Left to right: Sorabel Co-Founder Lingga Madu, Sorabel Co-Founder and CEO Jeffrey Yuwono

Ever since their first claim to fame in 2018, Indonesian fashion e-commerce platform Sorabel –who was known as Sale Stock Indonesia back then– has made an impression with their rapid growth.

In addition to securing 10 million downloads, this year the company has also begun its international debut by introducing its platform in the Philippines under the brand Yabel.

According to Co-Founder and CEO Jeffrey Yuwono, the international expansion is meant to be an experiment.

“We quickly put it together to see what is going to happen, but the traction has been growing … it gives us the confidence that the kind of product that we put in Indonesia can also work in the Philippines. At some point, we would like to do a proper launch in the country,” he explains.

Sorabel also sets itself apart from other fashion e-commerce companies by introducing a Coba Dulu Baru Bayar (“Try first then pay”) scheme that enables customers to order clothes, have it delivered to their door, and give them a try before they decide on purchasing the clothes.

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Launched nationwide in 2018, the feature is now running in more than 4,300 districts in Indonesia and has been able to improve their basket size –though Yuwono also does not hesitate to admit that return rates are also increasing.

“But I was happy to see that because it means people are using the programme. If the return rate does not change, then I would think of it as a failure,” he says.

In early 2019, the company made headline when it announced a rebrand to Sorabel. Generally, rebranding has been known as a challenging move that even bigger companies such as Mastercard and Pizza Hut had failed miserably at it.

But following the rebrand, Sorabel was able to increase new customer purchase by four times.

So what is the company’s secret sauce to a successful rebrand? Yuwono sits down with e27 to spill them out.

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Quality first

Before we can talk about Sorabel’s rebrand, first of all, we need to understand how the company operated and the challenge it faced.

When it first began, what Sorabel did was to buy and sell clothing products from Tanah Abang, a leading textile market in Central Jakarta. But the startup soon learned that their customers did not come back. While the price of the products was affordable, the quality was far from expectation.

“One thing to understand about our local fashion industry is that 95 per cent of all the fashion made in Indonesia, is made in very small factories or convection … The problem with these home industries is that the margin is very thin and there is no quality control,” Yuwono elaborates.

“It’s not a big deal when you buy offline because you can touch and feel the product, but online … It’d be like gambling,” the CEO stresses.

Understanding the problem, Sorabel then decided to build their own private label, which enables them to play a more active role in quality control.

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“One of the reasons why we rebranded from Sale Stock to Sorabel because we are not just about the low price; we are also about the most up-to-date fashion, good quality, trustworthy services,” Yuwono says.

A familiar new face

Now here comes the part about the rebrand.

Following the launch of its new identity, Sorabel hired a brand research agency to measure the public’s perception of the brand. They discovered that within just three months, the brand Sorabel has replaced Sale Stock in every brand perception metric that the company tracked.

“We created the brand in just two months, which is crazy because a lot of brand agencies said that we need at least six months,” Yuwono points out.

The CEO concludes that they were able to get to that point because they understand their customer well –and they did intend to create a brand that connects well to the customers.

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“During the Sale Stock days, we had a customer service mascot called Soraya … I have talked to random people about online shopping and I asked our customers, have you ever shopped at Sale Stock before? And they would be, ‘Sale Stock? You mean Soraya?'” Yuwono says.

“Then for the rest of the conversation, they would refer to us as Soraya. They have an emotional connection with Soraya and not Sale Stock. Sale Stock as a brand is cold and functional, but what they remember was the warmth, chit-chat, banter with our customer service,” he continues.

The next move

Their successful rebrand has opened up plenty of exciting opportunities, including a foray into the offline. The startup is looking forward to expanding their offline footprint by opening a retail store.

“Now that we actually have a brand that stands for fashion, we are ready to try offline. So I am hoping to open one as soon as possible,” Yuwono says.

Sorabel is also on the process of fundraising, and the funds will be used to support their international and offline expansion.

Image Credit: Sorabel