Lazada props up ‘11.11’ online sale, vows support for e-commerce

E-commerce firm Lazada is drumming up buzz for its annual 11.11 Shopping Festival, with numerous electronics and gadgets deals up for grabs.

Photo shows (from left) Simon Baptist, global chief economist and managing director, Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) in Asia; Department of Trade and Industry’s e-commerce head Ma. Lourdes Yaptinchay; Lazada PH Ray CEO Alimurung; Unicef special advocate Daphne Osena-Paez; and L’Oreal’s country managing director Thibault de Saint Victor

Buyers can invite friends to “Slash It!”, a feature that allows them to lower the price of a product through referral link sent to their friends to. Vouchers and discount codes are also available via Wonderland, and “Shake It!”, where buyers can snag additional discounts by shaking one’s mobile phone at designated time slots.

At the same time, Lazada pledged to support eight million e-commerce entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia to grow and thrive by 2030.

As part of the pledge, Lazada will assist SMEs to digitize their businesses and gain better access to Internet-savvy and mobile consumers, as well as make it easier for sellers to create their own brands on Lazada while leveraging the company’s logistics network to facilitate the transfer of goods.

At the opening speech of a panel discussion hosted by Lazada on the state of e-commerce in Southeast Asia, Lazada Philippines CEO Ray Alimurung said: “Having overcome the early challenges of building up the business and industry in a nascent landscape, we now want to lead our ecosystem through the era of robust digital transformation.

“Our focus is on creating a trusted platform connecting sellers to the Southeast Asian consumers. By enabling sellers with our technology and logistics capabilities, we want to help sellers flourish, to become sustainable businesses that will contribute to Southeast Asia economic growth in the long run.”

An area that came under spotlight during the panel discussion was SMEs’ e-commerce know-how and access to local consumers. To help sellers reach more customers, Lazada has developed various initiatives, comprehensive tools and dedicated trainings that enable sellers of all sizes to attract, engage and convert more consumers into sales.

“New generation of sellers no longer view e-commerce as a good-to-have, but a necessity in order to drive success. And e-commerce players like Lazada can be strategic partners to sellers who are committed to their professional and business growth. Their thriving businesses will boost the ecosystem,” Alimurung added.

On cross-border trade, another common challenge faced by SMEs, Simon Baptist, global chief economist and managing director, Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) in Asia, said: “Singapore has led the way in actively pursuing an agenda for open trade borders. However, there are still challenges for SMEs, especially in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, due to a lack of access to financial and support services, as well as a need to develop capacity in e-payments and e-commerce.”

Faced with limited fulfilment players, a small and fragmented transportation sector, as well as vastly different infrastructure landscapes, logistics remains a huge challenge for e-commerce players big and small across Southeast Asia.

“Our research showed that logistics is a challenge, particularly in archipelagos like Indonesia and the Philippines. Road networks, as well as the retail and distribution network, came up as higher-risk areas for e-commerce firms,” said Baptist.

On customer experience, panelists identified data and technology as the two key factors that will dynamically evolve the experience for online shoppers, due to Southeast Asia’s heterogeneity.

E-commerce businesses that can leverage data to navigate specific local consumer tastes and direct consumers to take desired actions are well-poised to succeed.

“By allowing SMEs to tap into Lazada’s logistics network to facilitate the transfer of goods across countries, businesses will be able to deliver to customers anywhere,” said Alimurung.

“Through our technology powered by data and insights, Lazada enables small businesses to connect with their shoppers through a trusted platform, providing them the opportunity to build their businesses and tap into the vast potential that Southeast Asia presents,” he added.

The e-commerce sector also presents tremendous opportunities for local talents and communities. A new generation of entrepreneurs is becoming increasingly prominent given wider access to social media and new innovative tools.

In particular, the flexibility of maintaining an e-commerce business has attracted many female entrepreneurs to start their businesses while taking care of their families at home.

“When you consider how female shoppers will be key demand drivers as Asean economies develop, it makes business sense for large e-commerce players to cultivate female entrepreneurship, particularly in certain e-commerce categories, like cosmetics and children’s products, that will be fueled by female- driven growth,” said Baptist.

“Women play a significant role in the digital economy, and an inclusive e-commerce ecosystem is one that creates an empowering environment for women entrepreneurs. In supporting the local female community, Lazada has rolled out a few initiatives. For instance, our Mompreneurs program provides stay-at-home mothers with free training and assistance, so they are equipped to run an online store while juggling family responsibilities. The program is currently available in the Philippines, and we are looking to expand this initiative to other markets in Southeast Asia,” said Alimurung.

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