An ‘e-commerce’ firm no longer: Lazada Singapore CEO says the future is in ‘new retail’ space
With the opening of the AMORE Store X Lazada, Lazada Singapore CEO James Chang has boldly declared that Lazada is no longer an e-commerce company.
“We’re dropping the ‘e’ – we’re now a commerce company, not just e-commerce anymore,” he said.
AMORE Store X Lazada is just the beginning of the firm’s venture into the world of new retail, which will be a point of focus for the company in the new year.
Chang told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that this move was essential given the shifting shopping behaviours of shoppers.
“When we launched Lazada in 2012, the consumer was shopping for structure products – things that are easy to compare and have specifications that can be easily communicated through pictures or text.
“But as e-commerce becomes more mainstream, consumers are now looking for new and exciting things that that is where we need to do more coordination between online and offline.”
New beauty shopping experience
According to Chang, the beauty and personal care category makes up about 30% of Lazada’s business on a group level and is consistently been increasing.
However, he admitted that there were limitations to selling lipsticks and facial moisturisers online and that the category could greatly benefit from the merging of online and offline channels.
“When it comes to skin care and make-up. It's hard to make the purchase without actually seeing and trying the product. There are limitations to being online in that sense.”
The strength of the category and the excitement it can generate among consumers prompted the group to pilot its new retail concepts in beauty.
One of the biggest differences of the AMORE Store X Lazada is the absence of a traditional point-of-sale (POS) system. Payments are all made through Lazada by scanning QR-codes in the store.
“This store is different because we took away the POS and the need for queuing up. These are some of the things that customers don't value. What they value is seeing, smelling and feeling the product. It’s about creating that seamless experience so that next time they can repurchase online and maximises their time,” Chang.
One aspect the store enhances is the discovery experience. Among the 11 Amorepacific brands in the store, six are new to Singapore and exclusively available at the store.
Additionally, the store also features a ‘sample’ wall where consumers can collect samples by scanning QR-codes. This allows the store to track and collect data to inform Amorepacific on its restocking decisions, for instance.
“There’s buying for the sake of transaction, but customers also want to try, learn and discover. That discovery aspect is very important. It's becoming more about looking for enjoyable shopping experiences,” said Chang.
Moving forward, the company hopes to expand this idea to other markets where it operates.
“We want to continue to create excitement and working with companies like Amorepacific on the beauty side also helps us launch and expand into other categories that may not have viewed Lazada as a top of mind platform,” said Chang.
He added that the new store was the tip of the iceberg of what he believed the company can achieve, especially as perceptions and mindsets continue to progress.
“Back in the days when it first started in 2012, e-commerce was not top of mind to buy luxury beauty. That has progressed a lot. Who would have thought we would launch BMW on Lazada?
“And we just launched Metro last week. Before, department stores would see us as the competition, but this perception is changing… nowadays, e-commerce is everything and we want to continue to create that excitement.”