The retail and eCommerce sectors have seen significant growth as many consumers have shifted from in-store to online shopping throughout the pandemic. However, certain challenges remain for many brands and marketers in this space, some of which include rising digital advertising costs, online privacy concerns and loss of consumer trust.
How are some of the leading retail brands tapping into this opportunity and overcoming the existing challenges at the same time, to acquire new customers and drive growth?
Retail News Asia had the pleasure to interview Maxime Bodin, Head of International Business Development at Love, Bonito, Southeast Asia leading omnichannel womenswear brand, to learn more about their growth strategy and how affiliate marketing and partnerships played a key role in their eCommerce growth.
Retail News Asia: Hi Maxime, can you give us a bit of background about Love, Bonito, who your target customer is and what channels youre currently using for customer acquisition.
LB: Love, Bonito started out officially in 2010 and we have been serving the everyday Asian woman for the last 12 years. Over the years, the brand expanded its regional and global presence, opened brick and mortar stores, launched new categories, formed tighter relationships with the community and we also launched our social impact program, LBCreate, last year, giving back to the communities we operate in. We reach out to our customers through both offline and online channels, including EDMs, social media, partners, influencers and affiliates.
Retail News Asia: How has the pandemic affected/influenced your business and how are you overcoming the challenges to turn them into opportunities?
LB: There were three key things we worked on from the onset of the pandemic.
One, we had to reframe our mindset and game plan mostly to rejig our omnichannel efforts, to place more emphasis on online vs in-stores outreach since there were uncertainties on movement control measures throughout the various months. In addition, we saw strong traction coming from our international markets especially the United States, Australia, Philippines and Hong Kong and we wanted to sustain the momentum of which we explored new channels, especially affiliate marketing, to achieve our objective of raising brand awareness & acquiring new customers. We have been seeing strong year-on-year growth from the campaigns we ran and strong contributions have been observed for our international sales.
The other two key things we did was to navigate the supply chain process and make key decisions to tweak our categories during the height of the pandemic. In addition, we understand our community who are juggling multiple roles and we continuously engage them through our LBCommunity+ loyalty program and social media channels, to share relevant resources and knowledge platforms, helping them engage with family members or to simply destress.
Retail News Asia: You mentioned the importance of affiliate marketing and partnerships to your business. Can you share how youre using this channel to accelerate your international/regional expansion plans and drive revenue growth.
LB: In the United States, we have been partnering working with Student Beans, a student loyalty network who has been crucial in helping us connect with the large student community base. We work with them to provide exclusive student perks as well as run customised promotions during key occasions like Singles Day Sale, which has driven constant revenue for us.
For Australia and the Philippines, we have been working closely with Shopback, cashback reward affiliate who has driven a substantial amount of web traffic for us. Other than their strong support in our day to day campaigns, we managed to secure an Out-of-Home advertisement on a LED Billboard along the busiest highway in Manila, during their birthday campaign, which brought us approximately 4000% uplift in web traffic. This significantly helps us drive brand awareness in these key markets.
Retail News Asia: What advice have you got for other retailers who are thinking about investing in this channel? What should they consider to get started?
LB: There are many factors for consideration prior to embarking on an affiliate marketing programme. First, it is crucial to identify the products suitable for affiliate partnerships and to ensure that goals and KPIs are in place. Next, to ensure a brand makes the best out of the partnership program, there is also a need to identify the right resourcing to sustain this partnership. It is also crucial as we expand into various markets that we have the necessary technology to help with tracking, automating and scaling the process.
Retail News Asia: Whats next for Love, Bonito? What further opportunities do you see within this channel?
LB: In 2022, we see huge opportunities around affiliate marketing as a key driver for growth in international markets. We aim to have stronger and more curated collaborations with partners, working on longer term partnerships and looking at more closed networks to target specific customer segments for example with students or working professionals. We also plan to focus on increasing the number of content pieces that highlight our brand story and USPs. Were also working towards a more integrated approach when it comes to affiliate marketing and digital marketing, and work towards being the top of mind womenswear brand.
This interview was brought to you by impact.com.
If youre looking to find out more about the affiliate marketing and partnerships channel and how it can help you grow your business, get in touch with us at [email protected]. Our dedicated Southeast Asia team is here to help.