Showpo has come a long way in the ten years since its launch. We sat down with Jane Lu, the Founder and CEO of Showpo, to discuss the learnings from the pandemic and world domination.
It’s hard to believe how far Showpo has come in the ten years since its initial launch.
Founded in 2010, Founder Jane Lu was always aware of the importance of operating a lean, nimble and flexible business. So when the pandemic hit last year, the company was equipped to handle the change.
“We’re a business that started during the GFC, so always knew the importance of building a lean business, but this becomes growingly difficult as you grow,” Jane Lu told Power Retail.
When the pandemic was announced in March 2020, the world stopped almost entirely. Many businesses had to pivot to an online platform, undergo a crash course in e-commerce and develop a new strategy to stay afloat during tough times.
Jane Lu, CEO and Founder of Showpo | via Showpo
Showpo also had to pivot during the pandemic, even though it had a fully established e-commerce platform. “In recent years, we’ve focused our business more in party and occasionwear, but when parties and events stopped on a global scale, we quickly had to look at building out other parts of the business,” she explained.
The initial focus for Jane Lu and her team included improving internal processes, cutting costs and finding efficiencies. With globalisation taking a minor step backwards in 2020, evolving trade tensions and an increase in logistical costs, Showpo had to better understand how to understand the change in customer behaviour and compete on a global scale.
As the pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce, it has also further fuelled the rise of the next Gen shopper, better known as Gen Z. “We see the continued opportunity in Gen Z: the size of them; they have ‘grown-up’ online – the market opportunity has never been bigger, more global,” Lu told Power Retail.
The new online shopping generation digests social media more often than ever. Showpo is no stranger to social media – in fact, it’s one of the most significant avenues for the retailer. It’s “a place we already play however now there is increasing competition for share of voice and with diversification of social media platforms,” Lu told Power Retail. “We will be looking at new ways to connect with even more focus on content, creativity and targeting.”
For Showpo, it’s no longer just about ramping up Facebook posts and adding shots to the Instagram grid; it’s more about creating rich video content and leveraging organic growth using apps like TikTok.
“It’s a really exciting time in social media, where we can reach new customers, collaborate with creators, and have a lot of fun with fashion content,” she said.
Showpo now boasts just under 80,000 followers on TikTok, sharing style inspiration and content trending across the world. Its Instagram remains one of the leading platforms with 1.7 million followers on its main channel, and Jane Lu’s personal Instagram, The Lazy CEO, boasting more than 155,000.
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While creating this content is fun for the retailer, it’s also a useful tool to better understand a young customer base’s changing needs. Jane Lu and her team have strived to build connections with its shoppers and diversifying to flatter the changing sentiment to shopping.
What’s next for Showpo? “Global domination!” said Lu. “We have a large international Showpo community, and although COVID has definitely made this last year challenging, we will be continuing our international expansion.”
What has 2020 taught Jane Lu and her team at Showpo? Building customer relationships is a vital step to creating a loyal customer base. “When customers’ spending abilities change, it’s the brands that have relationships that are beyond a transaction that will remain salient and strong,” she said.
It’s also important for retailers to not overcommit and avoid putting ‘all your eggs in the one basket’.
“The pandemic has taught us to not put all your eggs in the one basket. I used to always say ‘as long as women want dresses (as if that’s a sure thing), we’ll be sweet’. And this year we saw the world swap out their party dresses for sweats and activewear,” she told Power Retail.
“Don’t overcommit. As our business scales, one of the main ways of driving efficiencies in our business is to buy in bigger volumes and commit to longer contracts. However, 2020 has really taught us the value in having that flexibility.”
The lockdown has given Showpo the time to ‘glow up’. The brand is continuing to expand its product range, markets, technology and its team.
“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do,” Lu shared. “We have listened and expanded our product categories and range to meet a broader range of our customer needs, so we can be her go-to place to shop for any occasion – for parties, for work, for lounging around at home, even for her wedding!”
While the pandemic has been tough on the brand, its development and brand refresh has breathed new life into Showpo. “It’s an exciting journey that we’ve been on, to evolve and refresh a brand that has now been around for ten years, but watch this space as there’s more to come,” Lu said.
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