Take advantage of social media and digital marketing to compel more people to buy-in.
Even in an extremely competitive space such as the fashion industry, Oxwhite has proven that you can still find a niche and grow from there.
Oxwhite is a disruptor in the local fashion landscape. The company uses an online pre-order concept – shirts are made to order and customers receive their shirt 120 days after payment. The pre-order model allows Oxwhite to cut out excessive costs often associated with physical retail stores and transfer the cost-savings to customers, without sacrificing quality.
“You are paying a three-star price for a five-star product with us,” shared founder CK Chang, “People are willing to wait because they can recognise the value they receive for the money spent.”
But Chang is careful to distance himself away from playing a ‘value only’ game. He prefers to focus on the story of Oxwhite and his passion for dressing people up in clothes that make them feel good. Chang’s story began on Saville Row in Mayfair, London where during a trip, he treated himself to a fine tailored shirt. Putting it on, he noticed a change in his behaviour and his confidence. That was when he discovered the power of a well-fitted shirt on men, “I have a passion to dress Asian people well and to have them look good and feel confident.”
We sat down with Chang to ask him how we can leverage on technology to gain more traction on our competitors today.
1. Validate your idea by interacting with your customers
Like all budding entrepreneurs, Chang felt he had a good business plan that he believed in, but he needed to be sure. With that in mind, he created an online community that was interested in what he had to offer and they became his sounding board to review his ideas.
“I did not seek validation from my friends and family members because I needed it from my customers – the people who would buy an Oxwhite shirt. The people who formed our online community were people that were interested in what we represented as a brand and would form our customer base,” shared Chang. “I sought validation from them.”
Chang only decided to launch Oxwhite after getting 50,000 sign-ups in the community, to gauge interest in the company’s first line of perfect Slim Fit shirts tailored for the Asian physique. Once Oxwhite was launched on 30th June 2018, 2,500 white shirts were quickly snapped up within the first three hours.
2. Use online communities to create exclusivity
The online community Chang built was not an open community. His purpose was not to create a large community, but a community who truly believed in what Oxwhite stood for, which was why he made membership ‘by-invitation-only’. He also said he wanted to avoid the possibility of the community becoming a platform for general discussions and negativity.
“We wanted to create a sense of exclusivity but also create a platform where people were discussing things that were relevant to the community,” said Chang.
3. Use any platform available to tell your story
“The world doesn’t need another brand,” shared Chang, “It wants to hear a story they can believe in.”
Chang used all available technological platforms to tell the story of his passion to people who were interested, from using social media like Facebook, e-mail marketing and utilising his exclusive online community. He takes every opportunity to communicate to Oxwhite customers through storytelling so that they resonate with him on what he is trying to achieve with his brand.
“When you think about brands such as Xiaomi, Apple and Tesla, the reason why their loyal customers believe in the brand is because these brands took their customers on a journey to understand the story behind their success,” said Chang, “I want Oxwhite to aspire for that level of brand loyalty in its customers.”
4. Increase your go-to-market speed using technology
To create a physical retail experience for customers requires too much time and red tape, which slows down your go-to-market speed. Chang is a huge advocator of doing it all online because things just get done a lot quicker.
“You can create an online e-shopping store and have your product be marketed to thousands within a day. How does a retail store compete with that kind of speed?”
5. Cutting out the ‘burden of retail’ to provide more value for customers by going online
Chang spoke about not having something he dubbed the ‘burden of retail’ in an online business.
“When you have a physical store set-up, there are things you need to manage like rent, renovation, applying for certain licenses and having stock available in the store. This all adds up to a cost that is often transferred to the customer,” explained Chang, “The reason why Oxwhite can offer premium quality shirts at an affordable price is because we cut out that burden and instead transfer those cost savings into giving our customers a product that is of great quality.”
Technology is there for everyone to utilise and Oxwhite has proven that there is still space to disrupt something that is established like online shopping, but you need to truly believe in your product (and validate your product quality with potential customers). Online platforms provide an avenue for even the smallest businesses to reach thousands of potential customers if you know how to utilise them to your advantage.