Lazada's e-marketplace ready to take centre stage

Lazada Thailand, the operating unit of Southeast Asia's leading online shopping company, is aggressively boosting its e-marketplace this year to capitalise on booming online retail sales.

The company's e-marketplace will now promote potential sellers and buyers to meet on its website. The company makes money from revenue sharing or commission fees with product owners and merchants.

Lazada had previously focused on selling its own products and services directly to buyers, but the online market platform required a high level of inventory and inventory management costs.

"The number of online sellers in our marketplace will increase by 15-20% each month throughout this year to provide a greater variety of products on our site," said Alessandro Piscini, chief executive of Lazada Thailand.

Lazada has 10,000 sellers on its website now.

Up to 80% of Lazada Thailand's sale transactions come from the e-marketplace where sellers and buyers can meet, with the rest from the website where it sells its own products and services, he said.

Auto accessories and sport-related items are experiencing high growth, supported by fashion products, mobile devices and face-care products and cosmetics.

Mr Piscini said Lazada planned to introduce its e-payment service, called HelloPay, by June after the company obtained a licence from the Bank of Thailand to provide e-payment service.

"We [Lazada Thailand] aim to increase our revenue by at least 10% as Thailand still offers a high-growth e-commerce market," he said.

Mr Piscini said Thailand's e-commerce market was expected to continue growing because e-commerce in the country accounted for less than 1% of retail sales compared with 8-10% in Japan, South Korea and China.

Mobile commerce will sustainably shape the Thai e-commerce market and will cause the inflection point for the shift from traditional PC-based commerce to mobile commerce, he added.

Competition in the local e-commerce market will intensify, with customer experience emerging as the most important aspect in achieving success.

Lazada iOS and Android applications have 5.5 million downloads in Thailand, with 45 million visitors a month.

Its mobile traffic stands at 60-70% of total traffic compared with 40% in 2014.

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