"There was no IT team required to set up the store. Also, Zoho Commerce had a seamless integration with Zoho Books and Inventory. The features were rich, and, at the same time, it was easy to customize with the source code. Zoho Commerce made it easy for SMEs like us. We were able to set up our online store on Zoho Commerce and start selling in under two weeks."
- Anshu Tewari, TWELVElittle
TWELVElittle is in the business of making fashionable and functional bags. Its founder, Julia Min, chose the name TWELVElittle as a tribute to the Asian zodiac, representing the 12 birth year animals. Every year, they bring out unique animal-themed accessories that are designed to celebrate babies born in that particular year. While struggling to find a stylish-yet-practical diaper bag for her own use, Julia took the opportunity to combine her creative spirit and her work experience to create TWELVElittle.
TWELVElittle originated in the USA and is now being sold in almost 10 countries. The Middle East office is headquartered in Dubai and is managed by Anshu Tewari, who oversees the sales, marketing, and distribution for the ME region. "Our products are sold online and offline," Anshu told us. "The offline sale is done through boutique stores and the online sale is done through the website."
A big challenge that lay ahead of TWELVElittle in the Middle East market was that the category of changing bags and moms bags was constantly evolving, and different communities had different preferences. They had to first educate the customer on the type of bag that would help them multitask while carrying the baby. Secondly, TWELVElittle wanted to tell moms that even while caring for the baby, one could look fashionable. So they ensured their designs were in line with global fashion trends and not in boring colors.
"We did a lot of popup events to showcase the touch and feel of the products for customers," Anshu said. "Initially, we were posting losses, but then a turnaround happened when we invested a lot on social media branding and brand expansion into other markets. We kept our price points stable and never felt the pressure to introduce low-cost products." But a vital question about online sales remained, and the team was toying with many options.
"We knew that we needed a fully functional ecommerce store but were still considering factors such as the right platform, payment gateway and creating a good mobile version of the store. We also wanted the ecommerce store to work seamlessly with our backend software, and the website maintenance had to be done without any additional manpower. We wanted to spend more time selling than setting up and maintaining the platform and integrations."
The TWELVElittle team learned about Zoho Commerce from another business in India. They were already customers of Zoho's products Books and Inventory, so being in the same ecosystem made sense when it came to setting up an ecommerce store.
"Zoho is the go-to solution for businesses. There was no IT team required to set up the store. Also, Zoho Commerce had a seamless integration with Zoho Books and Inventory. The features were rich, and at the same time, it was easy to customize with the source code. Zoho Commerce made it easy for SMEs like us. We were able to set up our online store on Zoho Commerce and start selling in under two weeks."
Benefits and ROI
Today, TWELVElittle's ecommerce store accounts for over 20% of their business. "We have also seen a 15% year-on-year increase in our revenue. We have been able to increase our margins by 100% by directly selling to the end-users. WIthout any additional manpower, we have been able to add powerful MIS and invoicing capabilities." Anshu also felt that Zoho Commerce worked best for an entrepreneur selling online.
"The sheer ease of use is a big plus point. The store setup was so easy that it could be done by any layperson. Elements for banners and reviews make it quite attractive. The entire set of processes involving stock management, shipping, and accounting are now seamlessly happening. All these are important for a new entrepreneur." Today, TWELVElittle has more than 5,000 customers, with an average purchase of 2.5 times a year.
Anshu believes strongly that understanding the constantly developing customer needs and coming up with products that are both convenient and fashionable are vital to stay ahead in the game. "We plan to produce short-form videos for our products and participate inmany customer events where we can understand our customers. It will also help our customers connect with the brand emotionally. We also want to expand geographically—in the near future, we have plans of opening standalone brand stores. Zoho Commerce will play a key role in our growth story."