KUALA LUMPUR: South East Asian e-commerce platform Zalora aims to maintain its position as a top fashion player in the region due to the good performance seen in all its markets.

Zalora chief commercial officer Giulio Xiloyannis said while all six markets are exciting, three countries could be singled out.

The three countries include Indonesia for its enormous market in terms of absolute size and potential and the Philippines for strong growth and customer loyalty.

The third is Malaysia. He said this country has an excellent pool of small and medium enterprises that supply fashion items to Zalora, particularly modest-wear fashion, and the online fashion retailer will work with the great talent pool in the country to keep growing Kuala Lumpur (KL) as a regional and global hub.

“Our regional e-fulfilment hub is based in Malaysia and this hub is able to deliver orders to customers anywhere in all our markets between 24 and 72 hours.

“In addition, we operate two smaller warehouses in Jakarta and Manila that work with local brands in the country and a high volume of local goods. The two smaller warehouses are replenished through the KL warehouse,” he told Bernama in an email interview.

Xiloyannis said Zalora operates its own delivery fleets in Malaysia, Singapore, Jakarta and the Philippines to ensure customers always get the fastest delivery possible, and it partners with more than 30 third-party delivery providers in the region.

Zalora’s presence has also enabled new players joining it almost every week, whereby most of the players want to supply products to Zalora rather than directly compete with it.

“For example, Love Bonito, a well-loved Singapore brand, and Pomelo, one of the regional private label e-commerce players, are both available on Zalora. We welcome anything that brings better connectivity to fashion for our customers,” he said.

Zalora was created to be a fashion company but by the very nature of Zalora being a startup, the state of development of the Southeast Asian e-commerce ecosystem in 2012-2013 forced Zalora to adapt for a few years before branching into the other components of an e-commerce company.

Xiloyannis said Zalora became a logistics expert, a customs expert, a cash on delivery expert and, above all, a data expert.

As the e-commerce environment was nascent, small and yet extremely competitive, the company was forced to adapt into being a data first company, as opposed to fashion first, for many years.

“This was to make sure we were efficient, precise and customer-oriented in everything we did,” he explained.

Data took Zalora a long way, making the company the leader in Southeast Asia’s fashion e-commerce ecosystem and growing from strength to strength in the past two years in a more mature market, he said.
The company has been focusing more on the fashion essence of its DNA — “exclusive collections”, “designer collaborations” and “latest trends” are buzzwords on the Zalora office floor.

Asked on the challenges faced by Zalora in the e-commerce market, he said it requires the company to be an expert in fashion, customer service, payment management, supply chain and logistics, marketing, data management as well as warehousing.

“The challenges are certainly many, but they are also a part of what makes the job so interesting and clearly provide a learning stepping stone to a strong career in any industry.

“We are currently working on firstly hiring better and faster, which is a strong need in a growth industry like e-commerce, and secondly, on moving our products across countries to reach the customers in the fastest way possible with Malaysia as the operational hub,” he said.

In just the first four months of this year, Zalora launched nearly 100 new brands and 50 designers’ collaborations.

It is now building two new warehouses, has hired nearly 100 new Zalorians year-to-date and has expanded in all the countries, especially Malaysia where most of the teams are now based.

He said customers can look forward to a continuous flow of new products such as Forever21, Naelofar and products from fashion icon Datuk Rizalman Ibrahim.

On Zalora’s recipe for success, Xiloyannis emphasised being always true to customers by giving them the latest products with the best customer experience, from pricing to delivery and returns.

“In addition, we always improve our products selection, particularly the exclusive colloborations and styles, and lastly, we don’t blindly take action or purchase products.

“We are a fashion company that has mastered data to best serve its customers in an extremely complex region and we’re very proud of it,” he said. – Bernama