May 22, 2014 00:00
By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
ZALORA, Asia's leading online shopping destination for fashion products, now anticipates a 100-per-cent increase in sales in Thailand this year, against the 50-per-cent growth targeted by the company at the beginning of the year.
This is largely because the prolonged political unrest in the country has caused many Thais to change their shopping behaviour in favour of the online channel.
About 45 per cent of Zalora’s online orders are made from smart phones and tablets, with the remainder from portable PCs.
Celebrating its second anniversary this year, the Thai unit has been sharing its success and accomplishments thus far. Thanks to disruptive marketing strategies and innovative services, Zalora has overcome many challenges in just two years to become the No-1 online fashion destination and a major pillar of the fashion industry in Thailand.
“During the months of [major] protest, our business grew significantly, due to the fact that we could serve our customers as normal [despite disruption on the streets]. Because some offline stores were closed during that time, we saw a significant number of new customers trying online shopping. However, we really hope that the political situation improves soon,” said Jose Ojeda, Zalora Thailand’s country manager.
Zalora provides the customer with an exceptional selection of brands, he said, ranging from in-house brand EZRA by Zalora, international brands like Mango and American Apparel, and Thai brands/designers such as Sretsis.
“We have also recently launched our Marketplace section, where we feature Thai independent designers and brands. At Zalora, we focus on bringing the latest fashion in apparel, shoes, bags and beauty,” he said.
Ojeda added that the Thai company had grown very rapidly in the past two to three months, and now expected to double its business size this year.
“We have a strong customer base in the online channel, with 850,000 users on Facebook and 500,000 |subscribers in my e-mail newsletters. Zalora is the largest fashion online community in Thailand, with more than 2 million visits per month,” he said.
Zalora has launched its own Marketplace to give independent fashion designers and sellers the opportunity to instantly expand their business to its customer base, and the company expects this channel to become a major source of sales by the end of this year.
“This is a new season for us. With our massive reach of 2 million visits per month, we have clearly positioned ourselves as the leading online fashion destination in Thailand and major international brands are increasingly exited to work with us,” said the country manager.
Zalora Thailand has also been continuously launching innovative and user-friendly services to further make online shopping more convenient and comfortable for its customers.
Early this year, it partnered with the country’s largest convenience-store chain, 7-Eleven, to provide its customers with the exclusive option of picking up and returning orders at any of its stores nationwide.
Furthermore, shoppers at Zalora’s sites will now be able to get a better idea of how each item will fit them, with a new “virtual fitting room” that they can visit prior to making a purchase.
By taking away the uncertainty surrounding fit online, Virtusize helps retailers to lower returns, improve the shopping experience, build loyalty and increase sales, he said.
Zalora Thailand also has a competitive edge on its men’s and women’s assortments – clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products from local, regional and international brands, including Mango, Aldo, American Apparel, New Look, River Island and its private label EZRA by Zalora.
The latter has been one of the best sellers on Zalora because of its affordable pricing, latest fashion trends and exclusivity, said Ojeda.
Zalora’s Marketplace, meanwhile, will allow vendors to create their own branded storefront within the Zalora site. They will also benefit from a huge increase in brand exposure through free online marketing and advertising that will be part of Zalora’s overall marketing campaigns.
Ojeda said social-media communication on smart phones had begun to influence Thai shopping habits enormously, with m-commerce dramatically changing the way brands reach consumers, making it faster and easier for them to make purchases via their smart devices.
Zalora quickly leapt at this opportunity by updating its iOS app for iPhone and iPad, giving its shopping app a complete overhaul, making it easier than ever to purchase the best of high-street fashion on-the-go with the latest features, he said.