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Online shopping invades areas outside M. Manila

Zalora’s provincial sales account for 60% of total

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Online shopping is fast becoming a part of the Filipino lifestyle, invading the provincial areas which now account for 60 percent of the total sales of Zalora, the country’s largest online fashion store. As such, the company now plans to open new pop-up stores in major cities Cebu and Davao and expansion of its warehouse facility to sustain this momentum.

Paulo Campos, Zalora Philippines co-founder and CEO, revealed the company’s plans at the launch of its second pop-up store in Bonifacio Hi-Street in BGC recently. The first Zalora pop up store located in  Shangri-La Mall Edsa was so successful that its run was extended to six months from only 3 months last year.

POP-UP 

“Since 60 percent of our sales come from the provinces we may open pop-up stores in Cebu and Davao in the future to further drum up awareness for Zalora,” said Campos, who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a degree from its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Campos refused to divulge the company’s sales growth but said it has been amazing and expects faster growth in the years ahead.

“Our growth has been accelerating,” he said.

The current plan though is to establish one pop-up store a year. The merchandize in a pop-up store accounts for 0.5 percent only of total Zalora sales but it displays the best among its fashion brands.

In putting up a pop-up store, Campos explained this will help ease shoppers into the world of e-commerce. The pop-up store serves as a venue where they can ease, touch and try the items on, just like in a traditional store. The twist, however, happens upon check out. Instead of a cashier, shoppers are faced with several screens and tablets, where they can experience the Zalora online shopping process from payment to shipment.

Shoppers can also use their phones via the Zalora app to scan their desired items at the pop-up store and check them out as well then walk out of the store bag-free and even without talking to anyone in the store.

“The ambition is to bring closer our products to our customers. The pop-up store is in  line with our goal to educate more Filipinos about online shopping, and part of our omni channel approach to build confidence in a new way of shopping, and eventually become loyal Zalora customers,” said Campos.

GROWTH

“We are growing from strength to strength, there has been acceleration in our growth,” he added.

Zalora now carries more than 2,000 brands and up to 150,000 shelf keeping units (SKUs) from only 2,000 since its launch in 2012 making it the ultimate online fashion shopping portal in Asia.

With its strong growth, Campos also sees further expansion of its existing 10,000 square meter warehouse in Carmona, Cavite.

“We still have some capacity but we see expanding in the future,” said Campos.

The company has also a growing workforce of 500 people, including 100 in the customer service and 150 in the merchandize section.

The sheer volume of its online business can be gauged with 2 million emails already collected on its database and “everyone is signing up for fashion.”

Zalora is also building its ecosystem with more industry players participating such as banks and retailers.  It has partnered with Globe G-Cash Mastercard where credit cardholders are entitled to additional discounts. For its BGC pop-up store, Zalora has tapped Sony as its technology partner.

MILLENNIALS

According to Campos, the smart phone revolution continues to drive its growth as the millennials, 25 to 35 years old, can access its store 24 hours a day. Millennials are mobile and more comfortable transacting online.

Campos also noted that office workers are really driving sales. Based on its analytics, sales are highest during Wednesdays and Thursdays but Saturdays and Sundays are lowest. During the day, highest sales are highest from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (work hours) and from 9-12 p.m. (workers are back home). Lowest sales happened between 6 to 8 p.m. when people are stuck in traffic and no access to Internet.

Going against preconceived notions that e-commerce is complicated and difficult to manage, Zalora features an easy-to-navigate site, and offers options like cash on delivery, free delivery for orders about R995, and a 30-day free return period to make the overall experience easy and hassle-free.