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Case Study FashionValet

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Proceedings of The 6th International Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business (ISEB 2018)
November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
E-Commerce Success in Malaysia Fashion Industry: A Case Study on
Fashion Valet
Nur Izzah Rahmiah Ab Llah, Nurul Amirah Rahim and Husnayati Hussin1
1
Kulliyyah of Information and Communication Technology
International Islamic University Malaysia
Malaysia
Email: [email protected] (corresponding author)
Abstract - E-commerce industry has escalated rapidly in the past few decades as many
businesses found the Internet technology has opened up a new and effective channel to reach
customers globally and make the company more competitive in today’s challenging
environment. There are several e-commerce companies excelling around the world, however
only a few homegrown ones became successful and well-known regionally or globally. Despite
many studies have been done on these successful e-commerce companies, Malaysian-based ecommerce companies have yet to gain proper analysis and understanding on what contribute to
their success. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap by studying one of the top e-commerce
companies in the fashion industry in Malaysia called Fashion Valet. The paper adopts a single
case study approach where data was collected from various secondary sources and analyses
were done to gain insights on what contribute to the success. Based on the findings, we
concluded that several factors interplay in making Fashion Valet successful which include the
business model, marketing strategies, website quality as well as entrepreneurial qualities of the
founders themselves.
Keywords: E-commerce, Case Study, Malaysia, Fashion Industry.
1.
Introduction
Since the advent of the internet since the mid-90s, the world has undergone significant
transformation in terms of business, economic, social and political ways. E-commerce is
one of the Internet-based technologies that has caused dramatic impact on the business
landscape globally. Among the common benefits cited include reduction of cost,
improvement of customer services, increased in operational efficiency, enhancement of
products and services innovation, and improve competitiveness. The concept of time to
work and business will be more flexible, can have an organization, a virtual office or
just operate from home alone. Its business market will become more widespread that it
can trade around the world and can run a 24-hour business non-stop (Chua, 2017).
Malaysia is no exception; the uptake of e-commerce and the impact of e-commerce on
the society has been substantial over the last few years. Nevertheless, as with any other
developing or emerging economies, Malaysia is still lagging behind in terms of having
companies that have fully exploited the online channel. Among those that have
adopted, many still remain successful only at the local level, with very limited impact at
the regional or global level. Among the few online companies that have shown
remarkable success is Fashion Valet, which is an online fashion retailer and hub that has
put Malaysia name on the global online landscape.
The purpose of this paper is to present some insights gained from analyses of the
practices of Fashion Valet. Analysis were done on various secondary sources related to
Fashion Valet to identify possible key success factors. The study was motivated due to
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Proceedings of The 6th International Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business (ISEB 2018)
November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
the trend of ecommerce growth in Malaysia and the popularity of online fashion
shopping amongst the Malaysian consumers.
2.
2.1
Literature Review
E-Commerce in Malaysia
The Department of Statistics, Malaysia shows that the digital economy has contributed
18.2% to Malaysia's GDP, amounting to RM290.9b in 2016. Consequently, eCommerce
expands rapidly as the government and private sectors continue to invest in the digital
industry (Chew, 2018). According to iPay88's data, Malaysia in second stage led the
ways in e-commerce transactions in Asian after Singapore, and then followed by
Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam (Chew, 2017).
According to expert.com there are 79 percent of the population in Malaysia which about
25.08 million active internet users. The population has a very high penetration rate of
mobile phones. Based on the 31.2 million Malaysians, social media users is about 24
million, unique mobile users are 21.6 million, and use social media on their mobile
devices are about 22 million. Expert.com added the most popular purchases categories
by the Malaysian are fashion and beauty, electronic, and hobbyist that has been
highlighted by Pigeon delivery services (n.d, 2018).
Malaysia’s e-commerce industry grew rapidly after its surge in the mid-2000s and is
now a business worth RM24.6 billion. iPrice studies Lazada was on the top list of major
e-commerce companies in Malaysia, followed by Zalora and 11 Street, based on their
online traffic. iPrice also said Fashion Valet increasingly popular of top three local
fashion and cosmetic e-commerce among Malaysians (Chew,2017).
