Hong Kong-based MyDress is an e-commerce platform selling trendy items such as clothing, accessories and skincare, but there are two men behind this girls’ fashion startup, Edmund Wong and Leon Lai, who founded the company five years ago.
Once a fashion and accessory photo-sharing and content portal, MyDress evolved into an online retail platform offering foreign fashion items to Hong Kong ladies, in particular, those with a deep affection for Japan and South Korea’s fashion and beauty brands.
Serving nearly 400,000 customers, MyDress today offers a wide variety of fashion items including shirts and skirts, pants, shorts, scarves, accessories, shoes, bags, and even lingerie, sourced from over 200 brands. The company started selling men’s wear three years ago.
As an e-commerce retailer, the company believes it is essential to know the customers and pick their brains in order to keep them. A woman’s heart may be a deep ocean of secrets, but MyDress found the key to unlock them through customer data analytics.
By analyzing customer usage and browsing data, MyDress is able to identify products that customers are following. The firm is able to suggest items that a user may want to buy based on her preferences, thus luring the customer to buy more.
While customer data analytics can help the e-commerce platform make accurate recommendations, the two founders have recruited a team of about 40 staff, mostly female, in order to understand what female customers really want in their online shopping experience.
As more shoppers buy online, their rising expectations are driving the demand for free shipping, as well as customer-centric return policies, which have become the company’s standard. MyDress offers a 14-day return window, which also applies to undergarments.
Since its founding, the startup has raised over HK$20 million, and in 2015, the SCMP Group, the publisher of the South China Morning Post newspaper, acquired a major stake in MyDress with an investment of HK$39.7 million (US$5.1 million).
However, Wong stressed that it is never easy for a Hong Kong-focused e-commerce platform to raise funding: “The local market is too small for an online retailer, which is not the investor’s cup of tea.”
But the company has managed to break even. Wong is now thinking of expanding into physical stores in partnership with fashion brands so that customers can see, feel and choose the products before buying them online.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 12
Translation by Ben Ng with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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