Pomelo, a Thai fashion e-commerce startup that has received backing from JD.com, is making a significant strategic shift in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is now focusing on transforming itself into a fashion technology platform, aiming to generate additional revenue by offering its own technology and analytics services to other fashion brands in the region. Pomelo’s CEO, David Jou, has announced that the company will be launching its business-to-business (B2B) unit, named Prism, next month. Prism will provide various services, including demand planning and logistics, to fashion and lifestyle brands.

This decision comes at a time when physical store sales and foot traffic have experienced a significant decrease. In the first quarter of this year, store traffic in Thailand plummeted by 71%, while other markets saw a decline of around 20%. Despite this, e-commerce has remained resilient amid the ongoing pandemic.

Pomelo’s B2B service has already attracted renowned brands like Levi’s as customers. The startup has managed to secure a total of $83 million in funding from investors, including Thailand’s largest retailer, Central Group. It competes with well-established companies in the fashion industry like Japan’s Fast Fashion Co Ltd.’s Uniqlo.

The COVID-19 pandemic has expedited the digital transformation efforts of retailers, thereby increasing the demand for fashion tech services. Local brands, which already possess a profound understanding of their customer base, stand to benefit greatly from Pomelo’s support in areas such as product development, textile sourcing, and supply chain management, according to Jou.

In addition to expanding its fashion tech platform, Pomelo will continue to sell its own apparel brand. The company aims to add 44 new physical stores to its existing 25 locations. Furthermore, Pomelo is currently exploring a potential partnership with the ride-hailing company Grab, with the aim of allowing customers to try on clothes in the comfort of their own homes.

Pomelo’s strategic shift to become a fashion tech platform serves as a testament to the adaptability of startups in the face of challenges posed by the pandemic. By leveraging its expertise and technology, Pomelo seeks to support other fashion brands in navigating the ever-evolving retail landscape and fostering growth within the fashion industry.

Useful Links:
1. [Pomelo’s Official Website](https://www.pomelofashion.com/)
2. [JD.com’s Official Website](https://corporate.jd.com/home)