New opportunities: Newly launched retailer Beaubit eyes indie opportunities in SEA’s emerging markets

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Beaubit was launched in the beginning of November with around 10 brands from the Asian region. (GettyImages)
Beaubit was launched in the beginning of November with around 10 brands from the Asian region. (GettyImages)

Related tags retail SEA

A newly launched beauty retailer specialising in niched brands is eyeing untapped opportunities in South East Asia, especially emerging markets like Vietnam.

Beaubit was launched in the beginning of November with around 10 brands from the Asian region, such as South Korea, Thailand, Japan and Singapore.

The Singpaore-based company intends to offer a mix of global and cult beauty brands from all over the world, not just Asia.

Managing director and co-founder Savina Chai, was previously working in fashion and saw a gap in the market for a retailer that could provide consumers with a “luxury beauty experience”.

“With Beaubit, we are taking what we’ve seen and learnt in the fashion industry, the luxury fashion shopping experience, and changing how we sell beauty.”

The company will focus efforts on the South East Asian region and has plans to expand into Malaysia and Vietnam moving forward.

“We will focus on SEA because I think there are a lot of markets that have not been explored by the bigger players, like Vietnam or Myanmar,”​ said Chai.

 She elaborated that the firm was hoping to tap into the potential of these emerging markets.

“They don’t get a lot of the smaller, indie brands, but the interesting thing is that they are gaining more knowledge and becoming more advanced in their shopping habits because of the rapid pick up of digital media platforms like Tiktok. These locals there are more daring in terms of shopping habits, but most of the time, they have no access to these brands.”

In the next 12 months, the company intends to more brands into its portfolio and work towards an expansion into brick-and-mortar retail.

With the recent closure of Singaporean departmental store Robinsons, Chai noted that the retail experience was no longer a process based on transaction but must focus on consumer experience and retail-tainment.

“We want our retail store to be very different. I want to create an innovative retail experience with sensory engagement. That’s something we are looking forward to as we move out of COVID-19.”

Chai highlighted that the company would be cautious with its expansion, given the tough retail market.

“The retail market, especially in Singapore, is tricky to navigate. Not just with COVID-19, but there are also manpower issues and rising rental costs.”

However, the company considers a retail expansion to be key for beauty, she said.

“For beauty, there’s always a need for physical touch because it’s a sensorial experience. Also, there’s a need for face-to-face interactions with salespeople because there needs to be a human element to selling beauty.”

Retailer with a difference

Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the company will approach its entry into brick-and-mortar cautiously.

In the meantime, it will focus its efforts on its e-commerce platform.

However, Chai noted that the e-commerce space has become increasingly competitive since the outbreak of COVID-19.

In order to stand out in the market, it believes it has to be more involved in the marketing of the brands it brings aboard with the help of its in-house team of marketing creatives, which include copywriters, photographers and videographers.

“We have what we call niche brand onboarding and boosting. This means we take a multi-brand collaboration approach to co-create content for up and coming brands,” ​said Chai.

Most recently, the retailer has partnered with Heure, a newly launched Singaporean skin care brand as a launch partner.

“By launching with us first, we are able to take a full marketing approach to sell the brand. For instance, for this campaign, we have sent their products out to our talents and filmed a review video which would go up on our Instagram stories. And we also sell the brand and fulfil the orders on our site, it’s really a complete process,” ​said Chai.

Chai said this how Beaubit intends to stand out in the crowded e-commerce market.

“There is no way we can compete with the big marketplaces. Brands always ask us how we are different from a traditional marketplace, and that is because we have a very different way of selling. Their main goal is traffic, but what we do is brand-growing and brand-boosting.”

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