Vietnam’s internet, despite a growing Facebook population, is considerably fragmented. That’s why big operations like e-store Lazada need to grab as much online real estate as possible to consolidate brand and sales channels. In its latest move, Rocket Internet’s Lazada is partnering with local search engine Wada to ride the search engine data.
According to Lazada, it will now have access to Wada’s “linguistic profiling, experiential mapping, competitive search assessments and keyword scorecarding” to target more Vietnamese customers via the search engine. Wada, which is aiming to beat Google in Vietnam, has been very content and mobile focused this year, unlike its rival CocCoc which has been concentrating on algorithms and language to improve search results. The latest move with Lazada expands on Wada’s content strategy.
Where CocCoc takes a more Google-esque approach in delivering content via search results, Wada is interested in organizing data useful to users that advertisers can piggyback on. This is particularly clear when you see Wada’s toolbar.
When I spoke to CEO Pham Thinh this May, he outlined how Wada is building an ad network that allows people to get ads that are responsive to content on a website. For example, if you are on a page about shoes, Wada’s ads (ads you opted into) will show you deals or online prices for similar shoes. This is the kind of service that Lazada would love to get in on.
According to Thinh:
First of all, Wada will be the preferred local advertising partner to Lazada.vn. Lazada.vn will enjoy a wide range of first-hand assistance to optimise their campaigns across Wada Ads, i.e. lazada.vn can use all facilities, channels (banner on desktop and mobile, contextual ads, wadabar, contextual ballon ads, interactive mobile ads) to manage their campaigns. Lazada.vn will enjoy top-level customer service, i.e. decisions will be made instantly on CX-level to facilitate any change request Lazada.vn may have, and that’s on a 24/7 basis. In fact, search is always our core technology and competence.
And Chris Bezelin, the CEO of Lazada Vietnam is equally enthusiastic about the partnership. When I asked him why he didn’t partner with CocCoc, Wada’s key competitor besides Google, this is what he had to say:
We are here to build and develop the Vietnamese e-commerce ecosystem. If other pieces have a good fit, we are always happy to look at them. The overall challenge for Vietnam’s market is so much more about bringing the population online and much less about taking shares from competitor A and B. This is true for e-commerce as well as search. Just because we partner with Google doesn’t mean we don’t partner with Wada.vn, etc.
In addition to the announcement, Thinh is proud to unveil Wada’s new design. Chris also mentioned that he’s excited to be able to push Lazada’s new fashion products with the partnership.
(Editing by Steven Millward)