Love Business
    Category: E-Conomy By : Ardian Wibisono Read : 714 Date : Wednesday, February 08, 2017 - 15:56:32

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    There’s no holiday for love and romance—which makes for a good business. While many spent their yearend on holiday, co-founders Grace Natalia and William Tunggaldjaja were busier than ever, handling customer orders at its ITC Kuningan office in Jakarta just days before the New Year. The two sell what many consider taboo—such as condoms, lubricants and sex tonics—along with more prosaic items such as deodorants, vitamins and candies. Now the site, whose name means “my love,” has been expanding into other romance-related items such as flowers and lingerie.

    The idea to set up an e-commerce company selling intimate and romance products actually came when Grace was purchasing condoms and lubricants in a store for a friend’s bachelorette party few years back. She received awkward stares from a salesperson and other customers. While others might have been upset, Grace saw an opportunity to start a new venture. Before setting up Asmaraku in 2014, Grace was Lazada Indonesia’s marketplace head. William joined later, and had worked at Path and Zomato as country manager and vice president of Lazada Indonesia—both are 31 years old. “From the beginning, we saw a huge potential for selling intimate products online and there wasn’t any e-commerce company that provided their customers with a professional service, and we know for sure people need it,” Grace says. A year after being established, Asmaraku obtained seed funding from venture capital firm Alpha JWC Ventures and Japan’s IMJ Investment Partners.

    Given its product mix, Asmaraku has a slightly different approach from other sites. The company is very customer centric. Since it is sending sensitive items, Asmaraku guarantees its customer’s privacy. The Asmaraku delivery box has no branding, and there is even extra packaging inside to make sure that the product will not be seen by others when the package is opened. The sender’s name is given as PT Modern Abadi, Asmaraku’s registered name, which doesn’t give a hint of its business. The same approach is taken with its invoices and other material.

    The discretion applies even to more ordinary products. Knowing that Indonesian men are often shy to bring flowers to loved ones, Asmaraku puts its flowers into a special box so buyers aren’t seen carrying around roses. In case the customers doesn’t feel confident to receive a package at their office or home, they can opt to pick up their goods at 150 pickup points in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi and several other major cities. “We are finalizing to add up 4,000 pickup locations nationwide this year. It’s more difficult to find addresses in small cities, thus it will make it easier and cheaper for us as well,” William says.

    Listening to customers is another thing. Aside from providing feedback, with an anonymous option—which Grace says tends to make the feedback more honest and useful—Asmaraku also provides interactive chats for customers to learn about products. In fact, she said the company’s product assortment development is based on customer feedbacks and requests, which she claims is already around ten thousand SKUs (the site stocks 16 different brands of condoms). Some questions are forwarded directly to the product producers for answers. 

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