Digerati50: Helping fashion retailers keep up with the trend

  • Kendrick Wong believes one should just go for it, learn each time you fail
  • Strategy of reliable long-term growth over sprint to become a unicorn

Digerati50: Helping fashion retailers keep up with the trend

Digital News Asia (DNA) continues its series that profiles 50 influencers who are helping shape Malaysia’s Digital Economy, from Digerati50 2020-2021 (Vol 4), a special biennial print publication released in July 2020. The digital copy can be downloaded from the sidebar link.

The following article is an expanded version of the print edition.

When are a hundred RM 1 headphones better than one RM 100 headphone? When you're Kendrick Wong. The CEO of Omnilytics runs a company specialising in providing analytics to e-commerce players specialising in fashion and clothes. And according to him, he buys many cheaper headphones because the quality is good enough, and rather than buy that high-profile brand that is expensive to maintain.

Similarly for Omnilytics, he decided on reliable long-term growth over a quickly sprint to become a highly-valued unicorn. "We want to maintain our growth based upon our balance sheet." Growth of 20% each month over the last few years isn’t too shabby either.

The origin story starts not with Omnilytics, but another company called Shoppr. In 2013, Kendrick brazenly secured US$400,000 (RM1.63 million) in seed funding by stalking Khailee Ng, managing partner for 500 Startups. Kendrick finally cornered his quarry by snagging an invitation to a private event where he knew Khailee would be there.

Similarly, Kendrick had sent a "cold email" to East Ventures cofounder Wilson Cuaca. At the time Wilson was impressed by Kendrick saying, "(Kendrick) had done his homework before talking to me and very quickly I felt comfortable to interact with him and close this deal". As a result, Shoppr became East Venture's first investment in Malaysia, in 2013.

 

Insight into fashion trends

Shoppr works as an aggregator for customers wanting to search multiple online shops at one go.   The problem was that the team discovered that the cost of acquiring new customers for Shoppr was much higher than expected. On the other hand, the sellers were asking for details of how well their products were doing in various markets.

So as Shoppr acted as a search engine for fashion-conscious, the team also built Omnilytics to work the other way, by giving fashion retailers an insight into who is buying what - and hopefully why.

"We can monitor any brand around the world, we can see their performance," Kendrick explains, with Omnilytics now offering data from more than 70,000 brands around the world. "What they sell, what type of brands they have, their price points, what colour they sell, what are their markets."

The latest innovation offered to manufacturers is the ability to track how their resellers are pricing and marketing their products. A discount of a single dollar can result in hundreds of extra sales for an online shop.

Building image recognition that can detect the same product across any site around the world, "We can see who is selling this same product from any website around the world - and price match it."

 

A global ambition

Now, Omnilytics has customers in seven countries, including brands such as Adidas, Zalora, Salvatore Ferragamo, Neelofa, and Carlo Rino, as well as non-fashion industry clients such as the Singaporean government and RMIT University ("They use our dashboard to train their students.")

The ambition is of course to be a truly global company, although the current focus is Asia Pacific, with an eye on Europe and the US.

Despite these ambitions, they are still headquartered in Malaysia. "In terms of our cost base Malaysia makes a lot of sense and there is a lot of very good talent," he says. "We considered Singapore at one point time but it didn't make sense to us financially."

Expansion has created other problems. "Scaling the team is hard," Kendrick acknowledges. "We're at the stage where we're going for forty to sixty and it's already very hard."

His biggest problem is disseminating information and making sure everybody is in the loop, especially since ideas originate from multiple points in the organization. However, Kendrick takes all this in his stride, as he has with the company from the beginning.

"Just go for it, no regrets," he enthuses. "Where you are today comes from both the strengths and the weaknesses you have. Every time you fail, every time you learn."

One thing that he is certain about is that he’s more than ready for the challenges yet to come. "We have received multiple acquisition offers,” he shares, “(but) we've rejected them all so far."​


Digerati50 2020/2021 is proudly sponsored by Maxis - Powering Malaysia's 5G era.

 

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