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 😉   


Showrooming – ecomm retail jargon in laymen terms

The term showrooming is so common especially with the boom of ecommerce. Showrooming, refers to the act that consumers look for products to buy in the brick and mortar and while in-store or after, go online and look for a cheaper price.

This was exactly what I did today. While waiting impatiently for my friend trying on every pair of pants and shirt in Ted Baker, some dress caught my eyes. A mom with two kids were looking for a dress for an event, according to her words. She picked out about a dozen dresses to try on and this particular Langley dress was one of them. She tried it on and it looked like a mini dress for her and not too flattering. To just fulfill my evil self that I look better in that dress than her, I tried that on.

When I zipped up and looked into the mirror, I was stunned, speechless.


I set myself a trap. I fell in love with that dress! When I checked the price tag, it’s don’t within the price range for my dresses.

So I did what many others did – I went online to check. On, the dress is about 15% cheaper already. The problem is it only shipped to the UK…

So I also did what I usually did – I went on Taobao and checked if they carried that dress. I found many of the nice dresses on Taobao but not the one I love.

And I went one step further – share on social media and sought for staff discount. And tah dah – someone I know has it!


Now, I just need to wait, for my dress to arrive in due time;-)

In-Store Experience Fails – Aldo

Being in marketing and particularly being in retail industry makes me slightly aware of how in-store experience means for customers. 

Today I just experienced a terrible in-store service in the Aldo store, in Langham Place, Hong Kong.

I fell in love these shoes by walking up the escalators 2 – 3 times a week on my way up to 7am Yoga. The advertising visual intrigued me. So finally, I made up my mind to go to the store when it’s actually open (it’s closed before 7am every time i walked by).



When I went into the store. It was slightly packed with about 8 patrons around, a few tourists from mainland of course.  I walked in. No one greeted me. I needed to approach to the sales assistant to seek help. I asked her nicely if could try on the advertising model at size 36. Her face went blank for a split second and she replied. Sorry, it’s not available in store. So i was like, “what’s the style number of the shoes?” She went “We don’t have this style.” I went “Could I have the item number so it’s easier for me to check online? Or could you check if the shoes are available in other stores in Hong Kong?” And then the colleague of hers came in ” No, we can’t check the availability of other stores in Hong Kong. And we can’t check for you online either.” Really????

They just couldn’t wait to shovel me out of the store. So frustrating.

Here’s my take on how they failed a big time

Sin 1: Not carrying the advertising style in store!!!!! How can you not carry it? If it’s sold out, let customers know.

Sin 2: No greeting to customers when they come in store

Sin 3: Not pro-actively trying to approach a customers to help (I needed to get her attention and asked for help)

Sin 4: Not knowing the products that was in the advertisement. They didn’t even know the sku (item number) not even trying to get it for a customers upon request

Sin 5: Missed the cross-selling opportunity a big time. When a customer walks in your store and asked for a style, he/she must be very interested and is in the mood of purchase. If the product she/he’s interested in is not available, recommend a similar style!!! As simple as that!

Sin 6: The unhelpfulness of the sales assistant is totally a big turn off. I’m not going to the Aldo store any more. Once a lost customer, always a loss.

To the great contrary, I received a totally different treatment in Venilla Suite.

1. I was greeted with warm welcome

2. The sales assistant offered me help without me asking

3. When I tried on the shoes and found it a bit tight and deciding on whether or not to go a size bigger. The sales person offered advice that the length of the shoes fitted me but it’s just the front part is tight which can be larger by a procedure that should take 3-4 minutes.

4. While I was waiting for my shoes, the sales told me about the discount that if I buy two items at the same time I would enjoy 15% discount on both items.

5. I asked for another shoes in my size to try on. The sales came back with 3 different shoes that are similar in style. He also told me the features of the shoes, one was made of super soft leather and he showed me by folding the shoes in front of me and the second one, the explained the design details and backed with a trend.

6. He also mentioned the membership and told me the benefits.

What I bought instead?


Seriously, that makes the difference! The in-store experience can be very much boosted up by proper training and appropriate incentive programs. 

I still can’t find the Aldo shoes I want with a few different search queries on Google. 

Where would I buy my shoes again? Not Aldo, at least not in store.