Lazada is dubbed as the “Amazon.com” of Asia. This is quite a big ambition for such a company based in Singapore, this company has been buying up tons of ads in southeast Asia and is really getting to get a massive amount of media exposure in all the markets that it is a player in. All told, the company’s internal figures already indicates that it is already the largest shopping mall in Southeast Asia. The markets its serves are Vietnam, Thailand, The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
What makes this company very interesting is that it offers free shipping, takes many different forms of payment and allows for free returns of goods within 14 days of purchase. As you can tell from this list of advantages, it really seeks to distance itself from the typical and traditional weaknesses of online retailers. One of the most common hurdles for people faced when going to buy online is the cost of shipping. Lazada takes care of that.
While all these may seem awesome especially in light of the fact that Lazada raised a quarter of a billion dollars in its latest round and on top of 200 million dollars it received earlier this year, one sobering thought comes to mind. Southeast Asia is not exactly and e-commerce paradise. The overarching shopping pattern is predominantly offline. In fact, many people don’t even have credit cards and moreover, the people that do have credit cards are quite suspicious about using this credit cards online.
Also, there’s a massive variation in legal protection and even there are laws on the book that would safeguard online retailers, there’s really no assurance that there would be an enforcement mechanism that is reliable and trustworthy that would pave the way for a smooth eCommerce ecosystem like you have in Europe and the United States. This is the big challenge of companies like Lazada. Be that as it may, it is backed by a super incubator or an incubator on steroids called rocket internet. Rocket internet is serious about delivering money to its projects and based on this latest news, it definitely doesn’t screw around.