The retail and e-commerce sectors have seen significant growth as many consumers have switched from in-store shopping to online shopping throughout the pandemic. However, there are still some challenges for many brands and marketers in this space, including rising digital advertising costs, online privacy concerns, and loss of consumer confidence.
How can some of the leading retail brands take advantage of this opportunity and overcome current challenges at the same time to gain new customers and drive growth?
Retail News Asia was pleased to interview Maxime Bodin, Head of International Business Development at Love, Bonito, Southeast Asia, the leading multi-channel women’s apparel brand, to learn more about its growth strategy and how affiliate marketing and partnerships have played a key role in E-commerce growth.
Retail News Asia: Hi Maxime, can you give us a little background on Love, Bonito, who your target customer is and the channels you are currently using for customer acquisition.
Lbs: Love, Bonito officially started in 2010 and we have been serving Asian women everyday for the past 12 years. Over the years, the brand has expanded its regional and global presence, opening brick-and-mortar stores, launching new categories, and forging stronger relationships with the community, as we launched our social impact program, LBCreate, last year, to give back to the communities we work in. We communicate with our customers through both offline and online channels, including EDMs, social media, partners, influencers, and affiliates.
Retail News in Asia: How has the pandemic affected your business and how do you overcome challenges to turn them into opportunities?
pound: There have been three main things we have been working on since the beginning of the pandemic.
First, we had to reframe our thinking and game plan mostly to realign our omnichannel efforts, to focus more on online versus in-store communication as there were uncertainties about movement control actions over the different months. In addition, we saw strong traction coming from our international markets especially the US, Australia, Philippines and Hong Kong and wanted to maintain the momentum in which we explored new channels, especially affiliate marketing, to achieve our goal of increasing brand awareness & acquiring new customers. We have seen strong year-over-year growth from our campaigns and strong contributions to our international sales have been noted.
The other two essential things we did were navigate the supply chain process and make key decisions to adjust our categories during the height of the pandemic. Additionally, we understand our community playing with multiple roles and continually engage them through the LBCommunity+ loyalty program and social media channels, to share relevant resources and knowledge platforms, help them connect with family members or simply de-stress.
Retail News Asia: You mentioned the importance of affiliate marketing and partnerships for your business. Can you share how you are using this channel to accelerate your international/regional expansion plans and drive revenue growth.
pound: In the US, we’ve partnered with Student Beans, a student loyalty network that has been critical in helping us connect with our large student community base. We work with them to offer exclusive student privileges as well as run customized promotions during key events such as Singles’ Day Sale, which has brought us consistent revenue.
For Australia and the Philippines, we’ve been working closely with Shopback, a cashback bonus affiliate that has driven a significant amount of web traffic for us. Other than their strong support in our daily campaigns, we were able to secure an out-of-home ad on the LED Billboard along Manila’s busiest highway, during their birthday campaign, which brought us nearly 4,000% increase in web traffic. This helps us greatly in increasing brand awareness in these key markets.
Retail News Asia: What advice would you give other retailers considering investing in this channel? What should they think of to get started?
Pounds: There are many factors to consider before embarking on an affiliate program. First, it is necessary to identify the right products for affiliate partnerships and make sure that goals and KPIs are in place. Then, to ensure that the brand gets the most out of the partnership program, there is also a need to identify the right resources to maintain that partnership. It is also important as we expand into different markets that we have the technology to help trace, automate and scale the process.
Retail News in Asia: What’s Next for Love, Bonito? What other opportunities do you see within this channel?
lbs: In 2022, we see huge opportunities around affiliate marketing as a major growth driver in international markets. We aim to build stronger and more structured collaborations with partners, work on long-term partnerships and look for more closed networks to target specific customer segments for example with students or working professionals. We also plan to focus on increasing the number of pieces of content that highlight our brand story and USPs. We are also working towards a more integrated approach when it comes to affiliate marketing and digital marketing, and are working towards being the number one brand in our minds for womenswear.
This interview was brought to you by Impact.com.
If you are looking to learn more about affiliate marketing and channel partnerships and how they can help you grow your business, contact us at [email protected]. Our dedicated Southeast Asia team is here to help.