Date
25 March 2017
Keeping customers happy usually translates into high repeat purchase and lower customer acquisition cost, says Gift Something founder Justin Zhong. Photo: Internet
Keeping customers happy usually translates into high repeat purchase and lower customer acquisition cost, says Gift Something founder Justin Zhong. Photo: Internet

How an online shop can stand out from the crowd

Although Hong Kong’s overall retail market is lackluster, e-shopping is said to be an exception.

More than 50 percent of the respondents in a recent survey said they would purchase online using their smartphones, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

There has been a surge in the number of e-commerce startups as entrepreneurs try to tap into the emerging trend.

The availability of cheaper e-commerce software also helps lower the entry barrier, giving rise to the proliferation of online stores.

Demand is no doubt growing, but so is supply. To stand out from the competition, seasoned operators say, undercutting rivals with discounts simply won’t work.

Uniqueness is a more powerful selling point.

“Ask yourself why a customer would pick your shop,” Gift Something founder Justin Zhong said.

“In our case, our products are all exclusive. You won’t be able to find the same things elsewhere in Hong Kong.”

It is indeed very convenient to shop in our city, but that does not mean everything is available here. In fact, a lot of malls are selling exactly the same thing, Zhong said.

“If one can provide more choices for consumers, that is a business opportunity.”

Zhong’s online shop sells hampers and flowers. To make customers’ lives easier on Valentine’s Day, the firm offered a special package.

“We offer free rides to customers who want to give their love ones flowers in person but prefer to avoid the MTR,” said Zhong.

Gift Something booked an 80 percent gain in revenue last year despite the general retail slump.

E-commerce is expected to keep expanding this year, but not all participants will enjoy the boom.

To serve increasingly demanding online shoppers, only those offering both creative sourcing and excellent customer service are going to win the prize.

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CG

EJ Insight writer

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