updated 26 Nov 2011, 10:16
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Tue, Nov 22, 2011
The Business Times
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Tailor-made for the click clique
by Melissa Lwee-Ramsay and Dolly Chia

One of the biggest drawbacks of online shopping has always been the inability to see and touch the product before purchase, but members-only online shopping site Reebonz has managed to find a way around that with their newest baby - the Reebonz Mobil.

A 12-m container truck that travels around Singapore and parks at prime locations - such as Raffles Place, City Hall, Tanjong Pagar and Orchard Road - the Reebonz Mobil transforms into a luxury boutique on wheels where consumers can easily pick up their purchases on the spot.

The product mix will be similar to what you can find on the website which, in essence, is an array of designer lifestyle products at discounted prices.

"Reebonz is all about reinventing traditional retail models by creating new direct distribution sales channels for luxury fashion and lifestyle products to bring greater convenience, lower prices and more choices to end consumers," says Reebonz's assistant manager of PR & Special Projects Sharanjit Kaur.

"The Mobil allows customers to feel and touch products before buying. This provides a convenient shopping experience to access affordable luxury in a pop-up retail unit." She adds that Reebonz Mobil aims to capture attention by "creating a sense of urgency".

"To achieve this, Reebonz Mobil itself becomes a limited-edition retail unit that pops up at a location for just a few hours," she says. "We seek to differentiate ourselves from competitors by adding freshness, exclusivity and a surprise element to the local retail scene."

The Reebonz Mobil is targeted at busy professionals from 25 to 45 years of age who find it difficult to put time aside to shop at various boutiques.

It caters to their needs by bringing fashion steals from a plethora of luxury labels all in one location, at one time, at affordable prices directly to the consumers. "By giving customers the chance to touch and feel our products, we have managed to reach out to potential new members who would have otherwise been apprehensive of shopping online with Reebonz."

Moving forward, Ms Kaur reveals that Reebonz has just launched the VIP Delivery Suite where Reebonz Black and Solitaire members can expect to receive their parcels in stylishly designed vans from the hands of brand butlers.

"With our dedicated VIP Delivery Suite, Black and Solitaire members can expect to receive their parcels within the next working day when they check out by 1pm on" Ultimately, these services all help to lend assurance to customers who are purchasing online.

"With such face-to-face interactions with our customers we do learn more about the preferences of our target audience and their immediate comments about our brand, products and services," she concludes.

Despite the plethora of online retail stores, it is hard to find one that places the kids at the centre of attention. That is, until was launched earlier this year.

An interactive website that offers personalised gifts for children, every product on Tolalu's website can be customised with a child's name and/or picture on it and it also allows you to instantly get a view of how the product will look.

"I was personally frustrated that my children were so easily bored with their toys," says Tolalu's chief executive, Orly Eitan.

"After creating personalised gifts with their names, I saw a positive change as they began to place more value on the gifts which had their names and pictures printed on them." She adds that this is because children love to see their own name and picture on products. "They feel that a personal gift is more valuable, and they tend to make sure nothing will harm their much-loved product and keep it for a very long time, sometimes until they are parents them selves.

"We are offering a very easy tool for personalising gifts for kids, focusing on creating a fun on-line shopping experience," she says.

Interestingly, the site has also been found to bring out the creative side of its customers."We had a customer making a wallpaper with the word 'Read!' who then placed it by her kids' bookshelves (and also uploaded the images to her blog). Another mum chose our 'cookie jar' design placemat and wrote 'Don't be greedy' which I thought was hilarious."

Eitan reveals that future plans like expanding into other markets such as Australia and China are already in the pipeline. But for the moment, in addition to their Christmas-themed gifts, the site is already making preparations to launch a range of Chinese New Year gifts - like personalised hongbao and Dragon themed products - so customers can expect new items during festive occasions.

"Personalised gifts tend to be treasured more by their little recipients. With over 350 designs and colourful and fun themes, I'm confident everyone will have lots of fun shopping for gifts on Tolalu."

Men who fret over what to buy for women can now turn to to solve their dilemma.

"We noticed how nervous, confused and stressed men were, buying gifts for their wife or girlfriend," says Daniela Riccio, chief executive of the online retailer which launched in 2007 but revamped recently to serve its customers in a more personal way.

"Sure you can go pick up a gift at a department store but we want ours to stand out, be personal and be remembered by both parties,"says Ms Riccio. With their newly added live chat features online, men can now liaise directly with their staff and get an immediate response.

With the recent addition of a showroom available via appointment, men can book a session and view products. "We can also direct them to one of our partner lifestyle boutiques around town once we know what they are after."

To top it off, Glamourpuss makes sure the gifts arrive as a surprise. "We need to ensure that the recipient is there to receive it (so) it usually involves several 'creative' phone calls to the office (first)."

Glamourpuss is constantly adding more features on their site to further improve customer satisfaction.

Just this week, they have started putting up 50-second videos of products demonstrating its functionality to give customers a better idea of it, especially if they are unsure of what they are meant to be buying.

This article was first published in The Business Times.

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