Business Beyond Borders — Issue 3
Fitoverspecs, a Case Study
Founder and CEO of Fitoverspecs, Jack Ng, needed to expand his online retail business and reduce the time he spent on distribution, while maintaining customer service and satisfaction. He shares how he used SingPost’s ezyCommerce fulfilment solution to help deliver his business goals.
Singapore enjoys tropical summer temperatures all year round, so it is a pity when you cannot don a pair of sunglasses because you are already wearing spectacles. That’s why online retail business, Fitoverspecs got off to a roaring start last year with its signature product — sunglasses that are designed to be worn over your pair of spectacles. These ‘fit over’ sunglasses, which come in a range of styles and sizes, offer a convenient and affordable sartorial alternative to prescription sunglasses.
Niche market, satisfied customers
Singapore enjoys an average of 12 hours and seven minutes of sunlight each day, and year-round temperatures that hover near the 30-degree mark. Given this climate and the fact that the city-state has one of the highest rates of myopia in the world, both sunglasses and spectacles have become a de rigueur accessory here.
Entrepreneur Jack Ng saw a gap in the market for sunglasses that could be worn over spectacles, negating the need for prescription sunglasses or contact lenses. He started selling the eyewear online, starting with social network Facebook and eCommerce platform Qoo10.
From little things, big things grow
Thanks to its modest pricing, high product quality and prompt customer service and delivery, Fitoverspecs soon proved popular with online shoppers. Word-of-mouth recommendations, both in-person and online, also contributed, due in part to Ng’s prompt and sincere responses to customer requests and queries.
Despite this early success, Ng was using his own home to store stock and had to send the products out himself on the same day of receiving an order. In fact, he was going to the post office so often that the staff knew him by name. This approach was time-consuming and also limited his capacity to increase distribution. Each trip to post off sunglasses cost him an hour, and he had to personally carry the stock, regardless of how big the order was.
“The most I sent in a day then was 15 boxes,” says Ng. “I had to carry two IKEA bags there!”
Finding a perfect fit for business needs
In order to scale up his business, while maintaining the same level of customer service, Ng knew he had to find a warehousing and fulfilment solution.
“The primary challenge for online sales is managing order fulfilment and inventory, so I was constantly searching for reliable providers to manage these,” says Ng.
Ng initially considered renting storage space, but this approach meant that he would still be retrieving and delivering stock personally. It also meant that he would have to manually track orders, with no overall visibility on the delivery process.
SingPost’s ezyCommerce solution offered both storage space and the ability to manage the shipping and delivery process. “The ezyCommerce platform is really good — I can see the inventory I have and when a customer places an order. It’s straightforward and easy to understand and use,” says Ng. “It’s excellent for the customer and myself, because I can continue to deliver on the same day of the order and I don’t have to physically do it myself. Everything can go through a service provider,” explains Ng.
Securing the future
With a reliable end-to-end logistics solution, Ng’s customers continue to receive the same level of personalized service that has become synonymous with Fitoverspecs, while freeing up Ng’s time to focus on business expansion. This is likely to be Malaysia, as Ng feels that it makes business sense to enter the nearest country.
Wherever he chooses to venture, Ng feels that his chosen platform for sales will be online. While not discounting the value of brick-and-mortar retail stores, Ng sees online shopping as the future.
“The prices that I can offer online are cheaper,” he argues. Offline shopping and rental costs discourage lower pricing, which means savings cannot be passed on to the consumer.
The benefits of ezyCommerce for small-sized enterprises in terms of warehousing, ease of delivery, continuity and consistency of service and the ability to ramp up distribution, can be seen most clearly when bulk orders come in. “Once, I had 50 orders in one day. I was fortunate that it was after I took up ezyCommerce. I couldn’t possibly carry 50 boxes,” says Ng.
“Before ezyCommerce, I was tracking orders manually and didn’t dare
to order too much stock because of the space needed to stock them,” continues Ng. “Then ezyCommerce came in.”