Growing the digital ecosystem: How Lazada’s partnership with hundreds of enablers across Southeast Asia makes it easy for sellers to do business anywhere
As digitalisation accelerates in Southeast Asia, eCommerce has become a growth lever for brands and retailers. But selling online often requires different skill sets. Moreover, building an in-house team with full capabilities can take time, a luxury many small businesses and sellers may not be able to afford, especially if they are doing it for the first time.
In recent years, a new category of service providers in the ecosystem has emerged to address this pain point for businesses. These eCommerce enablers provide end-to-end and even customised eCommerce services to brands and businesses selling online. They can offer everything from front-end store management, product listing and order processing to customer service, logistics and marketing.
These enablement companies work with brands and eCommerce platforms in a tripartite partnership. Platforms such as Lazada, with its suite of technology tools, provide the infrastructure. Brands provide the strategy, vision and guidelines while the enablers turn vision into reality, as they manage the day-to-day operations on the platform infrastructure.
“At Lazada we work with hundreds of enablers across Southeast Asia to make it easy for our merchants to do business anywhere,” said Fern Nannaphat, a senior vice president in Lazada’s commercial team.
“Increasingly, we have seen eCommerce sellers, offline distributors, business process outsourcing companies, logistics providers, independent software vendors and marketing agencies pivoting and expanding their service scope to become Lazada Partners. They are essentially eCommerce enablers or e-enablers for short. They power thousands of brands on our platform, from MNCs to SMEs,” Nannaphat said.
One of the key services that e-enablers provide is helping brands and sellers navigate the sophisticated suite of tools that the platform provides, which can help businesses directly engage with their customers. These tools include features that drive traffic, show offers, run and promote in-store campaigns and engage with customers via instant messaging chats.
As brands surge online, even the rapid proliferation of enablement companies cannot keep up with the demand for their services. Lazada has launched the Lazada Partner Evaluation Programme to meet this demand and help build an ecosystem of e-enablers that will deliver top-notch services. This programme incentivises the e-enablers by showcasing them to the brands. It assesses the e-enablers by these criteria: service, assortment, sales, traffic and feedback. For example, it rewards the ones who can drive high GMV growth or have the ability to fill assortment gaps with new arrivals.
In China today, there are many thousands of such e-enablers serving brands on platforms like Tmall. The e-enablers provide more advanced services as the platforms evolved to embrace new retail, omni-channel integration, social commerce and more. The eCommerce landscape of Southeast Asia is still young. But similar trends and directions are shaping the ecosystem, especially as the pandemic nudges consumers to change the way they shop.
“We strongly believe that this is still a clear blue sky for opportunities. We will see this tripartite relationship between platforms, brands and e-enablers grow to serve more customers in eCommerce, and in more creative ways,” Nannaphat said.
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