SOS aims for expansion, house brand
Mar 18, 2013 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Symbols of Style (SOS), the online fashion and lifestyle magazine and shopping planner, will introduce its own house brand and seek a listing on the local bourse in a bid to expand throughout Southeast Asia.
The SOS website (www.symbolsofstyle.com), launched last April, allows readers to purchase featured products online with a return guarantee.
At present, the number of unique IP visitors is 110,000 a day making about 100 transactions, with both numbers expected to double by year-end.
SOS plans its regional expansion and the introduction of its house brand by next year and hopes to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 2017 to raise funds to promote its brand worldwide.
Its paid-up registered capital is 2 million baht with a total investment of 10 million.
Managing director Natcharee Srirojchanapong said the success of a few players in this business and growing numbers of internet and smartphone users show the local online shopping industry still has a lot of room to grow.
Thailand has been behind some of its neighbours in terms of telecommunications infrastructure but is now poised to leap ahead in the areas of e-commerce and other online businesses after selecting third-generation (3G) service providers that understand this sort of activity.
The success of online shopping websites Ensogo and Lazada proves having the right products and the right strategies are a winning combination.
For example, Ensogo saw its customer numbers increase to 2.2 million last year, while merchandise partners doubled to 6,000.
A survey conducted by the Kasikorn Research Center in 2011 showed 50.4% of Bangkokians owned smartphones.
Thailand has 14 million internet users or 20% of its 70 million population.
"I'm confident new business development will be the first mover. These businesses will have to educate the public about its new format, but the effort will be well worth it. Full-scale 3G service and the coming of 4G will see online business move quickly," said Ms Natcharee.
She said online transactions in Thailand totalled 700 billion baht in 2011, with 20% made through smartphones.
SOS projects a plunge in smartphone prices on the back of fiercer competition.
"So many people depend on smartphones for everything now, and the volume of transactions via these devices will now grow rapidly," said Ms Natcharee.
"Consumer behaviour has changed, with many people no longer wanting to go out to shop. The company has merged e-commerce and a magazine format to become the first online 'shop-able magazine' in the world."
Select brands and product quality are important, as the main target group is high-end shoppers _ thus the introduction of celebrities' own brands and the use of popular actors and actresses for endorsements.
The top three sales categories are fashion, IT products, and interior and home decor.
SOS will add the categories of dining and tourism by year-end.
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