It is the end of the work week and you are planning for your weekend getaway, and then you remember that you do not have any swimsuits left or need a sarong to show off to your friends. Unfortunately for you, you are tied at work, waiting for your boss to decide on that project. You need to go to the mall. The mall closes in an hour. What to do? Where to buy?
Easy, browse your computer.
“People are drawn to retail websites because of accessibility and convenience,” starts Brian Cu, co-founder and managing director of ZALORA Philippines. “Gone are the days when you have to push for a slot at the MRT for a nationwide mall sale or go through the hassle of braving your way in the congested traffic for that midnight sale.”
ZALORA is the newest online shopping site to hit the country, joining the ranks of shopping sites such as multiply.com and ebay.ph. It sells products such as clothes and shoes by local and international brands. They even ship the items bought at no charge. Cu tells us that even just after six weeks, the response from the Philippine market has been favorable.
“With online shopping, you can browse through thousands of products at the convenience of your own home. The trend has also been increasing due to the fact that customers are able to discover more hard to find items online,” says Cu. “The online world has always been a place where customers discover about products, ZALORA helps create a bridge from discover to purchase by giving customers the peace of mind that they will get their orders.”
ZALORA Philippines is funded by German group Rocket Internet, a leading international investor on online businesses with over 200 companies under its belt, including Ebay Europe, Groupon, Linkedin, and e-commerce stores like Zalando, the biggest online shoe retailer in Germany and the second biggest Internet company in Europe.
Read on to get to know more about ZALORA in an interview with Cu.
We browsed the site and saw that you have brands that could be found in the mall, could you please tell us more about that? How do you select your merchandise?
ZALORA Philippines offers clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women, children, and soon even pets! We have a wide range of products coming not only from established local brands and international brands already available in the local market like TOMS, Nike, Asics, Folded & Hung, Plains & Prints, and Tomato, but also from hard to find local independent brands and designers like Charina Sarte, Ylla and Cole Vintage. In addition to being the one-stop-shop to this wide array of products that can be found in different locations, the site also offers the best of Southeast Asian and Australian brands like Chic Yamada, Paige and Ladakh- brands that cannot be found in the Philippines outside of ZALORA. Soon, we will also be activating our Beauty and Home & Living section so we will also carry fragrances, make-up, moisturizers and home accessories.
What are your top sellers?
Our best or top sellers would be apparel and shoes from established brands like TOMS, Crocs, and Jellybean. Because of the summer season, our swimwear sales are also off the charts!
Tell us about Zalora’s services?
We are proud to say that we offer several types of payment schemes—credit card and PayPal, which are the most common types of payment for e-commerce websites in developed countries, but at ZALORA we understand and adapt to local needs. It is because of this that we offer the widest range of payment options that include cash on delivery (COD) within Metro Manila; and over the counter bank deposits (OTC) nationwide. We are soon looking to expand our COD option outside of Metro Manila, Globe GCash nationwide, and Credit Card on delivery using GPRS POS Terminals within Metro Manila.
We have our own in-house riders to ensure that each package is in order and delivered within three hours for those located in Metro Manila. For those outside of Metro Manila, we are able to get their products on their doorstep in one to two days after their payment has been verified. However, for international brands cross-listed on our website, it may take a few days longer but rest assured the products will arrive at your door!
We’d like to stress that ZALORA does not charge any shipping costs—that is all on us, a service that perhaps sets us apart from other retail websites.
What else differentiates ZALORA from other retail websites?
In addition to free shipping and offering various payment schemes or options to cater to everyone’s needs, what sets us apart from other retail websites would be our excellent CRM program. ZALORA is essentially the first virtual mall that aims to educate the Philippine population that e-commerce and online shopping is not a scary thing. We place the needs and wants of our customers above everything else that is why we have a chatbox on our website that is manned by a team of ZALORA Young Experts who will converse with customers via chat. For those who also do not have time to chat, we also have a toll-free Customer Service hotline (1800-10-1818181) open for queries seven days a week from 7AM to 1AM. They give step-by-step walkthroughs of how to transact online and even give general styling tips.
Most boutiques and department stores offer a no-return, no-exchange policy but ZALORA Philippines offers a 30-day return policy. Customers can have the unused products exchanged if they accidentally got the wrong size or color, or realized that it just does not look good on them. Our rider will pick up the product from them, exchange it, and then deliver the new item to their doorstep.
Do you think (or based on the number of shoppers from your website) that retail website shopping in our country is fast picking up? How so?
Just six weeks after launching, we have surpassed expectations on the number of visits and orders on the site. We are seeing a good 10% weekly growth in terms of orders.
The way we see it, the market for online shoppers is there but there was never really an option that gave customers the ease and confidence they needed to start shopping online until ZALORA came along. It’s just a matter of educating the public to get over the fear of purchasing items online.