As online retailing is growing and delighting South East Asia and the most remote islands in emerging countries such as Indonesia and Philippines, Retail in Asia has met Zalora, one of the major players in Asia Pacific to know more about how to enhance differentiation in the fast-pace e-commerce ecosystem.
Zalora aims to become the top fashion destination in Asia Pacific, the one website that Asian customers think of while looking for the latest trends in fashion and best customer service. Retail in Asia has met Giovanni Musillo, General Manager of Zalora Hong Kong, to understand how Zalora is working to fulfill this objective.
During our the interview Giovanni shared with us the latest updates on Zalora, some tips to choose the right platform for brands, and precious market insights about emerging trends in Asia Pacific.
RiA : How e-commerce platforms like Zalora and brands can partner together to boost sales but at the same time working towards the long-term goal of establishing brand awareness?
Giovanni : I think the buzz word “omnichannel” synthetizes the way we work with brands. Omnichannel means reaching out to customers whenever and wherever.
We currently cover eight markets in Asia: Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Partnering with Zalora means expanding in those markets.
We enable our brands to reach out to customers that are unable to reach with their physical stores, for example Zalora ships in the most remote islands in the Philippines, where a brand should dedicate a huge investment to be on its own not to miss the market.
We are not talking about dividing the pie between Zalora and the brands, but actually growing the overall pie.
We are a 24/7 outlet for our brands, which meets time and space needs of potential customers. We see ourselves as the customers’ neighbour, always there.
RiA : What are the key challenges for a platform like Zalora?
Giovanni : Pricing is a very sensitive topic. We have been working closely with brands to ensure transparency. We aim to align online to offline, so that customers can have a seamless experience.
Even for 11/11 and Black Friday, which are exceptional dates for e-commerce, we will propose and agree with our partners special offers as we always strive to build trust.
RiA : Since our readers are mainly professionals working for brands, what are the key criteria to choose an e-commerce platform, especially to avoid the grey market?
Giovanni : Branding and authenticity are our key pillars, here some of the procedures, we have in place, which may serve as guidelines to choose the right platform as well. First, request a distribution right certificate for the market/s the brand is selling to.
Second, avoid to have same SKUs with different prices, in this way all items will have one and only price.
RiA : What are your main marketing strategies to attract customers to your platform?
Giovanni : We aim to guarantee an excellent customer experience. We attract our customers by offering them the best and latest assortment from international and local brands. Some brands work with Zalora offering exclusive limited editions, for instance.
We have worked since day one building an infrastructure capable to offer a seamless experience. Convenience means guaranteeing free return to ease people’s life and guarantee a pleasant experience. Zalora allows to try and return with no hassle, speedy delivery, and several secure payment methods.
RiA : Since you are targeting tech-savvy customers, do you have any specific strategy to target them in terms of assortment?
Giovanni : We are in different markets. Every market has its peculiarity, so we tend to give a local tweak to our assortments. As you can imagine even climate plays a huge role in Asia Pacific.
Another point is innovation. For example, there is a new search function on our app. You turn on the camera and take a live photo or a snapshot of the outfit you like on social media and we will suggest products which match with the outfit in the photo.
RiA : Since you are expanding in different countries and you have a wide assortment of products, do you see any market and any specific product category on the rise?
Giovanni : In terms of markets, South East Asia in general is definitely on the rise. There is a vast variety and each country has its own peculiarity as well as a certain degree of e-commerce maturation
Overall, in terms of products, I think sneakers and beauty products are on the rise, and we are working towards the expansion of our assortment in those categories. We have recently launched Innis Free, and next year we will see new partnerships. Athleisure is big in South East Asia. We also believe the cross-shopping will characterize online shopping more and more.
Traditional wear is also on the rise and Zalora is very attentive to local trends, and we recently launched exclusive collections with local designers to satisfy the emerging demand.