Happy leap day 

For some reason, i do feel today is more romantic than any other day of the year. Happy 2.29!

  

Things I learnt through selling my old clothes online (O2O)

It looks harder than you think. Much hard.

The story started when I had an over flowing wardrobe and my friend told me there’s a Facebook group that allows people to sell old clothes in our neighbourhood. So I signed up for that and finally took the time to take the photos of my clothes and made it look slightly better. To be exact, it wasn’t exactly online transaction, it’s more omnichannel online to offline (O2O). 

I didn’t plan well at all. Period!

Let’s break it down by 4Ps – Marketing 101.

Product – the things people sold were of all sorts, from designer bags, clothing, assesories to cosmetics. One thing I did notice is that most people only sold less than 10 items at a time. Or they would have an open house, taking photos of their clothing rack. -> I thought mine would look so much better if I take individual photos especially with a bit of styling too. (Now I know, it’s hard to be a Taobao shop owner)

Price – Some were selling claim-to-be authentic Prada for HK$2,000 (Not bad of a bargain if it’s real). But for most of the clothing items, it’s about $10-$300. Mostly, below $100 I would say. -> So I had a vague idea of how i should price my clothes. $10-$250 for casual clothing to designer night gowns. (Not too bad as a deal).

People – Here, I meant the members of the group. This group consists of both the house-wives (usually expat or foreign Chinese), working ladies like myself and domestic helpers. -> Not be a racists but my target audience should be small-frame Asians who look for a bargain.

Promotion – I saw bundled offers (all for $100 deal) but those products looked bad. -> So GWP (Gift with Purchase) seems a good idea given I have many old greeting cards and many untouched scarfs.

Before I actually started – the whole thing seems such a well-planned idea. I will have my wardrobe space and some cash. Well, things weren’t as easy as I thought:

Here’s what I learn:

1. Products

My dresses are nice but taking individual photos and styling them took time! It took up my whole morning and I was phsycially and mentally exhausted after taking 32 photos (I didn’t manage to take all). So feeling accomplised, I uploaded the dressesd directly and mentioned an open-house, at the afternoon the coming Sunday. (Which was also ignorant of me to consider my target audience). I also put up a few more with the pricing on and I also put another two boxes up with unified pricing ($20 and $10)

Also, with that size of assortment, I was not able to handle the customer service effectively.

2. Pricing –

The Native me thought I could handle all the enquiries later and price precisely better. The sad truth is, I put $10-250. and

a. I ended up with overwhelming responses asking me how much is a certain dress

b. I price the dresses differently and it’s extremely difficult for me to remember how I priced them and I was not as organised so I only put down the prices beneath each photos much later. Due to the arbituary pricing, I ended up spending another hour putting the stickers on the clothes individually and re-arranging my dresses according to its price.

c. Reservation is not a thing. I just couldn’t keep track of all the requests. So I ended up cancelling the reservation service I thought I could offer.

3. People

Well, many people said they could come or asked for a different time (unfortunately, I picked the wrong weekend. I was very busy that weekend too).

Most of the members who were interested in the dresses were domestic helpers. I did these wrong:

– Timing: I didn’t consider rescheduling my time-slot. Sunday is their day-off. Most of them would have made plans to go in town to meet their friends or go to church. Setting it in the afternoon was very unconvinent of them.

– Pricing: back to pricing again. Many of them are of lower income. They won’t be willing to buy second-hand clothes over $50. $20-$50 should be the sweet spot.

Out of the 30 something requests, only 2 people actually turned up. Good that I had 100% sell-through. I also managed to cross-sell a couple items. 

4. Promotion – 

The free greeting  cards I put on my post weren’t exactly a traffic driver. No one actually liked it. But I gave it to my second customer and she gladly accepted. These cards are nice and I hope they will make someone’s day.

OK, I wasted quite a bit of time setting up the open-house and waiting for people to come. I prisoned myself on a beautiful sunshiney day while I could totally be out at the beach roasting myself.  Consider what I made and compare to my normal hourly wage, it was not a good investment of my time.

What I will do differently next time?

1. Narrow the assortment down. 5 items tops so that once it’s sold. It’s gone. No open-house needed.

2. Lower my prices and offer unified pricing. $50 each, $100 each, $150 each for each batch. Cross selling is a good idea but it also needs manpower to back it up.

3. Open-house is not a good idea unless you are moving out of the place. It’s too hard to manage and too much preparation.

