Pomelo banking on omnichannel tack

Pomelo banking on omnichannel tack

Thailand-based fashion tech startup Pomelo is gearing up to open shops in Indonesia and Malaysia and add stores in Thailand and Singapore to reach new customers in line with its omnichannel strategy.

In September of last year, Pomelo secured US$52 million in funding from various investors, including Central Group, making it the first Thai startup to raise Series C funding.

"Having an offline presence gives us the added benefit of reaching people who prefer traditional offline retail experiences and introducing them to our online platform," Pomelo chief executive and co-founder David Jou told the Bangkok Post.

Pomelo's first store in Indonesia is slated for Jakarta this November. The shop in Malaysia will be unveiled in the first quarter of next year.

In Thailand, Pomelo opened two shops at Terminal 21 Asok mall and the Mall Ngamwongwan in August. It plans to launch another three in the next two months at Megabangna, Siam Center and Fashion Island.

The startup aims to have 20 stores in Thailand by year-end.

Pomelo also plans to open a second store in Singapore in November.

Mr Jou said Pomelo's success lies in its unique omnichannel "Tap, Try, Buy" strategy, whereby users order items online through the Pomelo app or website, try on their chosen items at a selected store and pay for the ones they want to buy.

Users can explore a variety of fashion products online but can touch, feel and try products offline, he said.

When the shop in Indonesia opens in November, there will be more than 110 try-on spots, including nearly 20 stores covering Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.

"We've seen a large uplift in Tap, Try, Buy in Thailand and Singapore as people reduce the amount of time spent at shops," Mr Jou said. "In terms of supporting Tap, Try, Buy, we operate a smart logistics network connecting our try-on points and our distribution and fulfilment centres in Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur."

He said users want to be able to touch, feel and try on the items they would like to purchase.

"We're really trying to solve the pain points associated with shopping online -- poor fit or sizing, as well as general uncertainty over the style and fabric of an item -- and trying to find innovative ways to make online shopping a more enjoyable experience for the fashion community," Mr Jou said.

"Over the past few months, we've seen our growth online nearly triple with Tap, Try, Buy volume reaching new highs just last month."

He predicts that many retailers in the fashion space will be more careful when considering new locations, as it's important for fashion retailers to be more aware of consumer behaviour and shopping preferences and invest in locations with guaranteed foot traffic.

"I anticipate that a lot of retailers could potentially begin adopting a similar model to Pomelo's -- a unified omnichannel approach that integrates online and offline," Mr Jou said.

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