Social media ideal launch pad for budding businesses

PHOTO: Social media ideal launch pad for budding businesses

BRUNEI-MUARA - Getting customers to visit an online business page is one of the biggest challenges faced by the growing number of young web entrepreneurs.

Lavida online boutique co-owner Loo SK was unable to sell anything in the first month due to the lack of online visitors.

Considering it simply as a minor setback, the first month however was a blessing in disguise as it spurred him to devise ways to overcome the situation.

"When I first started out, it was difficult as people had no idea that my boutique even existed. I had to rely on my friends to share the page on Facebook," Loo said.

"My first priority was to get people to browse the Facebook page, find what they want (clothing) and then purchase," said Loo.

The solution he came up with, which was immediately put on trial, was to give a 20 per cent discount on all items to the first 20 customers of the month.

The idea proved to work as on the second month of implementing the campaign, he managed to get a number of orders.

"Since I started this business in October of last year, aside from the first month where there were no orders at all, the number of orders have steadily been increasing so business is quite stable now. I just had to overcome the initial challenge of getting people to know about the boutique's existence," Loo said.

Loo got the idea of starting an online boutique from observing his friends in Malaysia who have set up similar businesses and are making good profits.

"I get customers to choose clothing on the boutique's Facebook page and once they have placed their order with me, I order the clothing from Malaysia and bring it in. I get the clothes in the style of Japanese, Korean and Thai clothing among others," Loo said.

"This business is actually a side income for me and I am still trying to make it more well known to the public."

"One of the challenges of having online boutiques like this is that there are many others who are also doing the same thing. The thing that separates us is our clothing quality and designs. So we are competing to make our business more appealing to customers."

The business is run from home and customers browse through the clothing on its Facebook page, Lavida Lavida.

He is hoping that 2013 will bring him better sales and will continue to improve on the variety of products on offer.

"My future plans for this business include being able to increase the variety of products on offer. I plan to not only sell clothing but also products such as phone accessories, jewelry, and many more. However, I want to see better sales first before expanding on this idea."

Loo says that he tries to set his boutique out from the many other online boutiques by offering good discounts depending on the quantity customers purchase.

He also assures customers that the products are always delivered on time.