2.2
Online Marketing
Digital marketing refers to promoting products through digital platform (Ogilvy &
Mather, 2015; Das & Lall, 2016). Digital technology has brought many new openings
for businesses to market their products or brands such as email, social media, blogs,
search engine marketing and many others (Geraghty & Conway, 2016). Email is one of
the first digital marketing channels used by businesses in the past few decades. Email
marketing is a kind of direct marketing that aim to targeted audiences. Email marketing
can be looked as a means to acquire potential new customers or to urge existing
customers to make immediate purchase decision and also to enhance relationship or
build strong loyalties from the customer (Fariborzi & Zahedifard, 2012). This marketing
tactics allow customization which means that it can be personalized differently
according to the customer’s profile, and it is fast as well as cost-effective (Jenkins,
2009).
Another digital marketing would be search engine marketing (SEM) which considered
as an effective tool to ensure that company’s website and products are visible to people.
The purpose of SEM is aiming for higher ranking in the search engines result pages
which would increase more traffic or visitors to the company’s website (Virtanen,
2014). Search engine optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) are among the type
of SEM. The differences between SEO and PPC is that one must pay when using PPC
whereas SEO is a free marketing method that produce organic search results to promote
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Proceedings of The 6th International Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business (ISEB 2018)
November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
the website (Grzywaczewski, Iqbal, Shah, & James, 2010). Businesses can gain
valuable benefits when using SEM such as boost traffic, improve web usability, capable
in targeting right audience, promote possible conversion rate and simple to set up
(Virtanen, 2014).
The utilization of social networking services as marketing tool is known as social media
marketing (SMM) (Rouse, 2011). SMM enable businesses to generate content about the
company and the products as well as allow interaction with the customers (Thurman,
2013). Having unique and valuable contents may generate better brand exposure and
expand market reach(Rouse, 2011). There are many ways how social media can be
used including creating a paid display advertisement, engaging and encouraging
audience participation and developing brand persona within the social networks (Tuten
& Solomon, 2012). Some businesses also make use of blog as another form of
marketing tool. Blog is defined as a journal that are managed by an individual or a
group that generate stories about their ideas, thoughts and activities (Dennis, 2014).
Blogs create opportunity for businesses to build brand awareness; allow visibility and
attract audience attention (Leonor Revez, 2016).
In this age of technology, many businesses opt towards marketing channel that leverage
digital platform as it is less expensive; able to easily reach prospective customer; stay
connected with existing customers and capable to improve brand value (Ogilvy &
Mather, 2015). However, there are still businesses that use traditional marketing; in fact
most of them mix both of traditional and digital marketing in order to reach more
customers locally and internationally. It is considered by some companies that both is a
valuable form of marketing for total success of business marketing (Mustafi, Jost,L, &
Nguyen, 2011).
2.3
Entrepreneurial Characteristics
Entrepreneur has always been a significant force that drives economic growth of a
country (Burns, 2016). With the emerging of technology like Internet, it has opened new
ways for entrepreneurs to operate their business. An entrepreneur can be defined as
someone who created things that have not been existed before (Zhao, 2006). An
entrepreneur also means an individual that build a business to establish their wealth and
open opportunity of prosperity for others (Abdullah & Houghton, 2014).
Many researchers indicated that the personal characteristic of the entrepreneurs is one of
the core factors that lead to a successful business (Lian & Yen, 2017). Many scholars
have reached to a consensus on the common characteristic found in successful
entrepreneurs. Amongst the distinctive characteristic include the need for achievement,
risk tolerance, innovativeness, leadership and motivation to succeed. An individual with
the need for achievement trait, for example, is the one who have desire to solve
problems; to take responsibility with their own hands and to attain challenging and
unique goals that would lead to valuable accomplishment (Neneh, 2011). It is claimed
that most of successful e-commerce business are those founders that possessed high
need of achievement (Sebora, Lee, & Sukasame, 2009).