4. Timing! Posts on this group got sunk down pretty quickly. Your stock should be cleared before your post is down to the second page.

5. Model shots helps conversion. I show my Instagram photos with my #adressaday project and my customers were impressed and they were more willing to buy know how great it’ll look.

Well, it’s a valueable lesson. I’d never know if I never tried. It does take a lot to be a good enterprenuer.

One very wise man once said, the secret recipe for retail success is simple: 

Connect   Engage  Convert

I connected my potential customers on the Facebook group, I engaged with them through enquiry and the interaction while at the point of sale, last but not least, I had 100% sell-through – Convert!!!

Now, it’s time for a bath and unwind.

Meet Zalora’s Popup Store – an O2O Story in Hong Kong

O2O has been such a buzz word that you can apply to the same high school sex metaphor again. 

O2O is like high school sex. Everyone talks about it; few actually did it; for who who did it, they have no idea what they are doing. 

Just fill in the first subject to something new and exciting. You get the idea. 

O2O becomes such a buzz word to a level that even in a local Personal Loan TVC, this very word was used in the ad copy. (Something like we offer you the O2O option. You can apply the loan online and go pick up the money at the branch). The first time I heard that. The first thing popped to my kind was “marketers are you target audience for the ad? So marketers tend to over spend on their credit card and need help?” Or the copywriter was too immersed into the buzz word and thought everyone understand what O2O stands for. (Sorry, completely irrelevant. I’m still yet to find out the answer yet)

O2O (online to offline and offline to online) is to use marketing means to bring online traffic to offline stores and vice versa. (At least, it’s my definition). 

Back to Zalora, Zalora is one of the major vertical fashion online retailers in South East Asia. The popup store is more of a showroom for customers to try on and experience the product/sample firsthand and but online through their app or their website. The products will ship to you. 

The store is located at Windsor House, Causeway Bay. It took us something to find it as we were under the impression that it was more like a roadshow but it was indeed a store.

First glance – 

 
The store is decorated with a post- Morden minimalist industrial style, with open display of products that encourages interaction – picking up, touching it or trying it on.

Wifi is there – thank god. That the most basic need in the new age Marslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

  
What’s so special about it?

There are Samsung tablets (you can shop directly from the app installed on the stanley) and a mac book attached to a bar code scanner (you can be your own shop assistant , scanning the bar code on the price tag yourself) for you ease to shop.  – you get 20% off if you download the app on your android and key in the promo code(not sure if it works on iOS too)

 
 
What’s my favourite part? The QR code on the price tag. Open up the Zalora app (it took about 1-2 minutes to actually load it – Not Cool) and scan the QR code. The item would be automatically added to your cart.

So I tried an item on for the sizing  – yes I’m a size 8 

Scan the QR code 

  
It’s in my shopping cart (or bag)

 
I’m yet to check out though. 

My colleague went back to the store after work. Apparently, it was one of the busiest stores in the mall. 4 of the 5 items were already sold out.  If you have HSBC credit card, you get 28% on selected items. I hope they replenish soon or they are missing out a huge opportunity. (Actually, this is the perfect opportunity for them to acquire customers database  –  leave your contact info, you’ll get a notification with an offer once we restock. Easy as pie).

My take – it’s a good way to get our spoiled Hong Kong shopper to have a taste of online shopping, encourage first time trial, and above all brand awareness building. Sales are a bonus I would say

As a shopper, I’m an advanced online shopper as in I shop everything I wear online; I don’t need further preaching on online shopping. It still felt good to try out the sizing saving me the hassle of returning or exchanging. 

Time to shop 😉   

[Flash of Genius] Tmall Apple Product Launch

Chinese creativity never fails to amaze me.

Today, there’s a top banners on the biggest eCommerce platform in China – Tmall.

On the top purple banner, the Chinese reads “Secret Apple Product launch 2015”.

Tmall Home Page Top Banner on May 6, 2015

Tmall Home Page Top Banner on May 6, 2015

When you click into the banner, you’ll get the idea – A landing page with a typical Apple/Mac look and feel only with Real Apples in the key visual. (See the page here)

Landing Page for Queens Apple - sells actual apple - the fruit.

Landing Page for Queens Apple – sells actual apple – the fruit.

Looks Familiar?

Apple Feature

Apple Feature

Apple Feature

To top it up, they actually mock Apple to the max by creating a product videos completely Apple Style. I seriously love the video and the whole creative idea. (What exactly does a VP of Visibility Reduction do?)

