E-commerce needs more than good photos. Here's what Pomelo is doing. Source: Shutterstock

E-commerce needs more than good photos. Here’s what Pomelo is doing. Source: Shutterstock

Pomelo Fashion dives headfirst into technology to accelerate growth

E-COMMERCE companies are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to transform their business using technology.

However, not many SME e-commerce companies have the vision to go all-in on technology to create intelligent solutions that help the organization delight customers and overshoot growth targets.

Fortunately, Pomelo Fashion, founded by Lazada Thailand Co-Founder and MD David Jou in August 2013, isn’t like most SME e-commerce companies.

According to a recent announcement, Pomelo has leveraged its technology team in Thailand and other parts of Asia to build a proprietary in-house technology stack.

The company claims that the idea is to use technology to enable the seamless management of a complex vertical supply chain across its multiple locations and labels.

Pomelo’s project is quite sensible because the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia is in an exciting phase right now and experts believe double-digit growth will continue for the next few years.

“The rate at which we continue to improve our technology is a long-term competitive advantage we are very excited about, and ultimately a key differentiator for Pomelo,” said Pomelo CEO David Jou.

Why is Pomelo’s tech initiative exciting?

“Our competitors are still using spreadsheets and paper purchase orders to manage a highly complex system of product development, manufacturing, and omnichannel retailing,” claimed Pomelo Regional VP of Production Lloyd Lin in an exclusive interview with Tech Wire Asia.

“As a fashion company with tech DNA, we’re building, from the ground up, a brand-new tech stack for today’s digital world that incorporates the latest in machine learning, big data, and automation.”

The company’s emphasis on technology, however, is not new. Lin has been thinking about capturing data to understand the business better for a while now.

“We wanted to get insights on all aspects of our business, including suppliers, employees, and procedures which would help us to make sound decisions for our supply chain operations. So I began thinking about how software can be utilized to capture, in detail, all the steps in our process.”

Pomelo soon realized that data is the key to their digital ambitions. Hence, Lin and his team began focusing their efforts on capturing the right data from the business.

Lin told Tech Wire Asia that he believes that data integrity is key for any organization that wants to use data to gain insights into their operations — whether they want to tweak their operations or transform their business.

“To achieve data integrity, there needs to be a dynamic and well thought-out data capturing system or process. The challenging part of using data is building the processes necessary to ensure that data being collected and analyzed is appropriately captured.”

Analyzing customer purchase behavior, for example, is one of the things that Pomelo is focused on right now. Their approach illustrates why they feel data is at the heart of their efforts to go digital.

“Tracking behavior by capturing information about what appeals to customers and why they buy something helps us understand our customers better.  As a result, we’re able to better predict what our customers want and continuously, iteratively refine the experience we provide to them.”

Tech talent is scarce, how did Pomelo do it?

Pomelo has a team of specialists in Thailand and some remote resources in China and India. However, that’s not the most interesting thing about the company’s dive into technology.

The company understands that talent in Southeast Asia isn’t quite as experienced as they’d like — which is why they leverage an interesting strategy.

“For Pomelo, we have had to bring in data professionals from more mature digital markets like the US and Europe to fulfill leadership roles, while simultaneously recruiting younger associates locally who have a fundamental understanding of data science and training them up to become future leaders within the business,” Lin revealed.

What Pomelo is trying to do both interesting and refreshing. The company is clearly trying to differentiate itself using technology but what it is also doing is actively thinking outside the box to create interesting solutions to problems that the business faces in the region.

While we’ll have to wait and see how the e-commerce entity’s strategy plays out, there’s a strong chance that their initiatives will wow customers — after all, the smallest of improvements in service can sometimes make the greatest impact in an overcrowded market where everyone simply competes on price.