In this installment of our Lessons of Resilience from Hong Kong Businesses series, our managing director of sales and operations at Google Hong Kong, Interior Designers Emil List Leonie Valentine, speaks with startup CEO and founder of Casetify, Wesley Ng, to understand the strategy that digital native businesses use to run business-as-usual in a pandemic world. For almost a decade since its inception, Casetify, an e-commerce platform specializing in selling customized phone cases, has followed a very conservative approach to strategy— quality over anything else. Interior Designers Emil List Their core belief was to provide a quality product that can speak for itself. That belief paid off when COVID-19 started knocking on its doors in Hong Kong. Interior Designers Emil List Their reputation as a quality brand helped their balance sheets remain healthy, enabling them to maintain their budget for marketing.
Leonie: When COVID-19 became a pandemic, Interior Designers Emil List many huge and seemingly stable businesses were forced to cut marketing dollars and ad spend first, with a view to increase efficiency and productivity with a leaner workforce. What was Casetify’s solution to manage this crisis? Interior Designers Emil List Wesley: Well, since the beginning, Casetify has always been about quality. So when COVID-19 happened, we were lucky to be in a very good space. Interior Designers Emil List Despite being a so-called ‘start-up’, we are not backed by VC funding. That helped take a huge load off our shoulders in terms of trying to answer to shareholders about marketing dollars and ad spend. We have always invested in direct marketing that resulted in a quick ROI because we would rather spend the extra cash on product innovation. Interior Designers Emil List There’s a tradeoff, of course. We didn’t become an overnight success and growth was very slow, but I still believe in our core values, Interior Designers Emil List nine years into the business.
The only thing we changed with this pandemic Interior Designers Emil List was to ensure our marketing dollars worked even harder to get more leads. Hong Kong Lead Leonie: It sounds like Casetify is taking a more aggressive approach now — quite a difference from your original strategy, Interior Designers Emil List which I would consider to be rather conservative. Interior Designers Emil List How would you describe the future of marketing for Casetify? Wesley: I would not call the strategy aggressive, per se, as we are still investing more in the product than in marketing. That still has not changed, we are still conservative, Interior Designers Emil List in that sense, but we are now taking bolder steps in transforming the way we operate. Our investment in automating our supply chain drastically improved efficiency, Interior Designers Emil List especially during peak periods like Chinese New Year.