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Enlinea aims be SouthEast Asia's leading portals operator for women
The Wedding is one of the most important milestones in every young man's and young woman's life. It is the point from which they begin their lifelong journey together as husband and wife, have children, raise and educate them till they can stand on their own two feet in life, and in the mean time, also provide a suitable home for themselves, their children and perhaps their aged parents.
With that in mind, MSC Malaysia status company Enlinea Sdn. Bhd., aims to operate SouthEast Asia's leading portals focusing on ladies, which cater to the three main stages of women's lives namely their wedding, young motherhood and family home life.
Established in early 2012, Enlinea initially developed highvolume, high traffic, electroniccommerce sites for many clients, including real estate agencies, hospitality service providers, airlines, banks, florists and others. Later in 2012, the company decided to create and run its own electroniccommerce portal, so it developed Wedding.com.my to cater to the first main stage of women's lives, inspired by personal experience.
“And, today, we are fully committed to Wedding.com.my, which helps couples plan and coordinate all stages of their wedding, according to their likes, tastes and budget, with plans to expand beyond Malaysia into Singapore next year, and into Indonesia and Taiwan after that”, said Petrina Goh, Enlinea's Chief of Finance & Strategy.
“With the help of technology, the industry will evolve to be more transparent and will provide bridestobe and new mothers the information they need when they begin the next stages in their lives. “Our vision is to be South East Asia's leading female portal guiding women through the three important stages of her life, and we aim to launch our Motherhood.com.my online shop by early next year, to expand into other regions by the middle of next year, followed by portals catering to the third stage of women's lives namely, home décor, living and lifestyle”, Petrina added. Enlinea, which means 'online' in Spanish, launched Wedding.com.my in beta format in September 2012, and patterns the site according to the wedding site TheKnot.com in the United States. Since then, the company has established itself as the premier and leading wedding site in Malaysia, and aims to reach eight out of 10 brides in Malaysia. It officially launched Wedding.com.my in 2013.
The site is based upon a 'winwin' philosophy, to provide a platform for a wide array of businesses and professionals providing all kinds of weddingrelated products, services and facilities to build their business online and attract new customers.
These include providers of wedding dresses, shoes, wedding jewellery, cakes, gifts, beverages, restaurants for wedding lunches or dinners, hotels, resorts, customised wedding organisers, florists, wedding photographers, videographers, wedding album producers and it caters to Malay, Indian, Chinese and church weddings as well.
Each of these businesses or professionals are provided with their own business page on the portal, with a unique web address to showcase their portfolio of products and services, all of which provides ideas and inspiration to couples planning their wedding.
Couples planning their wedding can use the portal to obtain ideas to plan their wedding, and provides them with a list of options and attractive packages which fit their budget. It also lets them access a merchant centre to purchase their required products and services online. In October 2014, Enlinea launched its Wedding Shop on the site, which lets couples purchase all kinds of wedding packages and bridal services online. The portal also is the main supporting media for many bridal fairs and print media in Malaysia.
User access is freeofcharge, as Wedding.com.my earns revenue from subscriptions by vendors hosted and from commissions on successful transactions. The site currently covers the whole of Malaysia, but has received enquiries, from brides and vendors internationally, especially from Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan.
Its users are mainly females, age between 20 to 35 years old. They are mostly tech savvy, affluent brides, who love to personalise their wedding in doityourself fashion.
User experience is key
However, it was not plain sailing all the way for Wedding.com.my. In fact, it was not very popular with Malaysians in its earlier days. The site was initially patterned upon Pinterest and Facebook, furthermore with Pinterest being less popular with Malaysians, it required greater effort by Enlinea to educate users.
Basically, it did not provide a good enough user experience in terms of usability and user interaction, and studies have shown that 97% of websites fail due to a poor user experience, resulting in frustrated users and poor conversion rates. On the other hand, a good user experience results in more profitable and productive sites. This is also true for the success or failure of software products.
Ease of use of websites and software results in satisfied users, reduces the costs to educate them, boosts sales volumes and enhances the quality of customer service. But whilst many home grown ICT and new media companies in Malaysia have wonderful ideas for website design, software development and mobile applications development creation, however, some suffer from lack of aesthetic appeal, ease of use, interactivity and so forth, and lose their popularity.
For example, a top executive at Microsoft Malaysia explained that the software giant's approach towards user interface design is for its menus to not go more than three levels down from the main menu.
“Our problem was that we lacked expertise in providing a good user experience on our site, so we looked around and the Multimedia Development Corporation's (MDeC) UX Innovate (User eXperience Innovate) programme which helps train companies to improve the user experience of their websites and software, provided us with a solution to our problem and we applied to participate”, said Petrina.
Launched in February 2014, the UX Innovate programme put successful applicants through an intensive threeday UX bootcamp and a oneday specialised training in April 2104, followed by two months of prototype development under the guidance of user interface and user experience mentors, and subsequently one month of validation on user experience.
The validation process involves getting users to test the prototype website and then provide feedback, and Enlinea invited visitors to the Malaysia Wedding Festival in May to test their website and provide their opinions.
“After having gone through the UX Innovate programme, we validated our website, finetuned its user experience and got much positive feedback from our test users, and after that, interest in Wedding.com.my picked up”, said Petrina.
Despite the current popularity and success of Wedding.com.my, Enlinea expects more competitors to jump on the wedding portal bandwagon within the next five to 10 years but the company is confident that it has what it takes to prevail over them and to continue to thrive.
“The wedding industry is very competitive and lucrative, and I expect that with the success of our wedding platform, we will see many similar online wedding services mushrooming”, said Petrina.
“However, as our platform provides all wedding vendors with the opportunity to reach customers in a cost effective manner, we are confident that with our deep industry knowledge and strong channel partners, we will continue to lead the online space for weddings, motherhood and home”, she added.
Meanwhile, Enlinea plans to launch a mobile application, for its online shop, by 2015.