Just last week, Lazada Vietnam had one of its most important sales weeks yet. On December 12, Lazada along with 123.vn, Wada, Ringier, Project Lana, Zalora.vn, and other partners launched an online campaign titled Online Revolution. According to CEO of Lazada Vietnam, Christopher Beselin, the campaign landed Lazada sales in one day that was equivalent to one whole week of sales. Beselin said it was four to five times a normal day.
Along with this, he says that the company is also launching its Lazada Trust Service, which aims to up the ante on customer service. Since Lazada is likely the largest B2C e-commerce site in Vietnam, it has the unique burden of educating the market. With the Lazada Trust Service, Beselin says they’re offering a few key things: 1) customers get to touch and feel before they buy. Upon delivery, 2) customers will be able to return the item they purchased within 30 days.
It’s worth noting that Lazada had these deals before but not to that extent. Also, some customers have actually complained that the return policy is not as genuine as it seems. Many customers were not able to return their purchases as Lazada promised. Beselin says Lazada Vietnam is aware of this and it’s why the company has added a sticker on all its packages to let delivery partners know that they should respect the customers wishes.
Of course, this is a significant cost to Lazada Vietnam. If all of its customers return its packages, Lazada still has to shoulder the cost of delivery. This puts it in an interesting place in the e-commerce battle in Vietnam.
Is Lazada standing alone in the general B2C battlefield?
Lazada across Southeast Asia just got a massive round of funding, which prepares it for next year. According to Beselin:
You need a lot of money to build this kind of business. I think that’s what we’re seeing with competitors shutting down after not so long a time.
Basically, at this point, Lazada is the only competitor that can seriously take on general B2C e-commerce, which requires considerable overheads and legwork. Beselin says that when Lazada Vietnam first started out, the company talked to 15 different logistics delivery partners, but have now narrowed that down to three. This is in addition to having its own delivery fleet that the team had to train.
With the Online Revolution campaign, Beselin says that the main goal was to bring the market online, and he thinks it takes a coordinated and concerted effort from all e-commerce sites across the market, from general to vertical. He basically wants to see the kinds of numbers that we see out of Alibaba on Cyber Monday with billions of dollars in sales. This is why, according to Beselin, we need more competitors.
Bringing the market online is still difficult and a primary concern. When I hear 123.vn or Project Lana shutting down, I’m almost sad. A competitor here and there is good. Together, we’re changing the way Vietnamese people shop.
At this point, Lazada is the biggest and richest competitor in the general B2C e-commerce market and if rumors are true about December’s e-commerce news of 123.vn and Project Lana shutting down or downsizing, it will be carrying this industry all alone.
(Editing by Terence Lee)