*(Photo credits to Zalora)
Zalora – Most of us would be familiar with this name, especially if you are like me and you like to do your shopping online. Zalora is Singapore’s very own ASOS (Britain’s online retailer) selling over 500 brands in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Brunei and the Philippines. They were founded by three young entrepreneurs backed by Berlin-based Rocket Internet who are behind the popular online fashion retailer in Europe, Zalando.
Since their launch in February 2012, Zalora has expanded swiftly with the support of over US$100 million in funding from JP Morgan and a group of private equity firms. They have been called Asia’s fastest growing online fashion and beauty retailer and the company reports experiencing “stellar sales records”.
*(Photo credits to Techinasia)
Zalora’s iOS app became the number one lifestyle app within 24 hours of its launch and the most popular app overall in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.
So what is behind Zalora’s substantial success?
These days, people are looking towards moving their businesses online because operating costs can be kept low; they don’t have to pay rental of a prime shop location or salaries of shop sales staff. Take Zalora for example, they operate out of an 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse with a makeshift studio where all their catalogue shots are taken. How the idea for Zalora started out was when the three founders saw huge potential in an underserved market. In Singapore, internet penetration is high, resulting in a large number of people being internet-savvy and choosing to do purchases online. It’s no surprise why shopping online is so popular, the experience is hassle-free, all you need is a laptop or even a mobile phone and you can browse shops and make purchases from all around the world. Blog shops rose to popularity back in mid 2000s, where their fast fashion at affordable prices drew the attention of Singaporeans. Even today, there are no lack of blog shops, however the lack of big and established players made way for Zalora to enter the market and gain popularity quickly.
Zalora’s success lies in their strong local presence that has been established through consistent marketing efforts to keep their brand name at the top of shoppers’ minds. They have also built credibility and reliability by offering 30-day free returns policy and ensuring that delivery of orders are done within 48 hours. The most compelling factor that differentiates Zalora from its industry rivals is their customer-centric policy. They have set up local warehouses in 8 Southeast Asian countries to speed up their deliveries so customers can get their purchases sooner. An advantage that Zalora has over other fashion retailers is their ideal location within Asia, where China and Bangladesh are the world’s biggest garment manufacturer so lead time for new garments average just four weeks. Because they have warehouses in each local market, Zalora is able to offer customers the option to pay in cash on delivery of item. In Singapore and Thailand, they have recently introduced self-collection at convenience store where customers can specify their preferred store location for collection of their purchases and customers can go down anytime (24/7) to pick it up at their convenience.
Should Zalora be able to continue their rate of growth, there is no doubt that they will be able to keep up with the competition in the online retail industry as well as keep away threat of new entrants.
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