Thailand-based omni-channel fashion brand Pomelo plans major expansion in Asia, opening up to 150 branches by 2023 from the eight branches at present, to count at least 50 million customers in the region, the company's co-founder and chief executive officer David Jou said.
Currently, the company has some 2 million customers in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippine, Hong Kong, Australia, the US, and Europe.
The business expansion will focus on Asian countries like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Hong Kong, he said.
"We will invest on average about Bt20 million (S$873,700) at each of our new branches, which will combine flagship shop and Pomelo's pick-up shop," Jou said yesterday, before the opening ceremony of its flagship store in Singapore today.
To pursue its aggressive investment plan, the company intends to raise capital, he said.
Its branch in Singapore is the first one outside Thailand; Bangkok has seven branches. The company has invested Bt60 million in its Singapore flagship store, located in Somerset.
The company also plans to open a flagship store in Phuket in the third quarter of this year with an investment of about Bt60 million, Jou said.
The company will open five new branches in Thailand this year, spending on average Bt20 million to Bt30 million per branch, depending on the size of branch, he said.
Jou, 33, and his friends decided to establish Pomelo in Bangkok in 2014 when he saw the potential for omni-channel fashion style for women in the country.
"Thailand has the most number of people on Facebook, the highest in the region and among the highest in the world. E-commerce through business-to-business and business-to-customers is also higher than other countries in the region. That is the reason why we set up the business in Thailand," Jou said.
According to the latest reports by the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), Thai eCommerce grew the most in the ASEAN region last year, due to changes in consumer behaviour, and its value is expected to hit Bt3.2 trillion.
ETDA has been collecting these statistics since 2014. When comparing the number of internet users over the past 10 years, there were only 16.1 million internet users in 2008; latest information revealed that in 2017, there were 45.2 million users.
Jou estimates the value of the fashion market in Thailand - both online and offline - to be worth up to Bt150 billion in 2018, with up to 15 per cent from the online market. With double digit growth annually, he expects the fashion online market to achieve up to 40 per cent growth in 2023.
"Although the fashion market has high competition, most of them are in the traditional system.
We are combining digital technology and platform to do this business with our business growing on average 200 per cent a year since we started this business in Thailand," Jou said.
The company has employed 500 staff in Thailand, Indonesia, and China, with up to 70 per cent of them in Thailand. The company is also collaborating with more than 1,000 firms in the supply chain, including manufacturers of its products, warehouse and logistics system.
"We have more than 3,000 women's fashion products. We will expand our production to include men. This is the way to increase our customers and drive our business growth for the long term," Jou said.