From a garage start-up in 2010 to an online fashion empire fuelled by a cult social media following, Australian online retailer Showpo is now worth more than $30 million.
A self-driven entrepreneur, Jane Lu took Australian online fashion retailer Showpo from a garage start-up to an international fashion empire now selling to 80 countries by leveraging social media. Previously working in accounting and corporate finance, Ms Lu left the “cubicle life” to create her own business.
Even in 2010, when the benefits of social media as an e-commerce marketing channel were only just being realised, that Ms Lu saw huge potential.
“A lot of the big players weren’t using social media for marketing, it was a small section of their marketing channel.”
While Showpo’s social media success was ultimately a happy coincidence, Ms Lu quickly started to see the huge potential of using social channels as Showpo’s main marketing channel.
“I needed a platform onside and as a user I had an understanding of how I could get something to trend and go viral.”
It was the company’s social media strategy that would ultimately drive its success – taking Showpo from a laptop and two shelves of clothing to a cult social media following of 3.5 million, which saw it get an upper-hand on the lucrative digital market.
“Once we saw how much it was working we started thinking of ways of doing things differently which was quite new at the time.”
Showpo’s social presence capitalises on the popularity of videos – with the fashion team creating quirky, often viral videos that quickly get the attention of consumers.
“We saw the choice towards videos. You could see there was more videos on FB. You could see that was the trend forward as people’s attention spans are getting lower.”
“We found what works for us. Initially it was fashion tutorials and now we put a bit more personality into our videos. We saw that there wasn’t really anyone else doing this.”
The fashion trailblazer’s social strategy has found favour overseas – with the company now selling to 80 countries, and looking to expand even more. Social marketing is all about building trust in your consumers, Ms Lu says.
“For global sales, all touch points need to be online and on social. That’s how you build trust.”
But hiring the right people is the most important key to the company’s success, with social media marketing the second most important and having direction with the products that you’re selling the third key, according to Ms Lu.
Ms Lu has been nominated for numerous awards and is Cosmopolitan’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015 and Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2016. But for Showpo the success story doesn’t end here – with the company recently developing an app, and looking to capitalise on AI and predictive analytics in the future.
“We want to do a lot more in using artificial intelligence to provide a better customer experience, and better predict what customers want to see. ”
According to Ms Lu, the past two years have seen even greater success for the empire, with the company experiencing “really strong double digit growth.”