As cloud service levels tech battlefield, startups are competing with giant companies from the same starting line. (Please click here for Part I of this interview)

CIO-Tony.jpgSmartBuyGlasses is a B2C e-commerce platform that sells a large range of designer sunglasses, prescription eyewear, contact lenses, optical products and optical services with operations in the U.S., Canada, China, Italy, etc. Starting the business from Australia, SmartBuyGlasses expanded globally with the infrastructure support of Rackspace. It is now available in 15 languages and across more than 30 countries.

While e-commerce sites that sell apparels and other accessories are often haunted by high return rates caused by poor fit, SmartBuyGlasses overcomes the obstacle by adopting a virtual 3D try-on technology. The technology enables customers to try the glasses from their computers, helping the users to see how the glasses look on their faces in real time.

According to the company’s co-founder Tony Zhuang, customers spend more time (20% longer) on their website since the adoption of this 3D try-on tool. He added that the users can take pictures while trying the glasses and share them to social networks like Facebook and WeChat.

To further remove customers’ concerns before the purchase, SmartBuyGlasses also offers pictures and videos of the glasses so that users can see the products in more detail.

During the global expansion of SmartBuyGlasses, Chinese market, which has recorded 3-digit growth in the past two years, will be a main focus of the company in the future, said Tony. The e-commerce retailer has set up an office in Hong Kong and is building a headquarter in Shanghai with multiple facilities, including call center, logistics and IT team.

In addition to localizing the languages, SmartBuyGlasses has launched a bunch of measures to localize its service in Chinese market. It has integrated local payment methods like AliPay. Considering Chinese customers may looking for different brands as compared with foreign customers, SmartBuyGlasses consults internal sales data like best sellers, best brands in other Asian countries of Japan and Korean, the regions that share similar purchase behaviors and fashion trends with China, and then applies the research results to Chinese market.

The site is also trying to interact with customers in a local way, for example, Chinese customers may prefer messages or social networking platforms like QQ, Sina Weibo and WeChat rather than emails for customer service.

Tony thinks Chinese users demand high-quality services, because they are used to get great services from Taobao, Tmall, like 24-hour shipping time, 7-day no question return, etc. SmartBuyGlasses is trying to offer the same level of services.

SBG

When talking about future technology trends, Tony pointed out mobile will be a huge opportunity for success in Chinese e-commerce industry. SmartBuyGlasses is now optimizing its mobile websites, offering better customer experiences in mobile devices. With the aim of duplicating the 3D try-on experience on mobile, the company plans to release apps for both iOS and Android platforms within six months, according to Tony.

SmartBuyGlasses is now in the process to introduce a hybrid cloud together with RackSpace. Tony thinks hybrid cloud is an awesome product, because on the one hand users can take advantage of its flexibility and strong computing power. On the other hand, they still can have very safe data backups.

image credit: SmartBuyGlasses