MANILA – Homegrown lifestyle brand Bench had to change its strategy to be able to appeal to customers in Myanmar.
The Ben Chan-owned company entered the Myanmar market only last year as the conservative Southeast Asian nation slowly opened up to the world. Its other overseas locations include the United States, China, Japan, and the Middle East.
Aye Thida Aung Victoria, managing director of SuperOne Group which operates the Bench franchise in Myanmar, commended Chan for being “flexible enough” to cater to their market.
“Bench came from a family business… They understand and adapt with demand very fast,” said Aye, who recently visited Manila for Franchise Asia Philippines 2017.
“It was easy to discuss things with them,” she added.
Originally a clothing brand, Bench has expanded to scents, accessories, home items, and even snacks.
But when it opened in Myanmar, certain products were favored over others. “In Myanmar, they don’t use mist. They use perfume. The demand is different. So we had a big section for perfume instead of mist,” she said.
Bench also focused more on male apparel to attract more female customers. “It’s 60% male, and 40% female apparel. We changed it to attract the many females who like buying for their male [partners],” Aye explained.
And being a conservative country, Myanmar was not the ideal market for shorts, with Bench jeans selling well instead.
“We [in Myanmar] don’t wear a lot of shorts… The jeans sell very well so we focused on that,” Aye said.