Lazada and the future of ‘Super eBusinesses’ Eunice Isobel Lee May 8, 2019 Features Singapore—Lazada officially kicked off the start of a weeklong celebration of their 7th anniversary in March with the announcement of an all-encompassing series of products and services that will fire up the growth of its brands and sellers—big or small—to win market share in the region by transforming them into “Super eBusinesses.” Lazada held the Brands Future Forum to announce several developments that they are undertaking that would skyrocket the brand and revolutionize the landscape of ecommerce in Southeast Asia. New tools With the introduction of LazMall (dubbed the first online mall concept in Asia) late last year, the ecommerce giant continues to further innovate their platform to not only capture the market but also to drive brands and budding entrepreneurs into bringing their businesses online. “No seller is too small to aspire, and no brand is too big to be a Super eBusiness,” said Lazada Group CEO Pierre Poignant. “That is why we are thrilled to roll out super-solutions to help our brands and sellers become more nimble in digitizing their businesses and better reach customers.” Lazada Group CEO Pierre Poignant Lazada has since partnered with several of the largest tech, lifestyle, fashion, and FMCG brands all over the world including major retailers such as Unilever, P&G, and Estée Lauder as well as tech giants Huawei, Realme, Philips, and the relatively new (but not to be underestimated) brand, Coocaa, who has been sweeping people off their feet with their line of smart TVs. Timed alongside their grand 7th birthday-concert bash, LazMall gets new features for brands to take advantage of. Backed by Alibaba’s technology and logistics infrastructure, Lazada is able to deliver exceptional value to brands by offering them tools such as the improved Business Advisor Dashboard and Marketing Solutions Package. In this highly digitalized era, customer and market data is now almost (if not more) of the same value as oil, which is why it is no surprise to see a business analytics advisor on the platform. This analytics advisor is a powerful tool that can allow a brand to obtain market insights and track buyer habits. It equips brands and sellers with near real-time information and analytics to help them make faster and better decisions to sell more effectively and efficiently. Alongside it is the marketing solutions tool that can help deliver more traffic to the brand’s storefronts. Additionally, it is now nearly impossible to see a brand which does not have a digital arm of some sort—whether that is through a website, on social media, or having their products on an online marketplace. Lazada opens this digital marketplace to brands big and small and optimizes this process of setting up shop in the online space. They give brands tools like the Store Builder, which provides brands and sellers their own unique storefront that they can customize to differentiate themselves on the platform. Held at the JW Marriott in Singapore, the inaugural Lazada Brands Future Forum gathers international brands to discuss ecommerce trends Lazada also premiered their most ingenious offering yet, called “Shoppertainment.” It brings together two of the most attractive, user-consumed activities on the internet: shopping and entertainment. At this point, shopping online is more than just making sure you have a wide array of products (or a consistent stock of it) to sell, it is the customer’s experience on your site that truly drives success. And Lazada is doing very well at ensuring that they are delivering value to their customers by further blurring the lines between the brand and the consumer. Now, users can live stream special concerts and videos from their favorite personalities, stream relevant content on products that they love, get up close and personal with brands they follow, get updates via the news feed, and play fun games all on the Lazada app. There is an entire ecosystem flourishing within this platform alone, making it all the more exciting to see it launched full-scale in the local market—especially as the Philippine E-conomy (see what I did there?) has yet to reach its peak potential. But once properly tapped and harnessed, the growth expected to be seen in this sector would be exponential. The future of ecommerce? Let’s look at the numbers. By 2030, Lazada hopes to be able to serve 300 million customers, raise up to eight million small to medium enterprises, and create 20 million jobs. So far, it has ridden the wave of ecommerce growth in Southeast Asia exceptionally well and it hopes to continue to do so in the coming years. With no plans so far to expand worldwide, the ecommerce giant is focusing on dominating the market and being the key growth driver in the region. Among its goals is enabling SMEs to be globally competitive. It is often an arduous task for small business owners to create a competitive presence in the digital marketplace as it is, more often than not, completely dominated by large enterprises who have much more resources than independent businesses to promote and establish their brand. “Since the launch of LazMall in 2018, we have seen tremendous growth among our key pioneer brand partners. We want to extend the benefits of LazMall to even more brands and sellers to elevate their ecommerce operations,” said Lazada Group President Jing Yin. “We want to incubate them so they can grow alongside us and become sustainable and successful ebusinesses.” Lazada Group President Jing Yin According to a joint study by Ernst and Young, United Overseas Bank, and Dun & Bradstreet, 60 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the region are keen to invest in technologies to achieve sustainable growth in today’s digital economy. Business-oriented tools including online commerce solutions, customer relationship management (CRM), and business intelligence were identified as the top investment priorities. To help cultivate young entrepreneurs, Lazada also launched LazStar Academy last year. An initiative backed by Alibaba Business School and TaoBao University, LazStar aims to educate business owners on the basics of ecommerce so they can quickly accelerate the growth of their online businesses. Emphasizing the “3 Es” Lazada is quick to identify three major pain points that all brands and sellers face—branding, marketing, and sales—and presented three solutions that they came up with to address them. Yin explained their “3 Es”—empowerment, experience, and efficiency—circle around their goal to fire up the growth of Super eBusinesses in the region. On empowerment, Yin repeatedly emphasized the important role of young, new players in the ecommerce landscape, “[Lazada wants to] be the platform to empower young entrepreneurs to be the next super businesses… we want to work with them by [giving] them more tools [and] more solutions by providing [these tools] and jointly working together to provide a better experience to our customers.” Jing Yin with Coocaa and Estee Lauder representatives The second “E” talks about customer experience. This is a big deal in any industry, especially in the areas of retail and commerce. Lazada promises that they make it their priority to ensure that the user encounters minimal bumps along their purchase journey. Implementing a guarantee program where brands are thoroughly screened, endorsed, and certified with a badge, Lazada ensures that phony sellers are weeded out before they could even reach the customers. They are also aggressively growing their logistics network in all countries it serves—cutting delivery time and keeping it on top of its competitors. The last “E” stands for efficiency. Growth is most sought after in business. However, rapid growth will not be worth much unless it is backed up by a sustainable and scalable system. Streamlining the process of setting up shop online, qualified merchants can now take advantage of the self-sign up feature. This breaks down even more barriers of entry into the marketplace. Gone is the tedious routine of constructing, designing, and populating a website. These days, all it takes is a smartphone and a couple of minutes. — While Lazada is exerting all its power to dominate the Southeast Asian market, let’s not be too quick to forget Western ecommerce giants (such as Amazon) just yet. Just as there is a massive opportunity for growth, so will there also be an onslaught of new players and veterans, all eager to get a slice of the pie. So, where does the future of ecommerce lie? We’ll just have to wait and see.