As the e-commerce landscape continues to diversify in Southeast Asia, one key trend is a stronger differentiation of business-to-consumer (B2C) concepts from C2C marketplaces, designed for premium brands who promise authenticity and better user experience to stand out against a multitude of smaller shops and resellers.
Various players in the region have added B2C arms, such as BukaMall on the Indonesian marketplace Bukalapak, Official Stores on Tokopedia, Shopee Mall on Shopee, and LazMall on Lazada. This development mimics the path e-commerce took in China, where Alibaba’s massive marketplace Taobao was complemented with a premium companion, TMall.
LazMall now celebrates its one year anniversary in Southeast Asia. On this occasion, Lazada Group’s president of commercial, Jing Yin, shared some updates. Yin says LazMall has tripled the number of sellers on the platform in this year, and rolled out a series of new features intended to help sellers better engage with consumers. The features include a pre-sale solution, a tool that allows brands to customize voucher codes, and new, experimental initiatives such as live streaming events with shopping integration within the Lazada app. LazMall likes to refer to these types of campaigns as “shoppertainment”.
KrASIA (KR): Can you share with us some of the key milestones LazMall has achieved in the past one year?
Jing Yin (JY): We managed to triple the number of brands on our site. Currently we have 6,500 brands available on LazMall. LazMall became the partner of choice for authentic and trusted brands from around the globe.
Over the span of a year, we managed to sign 15 memorandum of understandings with established electronics, FMCG, and beauty companies like Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, P&G, Amorepacific, and Coocaa. Many of these brands have selected LazMall as their Southeast Asia e-commerce gateway.
In the past year, we’ve also rolled out the Business Advisor Enterprise feature–a feature that provides near real-time information to sellers–to 70 group companies and 1,028 unique brands. Of these group companies, more than 25% have generated over USD 10 million in sales on LazMall between August 2018 and July 2019.
KR: Lazada’s parent company Alibaba popularized online shopping festivals with huge discounts, such as ‘Singles Day’ on November 11. LazMall now plans one for September 9. What’s the significance of 9.9?
JY: We launched LazMall in September last year, ahead of the 9.9 shopping festival so for us, we see 9th September as an anniversary for LazMall.
That aside, 9.9 actually serves as a testing ground and incubation period for sellers who want to try out new campaigns and strategies to engage customers.
KR: How does Lazada curate the brands and merchants for LazMall?
JY: LazMall is a “brand-direct” platform, which means we work with brands and formal distributors or sellers to ensure authenticity of the products.
Lazada’s advantage is that we operate both on a regional level as well as on a local level. On the regional front, we have a consensus on what some of the international established brands are that we should have on board, which is why we recently partnered with BMW to launch an exclusive sale on our platform.
On the local level, we have people who are well-informed about the rising designer brands as well as the individual demands of the country. These people are responsible for getting these emerging brands to join us.
KR: As opposed to selling on Lazada’s regular marketplace, LazMall promises sellers more options to build brand loyalty. How so?
JY: We provide our sellers various features and tools that allow them to create more customizable experiences for customers within the brand’s storefronts.
At the same time, we also provide near real-time data and very quick post-campaign analysis to our sellers so they can learn their consumer behaviors and tweak their strategies to cater to the pool of buyers.
I’m optimistic that by showing the sellers the data, they can better segment loyal customers from new ones. With our tools, they can retarget and reengage with consumers, thereby improving brand loyalty.
KR: How is LazMall faring so far?
JY: Although e-commerce is very fast moving, one year is still too short to say if LazMall is very successful or not. However, there are certain metrics we could use to measure our progress, like the number of new sellers. From that perspective, we are seeing a very strong momentum and we are very happy with the progress.
Overall, I’d say we are on track and in fact ahead of target in terms of number of sellers and customer engagement.
KR: What is Lazada’s plan for LazMall in the near future?
JY: LazMall is still an infant and we will continue to evolve and embrace new ways to engage customers. On one hand, we will continue to onboard more international brands to cater to a wider pool of consumers and to build a truly inclusive ecosystem in the e-commerce space.
At the same time, we will continue to improve the tools for our sellers so as to provide them with a better experience on our site as well as to help them better engage customers.
As for myself, I will continue to push for LazMall to maintain its vibrant image so as to ensure it remains appealing to consumers. This is because e-commerce is a fast-moving sector and brands cannot remain the way they were two years ago.
KR: Will LazMall be spun out as a standalone platform like its cousin in China, TMall?
JY: Currently we have no plan to do so. This is because we want to keep things simple. We started LazMall because there was a clear demand for quality and branded products in Southeast Asia. However, we want our consumers to be able to gain access to different kinds of sellers on one single platform instead of switching from one platform to another.
Moreover, it is too early to say LazMall can run independently of Lazada or vice versa since LazMall is only one year old. Therefore, we will still be using one common front-facing platform, which is our Lazada app to engage our customers.
KR: Alibaba owns Lazada, but it has also made significant investments in Tokopedia, one of the major C2C marketplaces in Indonesia. Can you describe the relationship of Lazada and LazMall with Tokopedia?
JY: Lazada is the flagship e-commerce platform of Alibaba in Southeast Asia. This means Lazada serves as a testing ground for many of the new and innovative ideas in the region. In the long-term, Lazada will remain as it is in relation to Tokopedia.