In the 2nd edition of Lazada Talks, a quarterly business program that aims to establish trust and build thought leadership in the eCommerce industry, Lazada Philippines Deputy CEO Carlos Barrera shared the growth and goals of Southeast Asia’s pioneer eCommerce platform. Moderated by Issa Litton, other purveyors of the digital economy: Synagie Philippines General Manager Lester Cuneta and Digits Trading, Inc. Assistant Vice President Howard Paw also joined Carlos in the roundtable discussion.
“We’re still evolving,” Barrera said. “What seemed very disruptive and very innovative 10 years ago just doesn’t cut it today, so we need to have a growth mindset and we are constantly improving.”
Blazing the trail in eCommerce in the last decade
Introducing innovations and driving transformations is nothing new for Lazada. As the pioneering eCommerce ecosystem in Southeast Asia celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the brand has always remained steadfast in its pursuit of constant end-to-end improvements.
Lazada continues to develop new strategies and tools on a regular basis, according to Barrera. Of the countless innovations the brand has created over the past decade, Barrera named a few game-changers in particular. This includes the development of a marketplace model that connects sellers and customers, as well as the launch of the LazMall platform, guaranteeing 100% authentic items from more than 10,000 local and international brands.
Barrera also highlighted innovations around logistics, having have had to build an efficient and effective network from scratch. Today, Lazada Philippines has sorting centers that automatically dispatch tons of items every day around the country. The brand has likewise launched a Same-Day Delivery service that promises to hand orders to customers within 24 hours.
Payment is another facet where Lazada continues to drive growth. The brand introduced cash-on-delivery payment terms that democratized customer access to eCommerce.
“There are so many changes around different areas, but always with one core thing in mind: that sellers and brands are always the biggest priority,” Barrera said. “We want to give them the best resources so they can grow their business online and have a seamless online experience.”
Empowering entrepreneurs to succeed
Barrera views Lazada’s functions as tantamount to nation-building, being a group with a core vision of building businesses. Opening up the platform to microentrepreneurs, he said, revolutionized eCommerce.
Featured in a segment on Lazada Talks was Kyla Canete, the young founder of accessories brand Tala by Kyla. She shared how Lazada helped her business grow, from providing important data to streamlining order placements and deliveries.
Supporting sellers to succeed while ensuring consumers are always satisfied are hard-earned results of Lazada’s dedication to staying ahead of the curve. Barrera said the work continues by adapting to new sets of emerging trends in eCommerce.
Shoppertainment and the next evolution
One of the biggest movements sweeping the digital economy is Shoppertainment, or the blend of experiential shopping and entertainment that redefines the eCommerce consumer shopping experience.
Barrera said Lazada has been working extensively on its Shoppertainment strategy. This includes mounting new live streams with social sellers, optimizing promotions, and updating the app interface to make it easier for sellers to engage with customers.
According to Howard Paw of Digits Trading, Inc., a lifestyle product distributor with brands like Digital Walker available on Lazada, Shoppertainment has taken over physical retail in past years. He said it is imperative now to set up demo units out of glass cages to allow customers to interact with the products.
“With the climate right now, it’s not enough that the product is available,” Paw said. “The customer has to be entertained. The customer has to be interested to look at your store.”
Meanwhile, Lester Cuneta of Synagie Philippines, an eCommerce enablement partner company that works with Lazada, relates the rise of Shoppertainment to the growth of customers who, today, “are smarter than ever.”
“They are more involved and they tend to demand more information from brands and sellers,” Cuneta said. “They gravitate toward brands where they can relate to, both in terms of brand narrative and brand values.”
As the market matures and grows more discerning, Barrera also expects customers to have higher demand in terms of refunds and returns, quality of items and convenience. He quickly adds that Lazada is ready to deliver.
“We use a lot of the buyer insights, a lot of trend recommendations to build strategies around trust,” he said. “We’ve been developing our Lazada warranty program, making it easier to position a store in Lazada, and we also improved Lazada University, where we train everyone and explain to them how to run an online business.”
With regards to the future of the digital economy, all three agreed that eCommerce is here to stay and will only continue to evolve.
Paw and Cuneta expect online shopping to develop a more symbiotic relationship with the physical retail experience. They said the focus now turns to creating a seamless ecosystem online and offline, and combining both spaces into one.
“ECommerce will continue to be a necessity moving forward,” Barrera said, adding he expects the platform to grow more social and customers to embrace the convenience it provides. “We believe that together with our improvements in logistics and payments improvements, plus some of the artificial intelligence or more virtual reality adjustments to amplify these areas, people will continue to invest more into and purchase more often through eCommerce.”