Lazada, the Amazon of Southeast Asia, is a privately owned German e-commerce company founded by Rocket Internet in 2011. A year later, Lazada launched it's e-commerce websites in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, then Singapore in 2014. Lazada Malaysia (lazada.com.my), registered under Ecart Services Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. is now 5 years in Malaysia. Lazada initially selling product to customers from its own warehouses and later open to third-party sellers around 2013. Alibaba is now the majority owner of Lazada after inverting USD one billion in 2016. By using Alexa or SimilarWeb as indicators, Lazada Malaysia is the ecommerce website with highest number of visitors, way ahead of 11street, Lelong and Zalora.
Lazada Malaysia had over 11000 local and international merchants and more than five million SKU in its ecosystem as of 2016, making it the largest ecommerce website in Malaysia. There are many local and international branded products that you can purchase from Lazada, such as Ray-ban, Tefal, Asus, Samsung, Nikon etc. Now you can even purchase goods from Taobao and other overseas sellers (mostly China). Not only incredibly low price, you can also get items without shipment fees. In fact, Lazada Malaysia even team up with AIG Malaysia to sell insurance online!
Lazada Malaysia has a very well designed web pages, modern, easy to browse and responsive (mobile friendly). You can also download Lazada App to get the latest information from the marketplace. Personally I like Lazada app over Lelong's.
Lazada is aggressively pushing for promotions during public holidays, special discount by credit card, Crazy Prices Campaign, even a campaign called "Cat VS Dog Campaign". Lazada Malaysia provides voucher to buyer and that is from Lazada and not sellers. Lazada also have affiliate programs to link products in blogs or comparison engine websites to increase traffic. There are no other marketplaces as aggressive as Lazada Malaysia!
Effortless Shopping for buyer?
Lazada's tag line is "Effortless Shopping". When you purchase from Lazada,
1) there are products that you can pay by cash on delivery (COD) if you don't have or don't want to use credit card;
2) you will be given an estimated delivery time frame;
3) free returns within a number of days upon receiving the item (but never tell Lazada reason of returns is because you have changed your mind ya);
4) manufacturer warranty for certain products.
You can login to your account and go to manage order then fill up return form. Print out the shipping label and bring to Pos Malaysia/PosLaju. Lazada system will not tell you how many copies to print. You can get upset when get to know that additional copy is needed after queueing for so long. Then you will be busy running around to find photocopy machine. You need to print TWO copies. One copy to be attached with the shipment and another for our beloved Pos Malaysia/PosLaju. Return is free for most products and no need to pay Pos Malaysia. Actually you can also use MBE, Collectco and Boxit to return your item.
There is a redundant step in Lazada’s returns process. The returns will go to Lazada warehouse and compared with the reasons of return. Refund process can be up to two weeks after approval. So the return and refund processes are not so effortless for buyer. Amazon has a more customer oriented return and refund process. Just print out one copy of shipment label and ship direct back to seller. Refund is immediate via seller control panel and not by Amazon. Buyers has every rights to return the item even they select “Item no longer needed” as reason. The Amazon extended holiday return policy requires that orders shipped between November 1 and December 31 be returnable through January 31 of the following year. Yes!
Lazada used to handle questions from buyers on sellers' behalf. Sometimes I got funny answers from the support guy. They have changed this no long ago. An email will be sent to seller when buyer put up question at product webpage. The answer will also be posted at the same page when seller reply. In this case, sellers and buyers are now able to communicate openly. So this is a great improvement by Lazada Malaysia.
Genuine product review?
Buyer can check the reviews in some products before order. However, I would say don't rely on those reviews. Some reviews are from "verified buyer" and some are not. For example, this product in Lazada (as of 20-Sept-2017) has 15 five-star reviews. However, none of them are "verified buyer". Why ya!? Aiya, we need to be “pengguna bijak”. I know you know lah. :) In fact, why don’t Lazada only allow “verified buyer” to put up reviews?