Risk tolerance is also claimed as closely associated with factors that attribute
entrepreneurs to be successful. This trait is related with undertaking bold steps by
gambling the financial or non-financial resources and venturing into the world of
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Proceedings of The 6th International Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business (ISEB 2018)
November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
uncertainty (Adisa, Adeoye, & Okunbanjo, 2016). Innovativeness is also a trait that is
found in many successful e-commerce entrepreneurs. Innovativeness refers to the ways
an individual reacts and act upon to new things (Goldsmith & Foxall, 2003). This
characteristic is beneficial in aiding entrepreneur to remain sustainable and increase
business success (Utterback, 1996). Another distinctive characteristic would be
leadership in which it is defined as a development whereby an individual inspires others
to attain targeted objectives. These individuals are visionary and capable in encouraging
the team to realize the vision despite the rapid and inconsistent changes in the business
environment (Lian & Yen, 2017). Motivation to success is also among the prominent
characteristics of a successful entrepreneur especially in this age of high-velocity and
uncertainty environment. Entrepreneurs are individuals who plan ahead and proactive as
well as giving best effort in finding opportunities (Neneh, 2011). In addition to that,
successful entrepreneurs are competent in building relationship with customers that lead
to creating loyalty among the customers.
All of the qualities mentioned above are considered as valuable characteristic that are
essential in every entrepreneur in order to strive for success. Without these qualities,
one would not be able to stand up and move forward when faced with the challenges of
the unpredictable environment.
3.
Methodology
The paper adopts a single case study approach where data was collected from various
secondary sources such as newspaper, journals, website and analyses were done to gain
insights on what contribute to the success. Case study research enables researchers to
conduct in-depth investigations of a phenomenon of interest over a period of time.
Fashion Valet was selected as it is one of the successful online business which was
established in Malaysia. In the last six years, Fashion Valet has grown from a fledgling
e-commerce site to a regional omni-channel fashion platform. A single case approach is
adopted to enable an in-depth study of the selected business organization.
4.
4.1
Results and Discussion
Case Background
Fashion Valet is one of the largest fashion sites in South East Asia, the pioneer multilabel online site carrying over 500 Southeast Asian designer labels, and the Duck
Group, a lifestyle brand of headscarves and stationery. The company has offices and
warehouses in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. It has also gone offline, rolling out
physical stores, with two in Malaysia (Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Bangsar Village II),
one in Singapore and a pop-up store in Brunei. The revenue increased threefold in 2016
and is estimated at almost RM40 million (An, 2017).
Fashion Valet was founded in 2010 by Vivy Sofinaz Yusof and her husband Fadzarudin
Anuar. The idea began when Vivy, 25, was studying law at the London School of
Economics in the United Kingdom (UK) and was excited about fashion developments
and the trend of online buying amongst the consumers in the UK. When she comes back
to Malaysia, Vivy felt so frustrated of the lack of online shopping option in Malaysia.
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November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
So Vivy and Fadza took the opportunity to fill the gap. Fadza graduated as a Master
Degree holder in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College London.
Vivy and Fadza started the business with a capital of RM100,000 from their own
savings and help from their families. Although this amount may appear substantial to
some, they found it insufficient and very challenging to start an online business with
such size of capital. In the beginning, Vivy has to work with a small group of local
fashion designers as it was hard to convince them to join their business. In the first
month they managed to get only 15 local designers to agree to put their products on
Fashionvalet.com platform. After much of hard work, FV began to grow as their
products are well received by customers and more designers began to see the value of
collaborating with FV.
4.2
Business Growth and Success
In 2012, the entrepreneur's partner tried their luck in the second season of reality show,
"MYEG Make The Pitch" where participants had to present their business ideas to lineups of investors. They have received RM1 million or 30 per cent share of the
FashionValet company from MyEG Services when it was crowned second season
champion, enabling them to expand their company.
In 2014, Fashion Valet (FV) tripled its revenue on the way to becoming a leader in
Malaysia’s online fashion sector. Fashion Valet achieved revenues about RM7.9 million
in the financial year double compared to 2013 which is RM3.42 million. Financial Year
for 2016 and 207 they did not publish the amount yet. But they targeted to double the
revenue and be profitable on a net level for the first time in 2017 (Chua Sue An, 2017).
