Lazada Group has pledged to support eight million e-Commerce entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia to grow and thrive by 2030.
The company also announced its commitment to create an inclusive and sustainable eCommerce ecosystem in the region and champion opportunities in technology and logistics infrastructure to benefit its ecosystem of sellers, consumers and local communities, according to press statement.
Also, a new supporting program is introduced to empower environment for women entrepreneurs in the region.
James Dong, CEO of Lazada Thailand said that Lazada will assist SMEs to digitise their businesses and gain better access to Internet-savvy and mobile consumers; 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.
“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.”
As the region’s leading online shopping and selling platform, Lazada is committed to establishing eCommerce as a prolific facet of the evolving digital economy. Healthy and flourishing SMEs are key components of a thriving eCommerce ecosystem – their existence helps unlock the full potential of Southeast Asian nations, allowing the region to digitize. 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.
According to Dong, SME entrepreneurs in the region face many limitations such as a lack of access to financial and support services, as well as a need to develop capacity in e-payments and eCommerce.
In Thailand, Lazada has overcome the challenge by partnering with the Siam Commercial Bank offering Digital Lending program for SMEs entrepreneurs on Lazada platform. The program, which is developed with the advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology by SCB Abacus, offers online loans for e-commerce for the first time in Thailand.
The solution facilitates sellers by enabling instant credit approval on Lazada platform without additional paperwork. It helps online SMEs to increase liquidity and expand their business on Lazada.
Dong added that ‘logistics’ remains a huge challenge for eCommerce players big and small across Southeast Asia. The business is faced with limited fulfilment players, a small and fragmented transportation sector, as well as vastly different infrastructure landscapes. According to a recent study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit or EIU, logistics is one of the challenges, 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 eCommerce firms.
With Southeast Asia’s heterogeneity, data and technology are the two key factors that will dynamically evolve the experience for online shoppers. Those eCommerce 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.
Dong said, the eCommerce sector also presents tremendous opportunities for local talents and communities. A new generation of entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly prominent given wider access to social media and new innovative tools. In particular, the flexibility of maintaining an eCommerce 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 eCommerce players to cultivate female entrepreneurship, particularly in certain eCommerce categories, like cosmetics and children’s products, that will be fuelled by female-driven growth.
Women play a significant role in the digital economy, and an inclusive eCommerce 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 programme provides stay-at-home mothers with free training and assistance, so they are equipped to run an online store while juggling family responsibilities.
The programme is currently available in the Philippines, and we are looking to expand this initiative to other markets in Southeast Asia,” said, Dong.