Seven years ago, Will and his wife decided to enter the e-commerce business for women fashion. They noticed that to shop for some high end European or American brand in Taiwan at the time, customers would need to go through a professional buyer who would physically purchase the good in the country of origin and bring back to Taiwan. They decided to enter this luxury niche market and import those famous brands directly from western countries and sell them under a dedicated brand to differentiate from its competitors and ensure the stability of the sources.
Because Will's wife attended school in the United States, she is familiar with the local market and rules around sourcing goods. After running the business for some time, they eventually narrowed down to suppliers in the great California area and brought in several famous chic brands from California to Taiwan. Now there are many well-known brands on their site, such as AGOLDE, CITIZENS of HUMANITY, NEEMA CALIFORNIA, etc. These are all because of years of effort by the owner's wife!
Compared with other people in the same industry, Will thinks they are more likely to experiment with different systems and tools. Their brand focuses on the Cali trend and shows a bolder style, which can be too intense for some people, but also easier to attract people of the same taste. Maiden Lane was named after the most famous pedestrian shopping street in San Francisco, and it’s also the favorite street of Will's wife.
Customers don’t show up just because you start a new business
At the very beginning, a brick-and-mortar store was set up in one of the most popular areas in Taiwan. Because the product was relatively expensive, even though quite a few customers were visiting the shop, there were not many transactions and it was difficult to build a loyal customer base. It took more than a year with proper capital planning, and then, fortunately, the existing customers started to make new purchases so they could start focusing on customer retention and building customer loyalty.
Another challenge was the lack of brand recognition of imported designer brands. Unless the customers have lived in Europe or the US, they wouldn't necessarily be impressed with the brands and the design. Therefore at first, most clients were Taiwanese celebrities who were more familiar with fashion trends and willing to trying bolder styles.
After in operation for some time, Maiden Lane has built up some credibility and recognition in the area. And after adjusting the store location and pricing strategy, eventually, even a passer-by is likely to be attracted and purchase in-store. And after having the mortar and brick store for one and a half years, they established its official e-commerce website, not only to build an online presence but let their customers have access to their information after purchasing in store.
They use online ads to obtain new customers. Since the competition is too intense in Google Keywords, most budgets are spent on Facebook ads and set up different campaigns for different target audiences for A/B testing and find the most accurate marketing combinations.
In terms of communicating with existing customers, they use digital newsletter as the main tool, and they send out emails at every contact point, including orders placed, member registration but no purchase made, product arrived. They hope to continue to build up their brand image with thoroughly automated reminders.
Maiden Lane also uses social media to share their brand news or information and as a customer service channel, so they can solve customer’s question the moment it occurs. Maiden Lane also shared that new customers often ask questions about sizing, and their professional customer service team would usually recommend the right size based on customers' experience with other brands.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the biggest issue is that they cannot get their products from suppliers on time. At this period, Maiden Lane does not rush into offering promotional campaigns to attract new customers. They are taking a step back and putting more effort into thinking about their brand strategy for the future. They plan to optimize their advertising materials, increase the proportion of online business, and redesign their shipping packages for customers so the special design can be shared on social media to trigger word-of-mouth promotion and enhance consumers' online shopping experiences.
Save on Labor Costs with Kiwi Sizing
After choosing Shopify as the e-commerce platform, Maiden Lane initially found Kiwi Sizing through the Shopify App page. Cross-referencing online reviews and forum discussions, they found that Kiwi Sizing’s price is reasonable and maintains a good online reputation, so decided to try it out. The actual user experience was smooth and the functionalities met their needs. They started to create and customize size charts using Kiwi Sizing.
Unlike other size chart tools, Kiwi Sizing helped Maiden Lane save most of the time in making size charts, so they could make batches of size charts without spending time on beautifying them. For different products, all they had to do was to select the corresponding size list in the backend and it would match automatically, so they didn't have to manually upload each size chart to each product to save labor time.
In addition to Kiwi Sizing, Maiden Lane also uses Akohub to manage online advertising and convenient store pick-ups for the Taiwan market and uses Omnisend to automate the e-newsletter and SMS process as a proactive channel to connect with their customers.
Traffic is king
With more than seven years of experience in the e-commerce field, Will also emphasizes the importance of traffic. He believes that unless the founders can generate traffic by himself/herself, all the other methods cost money, such as spending on advertising or collaborating with KOLs. So if you plan to start a new e-commerce brand and expect to do it long-term, it is important to prepare sufficient funds at the early stage of your business which will be needed to spend on advertisements to grow traffic. Otherwise, the business would have a very hard time to grow.
About Maiden Lane
MAIDEN LANE introduces a wide range of high-quality clothing brands from the US and Australia, hoping to express personalities through fashion. We strive to bring in unique products that share our love of exquisite tailoring and classic design, to surprise our customers with something different in their daily lives. From clothing to fragrances, we have a unique taste for products that you won't find in other stores and bring you something new and unique to your shopping experience. We hope that girls in Taiwan can also experience the California way of life - confidence, comfort, and quality.
- Official website: https://maidenlanetp.com/
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/maidenlanetw/
- Shopify Apps: Kiwi Sizing、Akohub＆Omnisend
Interview with Maiden Lane (Chinese):
About Kiwi Sizing
Kiwi Sizing creates the AI size recommender for your customers to enter basic information and our recommender bases on the store settings, recommending the most suitable size to customers. It can reduce returns and exchange rate, and decrease labor costs for customer service! We currently support Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and other major eCommerce platforms! Sign up now for a free trial and boost your business!
- Official Website：https://www.kiwisizing.com/
- YouTube Tutorial：https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQpP0NIIALWyMIa6NrFH3dw
- Demo Website：https://demo.kiwisizing.com/