“I would give us a very good score in terms of our growth in 2019, grade A would be an absolute score because our sellers and orders have been growing consecutively for many quarters now,” Jing Yin tells The Drum as we catch up with the co-president of Lazada at the NCO club in Singapore.
That growth is due in a large part to the Alibaba-owned platform integrating groceries startup Redmart into its platform in March 2019. Lazada claims the percentage of customers in Singapore who shop across both Lazada and Redmart has doubled since then.
With the Redmart acquisition, and the demise of competitor Honestbee, Lazada has now become the only e-commerce platform in South East Asia to offer a one-stop shopping experience combining general merchandise, electronics and fashion with groceries under one roof, mirroring what its parent Alibaba is doing in China.
“When we look at our growth rate on our daily use, the attractiveness of our one-stop-shop platform means more customers are coming to us and revisiting us more frequently,” explains Jing.
“They are spending more time on our app and from the output perspective, we have more orders, which means we are growing very, very fast. So these are the things that make us feel like we are on the right track.”
He adds: “That's something that kind of keeps us very excited and also more confident in terms of what we believe is right. We are running a business with scale.”
It certainly has been a busy year for Lazada. A few weeks after integrating Redmart into its platform, it announced a series of products and services that aimed to spur the growth of all its brands and sellers, regardless of size, to win market share in the Asia Pacific region.
The offerings, called ‘super-solutions’, aim to transform brands and sellers into ‘super e-businesses’, by resolving pain points they face in branding, marketing and sales.
It is also key to Lazada’s plans to work with brands outside and during the annual 11.11 festivities by providing real-time data to its sellers and brands to engage with sellers and re-target many of these existing customers.
Jing says the "super solutions" will allow consumers to discover things they may not have noticed and encounter during the madness of the 11.11 sales. In addition, as consumers become more demanding, it allows Lazada to help brands personalise their message.
One brand that is already benefiting from that is Estee Lauder-owned Mac Cosmetics brand, claims Jing, as Lazada helped Mac organised a “National Lipstick Day” on its Super Brand Day.
“Original branded events like these are an opportunity to master all the super solutions where it's possible that we can transform the brand with the new tools and services including the marketing solutions,” he explains.
“We can help them boost the engagement, provide them the tools to target potential customers or reengage with the existing customers.
He continues: “11.11 is always successful for us, but I strongly believe we should not just work with brands to prepare for 11.11, but we should be working with them throughout the year, from the beginning of the year.”
“The brands that have started using our super solutions have realised that when you prepare and work hard, you definitely will see a better result. That’s why I think 11.11 will be a big checkpoint of the super solutions that we introduce this year.”
As another year of 11.11 rolls around, Jing says the objective for Lazada is to redefine what the platform will see the landscape look like for the next year as its super solutions make their debut for this year’s 11.11.
On its part, this year it is helping South East Asian brands on its platform to expand beyond the region by opening a store on Alibaba’s Tmall, allowing these brands to target China-based consumers during 11.11.
“As we closely embrace and are fully supported by the Alibaba’s tech and product, it will enrich our offerings and experience to our consumer. In a way, we can connect and also reduce the boundaries between China and Southeast Asia,” says Jing.
“We are always thinking about how do we continuously empower our sellers and brand more. We need to connect all the engagement elements that we have introduce for brands because we cannot just do engagement for the sake of engaging, but at the end of the day, it needs to unblock all areas of possibility of sales to the brands and sellers.”
He continues: “I think these are the key difference between our 11.11 and others. Many years from now, I believe we will still play the role of empowering brands. We will continue to introduce new services through innovations to connect and reach our consumers in various ways. At the end of the day, we want consumers to be interconnected with brands and their services.”
Jing candidly admits he does not get much sleep during 11.11 but says that is because he wants to see more success stories created between brands, sellers and consumers on its platform.
He is keen to curate a story where Lazada can become an integral part of their lifestyle because he points out the platform is not a retailer, which means it is not solely focused on buying and selling.
In addition, it rebranded for the first time in five years and launched a major campaign, which it hopes will humanise its brand around positive, life improvement messages.
The rebrand and campaign focus on the insight that Lazada, as an e-commerce brand, betters lives by allowing people to follow their passions and access goods that can fuel their dreams. It ties into a wider vision from Lazada to “accelerate South East Asia progress through commerce and technology”.
As part of the rebrand, it coined the word "shoppertainment" where it livestreamed a music concert on its app simultaneously across its six markets in APAC and used the same feature for its inaugural Women’s Festival a month later.
Lazada also marked the first anniversary of LazMall, which is a spin-off Taobao’s Tmall, to work with consumer brands to sell branded goods to customers and prevent the sale of counterfeit goods.
It had announced then it had signed 15 regional agreements with electronics, FMCG and beauty companies including Estee Lauder Companies, L’Oreal, P&G, Amorepacific and Coocaa among others on LazMall.
“We will continue to offer more services to both sellers and buyers. I will say five years from now Lazada will not be the way it looks or it feels today,” he says.
“If we do it right, we felt there will be more enjoyment coming from the consumer side and the seller side. They actually were able to unlock many of the things that are imaginations. I think unlocking imaginations; it's something very important.”
He adds: “What I look forward to, is something that what can we do differently, what else we can offer to transform and keep on improving their imaginations of us.”
This will become increasingly important as Amazon pushes deeper into Singapore and the region, with the launch of Amazon.com, which Henry Low, country manager for Singapore at Amazon previously told The Drum will allow brands to sell their products in Amazon’s store dedicated to customers in Singapore.