The company has managed to do this while keeping operations lean and reactive to
community demand. FV name proved increasingly in the eyes of the world when they
managed to secure investment funds from Elixir Capital in Silicon Valley, California for
Series A, making FV one of the Malaysian companies that managed to get funds from
the technology city. Next, Start Today Co Ltd of Japan produced a multimillion-dollar
round of B support to FV through the owner of the leading fashion shopping line
ZOZOTOWN. (DigitalNews, 2015).
Latest developments of FV for online shoppers Southeast Asia are very exciting. The
leading fashion e-commerce platform FV has announced the closing of Series C
investment from the Malaysian Government's strategic investment fund, Khazanah
Nasional Berhad. With this injection of funds, they are planning to expand their
business. As Fadza said: “We’ve seen substantial e-commerce growth already, yet
there’s room for much more in Malaysia, where there’s less than 1% penetration of
sales online, as compared to 10% in China, the United States and Western Europe”.
Recently, Vivy indicated that she aims to penetrate the West Asian market which is
Middle East. She said: “Malaysia currently makes up around 60 percent of
FashionValet’s customer base. In the Middle East, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Saudi
Arabia are the store’s biggest markets”. She also said that her company will take up the
same strategy in the Middle East and not to forget about the local designers and brands
which needed most (McArthur & Abdul Alim, 2018).
The leadership of Vivy and Fadza are going well until today. In terms of division of
roles, Fadza is the Chief Executive Officer of FV and he is responsible to operations,
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Proceedings of The 6th International Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business (ISEB 2018)
November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
financial matters and dealing with fashion designers. While, Vivy Yusof become Chief
Creative Officer who is responsible to handle with the buying, merchandising and
creative marketing side of the business (Ting, 2016). In 2016, FV received an award
‘Anugerah Peneraju Eksport’ from MATRADE and has been recognized by MDEC as
the top exporter of the #MYCYBERSALE 2016 campaign.
For individual
achievement, Vivy has been listed in the category of Successful Young Entrepreneurs in
Asia by Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2017.
Now, Fashion Valet has 150-strong team, currently carries more than 500 brands on
www.fashionvalet.com. FV will soon open 2 more physical stores in IOI City Mall
Putrajaya and Publika (Jayatilaka, 2018). Although having the online platform, Vivy
still believe that they need to have physical stores, hence the opening of two outlets in
Malaysia and several others in Singapore and Brunei. Digitally, it serves customers in
more than 15 countries, including the Western Asia, the United Kingdom, the United
States and Australia.
4.3
The Entrepreneur
Vivy Sofinas as one of the founders of FV seems to have most of the entrepreneurial
characteristics as discussed in the literature.
As an individual, she has been an
innovative person by embracing the social media at an early stage when she was a
university student.
Vivy loved writing and shared about her lifestyle in a blog called Proudduck.com:
“I started blogging back in uni, where I read law at London School of Economics, UK
(LSE). Writing has always been a passion of mine and I’ve been blogging for almost 9
years now at Proudduck.com about everything under the sun; love, life, career, family,
and now motherhood. Upon graduating with a law degree, I decided the legal life
wasn’t for me and I returned to Malaysia to work with my dad’s company the Proven
Group which is in property development. The entrepreneurial spirit in me made me
restless and pretty soon, I decided I wanted to have a business of my own.” (Ting,
2016)
Her love for entrepreneurship was apparent from the early days:
“I get bored and restless very easily, so entrepreneurship is really for me because
there’s never a dull moment.” (Ting, 2016)
Her leadership skills and drive:
“Everything depends on you; from decisions you make to the mood you give off to your
team in the morning, you are responsible for steering the ship” (Ting, 2016)
Need for achievement and motivation to be successful:
“For me, it’s the need to always want to win and be no. 1. Once you have this drive,
you’ll want to see your business do well and you don’t need any other motivation but
yourself. Passion for something is very important, you will only really excel at
something you love doing.