The Lazada guarantee
At the product page, the is a statement "x Day Easy Return". If you click the icon on the right of this statement, you will see this - "Lazada guarantee that all purchased products are genuine, brand new and not defective.". In my opinion, Lazada has not taken enough steps to ensure all purchased products are "genuine". For example, when you purchase a 916(22K) gold pendant from one of the seller, how do you know the metal contains at least 91.6% gold? Same for 925 silver and those branded products. Amazon will randomly "order" products from sellers, but sometimes through direct instructions, and investigate these products in labs. For example, jewellery related products will be sent to gemmological labs for testing and compared to product specifications in the webpage; branded products will be checked for potential counterfeit issues or copyrights violations if any; there are products also subjected to safety concerns. Amazon will shut down the related online store if any violations found. Sellers have only one chance to write and implement plan for corrective actions and remove products involved. Seller privileges will be permanently removed and any funds in the account will be on hold if no corrective actions or further violations.
For my nine years as Amazon third party seller, I have to send my products to Amazon each year, not including those secretly "purchased" by Amazon for inspection and then returned to me. However, I did not see Lazada implement such quality assurance policy in my three years with this marketplace. How can Lazada guarantee ALL purchased products are genuine? Even worst, there are now Taobao (now back to US’s “notorious markets” list again) and overseas sellers in Lazada Malaysia product list! What are the measures?
Selling online at Lazada
While it could be effortless shopping for buyers, it is not as easy to sell at Lazada. Your product entries (titles, descriptions, specifications and photos) will be inspected by their quality team. Only the accepted products will be released. Initially Lazada requested higher standard for product photos such as white background. However, the criteria were later relaxed to speed up the product release process.
The good thing is Lazada has not impose any fees for doing business in the platform. This is a great news for sellers at the moment. Amazon is charging USD39.99 monthly subscription fees for pro seller.
Initially sellers were very difficult to do promotion at Lazada platform. We can only participate in Lazada campaigns. Now, on top of that, sellers can run their own promotions as well as advertise at Lazada.
Sellers are required to ship out customer orders within 48 hours. However, normally you will receive reminder through SMS in the first 24 hours. Like Amazon, Lazada is monitoring pending order, cancellation rate, return rate etc. to judge the performance of sellers. Performance measure in Amazon is much tighter, including time take to reply to customer, customer feedback on seller services (not on product), number of disputes and many more. Lazada is right to tighter control on sellers.
Sellers need to use the appointed third party shipper such as GDEX, Skynet, Poslaju, Ninja Van to ship out order. Sellers need to drop off parcels at the office of the appointed shipper (or MBE). Pick up is only available if you are able to meet certain order quantity requirement. With Lazada consolidates these third party shippers, sellers enjoy lower shipping cost. This is a win win for Lazada, sellers and buyers. Lazada will track each shipment status, from pending order until completion of delivery. Sellers get payment every two weeks for completed orders.
Above are good business decisions by Lazada.
However, there are painful parts of doing online business in Lazada.
1) All third party shippers have their own problems, ranging from long delivery time, unable to track package, no second attempt for delivery before return, late update into the system. While I am writing this article, Skynet system is not working. Items already sent but not in their system. Then the Lazada system keep sending alert on untraceable package. We then have to fill up forms and upload photos one by one to show that items already with shipper.
2) Many times order status static at "Ready to Ship" or "Shipped" but actually item already moved to next location or delivered. You again have to spend effort to monitor shipments and contact Partner Support to correct the status, else payment to you will be delayed. The more you sell, the more problems you get. Shipment issues are always there and I see no solution from Lazada.
3) Amazon payment cycle is every 14 day and money always there on time, regardless of any holidays. Sellers get the payment even before items delivered to customers. Sellers never have to worry about receiving payment as all these are automated by program. If you are Lazada sellers, you know what I am trying to say!
Lazada's version of Amazon Prime is called Lazada Liveup. Currently only offered in Singapore at SGD28.80/year and was launched few months before Amazon Prime Now arrived in Singapore. I hope to see a Lazada Prime for Malaysian so that consumers can enjoy higher service quality from ecommerce. So far, Lazada is the only one marketplace capable of offering such services.
This article is based on my research online. If you think there is any error regarding Lazada, please email me.
Thank you so much!!
Note: If you are a Lazada seller, join this Lazada Seller Malaysia facebook group. Currently there are 2300++ members. You need to enter email and your seller ID in Lazada.
You can also join this Lazada Seller facebook group. Currently there are 480+ members. Sellers from this regions.