A 32-year-old executive is driving the growth of electronic commerce in the Philippines, encouraging millennials to shop for fashion items through their smartphones.
Paulo Campos III, the Princeton University-educated co-founder and managing director of Zalora Philippines, says his company is scaling up operations to keep up with the frenetic activities during the holiday season.
“The market is accelerating this year compared to last year and even faster than the last time we talked. Christmas is drawing more and more customers to shop online,” Campos says in a news briefing.
“Sales momentum started to pick-up as early as October, a few weeks earlier than last year. And the peaks and highs are even higher than last year. But I can tell you in December we’re averaging more than double the traffic last year, or more than 100 percent,” says Campos, while announcing Zalora’s biggest sales event—12.12 Online Fever—a four-day campaign that starts midnight of Dec. 12 across Southeast Asia.
Zalora Philippines, which is supported by Germany’s Rocket Internet GmBh, is Asia’s leading online fashion retailer. Campos helped establish Zalora Philippines in January 2012 when he was 28, after working for The Boston Consulting Group in Singapore and Ayala Land Inc.
Campos graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Princeton University in 2005. He also has an MBA degree from Harvard Business School.
Campos says this year’s cyber sales event offers exclusive deals on more than 200 fashion and beauty brands across six markets, including the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia.
Campos says 12.12 Online Fever is a region-wide sales event that aims to drive the e-commerce industry across the region, bringing to consumers some of the best deals that encourage online purchases and convert traditional shoppers into e-consumers.
He observes that buyers have been spending more time on the net, especially when the holiday season peaks.
From browsing an average of 10 minutes in previous years, consumers are now spending 13 to 14 minutes per browse on the net “which maybe small from a consumer point of view but big for us already.”
“The more they spend time visiting our site, the more they get engaged, the more they tend to make a purchase,” he says. “More engagement, I think, is because of more brands [and] better assortment [of products]. They are more coming to the website and the figure is doubling.” Globally, Zalora has seen an increase in new customers by 32 percent. With most of the major brands now housed in Zalora, the company is focused on deepening engagements with brands and with customers.
“We are always adding more brands, but at this rate we got almost the big ones. Now we’re going deeper as we are shifting our focus to deepening the engagement with customers. We will be doing other brands, as well. Those big names that haven’t signed up up with us, we intend to convince them more,” Campos says.
“The thing about big brands is that they create incremental demand. In fashion, it’s all in the brand. Our progress this year, why we move from strength to strength, is because we’ve proven that our brand profile is one of the best in the online world,” says Campos.
As sales grow brisk, operations are also expected to keep up with the volume. Zalora is beefing up its delivery system, hiring more riders on top of the current fleet of 400.
Zalora is pro-active, he says, as it moves to determine fashion trends, globally and on the regional scale. It also helps consumers arrive at a decision via the shopper’s price comparison.
Cyber shopping has changed the mindset of Filipino consumers, he says. In 2016, the Philippines reached the average global e-commerce penetration rate.
A study by an independent research company in Singapore shows that about 46 percent of Filipinos now have access to the internet, while 29 percent of Filipinos have experienced online shopping.
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