Growth and Marketing Automation Lessons with HERMO’s Alfin Teo [Marketer Spotlight]

  • UPDATED: 07 August 2019
  • 7 min read
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Editor’s Note: In our latest edition of Marketer Spotlight, Alfin Teo, Digital Marketer at HERMO, tells us why the beauty industry is still an untapped market in Malaysia, and how HERMO has managed to position itself as a market leader through their innovative marketing strategies.

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MoEngage’s Marketer Spotlight covers opinions and advice from marketing leaders and influencers on the industry challenges, trends, and best practices.

MoEngage: Welcome to Marketer Spotlight, Alfin. Tell us a little about yourself and HERMO.

Alfin: Hi, my name is Alfin. I am the key lead for mobile & digital marketing in HERMO. I am responsible for managing paid marketing (Facebook and Google) ads, SEO, affiliate marketing, and overall app performance. HERMO is Malaysia’s top online beauty and makeup shop dedicated to women. We have selected and on-boarded 300 high-quality, renowned international brands at great prices. HERMO directly partners with the brand owners and distributors to establish flagship stores on our platforms, thus maximizing benefits for both brands and consumers. Apart from this, we also offer fashion insights and beauty tips across our social media channels. 

I read a recent article about beauty retailers in the U.S. outpacing the overall e-commerce market. How’s the market in Malaysia?

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The Malaysian market is still in the early growth stage as compared to China and the United States, which are considered as mature markets. Everyone in China and the United States are habituated to buying online; however, in Malaysia, people are still getting used to the “online” way of shopping. I believe we still need a few more years before we see a more mature market where people view online buying as not an experience but a way of life, a social norm and as a convenient way of buying things. I would say it’s not too long before we reach that stage. With big players like Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora in the market, the competition is definitely heating up. However, despite the intense competition, we view it positively as they contribute towards educating the market and users together in the e-commerce ecosystem as a whole. 

In today’s world when customers are spoilt for choices, how does HERMO ensure a seamless user experience?

The beauty industry is a big untapped market. There are strong online cosmetics brands that leverage digital and social media channels – these are a perfect match with HERMO.

HERMO provides a user-friendly experience to its customers. We provide one to three days of flash shipping. This means it’s easier to order beauty products which are not available in Malaysia. It saves the time and effort of the customer. HERMO’s philosophy is not to expand for the sake of it. If we do expand, we make sure that it is done efficiently. Currently, we have adopted a data-driven approach, and are using video as our key content asset. With our new shopping app, we are laying a strong emphasis on the mobile-first approach to offer seamless and end-to-end user experience. 

Customer journeys are not linear in the digital world. There are so many channels and touchpoints, and each user has a unique purchase cycle. How do you define customer journeys at HERMO?

Agree to your point, in fact; I consider each touchpoint as equally important because it’s an opportunity. Whenever the customer comes across any of our marketing efforts, and each time they interact with us, they step a little closer to conversion.

There are three main stages in HERMO’s customer journey: Awareness, Consideration, Acquisition. We try to be data-driven throughout the customer journey. After all, data is king now.

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During the awareness phase, a customer is likely to be navigating through the homepage, category pages, and product pages. Typically, the longer a customer spends on your site, the further they would go on this journey.

When the customer adds a product to the shopping cart, it is referred to as the consideration phase, where he/she decides whether to buy. Sometimes the customer may even begin the checkout before really deciding if they’ll purchase or not. As the customer navigates through our checkout flow and customer journey, we observe the customer behavior from the available data to gauge if the customer is high intent or low intent.

Of course, anyone can say they want to make more revenue, but that doesn’t help you to accomplish anything. You need to define goals that make sense, and which are measurable.

What are some ways in which you segment your users? 

We segment our users as members, based on their buying behavior. The three memberships are – Gold, Platinum, and Normal members. Customers who spend more than RM 1000 in HERMO are Gold members. Platinum is customers who spend more than RM 2000 on our platform. Also, since Malaysia consists of 3 main races – Chinese, Malay, and Indians; we segment our users based on their races to provide personalized recommendations based on their skin-tone and other beauty preferences.

