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Manufacturing / Makers Global


Wacoal offers a variety of fashion items with a focus on women’s underwear. In 2016, the brand enjoyed dramatic E-Commerce revenue growth in Thailand. What were their strategies behind this remarkable success? Let’s find out their hidden secrets.

Challenge Challenge

Increase E-Commerce sales

Results Results

  • Introduced the Quality of Japanese Brands to Thailand, over the Last 50 Years
  • Lessons from the Rapidly Growing E-Commerce Market
  • Achieved over 10X Revenue with the Support of transcosmos

I.C.C. International Thamarat Chokwatana

Demand for High Quality Japanese Brands is Long-Established in Thailand

I.C.C. International President and Vice Executive Chairman
Thamarat Chokwatana
Joined I.C.C. International in 1999 and then appointed to President.

I.C.C. International Supranee Auiyasathain

A Great Selection of Items and Speedy Support Delivered Higher-Than-Expected Success

I.C.C. International Digital Marketing & Channel Division Manager
Supranee Auiyasathain
Joined I.C.C. International in 2012.
Appointed to Manager of Digital Marketing Sales Distribution Department in 2015.

Since its foundation in 1946, Wacoal has been loved by many as a high-quality, high-value women’s underwear brand. From the time when bras were not common in Japan, Wacoal continued to aim at offering underwear that was functional yet comfortable to wear. The brand contributed to making bras an everyday piece of clothing for women in Japan, whilst dominating the market. In addition to women’s underwear, Wacoal expanded its business to sportswear and men’s underwear, whilst aggressively venturing into the global market, going beyond the Japanese market.

In the global market, Wacoal saw stunning revenue growth in Thailand’s E-Commerce market in 2016. What were their strategies and secrets behind this success? Here are our interviews with the parties involved.

Introduced the Quality of Japanese Brands to Thailand, over the Last 50 Years

Wacoal’s Thai market entry dates back a half-century. In 1970, the company established Thai Wacoal Public Co., Ltd. in Thailand. As of today, all Thai Wacoal made items are sold by I.C.C. International (ICC), its exclusive distributor.

ICC is a member of SAHA GROUP, Thailand’s prominent conglomerate which owns over 300 affiliates. As a consumer goods wholesaler, ICC offers items from nearly 200 brands with a focus on fashion and cosmetics. It covers a wide spectrum of product categories, including men’s and women’s fashion, kid’s fashion, cosmetics, underwear, sports items, foods, supplements and beverages. ICC is committed to product quality and half of the brands they offer are the Japanese brands.

Wacoal has a huge presence in the Thai market where consumers have a strong preference for high-quality Japanese brands. In 2015, Wacoal product revenue reached approximately 4.1 billion baht (c. 12 billion yen), and the brand claims the top share in Thailand’s women’s underwear market.

“I believe there are two reasons,” Mr. Thamarat Chokwatana, President and Vice Executive Chairman at ICC said, analyzing the reasons for the popularity of Japanese brands. “Firstly, Japanese brand items have become everyday items for Thai consumers. We have spent nearly 40 years introducing Japanese brands in Thailand. Today, to shop for Japanese brand items is just a part of everyday life.

Secondly, but equally important, is the quality of the products, for sure. In Thailand, Japanese brands represent high quality and safety. As average income increased along with economic growth, high-quality, made-in-Japan products have become ever more popular.”

Lessons from the Rapidly Growing E-Commerce Market

Along with the penetration of the smartphone and tablet, Thailand’s E-Commerce market is going through significant growth (2015 B2C E-Commerce market size was approximately 2.4 billion dollars, 122% year-over-year growth). Its primary market is working women aged 18 to 34 who have “no time to shop because of work, but still want to enjoy shopping”. E-Commerce was a perfect match to satisfy their needs and they are the ones bolstering the market.

ICC also sells Wacoal products on various E-Commerce websites including Lazada, Thailand’s popular E-Commerce website. Yet, they struggled with revenue growth on Lazada in the beginning.

“At that time, we sold items with a “consignment model”, which meant it was Lazada who bought Wacoal products and we stocked the products,” Ms. Supuranee, ICC Brand Manager recalls, and further says, “With this model, Lazada took the lead in selecting products and so, we couldn’t decide the sizes and colors of items we offered on the website. What’s more, because they had a limit on the number of SKUs (a stock keeping unit. Each size, color and pattern will be categorized as different SKU even for the same product), we couldn’t offer a wide variety of items as we wanted to.”

“For women’s underwear, color and size variations are as important as design and functionality,” she continued. “With the consignment model, we just couldn’t satisfy consumers’ needs. To make it worse, it took too long to replenish stocks and so we couldn’t offer items when customers asked, which resulted in many lost opportunities.”

“Love the design, but I can’t find my size.” “The shop lacks variation, so it’s no fun.” “They are always out of stock.” Even for a popular brand renowned for its superior quality, it was impossible to elevate the level of customer satisfaction under such a situation. To solve these challenges, ICC took the bold step of reviewing its sales model.

Achieved over 10X Revenue with the Support of transcosmos

In order to make a breakthrough, ICC decided to launch a dedicated Wacoal webpage on Lazada with a marketplace model which enables ICC to operate the page by itself. Yet, it requires highly advanced expertise to operate the E-Commerce website with the model. Also, due to the considerable time and effort required to build and operate the website, it is not realistic for ICC to do everything in-house. So, ICC turned to transcosmos to be their partner.

In January, 2016, Wacoal launched its own marketplace on Lazada with the support of transcosmos. With ICC adjusting SKUs flexibly whilst grasping inventory level in and out, consumers can now select items that suit their exact tastes. It also allowed the company to take aggressive promotional initiatives, says Ms. Supranee. “transcosmos fully showcased its online marketing know-how. Through running marketing promotions via online ads, LINE, e-mail and Google, we could deliver valuable information to many consumers.”

“transcosmos’s support didn’t stop there. To give you one example, they monitor order status of each item on a daily basis and send the report to Wacoal team at ICC. With this process in place, we now have a scheme which enables us to deliver items within 24 hours even for ones that are about to run out.

Additionally, we receive a top selling item analysis report on a monthly basis and discuss our sales plan for the following month with the transcosmos team. Thanks to their detailed support, we got on track within just one month after launching the website. What’s more, within less than 6 months, our revenue increased by over 10 times in size.
Wacoal received the Best Seller Award in the fashion industry category at Lazada’s annual event, “Lazada Top Seller Event 2016”.

With Lazada being a success, ICC switched from operating a consignment model to a marketplace model on ZALORA, a growing fashion E-Commerce website in Thailand, with transcosmos’s support. As a result, the brand achieved record high revenue on ZALORA, achieving more than 5 times the revenue of the previous year. The revenue growth rates on the two websites were outstanding among ICC’s sales channels, making ICC switch their sales model to the marketplace model on their other online channels.

“Going forward, customers will demand more speedy service than before,” said Mr. Thamarat, describing his future vision after seeing the apparent successes. “I am confident that transcosmos’s call center services and customer database will help us meet the demands. We also offer our private brand called “BSC”. We haven’t gone online yet, but we are discussing the possibility of entering the global market and we look forward to having transcosmos’s support for our cross-border E-Commerce.”

Having achieved solid performance and confidence in operating marketplaces including Lazada and ZALORA, ICC now has its eye on the next stage. Together with transcosmos, ICC aims to further grow its business.

Left: Wacoal homepage on Thailand’s Lazada website. Middle: Wacoal homepage on ZALORA. Right: Trophy Wacoal was awarded in Fashion Category for Best Content 2016 at Lazada Top Seller Event 2016.


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