Risk tolerance:
…. I love critics because they help me improve my business; I love competitors because
they challenge my work.” (Ting, 2016)
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November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Competent in building relationship with customers that lead to creating loyalty among
the customers:
“Another positive feedback is that FashionValet is “friendly”. The fact that I’m the face
of FV and I am very active on social media, people sometimes leave comments with
their order IDs for me to check on whatever issues they might have. I don’t get annoyed
at this because to me, customers are my kings. I will check personally and reply them,
so they know that FV is approachable and we will cater to whatever queries they might
have. And we also do it in a friend-to-friend manner and not the corporate template of
answers. This is something I don’t see with our competitors and I think this is one of the
reasons people feel connected and loyal to FV” Ting, 2016.
From the above discussion, we can conclude that Vivy indeed possesses most of the
entrepreneurship characteristics which perhaps contribute to some extent to the success
of FV. Of course she was complemented very well by her husband who, personality
wise perhaps more introvert, but nevertheless very entrepreneurial himself in some
respects.
4.4
Business Model Analysis
In order to understand the business model of FV, an analysis using the Business Model
Canvas (BMC) approach is done. BMC is a simple tool for designing Innovative
Business Model which is a simple graphical template describing nine essential
components: customer segments, value proposition, channels, customer relationships,
revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partners, and cost structure. Figure 1
shows the nine blocks of the BMC derived based on the analysis of FV.
Key Partners
● IT
Vendors
● Capital
venture
● Logistics
Companie
s
●
Seller
s
o Owner
of
accessori
es,
handbag
etc
● Fashion
Designer
o Professio
nal
designer
o Local
designer
Key Activities
● Marketing
● Maintainin
g the
online
platform &
systems
● Duck
production
● Product
selection
Key
Resources
● Physical
store
● Human
resources
● IT
infrastruct
ure
Value
Proposition
● One-stop
online
fashion
store
● Connecting
local and
internation
al designer
● Shopping
experience
o Convenie
nce –
payment
methods
o Confirma
ble
o Return
policy
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Customer
Relationships
● Loyalty
point
system
● FV
rewards
● Gift
Voucher
● Free
delivery
● Customer
service
Channels
● Online
platform
● Physical
store
● Online
Payment
● Social
Media
Customer
Segments
● Buyers
o Internet
users
o College
students
o Women
with career
or
professional
o Ladies who
love fashion
o Age 18-35
Proceedings of The 6th International Seminar on Entrepreneurship and Business (ISEB 2018)
November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
● Internatio
nal
designer
Cost Structure
● Warehouse and logistic
● Operational cost
● Staff salaries
● Platform development and
maintenance
● Delivery cost
● Sales and marketing
Revenue Streams
● Product sales (including their brand
DUCK)
● Listing fees
Figure 1: BMC
Customer segment – the customer segment targeted by FV are all internet users who
love to seek for fashionable outfit, normally college students, women with career or
professional, women or ladies who love fashion like Vivy Yusof. The average age of
customers is between 25 and 40 years old (An, 2017)
Value Propositions –What make FV distinctive from other online fashion sellers is that
it acts as an intermediary between fashion buyers and local and regional fashion
designers. It provides pleasant shopping experience to customers, convenient payment
methods, and useful features on the FV website that make customers and sellers feel
comfortable to buy and sell their products.
Channels - To reach the target customers, FV provide the online shopping platform that
is, the website. The website supports the entire transaction done online, including the
payment. FV also use social media as their platform for promotion of their products
such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Instagram. Recently, FV has expanded into
physical channels where a few outlets have been opened at strategic locations.
Customer Relationship -Customer relationship is very important in maintaining
customer loyalty. FV provides loyalty point system where customers may change the
points into cash or discount for products. Three-quarter of Fashion Valet’s sales come
from returning customers as indicated by one of the founders: “We see that once brands
get their marketing and branding right, they can grow their customer base very quickly.
People like to buy from brands that they feel share the same values and are part of a
like-minded community” (quoted by Fadzarudin in An, 2017)
Revenue Stream - FV gained the revenues based on product sales including their own
brand DUCK such as Duck scarf and Duck cosmetic. Another source of revenue stream
is the listing fees from vendors and designers.
