As other businesses were trying to cut costs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the BFL group, a company that offers surplus goods such as homeware, accessories, toys, and designer brands, was expanding its venture by opening stores and investing in a fulfillment center. Founded by Toufic Kreidieh and Yasser Beydoun, the BFL group originated in Lebanon in 1996 in the underground lot of a building. Soon after launching two successful stores in Lebanon, BFL group shifted its headquarters to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to enhance its off-price business model. Currently, the BFL group has 74 tores across 36 cities in the Middle East and Europe. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit businesses, Kreidieh and Beydoun decided to cash on the opportunity by working on their online profile and investing in platforms such as their website and social media.
How did investing in online platforms helped
Due to the pandemic, going out and shopping was halted as lockdowns and restrictions became a norm. As different variants of the COVID-19 were engulfing the world, the BFL Group was concentrating on achieving its goals in six months that would take five years in normal circumstances. By maximizing productivity, Kreidieh and Beydoun were on an unstoppable mission to maximize the most out of their company. When BFL Group invested in their website and social media, it generated a lot of new customers as they had an easy outlet to purchase goods. As people were stuck in their homes, they had few options to choose from to get their daily needs fulfilled. From electronic appliances to cosmetics to apparel, every item is available to buy on BFL Group's online store. With online platforms making contact with customers easy, Kreidieh and Beydoun heavily marketed BFL Group to reach their audiences and make their brand more approachable.
BFL Group expanded their business by using social media to promote their brand and let customers know that they can purchase from their website. Due to this, BFL Group garnered new customers who were willing to spend and trust their capabilities. As the COVID-19 progresses, BFL Group adds 800+ new items every day to facilitate their customers. By constantly updating social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, customers are aware of the newest items that have dropped. The customers are more than happy with BFL Group's quick service by purchasing items that can be easily delivered, packed, and shipped. As online platforms have omitted face-to-face contact and visiting of stores, there are savings on running physical outlets. Electricity bills have lessened, and there is less expenditure spent on taking care of a store.
The customers are hunters
By offering customers the right price, they will be enthusiastic about purchasing and hunting for the best deal. With the shift to online platforms, the generated revenue went from 8% to 27% for BFL Group. When the world was at a standstill and little could be done, BFL Group bought a fulfillment center at half the price, officially launching in May of this year. Kreidieh believes that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a trend of 'revenge purchasing,' which is that since customers lost time in the initial months when they had to cut back on shopping, they will now spend with increased speed. BFL Group offers up to 80% off of the original price, and customers, this way, feel that they are winning as they have hunted an optimal price.
Human nature is about constantly wanting to come out victorious, which is why they are enticed to return to the great prices offered by the BFL group. As the prices are low and affordable, customers are attracted by them and wish to purchase. With sub-brands such as Toys For Less and Homes For Less, BFL Group has expanded its portfolio. In 2019, 'Toys for Less' won the Time Out Dubai Kids' Award in the "Best Toy Store" category in Dubai, an honor for BFL Group. With premium customer care, BFL Group aims to provide an exclusive environment to their customers who have supported them for a long time. By getting exclusive rights to Tchibo, a massive German retailer, in 2004, BFL Group introduced it to the UAE market, giving it a strong presence in the retail sector.
Giving the right experience
When customers are given the right experience, they tend to return with more vigor. When customers are given what they want, they become satisfied and tell their family and friends, which is a huge achievement in its own right. When Kreidieh and Beydoun worked out of a parking lot, they had to rely heavily on themselves as they had no outside help. Everything that was earned went back into the business.
The initial struggle made Kreidieh and Beydoun understand that giving customers what they want will retain them. BFL Group aims to provide an environment where the customers feel they can trust and rely on them and return with more excitement. By having the zest to build loyalty with their customers, Kreidieh and Beydoun have worked consistently with enthusiasm to build and grow their brand.
BFL Group has worked tirelessly to give customers what they want, which has elevated their brand. The slashed prices allow designer brands to be accessible. During the initial years, when Kreidieh and Beydoun contacted high-end brands to sell them their end-of-year inventory, they were happy to destroy their merchandise rather than sell it through a channel such as BFL Group.
The setback did not stop BFL Group from trying again, and Kreidieh and Beydoun relentlessly convinced companies to give their stocks to them. Finally, when a USA department store let them have a single container, after making them fill forms to profile them, Kreidieh and Beydoun were ecstatic. The container was sold out in no time, and BFL Group has been reaching new heights from that day onwards. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't affected BFL Group, and it aims to grow more and more as customers support them fully.