Byravee Iyer
Jul 9, 2014

Zalora, Samsung digital strategies revealed: ad:tech Asean

SINGAPORE - At a conference dedicated to underlying technology, the high-level content strategies of two brands—online fashion retailer Zalora and smartphone juggernaut Samsung—proved to be among the most interesting sessions for brand marketers at ad:tech yesterday.

Tito Costa
Tito Costa

Zalora has an ambitious multi-channel marketing plan to target the US$80 billion fashion market in Southeast Asia, serving 600 million potential customers, revealed Tito Costa, the company's MD. 

Costa said Zalora will continue to focus on Southeast Asia, where internet access is growing very fast and the adoption of social networks nears 100 per cent. Many of the metro cities in the region are the top 10 biggest markets for Facebook. Mobile is a big revenue area for the e-commerce website. “Smartphones are changing the way people use the internet and shop online,” Costa said. “The rollout of 3G in several markets in the region has meant that search on smartphones is exceptionally high.”

For Zalora, social and mobile are the largest customer-acquisition channels, and as such most of the company’s marketing budget is skewed to digital. Costa said chat applications like WeChat, Viber and Line are at the intersection of social and mobile and are an important customer-acquisition tool.

Visual platforms Pinterest and Instagram are also working well for the company. “Visual sharing can be a powerful channel for e-commerce, so we launched Zalora Market Place for third-party merchants in late March,” said Costa, who claims the results have been overwhelming and that the company has received thousands of applications from local designers.  

He said the company has taken a performance-based approach. It uses crude metrics to measure how marketing spend is utilized by dividing it by the number of new customers. “That has allowed us to focus on what matters,” he said.

For example, the company drives customer reactivation by CRM and newsletters with strong editorial content. “E-commerce is a low-margin business," Costa said. "You don’t want to spend again to reengage them.” Zalora has to date garnered 18 million monthly visits, 4.8 million Facebook fans and 6 million newsletter subscriptions.

Ultimately, Costa’s aim is to build a complete end-to-end offering much like Tesla, Uber, Netflix and Buzzfeed have done. “These companies control the full customer experience, bypass incumbents’ cultural resistance to change and capture a larger share of value created,” he said.

Costa believes Zalora is getting there. We have 500 brands and have reached a scale to have a design team that churns out 1000 products every month, he boasts. Its other successes include a photoshoot studio, localized web pages, an in-house media-buying team, and local warehouses in each major city for next-day delivery.

The company’s MD is especially proud of introducing cash-on-delivery and localized payment methods. These actions have given the company the scale to negotiate with credit-card players.

Samsung’s content strategy decoded

Another interesting session featured Maya Hari, Samsung’s director of content services, who talked about Samsung’s approach to creating and curating mobile content.

Hari said the company faces with an oversupply of content. There  are over a million apps sitting in the app store. “We’ve lived with this terminology of 'content is king' for over a decade now, so curation has become everything,” she said.

Galaxy Life is a loyalty programme, and the first touchpoint after consumers purchase their device. The app starts, ends and lives entirely on mobile. Content includes rewards, privileges and app recommendations. Hari doesn’t want it to resemble another Play Store, so she tries to include an element of journalist skill. Content also includes celebrities talking about their mobile lives.

Hari shared that content strategy has to change constantly to see what works best. Getting the consumers’ mindshare means catering to local needs and creating content with local flavour and language, as well as privileges that resonate locally.  

Consumers are fickle, which makes them fundamentally less loyal. “We have very few seconds to engage our consumers, so content has to work that much harder for loyalty,” she said.

Samsung measures loyalty on a tactical level. This includes monthly views, how many times a user comes back and what percentage of users keep the app. “These are the things we’re obsessed about,” Hari concluded.


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