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Online fashion retailer Zalora back in Taiwan with new vision

Online fashion retailer Zalora back in Taiwan with new vision

Taipei, July 31 (CNA) Asian online fashion retailer Zalora announced its return to Taiwan on Thursday, with company executives saying they are ready to make their mark in the country's multi-billion U.S. dollar e-commerce arena.
In an interview with CNA in Taipei Thursday, Zalora Group Managing Director Michele Ferrario said that while Taiwan's e-commerce market is highly developed, many fashion brands remain unavailable online, leaving consumers underserved for certain types of products.
"That is why we decided, that even if this is a much more developed market than the other ones (we are in), it is a market where we can make a difference, where we can bring to the customers a value proposition that is unique," Ferrario said before announcing Zalora's launch in Taiwan.
A division of e-commerce firm Global Fashion Group, Zalora is present in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. Taiwan became its ninth market on Thursday.
The company also operates as The Iconic in Australia and New Zealand.
Zalora first entered Taiwan in 2012 before pulling out in 2013 to adjust its operating model, but Ferrario said his company is much better positioned today than it was two years ago.
"Over the last three years since we launched the company, Zalora grew from being a start-up to being the leader of fashion e-commerce in all of Southeast Asia and Australia," he said.
Zalora had net revenue of 117 million euros (US$140.4 million) in 2014, up 70% from a year earlier. Its customers, meanwhile, doubled from 1.3 million to 2.7 million over the same period and reached 3.2 million by the first quarter of 2015, according to company figures.
When Zalora first entered the Taiwan market in 2012, 90 percent of the brands offered by the company were local brands, overlapping with the rest of the market. The new venture will initially launch mostly international brands, company executives said.
Close to 100 brands are currently available on the Zalora Taiwan website, including the popular fashion brand Mango.
It is also the exclusive distributor in Taiwan of such brands as Burton Menswear, Dorothy Perkins, Finery London, New Look, River Island, Miss Selfridge and the eponymous ZALORA label, the company said.
Giulio Xiloyannis, managing director of Zalora Taiwan, said his company is in talks with local players and expects to add more local brands to the mix over the next six months.
In addition to an array of international brands, the online retailer also offers shoppers 30-day free returns, free delivery for a minimum purchase, Chinese-language customer service and multiple payment methods, including cash-on-delivery -- an option Ferrario said few international players are willing to offer in Taiwan.
In a couple of months, consumers can also look forward to the launch of more top global brands and a Zalora app in Taiwan, Ferrario said.
Having spent the past few years expanding its foothold in Southeast Asia, ZALORA executives noted some of the differences doing e-commerce business in Taiwan and in some Southeast Asian countries.
Xiloyannis said it was a "very refreshing experience" for him to enter meetings in Taiwan with brand, delivery and payment services providers or marketing partners and "not have to explain what e-commerce is." Ferrario added that when Zalora was pushing cash-on-delivery in Malaysia, it was one of the first companies there hoping to use the service.
"So the fact that here there is an infrastructure that works makes it easier," he said.
But entering Taiwan's e-commerce market, which is expected to surpass NT$1 trillion (US$33.8 billion) in sales in 2015, according to the country's Institute for Information Industry, is not without its challenges. Competition is intense in the online marketing sphere, Xiloyannis said.
"So bidding for keywords and bidding for real estate for banners, is a slightly more competitive environment in Taiwan than it is in other markets," he said.
When asked if Zalora has plans to expand into China, Ferrario said there are currently no plans to do so and the company will focus on expanding its current markets for now.
The region that Zalora covers is very big and the market is growing very strongly, and the opportunity to bring something unique, different and valuable to customers is huge, he said.
"And therefore we'd like to do this well rather than spreading ourselves too thin in 15 other different markets." (By Christie Chen)

Updated : 2021-09-21 04:20 GMT+08:00