E-commerce revolution

THE e-commerce market has grown in recent years with companies like Amazon, Alibaba and Lazada, among other companies, spearheading the market in their own respective regions. In Southeast Asia, Lazada has pioneered the e-commerce market since its inception in 2012. Today, it is recognised as the region’s number one online shopping and selling platform. Recently, Lazada in Kuala Lumpur announced its fifth “Online Revolution” campaign themed “Brand for All”.

ONLINE REVOLUTION 2016

Lazada’s campaign this year is called Online Revolution. It is considered Southeast Asia’s largest online shopping and selling event. An annual and much anticipated event by Lazada since December 2012 – it has brought brands, retailers and people from six countries together, with the intention of educating the congregation on the benefits of online shopping and selling, while providing fantastic bargains and promotions.

This year, the Online Revolution witnessed the participation of over 1,000 brands and 55,000 international and local merchants, with Samsung, L’Oréal and Nestle among the participating brands.

At the event, Lazada Malaysia CEO Hans-Peter Ressel said that Lazada aims to bridge the gap between brands and consumers through this event, especially with 81%of their customers residing in areas with limited access to many of today’s products and brands. He also said that Lazada is able to offer its customers access to a wide range of brands and their favourite labels, although situated on the outskirts of metropolitan areas.

STRENGTH OF E-COMMERCE

During a panel session at the launch, Nestle Malaysia managing director Alois Hofbauer shared his experience in handling the ecommerce segment in China, expressing how strong this marketing sector has grown to become.

“E-commerce provides consumers with choices due to the access to other products that were previously not available in certain regions, making the market very democratic,” he said.

L’Oréal Malaysia director and head of business Manashi Guha echoed her sentiments.

“The way people consume beauty has changed over the last few years. People no longer just look at magazines or TV for this. Beauty products have been democratised by key influencers and opinion leaders. Everyone is experimenting with different products, trying new trends that are created by brands and people. As brands, we have our key opinion leaders and influencers too, which are hugely instrumental in creating trends ... they inspire us. And e-commerce is a fantastic platform to translate these trends into action,” Guha said.

TACKLING THE TRUST ISSUE

Despite the advantages that comes with ecommerce, there is still an area that needs fine-tuning – the issue of trust between people and brands. Some people have no confidence in e-commerce sites when it comes to purchasing. Take groceries and wellness products as good examples.

Addressing this issue, Guha shared her views saying that this issue will hold for some time. Nevertheless, the reviews on ecommerce sites can help to a certain extent, in getting consumers to at least try new products as most reviews are written by consumers themselves.

“The world today is moving towards digital. So you have key opinion leaders and consumers who would place their reviews and opinions of the products online. Moreover, the market now is full of millennials. For them, mobile and search engines are the easiest way to search for information and products. They are open to reviews, especially those from other consumers like themselves,” she added.

Hofbauer on the other hand felt that to address this issue, one has to view e-commerce as a complementary “route” to physical stores. “People do not only buy offline or online, they complement. If you have a product that you buy on a regular basis, online shopping will add a lot of convenience to those who are busy to make a purchase from a grocery store. However, the physical store will provide some people with the assurance they desire. So, there is no definitive thing as just shopping online or offline for that matter, rather e-commerce and traditional retail complement one another,” he said.

The Lazada Online Revolution 2016 is a month-long campaign, which starts from Nov 11 to Dec 12. During the event, shoppers can expect more than 500,000 deals, including offers from international and local brands, as well as exclusive launches of branded products. For more information, visit the Lazada website or its Facebook page.