Key Resources -The assets required as key resources for FV are the professionals,
financing, human resource, IT infrastructure, and physical stores.
Key Activities – The key activities of FV include marketing, maintaining the online
platform and systems, production of DuCk brand, identifying and selection of products
from designers and managing the physical stores.
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Key Partners - The key partners and collaborators include IT vendors, venture
capitalists, logistic companies, local and regional designers, and suppliers. For online
payment, key partners for FV are affiliate banks such as Maybank, CIMB, RHB, Public
Bank, Ambank, Bank Islam, and PayPal.
Cost Structure -The costs incurred by FV include those related to warehouse and
logistic, operational cost, staff salaries, online platform development and maintenance,
delivery cost and also for sales and marketing purposes.
4.5
Marketing Strategy
FV has undertaken both the online and offline marketing strategies. For the offline, the
strategies adopted include using the billboard and television Reality Show. Billboards
are normally placed at very effective locations to attract customers. FV Billboards were
placed at Malaysia Federal Highway and main road near to FV Publika store (Vivy
Yusof, 2016). It was stated by Vivy that despite billboards would not increase
conversion rates, it creates brand awareness (Vivy Yusof, 2016). This was in line with
claim done by (Thomas, 2015) which suggests that billboards are among the top
platform to create brand identity. A study conducted by (Williams, 2009) found out that
24% of billboard viewers feel the urge to visit to the specific store due to the message
on the billboard and 32% did visit to the store within the week.
For the television channel, FV utilized this marketing channel by having a reality TV
show called “Love, Vivy”. This show revolved around Vivy Yusof’s day-to-day life
where she juggled in managing between her company, her brands as well as her role as
a mother (Bernama, 2016). This strategy is done to retain loyal customers as well as in
hope to reach more prospect whether in Malaysia or outside the country (Bernama,
2016; Ramoran-Malasig, 2016). Displaying her personality in the shows while at the
same time pairing her life with the brand, increase the likeliness of viewer’s loyalty
towards the character or the brand itself. It is said that when the viewers perceive the
character truly represent the reality which is close to them, the higher the viewer’s
emotional relationship with the show and the character (Avery & Ferraro, 2000).
For the online marketing channel, FV implemented several strategies. The founder of
FV, Vivy Yusof makes use of blog as a way to express her fashion sense, daily life,
thoughts and activities long before FV was established. From blogging, she attained a
good amount of readers in which these readers supported her when Fashion Valet first
started as well as becomes her loyal customers (Wong, 2014). This shows that blog has
the ability to create loyal social network as relationship is built between the author and
the readers. In other words, blog enable people to express their own interest and values
as well as allow the author to pay attention to reader’s feedback in which facilitates
interaction and exchanging of information at both sides (Boyd, 2006). Furthermore,
blog also capable in affecting customers’ purchases decision. According to (Leonor
Revez, 2016), it is asserted that blogs are considered to be the top three platform that
likely to influence customers’ purchase decision.
Another digital platform used by FV is the social media such as official Facebook,
Twitter and Instagram accounts. These platforms are used to disseminate product
information to consumers as well as to create relationship with the customers. Social
media marketing can be done in various ways in order to gain trust and establish
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relationship from customers. Vivy Yusof considered herself as the face of the
brand, does most of the marketing and PR for their company. She doesn't believe in
other people doing it for them or using too much of their budget, paying for
advertisements. She said: "The only person who knows the brand better is me. I think it
[marketing] comes from blogging. I use my Instagram a lot to market [FV] and that’s
where the creative side of me comes out" Ramoran, 2016.
One of the techniques used by Fashion Valet is the use of Instagram hashtag. Hashtags
like #fvootd, #fvxklfwootdand #fashionvaletare some examples used by the company
which considered as a very effective marketing technique. This is because hashtags
enable for brand to gain exposure to targeted group who share the same interest far
beyond the followers (Miles, 2014). Hashtag like #fvootd is where the customers would
upload their picture while wearing FV brands. Sometimes, the post would be featured in
the official FV Instagram which in a way empowers the fans as supporter. This has
paved the way in generalizing the behaviour among the followers (Maryam, 2018).
