Locking Up Luxury: Why Reebonz Is On Top in Southeast Asia
Four easy lessons from the founder
Imagine purchasing the newest Hermes or Coach bags with just a few taps on your mobile or on your computer keyboard, and having it delivered within the week, hassle-free, maybe even with a discount. This is possible through Reebonz (www.reebonz.com), the Singapore-based website that offers new, pre-owned, and highly sought-after luxury goods from brands around the world.
Reebonz started in 2009 in Singapore. It was founded by Samuel Lim, Daniel Lim, and Benjamin Han, and began with a team of 15-20 people. In seven years, Reebonz has put up some impressive numbers. Membership has grown from 50,000 members in 2009 to 4.5 million in 2015, with orders multiplying by 300% (from 3,885 to 135,000) during that period. They’ve established a regional presence, with headquarters in Singapore, and are active in Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Inventory has increased from 2,000 to 80,000 products. As of 2016, they’ve also increased the number of brands they carry eight-fold, to approximately 800 designer brands.
Below are some tips shared by co-founder Daniel Lim on how they grew so fast:
1. Treat crisis as an opportunity
According to Lim, Reebonz’s growth was fueled by two trends: E-commerce, which was taking off in the Asia-Pacific region in 2009, but with no clear market leader, and, more interestingly, the global financial crisis, which meant many brands and companies were dealing with overstock, and so, they were turning to new avenues to liquidate inventory. “Recognizing that this was an opportune moment to make our first move into the luxury e-commerce space, Reebonz was built on the idea of making luxury accessible and that vision has stuck around until today,” says Lim.
2. Build an ecosystem
“Our business model has definitely evolved alongside the changing needs of our customers, into a luxury ecosystem that has something to offer at every point of a consumer’s luxury consumption journey,” says Lim. A lot of effort goes into enhancing customer touch points, from the flash sales to product delivery, so the entire customer journey at Reebonz is “enjoyably smooth.” For instance, all orders are delivered in three working days. “Imagine getting your hands on the extravagance of Hermès, without the hassle of a drawn-out wait!” Lim says.
3. Give your customers more choice
“Success in the e-commerce space is also largely dependent on your inventory, which we have managed to grow by tapping on consumers and merchants around the world,” says Lim.
4. Play to your strengths
While Reebonz’s customers may not be able to touch and smell their exquisite merchandise, Lim says the Web gives Reebonz unlimited shelf space – something physical stores don’t have. “An off-season Prada bag or a vintage Chanel classic may not find space on a shop floor,” Lim says. “But it is highly likely to make its way around Reebonz.”