Business Beyond Borders — Issue 1
Thamesbury, a Case Study
Motivated by the vision of selling luxury European cuff-links and other accessories to the Far East, Thamesbury LLP’s management found success quickly in several Asian nations. As the firm grew, its leaders turned to SingPost’s ezyCommerce solution to overcome the array of challenges associated with inventory management and order fulfilment.
“I founded the company when I was studying law in the UK. I was inspired by the country’s eCommerce capabilities and selections,” recalls Hans Zhong, founder and Managing Partner of Singapore-based Thamesbury LLP. “I was determined to bring something like this back to Asia, and that’s what got me started!”
Zhong established the online store in July 2014. Positioned as a highend brand, Thamesbury retails high-quality cufflinks and other accessories to professional males with a liking for luxury items that have a unique and distinctive character.
“For men who work at law firms, for instance, there isn’t a great amount of choice in terms of the types of clothes that they can wear. It’s typically black and white, and you can’t experiment with colours or express your individuality too loudly,” Zhong explains.
“Cufflinks are one of the few ways lawyers can individualise. When I was in the UK, where there is a strong cufflink culture, I realised that the market for male accessories is universal, irrespective of whether they are located in Asia, Europe or North America. Luckily, I was proven right.”
Thamesbury found success quickly, by adopting a simplistic yet highly effective marketing strategy, which entailed selling the company’s products on its own websites and advertising on Facebook. For the Taiwanese market, for instance, the business launched a localised website, which proved to be a smart move as there are few cufflink retailers with websites in Chinese.
Managing the fulfilment process across all markets, however, proved somewhat challenging due to fluctuating order numbers. “During peak times, our packer struggled to fulfil our customers’ orders. Yet during quieter times, we were over-paying,” recalls Jacqueline Goh, Thamesbury’s Marketing Manager.
“Most eCommerce businesses face this dilemma — especially if their owners are working professionals. They need a pay-as-you-go solution that has the flexibility to down-scale during low seasons, and up-scale as and when required,” Goh asserts.
Scalability and business insight
In a bid to better manage order fulfilment, Zhong and Goh turned to ezyCommerce — SingPost Group’s multi-channel, easy-to-use, cloud-based eCommerce fulfilment solution for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
With no contracts or hidden costs, the solution’s pay-as-you-use model suited the business’s need for a greater operational agility. ezyCommerce’s automated order fulfilment feature — which can be integrated with sales channels like eBay, Amazon and Rakuten — and its enterprise-grade warehouse management system have not only sped up the processing of local and international orders, but also made the fulfilment part of the business less prone to human error. The solution also allowed Thamesbury to store its inventory in SingPost’s warehouse, where it is securely monitored 24/7, as well as manage its stock more effectively.
An added bonus for the brand is access to ezyCommerce’s business analytics, which examines the data of past orders with the aim of improving companywide operational efficiencies and making future cost savings. Moreover, the solution can be accessed by Thamesbury’s staff anywhere by desktop, laptop or mobile.
“Our shipping speeds have increased by around 20% since we began working with ezyCommerce,” explains Zhong, who acknowledges the need to deliver orders to its customers in a prompt manner. He also values the pricing model used by SingPost — a feat Zhong believes is unique among fulfilment providers. “The pricing structure of ezyCommerce is transparent and clear. There are no extra charges like a labelling charge, boxing charge and cushioning charge, which most other logistics providers impose.”
Enhancing the customer experience
A key synergy between Thamesbury and ezyCommerce is the value placed on customer experience. Indeed, Zhong and Goh believe this is an area of differentiation for the luxury retailer compared to its competitors.
Likewise, ezyCommerce has always been willing to go the extra mile to satisfy customers — an experience Thamesbury witnessed first-hand. “A customer placed an order, but said that that they needed it before the end of the working day as they were catching a flight that evening,” recalls Goh. “I called our account manager at ezyCommerce, who nonetheless arranged to have the shipment delivered within four hours as a special gesture. Not only did this demonstrate Thamesbury’s enhanced customer experience, it also showcased SingPost’s commitment to meeting the needs of its clients.”
Within a year, Thamesbury has grown from a being a start-up business to becoming an international brand that provides unique and high-quality products. Not content with its achievements to date, the business is hungry to grow further. In particular, the retailer is looking at the burgeoning eCommerce markets of Australia, China, Japan and South Korea — countries where SingPost harbours a strong presence, and where the eCommerce provider will help Thamesbury achieve its regional growth ambitions.
“We see ourselves having a regional presence across the Asia Pacific — a feat SingPost has already achieved,” notes Zhong.
“ezyCommerce has become the helping hand for many eCommerce SMEs throughout the region. With SingPost’s assistance, companies like ours are able to expand and learn about the eCommerce business across the region and beyond,” he concludes.