How do you personalize your customer experience?

Firstly, HERMO promises flash shipping within 1-3 days to our customers. We all know time is of the essence and every customer that makes a purchase cannot wait to “unbox” their beauty items. 

Secondly, we allow users to shop with extra HERMO credits. By doing so, they can get a further discount at checkout. There are multiple ways in which a user can earn HERMO credit. 

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#1 Referral: Invite a friend to sign up and purchase at HERMO. The user will receive a gift voucher of RM 15. 

#2 Daily attendance check-in: We encourage users to log in to HERMO app/web continuously for 10 days to earn 200 credits.

#3 Product review: A user will receive 20 credits per approved product review. We highly encourage this action as this improves our organic performance and provides a testimonial to our products and services.

#4 Share purchase on Social Media: When the user uploads pictures with the hashtag #hermomy, they get 50 credits. However, we carefully monitor the posts to ensure that all social media postings are legit and of good quality. 

#5 Offer cashback: If a user makes a successful purchase on HERMO, they earn one credit for every RM 1 spent. The more you buy, the more credit you receive. This serves as a cashback for our users and encourages them to revisit the website frequently. 

Last but not least, we also give out Birthday Vouchers to every user. I would consider this to be the most useful personalization hack as it not only helps in retention but also helps in reactivating the inactive user.  

How do you leverage automation for your marketing? Which specific areas are tools like MoEngage helping you?

Cart abandonment for sure. Every e-commerce player will definitely need marketing automation tools for this. The key difference is how you execute your Flow. From our data, we found out that users respond and react faster via the HERMO app. As a result, we fully utilize the Smart Trigger Campaign on MoEngage to automate Cart Abandonment Reminders. Doing so, we bring back visitors to the website/app, converting them into customers.

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Currently, I am also looking at ways to personalize our marketing efforts one level deeper, especially the Push Notifications using Moengage. For example, I would want to personalize notifications that are triggered by users’ behavior such as last order date, last login, most frequent item purchase and send clever personalized notifications depending on their behavior.

HERMO has achieved many milestones in just 7 years. If you had to share 3 growth marketing ideas that have worked for you in the past – what would those be?

In my opinion, there are three rules to any growth marketing ideas or hacks if you like to call it – What the customer wants, where the customer is, how to get the message across. Most importantly, always ask how to “automate” this idea/hack to make it more efficient.

I joined HERMO less than a year ago, so I can share some tips on what has worked out in this duration. 

#1 Try to give something away for free.

At HERMO, we give out two pieces of free masks for every new signup with purchase. This creates instant gratification effect to get a user to make the first purchase even at the signup stage. From there, we work towards customer retention with daily app push notifications and CRM ads. 

#2 It’s hard to grow big alone, partner with another company to share audiences.

Instead, focus on finding a business that complements your own. HERMO works with plenty of business partners from local banks to telcos. We also work with ShopBack (a cashback startup in SEA) for affiliate marketing. Occasionally, we work with beauty brands for a crossover campaign. The reason being, an incentivized partner will send you targeted prospects who are highly valuable i.e., high-quality users. Create kind of a win-win situation for both parties. 

#3 Follow your biggest competitors.

The competition will always be there. We need to embrace it to keep growing. We need to be aware of the factors that are changing in HERMO’s competitive landscape. It would also help us to get a much better idea regarding how our competitors are marketing their services and products and enable us to tailor our marketing strategies and content to get a maximum footprint. 

What’s your personal growth goal for coming year?

This year is going to be tough. However, every adversity is an opportunity, so for HERMO, we are closely observing the overall market behavior, so we can catch the trend at the head. Personally, I will continue to learn and seek more self-improvement this year. 

Thank You, Alfin, for sharing your valuable insights on how to leverage marketing automation to strategize and implement your innovative marketing solutions. Marketers – Is there someone you’d like us to feature in our Marketer Spotlight series? What topics would you recommend for our next feature? We invite your recommendations and feedback via the Comments section below.

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