Queens Apple Product Video

Queens Apple Product Video

http://cloud.video.taobao.com/play/u/788020900/e/1/t/1/p/1/25046539.swf

Yes, they are selling real apples from New Zealand.

This is by far, the best apple-mocking campaign I’ve seen (Apart from the whole Xiaomi craze).  Have a laugh and enjoy!

Follow-up:

It didn’t stop there:

Queens Apple and Tmall Internatinal worked with two top celebrities who are currently starring in the celebrities dating reality show “Let’s fall in love” (我们相爱吧)

With their Quotes, which had been hot topic on Weibo since the show aired.

Ren Zhong's Apple Packing with his famous quote

Ren Zhong’s Apple Packing with his famous quote

Shangwenjie  Customized Packaging

Shangwenjie Customized Packaging

Of course, KOLs (Nice adaptation of Coke’s “Share a Coke” – Isn’t the packaging familiar too?

KOL Posts

KOL Posts

They also built up the hashtag/ Topic on Weibo #AppleforReal# (真的是苹果)- It’s less than 48 hours since its debut on Tmall, the topic itself has over 20 million views and 17K Tweets and definitely counting.

What’s more? They have sold out over 30K packages of Apples in less than 2 days before they apples are picked. Isn’t it a marketing miracle?

Sold Out Banjner

Sold Out Banner

Well done, Tmall International! I wonder when international news will pick up the story.

Radical Transparency – Everlane

Quite honestly, I never heard of this name until later in 2014. It caught my eyes on my Facebook feed – the New IT bag in a cheaper price favoured by celebrities (sadly, it was from style.com. I will definitely miss their editorial content). Now I am one proud owner of its Petra bag.

Everlane.com its online store

Everlane.com its online store

Everlane is a strictly web-based fashion & lifestyle brand, launched in 2010, from San Francisco, founded by a fashion outsider. They got instantly famous/popular by telling the ugly truth of the markup of designer apparel’s markup by their infamous Twitter campaign:

Infograph on Designer Brand's Markup

Infograph on Designer Brand’s Markup

Their fascinating story started ever since…

Radical Transparency is of course their Unique Selling Point (USP), providing affordable luxury-quality fashion and lifestyle products.  To top it up, they hired former designer director, Petra Langerova from Gap to lead their product development. (Their best selling bag is called Petra. Could it be a coincidence? Of course, NOT).

Take a look at these:

  • Sales reportedly grew more than 200 percent from 2013 to 2014.
  • At Feb 2015, the waiting list for the Petra bag was 7,500 long.

What’s the secret for success?

1. Transparency about the production and pricing (They never offers discount) – Education too

How Everlane's famous Petra Bag is priced

How Everlane’s famous Petra Bag is priced

2. Quality products at affordable price –

My bag was made in Italy with 100% Italian leather exterior and it was only US$395.The products were made in countries that are expert in manufacturing that line of products.

Screencap from everlane.com

Screencap from everlane.com

3. Stellar Designer – Petra Langerova (PR and relationships with fashionistas follow)

Imagine all the PR story follows and the credibility that was already built for her capability and creatively. (Read more Here)

Photo Credit: Fashionista.com

Photo Credit: Fashionista.com

4. Celebrity seeding and ePR

That’s what caught my attention first. Both Angelina Jolie and Olivia Munn were carrying a bag below US$400.

Screencap from the style.com article

Screencap from the style.com article

5. Pushed their messages of non-elitist fashion for the people with social

Hey, fashion can be for everybody. Own your luxury quality fashion item and look good. That appeals not only to the fashionables but average Jill like me.

6. Break Rules and operated like a tech company

Quoting style.com “The starting point for Everlane might have been fashion, but it was fierce social media know-how and a well-executed digital strategy that have quickly brought it to the forefront. Through Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, et al., Preysman and his team pushed their messages of non-elitist fashion for the people and transparency about the production and pricing. Both themes hit the nail on the head, tapping into two major consumer trends. ” (Read more Here). Having your t shirt delivered faster than a pizza, woot, I will sign up for it!

