The Southeast Asian eCommerce market is evolving at breakneck speed, and innovation, cutting-edge technology and premium customer experiences are essential in helping brands tap into this growth, speakers at the second edition of Lazada’s LazMall Brands Future Forum said.
The hybrid event, held on Sept. 1, welcomed in-person guests at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore as well as virtual attendees who tuned into the livestream from all around the world. More than 3,400 guests in total attended the event.
It was the first BFF to be held since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and Lazada Group Chief Executive Officer Chun Li discussed the pandemic’s impact on what was already a fast-changing digital commerce landscape in Southeast Asia.
“The past year has not been an easy one for any of us. And I am sure we all experienced many firsts and also learned many lessons in both our personal and work lives. We have seen resilience and at the same time experienced innovation,” Li remarked during his welcome speech. “As we look to the future, I am very optimistic that all of the countries across Southeast Asia will be able to flatten the curve and emerge stronger than ever.”
Indeed, last year saw 40 million new internet users go online in Southeast Asia, meaning that 70% of the region’s population now have access to the digital economy. At Lazada, there are now more than 150 million monthly average users, and online transactions on the platform grew 100% year over year in December 2020. Last month, the eCommerce giant also released its first Digital Commerce Confidence Index, which showed that online sellers across Southeast Asia remained optimistic about growth prospects even during the pandemic.
This eCommerce boom has been reflected most pertinently through the rapid rise of LazMall, Lazada’s dedicated destination for authentic brands. The platform, which celebrated its third anniversary during this year’s BFF, is home to more than 32,000 local and international brands and has seen a doubling of new shoppers in the first half of 2021 compared to the year before.
The launch last month of LazMall Prestige for premium brands is further testament to the changing attitudes towards online retail; when Lazada was founded in 2012, shoppers and sellers alike were unsure about online commerce and used it mostly for low-priced items, said James Chang, who heads the company’s strategic accounts and retail. Nowadays, not only are consumers increasingly embracing eCommerce, they are more confident about purchasing bigger-ticket items across more categories online.
For brands, this means greater opportunities but also a more pressing need to go beyond utility and price-driven factors to create memorable purchase journeys for consumers. At Lazada, this is done by creating one holistic and synchronised experience across a brand’s go-to-market channels so that it has the resources, flexibility and agility to respond to customers’ evolving needs while also being able to effectively communicate its brand story.
Raymond Yang, Lazada’s chief product officer and head of platform operations, also took to the stage at BFF to explain how the company constantly develops and rolls out new solutions to empower brands to win big online. The platform’s partners have access to an extensive toolkit, which includes customisable storefront features, promotional and marketing solutions, livestreaming, loyalty programmes and special campaigns – all of which allow for better engagement, stronger customer trust and, as a result, greater success for brands, he said. Lazada also recently launched a new customer-insights data solution and is currently in the midst of upgrading its customer engagement management function to further boost brand partners’ performance.
“Leveraging Lazada’s capabilities in tech, data and logistics, and with our partners’ strengths in product assortment, marketing and customer engagement, our goal is to continue to win customers’ loyalty across Southeast Asia. We are fully committed to help our brands achieve long-term success within Lazada’s ecosystem,” Yang said.
This year’s event also featured the second BFF Awards Ceremony to celebrate the top-performing and most innovative global and Southeast Asian brands on LazMall. Recognising the incredible evolution of the eCommerce industry, especially amid the pandemic, the ceremony featured nine industry awards – four more than the previous edition – with honourees including the Estée Lauder Companies, Samsung, Nike, Coach, Lancôme for Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate, Shiseido Group, Starbucks, Synagie and the L’Oréal Consumer Products Division.
As part of BFF, Lazada partnered with Handprint, a software company that helps companies with sustainability solutions. Through the joint initiative, approximately 14,000 trees will be planted at East Java Green Shield – West Bank 9 and Central Grove 6 at Situbondo, Indonesia. This will absorb 3,360 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to 13,440 return flights between Singapore and Jakarta.
BFF also set the stage for Lazada’s first year-end mega sales campaign, 9.9. This year’s campaign reflected a growing support for homegrown brands as well as consumer demand for enhancing wellbeing through engaging experiences, skincare and work-from-home essentials. About 125,000 logistics frontliners came together to ensure that customers received their parcels swiftly and safely. The fastest delivery only took 13 minutes in Indonesia.
In some markets, like Thailand, 9.9 was also a time of “mega-giving”. Under the LazadaCARES initiative, Thai shoppers redeemed enough coins on the app to donate 99,999 care packages to communities and people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lazada Thailand partnered with nine brands to provide essential items in the care packages, which were then distributed by Lazada Logistics to nine charitable foundations to help the needy.
Featured image above: Lazada Group CEO Chun Li at the LazMall Brands Future Forum 2021.
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