Apart from that, the users who are interested in such topic can easily search using the
specific hashtags and this trend would likely turn the users to actual customers. This is
because people tend to believe more and incline to purchase when seeing other ‘regular’
individual used the product (Davoult, 2014). This technique known as social proof
which is one of Cialdini’s main principles of persuasion which claims that in order for
an individual to identify what is correct, it is done by finding out what other individuals
perceive regarding it (Cialdini, 2009).
Vivy Yusof also owned those account as a public figure. Through social media, Vivy
Yusof often updates about her daily life and at the same time sporting FV brands
(Wong, 2017). Social media also facilitate the users to share, like and comments on
each post. Therefore, this in a way develops a feeling of connection between the
followers and Vivy Yusof as interaction between each other is established. When Vivy
Yusof creates a FV campaign like #IAMHOMEGROWN for her products through her
Instagram, many authority figures joined her campaign such as political figures and
actresses (Maryam, 2018). This as a result has made her products sold out within just
few days after they introduced the campaign. According to (Cialdini, 2009), this is
known as principle of authority whereby well-known figures has the ability to influence
the buying behaviour of consumer (Schenker, 2017).
Maryam (2018) also expressed that Vivy Yusof also implement the principle of scarcity.
Principle of scarcity means that limited items is more quality and valuable as compared
to normal item (Fenko, Keizer, & Pryun, 2017). This principle is related with FV dUCK
scarf which is limited edition. This limited edition is perceived as more valuable
because it is customized. Therefore, often the scarves were sold out in within short
period of time. According to (Wu, Lu, Wu, & Fu, 2012), the authors stated that scarcity
messages like limited edition urge the customers to immediately purchase the products
before it is too late.
In conclusion, FV has been very successful with their marketing strategies which
include both the online and offline channels.
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4.6
Website Analysis
For e-commerce to be successful, there need to be an effective website that form as the
interface between the company and the customers where interactions take place. FV has
invested a lot on creating and maintaining their websites which have undergone several
revisions since their inception. The founder recognized this challenge as quoted:
“Our challenge was more on the tech side; everything was outsourced in the beginning
from website design to payment gateway to managing bugs etc. We learned a great deal
and the learning curve was very steep.” (Ting, 2016)
According to Nielsen (1999), the interface guru, effective web design should focus on
three aspects namely: (i) page design; (ii) site design and; (ii) content design. The
following sub-sections present a discussion based on an analysis of FV website.
4.6.1 Page Design
Page design refers to the most immediate representation of a website (Nielsen, 1999).
The purpose of the design is to grab users’ attention as well as to facilitate ease of use of
the website. Therefore, it is said that the website must contain an informative and
attractive content that is appealing to the users’ interest. Homepage is considered to be
the most significant page as it is first page that visitors land before trying to delve more
about the website. The homepage must be unique and outstanding so that it can be
differentiated from other part of the website (Nielsen, 2001). From the FV website, it
can be seen that the homepage is clearly distinct from others part of the site because it
consists mostly images and with minimal text. This aspect allows users to be able to
recognize the homepage as the starting point when coming from another page of the
website.
Additionally, the homepage is an effective and most essential place to market the brands
as it takes about 15 seconds for visitors to consider your brand (Asbell, 2015). There are
many different brands and categories featured on FV’s homepage. This shows that FV
utilize the homepage appropriately as it displayed the key points of what the company
offers. Generally the design is visually appealing to visitors as it is not cluttered with too
much information. Presenting products on the homepage is the best practices for ecommerce website as it increases the opportunities of conversion rates (Asbell, 2015).
From the product and labels displayed on the homepage, users can easily assume what
is the purpose of the website, which is selling fashion materials such as cloths,
accessories, shoes and any related fashion products.
Another key feature of an effective website is to provide an easy navigation for users.
