Standing out in the retail fashion industry with Love, Bonito
Heads up shopaholics! Love, Bonito, a name most women are familiar with in the fashion scene gives us an exclusive interview on the success of its eCommerce business in the times of transformative digitalization.
Let’s meet Isabelle Zhou, Head of Marketing, Jane Leong, Head of Data and Charmaine Chua, Head of Product.
Like all businesses, Love, Bonito too has an organizational structure in its operations, helping each department to focus their collective energy in reaching its main aim.
Could you tell me more about your role in Love, Bonito?
Isabella: I am responsible for developing the overall marketing strategy across digital and retail touch points in Singapore and internationally, and it has been very exciting to be at the front-seat throughout this exhilarating expansion phase.
Jane: I am responsible for crafting the company’s data strategy. Together with my team of data analysts and data engineers, we drive growth and efficiency in our organization by providing actionable insights and automation.
Charmaine: I am responsible for driving the company’s product strategy to provide the best and most thoughtful digital & omni experience for the modern female shopper. Since joining in 2018, I’ve been growing the Product and Engineering teams and both teams have been preparing a long overdue digital surprise for our customers.
The trend of online shopping caters to a customers desire to shop whenever and wherever they want, redefining the experience with a few simple clicks, promoting on demand satisfaction. By effectively integrating technology, user experience can be escalated, making the entire process more smooth and convenient.
Although eCommerce is a game changer in the retail fashion industry, brick and motor stores aren’t going to dissipate in the near future.
While many think retail is dead, why did Love, Bonito venture into a physical store?
Team LB: After a couple of years of toying with pop-up stores in the region, we saw real value in having a strong omni-channel strategy. Despite the exponential growth of e-commerce, traditional brick-and-mortar still makes up for a huge portion of the retail pie as consumers still prefer having the ability to touch, feel and try - particularly relevant in the fashion space.
A physical store is a place for us to interact with our customers. Love, Bonito is not just a brand focused on creating high quality products at affordable prices but also a brand which strongly believes in and working on creating a tight-knit community of women through style.
Indeed with a physical presence, Love, Bonito is able to have a more “intimate” experience with its customers and understand them better. In addition, building a strong brand presence which is authentic, functional and relatable has led to long lasting relationships with customers and a positive affinity towards the brand.
However with a whole influx of new businesses popping up, and a heavily saturated market, one has to stand out from the crowd.
What are the different touch points which make Love, Bonito stand out?
Team LB: Social media - we have a super-engaged community who shares their feedback and little wins in life regularly. It is a platform to bring us and our customers together to have conversations and build relationships rather than a selling channel.
The opportunities for social media and eCommerce to interact with and bolster each other are innumerable, and Love, Bonito has been going towards where the customers are.
What Is The Key To Building Such Strong Connections?
Team LB: Stay authentic! We’re a retail brand growing at an exceptional pace without losing our core identity. We do mean it when we say that we are building a brand that’s created by real women, for real women - and this means not just with our customers, but also with our people. We are passionate about what we do and we truly care for our customers. Our business is not just about generating revenue because we are more interested in converting our customers into brand advocates.
The quality of these relationships hinges on a handful of key elements which are of paramount importance. Not just in terms of customer acquisition, but user engagement and ultimately driving sales.
As an avid shopper, I’d want the stores to be something different, unique and a bit more fun, where i go in and it’s just a slightly different experience from my usual store visits.
With bountiful opportunities in the market, personalizing and localizing the interaction with customers could be an interesting approach for growth and change.
X factor of the in store experience?
Team LB: It’s the overall experience! We have introduced multiple human touch-points throughout the entire shopping journey: from 1-on-1 stylists to help our customers pick out the most suitable outfits, to alteration services to provide our customers with the perfect fit, we have numerous styling workshops and panels dedicated to celebrating each life journey with our customers. It’s our dedication to build a safe space for sharing, discovery and empowerment.
What’s in store for Love, Bonito?
Team LB: We are always looking to do better for our customers. We have introduced modular fitting rooms in store for shoppers who love trying on outfits with their girlfriends. For our new retail space in Jem, a communal zone has been carved out for further interaction with the customers, serving a dual-function as a space of rest and recalibration for tired shoppers, and an added avenue for us to present their community with a behind-the-scenes look at how different collections are conceptualized and birthed.
Having visited the store in its opening week, I got to admit the communal zone proved to be a hot favourite for the husbands/boyfriends waiting for their better halves to shop and seek their opinions, being strategically placed outside the fitting room. No wonder it’s always crowded!
As with any other interviews, there is no end to speak of. While Love, Bonito continues to dominate the local fashion scene, expanding into new markets and improving their online presence, we get to know these crafty individuals a little more (personally)
Who do you look up to in the business industry?
Isabella: Elon Musk - I’m very inspired by how he can connect dots among things which don’t look like have any correlation at all. That’s where he started all those innovative projects and crazy ideas from! He definitely inspired me to dream big and be adventurous.
Jane: Ingvar Kamprad - the founder of IKEA. He began selling matches to his neighbours when he was just 5 years old, founded IKEA at 17 and worked until the end of his life (he didn’t step down from his board until age 87). He was stubborn, hard-working, frugal and stayed true to his mission throughout the journey.
Charmaine: Whitney Wolfe - the founder of Bumble, an American dating app. I love her story because she not only stood up to hold Tinder (her past employer) accountable for sexual harassment, but then even founded a competitor to challenge outdated heterosexual norms by giving women the control to make the first move. Really inspiring to see female role models succeed in the tech industry!
What are your hobbies?
Isabella: I love photography and do a bit of mini shooting on my own. Not professional at all but I enjoy discovering the world from different perspectives that you might have ignored before.
Jane: I love watching documentaries - it’s fun, interesting and a great way to gain insight into a new subject area which I otherwise would have very limited exposure to.
Charmaine: Reading lots of fiction to take my brain on a holiday!
Word of advice for women entrepreneurs?
Isabella: Always be grateful and remember you how far you have gone, set milestones for yourself and the team to celebrate.
Jane: Make sure your purpose and vision is clear and remind yourself of it everyday. Are you spending time on things that will bring you closer to that purpose and vision?
Charmaine: Pay lots of attention to culture and fit when building your team - they’ll determine how amazing the best days can be and how bearable the tough times are :)
Come join us this 5-7 March at Sheraton Towers, Singapore for eTail Asia
Please download the agenda today for more information and insights.