Here’s my route to my first Petra:

I Love my Petra Bag

My Little Journey to my first Everlane Petra Magazine Tote

While, I’m loving my bag and carrying it everyday possible, I showed the idea to a friend who’s been in luxury for a while. His first impression was nice concept but I can get my Uniqlo for similar quality for a fraction of its price. – Brutally honest but definitely true. My bag is priced right to me though ;-p

Daniel Wellington – A Social Media Golden Child

A couple years ago, Daniel Wellington or the word Nato Strap didn’t mean much to any fashionables. Launched in 2011, Daniel Wellington became an international sensation in the fashion watch world with huge social following especially on Instagram. They did it without noticeble investment in traditional paid media (Print, OOH, TV, etc). However, they invested strategically on digital especially on social media, riding on the trend of UGC (User Generated Content. It’s not a new concept. Burberry has done it well with artoftrend.com). The term “Nato”, originally from British Navy, is not widely used in the interchangeable straps watches world.

DW Site

Sleek & Simple Design

 

What’s their key to the great success? Let’s sum them up:

1. Clear and Concise Brand Story

The story began with a friendship across the world. Daniel Wellington is supposed to be a dynamic individual who has a James Bone Flair and wears his Rolex with a Nato Strap.The brand is supposed to be a tribute to the man with the same name. (Seriously, there’s never a photo of Daniel Wellington on the internet. I’m personally doubting the existence of such person.

Quoted directly from Daniel Wellington’s Official Site:

DW /Brand Story

Words Only

2. Clearly defined persona & Target Audience

Persona

Daniel Wellington himself is the ultimate brand ambassador –  gentlemanly and refined, yet completely unpretentious. (According to Fashionbeams.com). Mr Wellington has a colorful personality and a great sense of style.

The design is simple –

  • the Nato Strap
  • the Leather Strap
  • A Watch for all Occasions summed that up

Target Audience:

For the modern style conscious male, but, ‘not just for men”.  (How clever is that!)

Stylish men, but not just for men

3. Well-rounded visual appeal on the right platform – Instagram

Shows how watches can match with different seasons/occasions by the easy change of strap (now everyone knows the NATO strap..) the over 917K fans is a good indicator of its success. It’s definitely thew golden child of Instagram – the visually appealing platforms for the fashionables

Daniel Wellington Has over 710K fans around the world, way more than its Facebook following. The place of all the quality content.

Daniel Wellington Has over 710K fans around the world, way more than its Facebook following. The place of all the quality content.

4. Strong Word of Mouth Network

That’s actually the top secrets of their success. They seeded out thousands of watches to numerous bloggers in different sectors and offered their fans a unique/personalised 15%-20% discount code for their fans to buy the watches directly from DW’s official site (of course, they do free shipping to lower the barrier).

As Shown in their Tmall Flagship Page

As Shown in their Tmall Flagship Page


Benefits of Extensive Bloggers outreach

1. Credibility – they are influencers. They built up their flowering and their own brand. It’s simple endorsement. They don’t need to be all fashion bloggers, as long as they poise a lifestyle followers aspire to.

2. Content – bloggers are content generators. Content is king. This is exactly what bloggers are good at. They create very impressive photos with the watches under the hashtag #DanielWellingtonWatches. With the bloggers and key opinion leaders (KOLs) starting the trend, others follows and a social culture of taking visually appealing image with DW watches is a cool thing to do.

3. Traffic – it’s all about sales at the end of the day. With the personalised discount, bloggers are more willing to direct traffic to DW’s site and encourage their fans to purchase – internet word of mouth.

4. Quality User Generated Content (UGC)

As the led by the fashionables, a social culture of #DanielWellingtonWatches have been formed. Quality UGC is ultimate consumer engagement. #DWpickoftheday offering no incentive but featuring the photos on DW’s official Instagram has been a great way to keep the momentum going for more quality UGC. It’s a symbol of style if your photo is picked. DW won the exposure and also the heart of the consumers – double win.

Featuring quality UGC (User Generated content

Featuring quality UGC (User Generated content

6. Board & Decentralised distribution

DW is sold in over 450 points in APAC and over 35 major online stores. They ranked no. 11 in the top watch brands in terms of sales on 11.11 in 2014. Their first ever store is in LCX Hong Kong. Rumor has it. The sales is impressive as well. As for Tmall, DW does play by Tmall’s rules, offering discount, coupon, 50% off here and there, even for online activation didn’t require such deep discount.

DW's Tmall Flagship

The Key to DW’s success is their smart use of social media and bloggers outreach. Whether or not, the brand is a one time hit or could emerge to an icon in fashion watch is still unknown. They just launched a new watch Dapper. What do you think?

(I did ordered mine online using one of the bloggers’ discount code 😉 Online Shoppaholic ME)