This means that rather than asking users to go through several levels of menu to reach to
whole options of the website, the website should present all main categories on the
homepage (Nielsen, 2001). FV homepage effectively groups the product in several
categories differently which make it easier for users to recognize the wanted products
based on the categories. Labels and headings must be well-represented to ensure errorfree selection and to avoid confusion (Farkas & Farkas, 2000). The labels and headings
used in FV website are understandable and descriptive enough whereby it reflects the
content contained within it. For instance, as shown in Figure 1, the term ‘apparel’ is
used to describe clothing products which visibly understood by customers.
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November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Figure 1: Fashion Valet Homepage
4.6.2
Site Design
Site design relates to offering a logical navigation flow that reflects the structure and the
information architecture of the website (Nielsen, 1999). The site design should ensure
the ability for users to identify where he is; where can he move after that, and where he
previously gone to (Nielsen,1999). It is asserted that providing a feedback helps users to
recognize where they are across the site and also useful to proceed with another activity
(Leavitt & Shneiderman, n.d.). Breadcrumbs is an example of feedback that offer
information in hierarchy style which Fashion Valet has utilized it for their website (refer
to Figure 2). It is said that the technique improves time-efficiency which as a result
could enhance users’ productivity when navigate around the website on a regular basis
(Nielsen, 1999). It is suggested that by constructing URLs according to the location of
the users on the website it also helps the users to know where they are currently (Farkas
& Farkas, 2000). This is also done by Fashion Valet in which the URLs reflect the right
page (refer to Figure 2).
According to Nielsen, search feature is also considered as significant feature for a
website and it should be easily visible to users (2001). Typically, most users prefer
using search feature rather than link when searching for specific things (Nielsen, 2001).
On the homepage of Fashion Valet, search function is provided, and easily recognize
because it is located at the top and the icons used is descriptive enough (refer to Figure
2). Other than that, the feature provided in every page of Fashion Valet website is
considered as very effective. This is because it promotes hassle-free which means that
usersisnot require to go back to the homepage to search information (Nielsen, 1999).
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November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Search Feature
Breadcrumbs navigation
The URLs represent the
location of users
Figure 2: FV for Men Page
4.6.3 Content Design
A user-friendly website is when the content provided is scannability as this is what users
would do when landing in any website. This is done because often users would scan the
website to determine the whole purpose of the website and whether to consider the
brands. It is suggested that text must be minimal without compromising the contentdepth and the sentences used must be compact and concise. Fashion Valet website allow
users to scan the content easily as it has minimal use of text and it promote on the use of
appropriate and relevant images. This helps users to understand what the website offers.
Guidelines were provided which explains that plain background with black fonts that is
contra between each other is recommended. This is because it can facilitate the ability
for users to swiftly read and comprehend the text (Leavitt & Shneiderman, n.d.).
Fashion Valet website is designed with high contrast between the background and the
content. Therefore, users are able to read easily because the content can be
differentiated with the background (Nielsen, 1999).
The website must have visual consistency in terms of the elements. In other words, the
use of labels, text, graphics, colours as well as size of the pictures must be consistent
throughout the whole website. Fashion Valet is consistent with the visual aspect as all
the elements mentioned before is similar to the homepage design. When a website has a
consistent design, it reduces time when completing a task; decrease in errors and
learning time as well as improve user satisfaction (Leavitt & Shneiderman, n.d.).
5.
Conclusion
FV is one of the pioneers in Malaysia that act as a bridge between customers and
designers, offering the best values for both sides. The support from loyal followers of
Vivy Yusof’s blog and social media, the fashion designers and the team are the one who
provide the core support for the business when it first started though both founders do
not major in business education, yet they manage to attain success. This is all credits to
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November 24th, 2018. Kota Bharu, Kelantan
the way the founders plan their business; how they develop an effective business model;
the ideas of creating a unique value proposition; the website design and the techniques
used in marketing their brands to reach the right audience. Furthermore, it can be said
that the founders themselves and their entrepreneurial characteristic is what made the
business still sustainable until today. It is likely to say that determination is what drives
them remain on the grounds without wavering. It is also considered as an important
element to grow business and to achieve success. Two founders who do not have
whatsoever knowledge about running an online business and only able to partnered with
10 brands in the beginning has now become one of the successful companies in
Malaysia. The successful of FV today happen because of their determination to fulfil
their dreams.
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