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Alexis LanternierCEOLazada Singapore
In 2016, Alibaba made waves by acquiring a controlling stake in Southeast Asia-focused ecommerce company Lazada Group. Lazada Singapore was among the properties acquired in the deal. eMarketer spoke with Lazada Singapore CEO Alexis Lanternier to find out how the company is leveraging its relationship with its new owner, and how it addresses some of the unique aspects of the city-state’s market.
eMarketer: Is there anything that makes the Singapore market unique—in the services people demand or the way people shop—that distinguishes Lazada’s operations there?
Alexis Lanternier: Singapore does not face the same logistical issues the other countries in Southeast Asia face. We also partner with reliable, trusted partners who help enable the effortless shopping experience for our customers.
Our mobile internet, payments and logistics infrastructure—and smartphone penetration—set good precedents for ecommerce and our platform to flourish [in the market].
We also recently doubled the number of items we have on Taobao Collection [a store dedicated to showcasing Taobao items to Lazada customers] to 800,000, [and this] was only launched in Singapore. The barriers that caused Singaporeans to think twice about shopping on Taobao—language, high shipping cost, ease of returns and unreliable sellers—are now gone, and this answers to Singaporeans’ demand to shop for Taobao products effortlessly.
eMarketer: Consumers in Singapore trail those in other cities like Seoul, Taipei and Hong Kong, who prefer to shop online for physical goods. What needs to be done to bring Singapore in line with leading digital cities in Asia-Pacific?
Lanternier: We are working to address the initial inertia that first-time shoppers face. To do this, we build trust with the customer by giving the first-time shopper a seamless, positive online shopping experience so that they keep coming back.
At the same time, we are constantly bringing in reliable brands and partners that give customers confidence in purchasing goods.
eMarketer: Telecom Singtel recently partnered with Lazada to develop a new small- and medium-sized business (SMB) marketplace. What have been the results of the partnership so far?
Lanternier: As a marketplace, we want to equip our sellers, many of whom are SMBs, with the best tools available in Singapore to help them succeed. We are excited about this partnership and the increased reach sellers can now access across Singapore. Sellers who advertise will be able to reach over 3.5 million visitors monthly.
eMarketer: What is Lazada doing to prepare for the potential entrance of Amazon to Singapore?
Lanternier: In addition to the acquisition of [online grocer] RedMart, Lazada and RedMart recently launched LiveUp, a rewards program that pools benefits and perks from prominent local and international brands. There is no direct comparison to LiveUp in Singapore, as it is the only rewards program that caters to the online digital natives here.
As programmatic advertising matures, buyers and sellers no longer see it merely as a means of automating processes, but rather as an advanced method of controlling ad campaigns—and better targeting the audiences that come with them.
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