TOKYO, Japan — Start Today, which operates Japan's largest fashion e-commerce portal, Zozotown, has launched a new online mall targeting teenage and early-20s girls. Called La Boo, it operates much like Zozotown, a marketplace for third-party merchants, and currently offers about 100 labels, including Baroque Japan’s Moussy, Cecil McBee, Love Girls Market and Egoist, as well as Mash Style Lab’s Snidel and the UK's Topshop.
Some of these brands are also sold on Zozotown. But Zozotonwn's image is closely associated with its early clients (almost entirely premium select shop chains like Beams and Baycrews) and its core customer base ranges from late 20-year-olds to late 30-year-olds. La Boo, by contrast, aims to wrap its product offering in a new brand that appeals directly to a younger, fun-seeking demographic.
There is plenty of competition, including mobile malls for teen girls from Senshukai and Nissen, as well as Girlswalker and Shibuya 109’s online store. Nevertheless Start Today’s experience in both online operations and especially online marketing to fashion consumers should give it an edge. Start Today has allocated a large marketing budget for a launch campaign that includes advertising on television, in print magazines, on social networks and on public transport. The company has also hired British model Cara Delevingne to be the face of La Boo and will launch a Cara-branded collaboration line.
Start Today was long rumoured to be planning a more mass market online mall to complement Zozotown, but La Boo's tight focus on the teens-to-20s market seems a smart move, as the market is currently fragmented, with no dominant player.
Recently, Start Today has invested in its online used clothing business, Zozo Used, and its new mobile social commerce network Wear.jp. But the former is a niche business and the latter has left many retailers and developers concerned about showrooming.
La Boo, on the other hand, is a direct attack on teen-focused shopping centres like Shibuya 109 and the underserved online teens-to-20s market.
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