Local outdoors equipment e-store PTT Outdoor is redefining what it means to be a customer service-oriented company.
The outdoors has transformed into a lucrative market as more millennials find ways to experience the nature in their own terms. Homegrown Ipoh-based startup PTT Outdoor focuses on this opportunity, providing the best outdoor gears at affordable pricing while prioritising a very customer service-oriented approach to business. We spoke to Mike Chu, the founder of the online store to find out more about his successful business and plans for the future.
First of all, can you tell us what PTT stands for and reasons for choosing the name?
PTT stands for Persistence, Tenacity and Toughness. It is the three main values that every hiker needs if they want to reach the top of a mountain and it is the same belief that we will bring to build PTT OUTDOOR into one of the most successful outdoor equipment companies in Malaysia.
How did you get the idea of starting an outdoor equipment company?
We love the outdoors. We have experienced the magic of the outdoors and we wanted to encourage people to experience the charm for themselves. Going outdoors is a simple step that many people are reluctant to take. Hence, we set our mind to give the gentle push that people need to make the outdoors a big part of their lives. Apart from the obvious benefits of a healthier lifestyle, the outdoors is also a place to make new friends, to strengthen old friendships, and to rejuvenate oneself for a better tomorrow.
What made you choose to venture into this type of business?
It is the simple pleasure that I derive from the happiness of being outdoors. I love to go hiking and I participate in marathons as well. Sometimes, when I am not able to join a marathon, I will make it a point to go and stand at the finishing line. At the finishing line, all you would see is the satisfaction, pride and happiness of those who cross it. The satisfaction, pride and happiness make me feel overwhelmed with the realisation that the outdoors is indeed a great place to be. Hence, I ventured into this business that gives me the opportunity to be a part of people’s happiness.
What are your business goals?
Our short term goal is to broaden our variety in order to cater to the needs and wants of our customers. In the long run, we aim to expand our market to Southeast Asia. Above all, our main focus is to encourage people to leave their house and embrace the outdoors. There are a lot left to be discovered outdoors.
Who is your target market?
Our target market is the people who are looking to spend more time outdoors and those who are already spending the majority of their time outdoors. Specifically, we aim to reach those who love to hike, run or cycle. We also aim to reach those who find the outdoors to be boring and unattractive. Slowly but surely, we will be able to change their mind about nature!
How do you manage to compete with other bigger brands/companies in the business?
We believe our plus point is our love for the outdoors. As such, we truly know and are well aware of what we are selling to our customers. We have tried and tested the ideas and the products we are selling. We would not sell what we ourselves would not use. This sort of personalisation and curation is what sets us apart from other brands. We are passionate to deliver the best products that enhance the outdoor experience of our customers.
Secondly, as an exceptionally coordinated team we do our best to cover all fronts. We strive to provide top notch customer service and product delivery service. Quality and accountability will always be our goal in providing our service to our customers.
What are the challenges you’ve faced since being established?
We have faced many challenges and we have successfully overcome all of them. From customers’ complaints to stock and manpower issues, we have faced them all. However, we have never felt demotivated or tired. We continuously strive to face challenges and to be the best we could be. We adapt and improvise at all times to provide the best service to our customers.
What are the strategies used to ensure that customers keep coming back to you?
We strongly believe the after sales service is as important as the sales service. We make it a point to follow up on the customer after delivering the product. If there are any problems during the delivery process, we will quickly take steps to sort it out. If the customer has problems in using the product, we will guide them step by step. Our responsibility does not end as soon as the product is dispatched. In fact, we strive to build trust with our customers to ensure a lasting relationship.
Is there any particular reason for choosing Ipoh as your current business location?
Because Ipoh have delicious food? LOL, just kidding.
I chose to start my business in Ipoh since I was born and raised here. And the Ipoh people love the outdoors, making it the perfect place to start a business that aims to promote the greatness of the outdoors!
Also, it’s more of a personal thing, I personally believe that there are a lot of talents in Ipoh and I want to play my role in creating job opportunities for these talents in Ipoh and at the same time boost up the economy of the town that I love.
Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
In 5 years, I can see my team growing as individuals and as a team. They will be someone this company is proud of, having learnt and acquired vast knowledge, exceptional skills and positive attitudes.
I can also see PTT Outdoor expanding into Southeast Asia and if possible, to the US. Well, I am all for dreaming big and hustling hard to make those dreams come true!
We wish PTT OUtdoor all the best in their endeavour!
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*All images by PTT Outdoor.