Fakes banned in this local online marketplace
If there’s one thing that you won’t find on Adobomall, a new locally developed online marketplace, it’s fakes, or “imitation” products. The platform’s founder and CEO Walt Steven Young guarantees that.
In fact, authenticity was Young’s No. 1 agenda when he created the platform over a year ago.
“Since I travel a lot for business, I buy a lot of my needs online. I never had problems in receiving my purchases on time, and also never had to worry about the quality and authenticity of these products … on internationally based platforms,” he says.
But Young found himself wary of buying products on local platforms “because I was not sure if they were authentic,” he says.
“It was then that I had a light bulb moment: Why not create a platform that promises only authentic products to consumers?”
Along with that guarantee of authenticity, Adobomall offers big-ticket items under some of the most well-known brands, particularly when it comes to electronics—Apple, Fitbit, Seagate, Marshall, Segway and Dyson, to name a few. The site now works with 350 merchant partners, and Young says he aims to double that number within the first few months of the year.
“In the beginning, it was difficult to select and secure partner merchants when we were still unknown. When Adobomall had its soft launch, we only had nine partner brands. Of course, given this limited selection, it was also a challenge to drive customer visits to our website. It was at this point that my conviction was truly tested,” Young says.
“We soldiered on and spent most of our own resources and time to keep securing more merchants and ensuring that our platform was solid when it came to customer experience. From nine brands, we grew to 30 and then 50 and today, ,” he adds.
Young’s plans, of course, go beyond adding merchants to the platform—he wants to create a more personal shopping experience for his customers through augmented reality (AR), big data, analytics and adaptive technology.
Young brings with him years of experience working in IT: His career first began at Oracle Corp., then went on to Accenture where he was in charge of managing global standards for Oracle, Autosys and Sharepoint, particularly the implementation of standards and strategies in Chicago, Minneapolis, Dublin and Manila.
Young’s first business venture took off in 2002.
Called Innerworks, the company started as a systems integrator and IT infrastructure provider and has since transformed into one that provides a full suite of IT and application development services to global clients across a variety of industries (with some in Australia and North America).
With Adobomall, Young’s tech plans revolve around giving both consumers and merchants a more personalized experience. With consumers, this will happen through the use of AR—which Young says he and his team are in the process of perfecting—and adaptive technology.
“Rather than generic displays or discounts or even product offerings that everyone sees, we are exploring offering targeted promotions based on preference and behavior patterns. We are also working on a few projects that can help make the online browsing and shopping experience more exciting for our customers,” Young says.
As for adaptive technology, Young explains that “it completes the overall experience of our website and app. It relates to your current weather, season and occasion depending on your location. This feature would also eventually provide consumers with personalized product recommendations based on their historical preferences.”
Merchants, on the other hand, can expect their brands “to come to life” on Adobomall’s pages.
“I do not mean this only in the literal and visual sense, but even in terms of content and the experience of each page—to be customized and to be as close as possible to the brand’s values and offline experience,” Young says. “We want our brands to be able to establish their own identities online—as they do in their physical stores.”
“[Big data and analytics] anchor the promise to our merchants to empower them to make timely and efficient decisions. You would be surprised at how the littlest detail affects merchandising decisions for our brands,” he adds.
Young’s ultimate ambition for Adobomall, however, is this: for it to become the preferred online shopping mall in the Philippines, and eventually, go global, to represent the country in the e-commerce big league.
“The e-commerce game has always been about giving customers better products, customizable options and more channels or touch points. But it is only a matter of time that these alone will not be enough to differentiate you from your competitors. Going beyond speed, convenience and price is critical,” he says. “To become truly competitive, it is becoming more essential for businesses to make online shopping more personal, more authentic and to use technological innovations to make this happen. This is where we feel we have the upper hand and where our investments and focus will be in the coming years.”
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