100 product attributes per SKU, allowing them to understand what makes a design a winner and how to replicate it, as well as get important lower-performing results. Designers work with the data team to interpret the collected data and turn it into actionable customer information that drives the design process.
“This synergy between design and data science is something we at Love, Bonito are very proud of. By combining data and machine learning, we are also able to predict demand based on design and predict the number of parts to produce. This helps us make sure we don’t overproduce from the start and reduce waste, ”added Yeoh.
Fondly, Bonito also uses its data science and artificial intelligence to create greater personalization based on customers’ shopping habits to predict and recommend the most suitable apparel for them. The company hopes to integrate both online and in-store experiences to create a more comprehensive omnichannel strategy.
Although Love, Bonito has been successful, the ecommerce industry can be quite competitive. Today, there are a plethora of brands competing to offer customers not only the best product, but also the best omnichannel shopping experience for them. At the same time, retail fashion stores are also trying to remain relevant in the industry despite the challenges they have faced over the past couple of years.
For Yeoh, one-way retail fashion stores can compete with online stores by implementing omnichannel strategies and technologies that support it. This could range from having an ecommerce website and stocking in ecommerce markets to live selling on social media. He believes that the most important thing is to be able to reach where customers are most effective and to provide more points of contact to interact with them.
“Of course, I still believe that the human connection cannot be completely replaced by technology, and this is something that retail stores can triumph at. Whether you are in e-commerce or have a physical store, customers are more demanding. than ever and they look for brands whose ethos resonates with them. As such, it is important to convey the brand’s mission and values to customers and carry them forward through your products and initiatives. For Love, Bonito, who is empowering the Asian woman every day to have confidence in themselves at every stage of their life. This helps to build customer loyalty and to love the brand, “commented Yeoh.
Yeoh will share more on how Love, Bonito innovates and expands its brand to become a global womenswear brand for the everyday Asian woman at eTail Asia 2022. It will also share how the brand harnesses the right technology and the right people in the whole company to do so.
“Leveraging data science and improving the customer experience is on my list of topics that I keep an eye on at eTail Asia 2022. I look forward to hearing thought leaders in different industries sharing important ecommerce topics. and marketing all in one place: I can’t wait to get more information from other leaders during my session and during the summit! said Yeoh.