Lazada Singapore and Redmart (Alibaba group) head of online marketing, Olga Mozaiska (pictured) has been leading the company's all paid channels and unpaid search. At Lazada, she also has experience leading and growing FMCG category cluster for Singapore. Prior to this, she was an operations director for an online travel agency start-up ZenHotels.com.
Over the past year, Lazada has been working to make the online shopping experience more fun and engaging by introducing "shoppertainment" features such as live-streaming, in-app games and music concerts. According to Mozaiska, Lazada was also the first to bring mega shopping festivals such as Singles' Day (11.11) to Singapore. Meanwhile, Redmart has also been getting creative, launching a live-streamed cooking show where 25 handpicked viewers get to taste the dishes cooked on the show.
Ahead of the Asia eCommerce Awards on 21 November, Mozaiska shares her observations of the current eCommerce landscape with us.
Marketing: What is your perspective of the eCommerce industry?
Ecommerce is an extremely exciting industry to be in. It is very fast-paced and dynamic, especially in Southeast Asia, where the sector has grown about seven times in the last four years - from US$5.5 billion in 2015 to over US$38 billion in 2019 (Google-Temasek-Bain e-Economy SEA 2019 report). This exponential growth places the limelight on eCommerce as an attractive industry to be in and compels even more players to join.
In turn, this increased competition forces existing players to constantly evolve and come up with more innovative solutions to fuel further growth. Innovation cuts across multiple dimensions - image and voice search powering customer convenience, chatbots enabling better customer service, O2O initiatives engaging consumers across multiple touchpoints, machine learning and AI enabling personalisation.
Powered by technology and data analytics, eCommerce marketing is highly data-driven, which enables transparency and numbers-driven decision-making for optimal results.
ECommerce is also pushing through traditional boundaries for increased globalisation – shopping becomes international with cross-border business becoming an integral part of eCommerce.
Marketing: How have you witnessed the eCommerce industry evolve over the past few years?
ECommerce has evolved tremendously in the past couple of years, particularly in Southeast Asia where Lazada operates. We have seen multiple players entering the market, creating healthy competition and urging the entire industry to offer more value to our end users. For example, delivery timelines are shortening, user experience is improving, product assortment is growing, and convenience for consumers in remote areas is developing through enhanced logistics networks and payment solutions.
The eCommerce industry in Southeast Asia has so much more potential for growth and development, with favourable factors such as high mobile internet penetration, rapid adoption of new technologies and steady economic growth, and I am looking forward to seeing it progress further in the coming years.
Marketing: What comes to mind when you think of eCommerce excellence?
A couple of years ago, I would have said that competitive assortment and price offering, coupled with fast delivery, payment convenience and high-quality customer service would be what represents eCommerce excellence. But as the industry has evolved at breakneck speed, so have consumers’ expectations.
- Further improvement of convenience: This includes multiple delivery options covering different customer preferences (e.g. collection points, home delivery), further delivery lead time optimisation, and various fuss-free payment options (e.g. Lazada Wallet).
- Advanced customer service (going further than just addressing queries).
- Exclusive product offerings.
- Exclusive and creative mechanics offering.
- Enhanced user experience with engagement tools making shopping a “shop, watch, play” experience and even more enjoyable.
These days, all of the above-mentioned is a given for any eCommerce player.
Excellence now is about being able to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Marketing: What qualities will you be looking out for in the entries for Marketing’s eCommerce awards?
I will be looking for entries that stand out in the following areas:
- Customer-centricity – to what extent did the particular campaign or initiative make the user journey more seamless and convenient, and communication more straightforward.
- Creativity – whether thinking “outside the box” was involved.
- Innovation – whether the campaign or initiative involved new ideas that can contribute to the overall development of the eCommerce industry.
- Optimal execution – how efficiently was the plan carried out (timeline management, resource allocation, etc). Resource allocation – whether they were allocated based on the best ROI.
Marketing: Why do you think recognising eCommerce players is important to the industry?
The eCommerce field has become the largest and fastest-growing industry within the entire Internet economy (including online travel, media and ride hailing) in Southeast Asia. Additionally, from the perspective of the overall internet economy, eCommerce players are highly influential in terms of shaping players in other related industries.
For example, eCommerce and gaming (engagement tools, gamification), ecommerce and traditional retail (O2O initiatives), eCommerce and travel (hotels displaying items for sale available online), eCommerce and banking (e-wallet), eCommerce and ride hailing (samples displayed in the taxis), eCommerce and media (ex social commerce, live-streaming on eCommerce platforms).
Marketing: Where do you think eCommerce will be in five years?
In five years, the eCommerce industry in Southeast Asia is forecast to exceed US$150 billion in 2025 (according to projections from the Google-Temasek-Bain report). This will likely increase the attractiveness of this industry to new players and make competition even fiercer. Competition will incentivise players to come up with more differentiating points on:
- Convenience - decreasing the lead time even further, introducing more payment options;
- User experience – increased personalisation, integration of online shopping with other activities some of which is already happening, i.e. smart home integration where users can automatically reorder items out of stock;
- Exclusive offers – brands and merchants creating exclusive product offerings for online channels;
- Convergence of offline and online retail engaging customers across multiple touchpoints enabled by O2O advancements;
- Customer service enhancement with further automation and personalisation;
- Globalisation enabling cross-border shopping;
- Mobile shopping growth aligned with further projected increase of mobile penetration and engagement;
- Social commerce evolution along with the growth of social media channel promoting eCommerce.