For many entrepreneurs, the coronavirus pandemic has presented itself as quite the challenge to overcome. Beyond pushing the everyday citizens to a new normal of working from home, many businesses have also struggled to adapt to changes at the eleventh hour. With work taking place predominantly at home from March to early-June, the demand for home office equipment has risen exponentially throughout this period. APOL

For local startup A Piece of Lifestyle (otherwise known as APOL), the pandemic sees a rise in demand for the label’s ergonomic chairs. And it is not difficult to see why. At the office, a desk chair functions with a singular purpose, that is to keep you comfortably upright while you work in front of a computer. At home, however, the chair has to blend into the domestic landscape; it needs to proffer elements of versatility and beauty. A chair for the home office, then, requires more: beyond the functionality of an office chair, it also requires pleasant aesthetics and some manner of versatility too. All these make modern, ergonomic chairs even more alluring.

Related Article: What You Need To Know When Selecting An Ergonomic Chair For Your Home Study or Office

“Prior to the Circuit Breaker, a lot of people do not realise that they need an ergonomic chair that functions well and care for your back,” says Jason Lin, the co-founder of APOL. “Customers have approached us knowing that the long hours of working at home demand a better seating alternative.”

Convincing Consumers & Streamlining Digital Sales

We wanted to improve and we noticed our customers do not object to installment payment plans.

But when demand for ergonomic chairs increased and showrooms shut down, the Singaporean label sought to find a motivation to convince consumers to first purchase its products online and try them out later. “We needed to implement certain changes quickly,” Jason says, on reassuring consumers in trying times. He is also quick to add that having basic customer support for both online and on APOL’s hotline are key factors to consider too. The team has also adopted product videos on their website to help consumers make more informed decisions.

For Jason and his team, the decision to adopt hoolah’s “Buy Now, Pay Later” methodology is an incentive of sort. He adds, “We wanted to improve and we noticed our customers do not object to payment plans.”

While much of APOL’s consumer demographic comprises those aged between 25 to 35 years old, the Singaporean label is also seeing younger consumers, who are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, in recent times. The bump in this new demographic, APOL’s other co-founder Leong Chin reveals, may have come after hoolah’s incorporation. “This group of people may not own a credit card yet and thus credit card instalment plans that exist do not appeal to them. However, with hoolah, the younger crowd can use their debit cards to split their transactions.”  

Ergonomic chairs boast a myriad of functions. Beyond ensuring comfort while seated over prolonged periods, they also promote good seating posture with ample lumbar support. For APOL, the label has long prided itself in provisioning chairs that respect the users’ height differences, the amount of space available for the chair to occupy and, at the same time, provide back comfort. With these benefits, the hefty price points for ergonomic chairs in the industry is well-reasoned. Which is why the idea of “Buy Now, Pay Later” stands out and appeals to the everyday consumer.  

Increasing Basket Size for Complementary Goods & Overall Sales

The sales of APOL ergonomic chairs have increased 10 times, with 40% of these digital transactions made via hoolah.

Since the pandemic started, Jason and Leong Chin, revealed that the sales of APOL chairs had increased 10 times. The duo also attributed that 40% of these digital transactions were made with hoolah.

Another interesting observation also surfaced: increasing basket size. According to Jason, the sales of complementary products, such as additional footrest and cleaning accessories, have also increased too. “Essentially, we find customers purchasing both APOL chairs and these ‘add-ons’ together,” Jason explains. “hoolah helped convince our consumers that they are able to afford better goods because they can now split the payment across three months.”

At its core, APOL is a Singaporean brand that caters to people with different physique. It is not a brand that proffers just “gaming chairs”— a term that Jason is quick to correct—for gamers. Instead, APOL’s ergonomic chairs are lifestyle accessories that befit anyone from those working from home to office workers, or from students to the casual gamers. The label has proven to be innovative and adaptable during the pandemic, providing consumers with a means to afford its products. With the nation already rescinding the island-wide Circuit Breaker measures and slowly easing back to life as it once was, we can only expect APOL to provide us with even more eclectic services and offerings.  

“hoolah helped convince our consumers that they are able to afford better goods because they can now split the payment across three months.”
Jason Lin, co-founder of APOL