Damien Tan, chief operating officer, Benjamin Barker Group, shares the steps that his company has taken to grow its e-commerce business.
HAS YOUR BUSINESS VENTURED INTO E-COMMERCE?
Yes, we were e-commerce ready since 2015 when we built our webstore.
WHAT SPURRED YOU TO DO SO?
We had tourists who shopped with us and liked our shirts, and were unable to find shirts that fitted them in their home countries so we had inquiries on a daily basis. It was time-consuming for us as we had to manually process the orders.
We are now able to process online orders and ship internationally. More importantly, we provided an experience that has real value and solved customer's pain points.
HOW HAS YOUR JOURNEY BEEN MARRYING E-COMMERCE AND BRICK AND MORTAR SO FAR?
Financially, the investment still has not been paid off but digitisation is an important strategy for us as we transform our business.
We are almost done with our omni-channel project where we create a seamless and holistic shopping experience for our customers by integrating our online and offline processes.
Customer-focus is the number one priority for us, and if we can choose between making the customer happy by enriching their experience or making a profit, we will always choose the former.
WHAT WERE SOME CHALLENGES THAT YOU HAVE FACED?
The integration of our online store with our inventory, CRM (customer relationship management) and POS (point of sale) systems has been the most challenging.
Secondly, looking for a vendor who would work and journey with us on the project for a fee that we could afford.
DO YOU HAVE FURTHER PLANS FOR E-COMMERCE FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Definitely. We are looking to grow our e-commerce business to account for at least 30 per cent of our business revenue within the next three years.
In the process of building a brand or creating a product, a retailer needs to provide an experience for the customer - be it online or offline - and the experience needs to be MAD (meaningful, authentic and differentiated), especially in a highly competitive industry like fashion.
Interview by Vivien Shiao