It is official – eTail Asia is back for its 8th edition from 3-5 March 2020.
Among the 650+ attendees from Singapore and the surrounding Asia region to bring the future of eCommerce and Digital Marketing to life, 100+ of the most poised speakers in the industry, spanning from Retail, Fashion & Beauty, Marketplaces, Food & Beverage and Consumer Goods, will share their experience on stage.
Among them, Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview Bob Chua, the Founder and CEO of BlinQ Fashion, to ask him about his business and his expectations from the show.
RiA: Luxury and online, are they still two separate worlds?
Bob: We can no longer separate luxury from online, or any brand from digital for that matters in today’s world. We are increasingly seeing a strong convergence between the offline and online worlds, and without a data-driven or digital strategy, a brand or retailer will simply not be able to survive.
We are experiencing that more and more in the developed markets with the shift to eCommerce at such a fast pace, and with markets like China and South Korea driving models such as influencer marketing, social shopping, in-app purchasing, Tik-Tok channels.
The entire retail landscape has been turned on its heads. If you are not embracing technology today, your days are numbered.
RiA: SEA represents a whole new market for luxury. How do you see that evolving?
Bob: SEA is a very exciting and complex region. We are fortunate to have several key ingredients in our favour, such as a very large region, a young and aspiring population, and a very fast growing middle-class.
Obviously, with any emerging region, we also have challenges such as connectivity, logistics, the unbanked consumer, hence for Luxury Marketplaces such as ours, www.blinq.fashion, it is imperative that we build the necessary infrastructure, localisations and links to bridge those gaps.
From an actual demographic and psychographic standpoint however, we are extremely bullish on the economy regionwide.
Asia is now the largest economy by far in terms of GDP per capita, the luxury segment is growing at 12%-14%, and the personal luxury market now stands at $400Bn. For us, it is all about being able to scale our infrastructure, platform and user-base region-wide to ensure we can stay ahead as a market leader in this untapped space.
RiA: Any specific country with more appetite than others?
Bob: For luxury, it is not always the largest markets which matter, but the ones hosting the highest number of affluent ones.
Our focus are markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Brunei, Australia, South Korea and the Middle-East where we have initially focused on as primary markets. However, we are now moving to larger markets which have niches of affluent consumers as well as mass affluent consumers which are starting to buy through our platforms.
We need to understand their buying behavior, offer local luxury brands as well as International, and provide a range of products and prices which get users onto our platform. Once the trust is there, purchases increase as well as their basket size.
RiA: What is your customer profile and how is it different across countries?
Bob: Our typical customer profile is surprisingly equally split by gender, skewed to larger markets such as Indonesia and the Middle-East, and tend to buy an average basket size of $250, which is pretty good. I believe it is still rather early to slice and dice our users, however, we are tracking numerous data-points to understand and serve both our merchant brands on our platform, as well as our end users.
RiA: Online is a big opportunity in SEA, but also a big challenge because of logistics and payment, what is your take on this?
Bob: That is a fair assessment, and one which is totally under-appreciated by many who only see eCommerce firms as an APP or Web Platform.
The reality is that SEA represents a large market, with a very diverse consumer behavior, numerous jurisdictions, payment gateways, tax regimes etc.
We have built our platform to provide a user-experience as seamless as possible to cater the entire end-to-end process from payment to product fulfilment. So far, it is working extremely well.
RiA: Pre-loved luxury goods and sustainability, how is it the split between pre-loved and new on your platform?
Bob: Pre-loved is a very interesting segment in the retail category.
In fact, it is the fastest growing category in retail globally, with a market size estimated to be worth $50bn.
In SEA, pre-loved is not a new thing, however, the way a product is positioned, managed, certified and the fulfilment is planned has a lot to improve.
We have started connecting with buyers and sellers region-wide to organise and position their products through a methodical process which we provide, and the sales have been extremely encouraging.
We are seeing vintage collectors from the US, new pre-loved buyers from SEA, sellers from the Middle East, all leverage our platform to buy and sell in a safe and organised manner.
Looking at some of the more established players in the US like TheRealReal, we think we are onto something very big in this region. It may even overtake our ‘ready to wear’ category very soon.
RiA: Looking forward to hearing from you at eTail Asia, what to expect from your session?
Bob: I am extremely excited about the event. I was there last year, however I am looking forward to sharing my real experience particularly in a very relevant forum to eCommerce, Retail and Luxury this year.
I think it is going to be extremely insightful and hopefully beneficial to all of the delegates during those few days.
RiA: What takeaways are you expecting to get from your peers?
Bob: We are always learning, and with any such event that I participate in, I seem to learn a lot about trends, success and failures, best practices and a whole lot more each time. I am excited about the line-up of speakers this year, and really cannot wait to share as well as learn from everyone else.
Use code RIA20 when registering online here