Southeast Asia, home to a booming internet economy valued at US$100 billion in 2019, is predicted to grow further to US$300 billion by 2025. In the 12 months leading up to the end of June 2019, the number of consumers who made online purchases grew 17% - equating to millions of new e-commerce shoppers across that year. For mobile commerce, Southeast Asian consumers are observed to be even more active, with three countries in the region reaching the global top five.
Given the huge potential of e-commerce in the region, ZALORA wanted to drive demand amongst customers, as well as acquire new customers - especially through the Kids category which can sometimes be a neglected segment within the Lifestyle/Fashion and Apparel category. To strengthen its position, ZALORA leveraged on technology to reiterate its focus on customer centricity through the launch of the Kids category that was identified as an untapped category through consumer feedback and market research. This saw the brand take home Gold in best mobile-based launch/relaunch and Bronze for best eCommerce solution in this year's MobEx awards.
To achieve its aims, ZALORA identified two key challenges:
The increasingly saturated e-commerce market in Southeast Asia driven by the region’s burgeoning internet economy and growing appeal of e-commerce amongst consumers, poses a challenge for e-commerce players who need to be a cut above the rest in order to effectively gain consumer appeal and drive engagement.
One of the ‘pull’ factors that e-commerce players can capitalise on to gain consumer appeal will be a vast diversification in categorical offerings. However, categories that often go untapped includes baby and child-specific wear - a sector in Southeast Asia that is predicted to reach US$280 million and US$141 million in sales this year respectively. Coupled with the feedback ZALORA has been receiving feedback from mothers, who opined their wish of being able to shop for their children online, this present a missed opportunity for the company.
Seizing the missed opportunity, ZALORA launched the Kids category and leveraged their mobile app as well as marketing to drive demand creation and customer acquisition.
Driven by its brand commitment to deliver the best-in-class consumer shopping experience, ZALORA holds regular customer feedback sessions during the CX Council, which serves as a valuable avenue for gathering of insights, and ideation of new products, features, services. Based on the feedback given by female customers, who have journeyed along with ZALORA and became mothers, stating that they wish to be able to shop for their children on ZALORA alongside with the untapped baby and young children’s apparel market and the growing appeal of mobile commerce to Southeast Asian consumers, prompted ZALORA to tap on their strong culture of innovation and launch their first Kids category on their mobile app and website on 1 November 2019.
Through the launch of the Kids category, consumers now have access to more than 5,000 baby and child-specific clothing items and accessories spanning across categories such as sleepwear, footwear, sportswear and travel essentials. A variety of brands are also available for parents to choose from, including international brands such as Disney, Mango, Nike, Adidas and Puma. As part of ZALORA’s sustainability initiatives, consumers have the option to filter clothing items that are pre-loved or are made with sustainable material through their Conscious Edit line. With this launch, ZALORA provided consumers with the option to shop for their children online within their own time and budget, access to a wide variety of baby and child-specific items, as well as the convenience of having the products delivered to their doorsteps.
In order to effectively drive consumer engagement and excitement around the new categorical offering via its mobile app, ZALORA adopted a three-pronged approach for its mobile marketing:
- Amplifying the launch through diverse marketing channels;
- Collaborating with targeted affiliates and influencers to amplify the launch;
- Leveraging technology to create a personalised and targeted consumer experience.
To build awareness and drive consumer engagement around the launch of the Kids category via ZALORA’s mobile app, ZALORA rolled out mobile marketing strategy in a phased approach:
A press release introducing the new categorical offering was distributed to key media outlets, spanning retail, marketing and lifestyle beats to create and sustain conversations around the launch of the Kids category. Articles on the launches were published on titles such as MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Harper’s Bazaar, and Inside Retail Asia.
An email newsletter was also disseminated to ZALORA’s consumer base to alert them of the new launch. The newsletter, displayed in bright and vibrant colours to increase consumer appeal, showcased the different product types available - including tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories.
Campaign visuals of child models wearing apparel from the Kids category were featured on the main page of ZALORA’s mobile app to generate hype and awareness once the launch went live.
Given the main age group and gender of ZALORA’s customer base, ZALORA expects that the majority of shopping in the Kids category to be done by mothers. To effectively reach and engage with their intended target audience, the company worked with targeted affiliates and mummy/parenting influencers such as the mother-daughter tandem, Andi and Olivia Manzano from the Philippines, and skincare entrepreneur from Singapore, Shenty Feliziana.
To provide convenience while creating a targeted and personalised customer journey concurrently, the technology-driven features enabled on ZALORA’s mobile app allows consumers to find items they intend to purchase for their children in the category. For instance, ZALORA’s AI-driven feature, ‘Visual Search’, allows consumers to take a picture of any clothing item or accessory that they would like to find on the app and instantly see similar products that are available. Other features such as ‘Shop the Look’ and ‘Follow the Brand’ were also enabled to allow mothers to purchase entire looks that they see on ZALORA’s catalogue and stay up-to-date on deals from their favourite brands.
Following the launch of the Kids category, ZALORA saw an increase in performance across several areas from sales and customer conversion rates to customer acquisition and web and mobile traffic. Consumer feedback on the new Kids category was also positive, with consumers claiming that the availability of items online for their children have helped them shop with much more convenience.
The results and business numbers reflecting the success of the launch serves to reiterate ZALORA’s DNA of agility and innovation such that it upholds its overarching commitment to its consumers - to deliver the best-in-class customer shopping experience as the company attunes to consumers’ evolving needs and wants.