#Asia Invest in a strong team right from the start: BerryBenka CEO to startups

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Jason Lamuda talks expansion, company growth and product strategy for Indonesian m-commerce in this candid chat with Minh Bui

Jason.Lamuda

Jason Lamuda, CEO, BerryBenka

For those who don’t know, before founding fashion e-commerce site BerryBenka, Jason Lamuda was one of the two Co-founders of Disdus, a group-buying site which was acquired by Groupon. It has now become Groupon Indonesia.

He is also Co-founder and Advisor of Bilna, the baby product site which he set up with his Disdus Co-founder Ferry Tenka. With so much already accomplished, he definitely has a career track that most entrepreneurs can only wish for.

Jason & Berrybenka team

Jason Lamuda and the Berrybenka team

More than two years ago, I caught up with Jason Lamuda at a round-table interview about the e-commerce market in Indonesia. After that BerryBenka has secured more than US$5 million Series B funding from Gree Ventures and Transcosmos. Now I meet with the serial entrepreneur again for updates about the startup’s (which currently has more than 150 employees) journey to share with e27 readers.

How is BerryBenka doing so far?

With revenue growth up to 250 per cent per year, we are slowly gaining the trust of many loyal online shoppers and have emerged as one of the key players in the industry.

This year marks our remarkable expansion in the menswear category. We also launched our first in-house label, BerryBenka the Label, along with exclusive celebrities collection in collaboration with Jessica Mila, Marsha Timothy and Raline Shah.

We also launched our iOS and Android App for Berrybenka.

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How did you come up with Hijabenka?

Hijabenka was launched in June 2014 as an answer to our customers’ request for Muslim wear.

Why didn’t you sell Muslim women’s fashion under one brand — BerryBenka.com — to focus resources?

Screenshot of HijaBenka

Screenshot of HijaBenka

Hijabenka has a separate website because we want to provide easy, friendly and comfortable shopping experiences to our customers who want to look for Muslim fashion and accessories. They don’t need to navigate through all the products on the Berrybenka website.

In addition, having its own website provides a stronger identity and brand awareness to the target market.

How do you retain customers? Any new trend or channels you see in the near future for customer acquisition?

We believe that customers are our greatest inspiration and the reason for everything we do. We always strive to bring an easy, fun and reliable online shopping experience.

Our promise is to satisfy them with new arrivals and special offers every day, along with tons of benefits.

We are also expanding into new channels through B2B partnership with affiliate programmes and also partnerships across industries with banks, telco operators, FMCGs and others.

What is your payment system like? What do customers prefer using?

The most preferred payment method is bank transfers (55 per cent), followed by cash on delivery (30 per cent). We also provide several promotions with banks for credit card holders and with special programmes such as KlikBCA and KlikPay.

Also, we are now in the process of developing new mobile payment methods and a partnership with a supermarket store.

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What does BerryBenka do for offline marketing activities? Top five cities to focus on for both online/offline activities?

Offline marketing has always been a significant element of our integrated marketing programmes from time to time. BerryBenka supports various on-ground events, communities and activations which is suitable for our target market.

This month, we are officially supporting Jakarta Fashion Week 2015 as the one and only fashion e-commerce site, both online and offline. In conjunction with Cleo Fashion Awards 2015 (which is a part of the JFW agenda), we will be collaborating with three young and rising designers to sell their collections exclusively on BerryBenka.com this December.

BerryBenka's signature event The Click Market

BerryBenka’s signature event The Click Market

We also have our signature event, The Click Market, an offline bazaar to introduce our merchants to customers directly. This year, it was held in October with more than 70 tenants at the Trans Studio Mall, Bandung, which attracts more than 40,000 visitors in three days.

Top five cities for marketing activities: Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Medan and Yogyakarta

How are you making your customers happy?
Berrybenka Delivery

We are committed to bringing a ‘greater customer experience’ by always trying to reach our customers through various channels from hotline calls, SMSes, emails, social media and live chats. Besides that, we also offer various benefits such as:

  • Free returns up to 30 days
  • Free shipping for minimum purchase of and above IDR300,000 (US$22). Currently, we are offering special free shipping to all across Indonesia
  • Several payment options: Bank transfer, credit card, e-banking and cash-on-delivery (COD)
  • Customer care is available from Monday to Friday (9 am – 6 pm) and Saturday to Sunday (8 am – 5 pm)
  • Daily newsletter with special promotions for first-time subscribers and customised emails for existing customers.
  • Multiple campaigns across platforms

How about the ratio of customers from outside of Jakarta, Java? How do you effectively handle delivery/return for the faraway cities?

Almost half of our customers are in the Jabodetabek area, 40 per cent from Java and non-Jabodetabek regions and 10 per cent outside Java.

We continue to collaborate with several logistics partners as well as developing our in-house fleet, BerryBenka Delivery, to effectively handle delivery and return throughout cities across Indonesia.

How are you preparing for mobile commerce? 

We fully acknowledge the growing potential of mobile commerce at BerryBenka.

Every year, mobile commerce is growing exponentially in terms of traffic and transactions. Our product and technology team also continues to develop and maintain our mobile platforms with new features, such as promo gathering page and express checkout in our mobile app.

What is the percentage of traffic from mobile now? Is it significant as compared to the desktop site? 

Mobile is growing rapidly with more than half (approximately 60 per cent) of our traffic coming from mobile web and mobile apps.

Along with this growth, customers are keener to do transactions on mobile. Refer to our mobile transactions which grow over 30 per cent year-to-year (based on September 2015 data).

Any advice for startups to build up and grow sustainably from beginning to your current scale?

Invest in building a strong team right from the start.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, please send us an email at writers[at]e27[dot]co

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