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Zalora’s CEO: The Growth of E-Commerce in Indonesia Is Better than in China

Michael Erlangga - 24 March 2015

Despite the fact that internet connection in Indonesia is still considerably poor, many Indonesians prefer to shop online since it is easier to do than the conventional shopping habit.

Frederick Thomassen, Zalora’s CEO, argued that the main factor to this trend is the penetration of mobile in the society, creating a solid snowball effect. Interestingly, the growth of the industry in Indonesia is better than in China, the country where Alibaba.com is based.

In an interview session with Okezone, Thomassen stated:

“The penetration of cellular, internet, PDB, and middle class keeps going up, the 3G has also covered more areas. It all come together. I think this makes e-commerce grows faster here (in Indonesia) than it does in China,”

He admitted that internet access is a crucial determinant to e-commerce industry, but it’s not a barrier, rather a challenge to promote the online shopping habit in Indonesia.

Online shopping is much more flaxible. According to Blibli.com’s CEO Kusumo Martanto, as cited from the Wall Street Journal (3/3), online shopping supports many various payment methods. The customer care section, which listens to customers’ complaint and serve those who want to exchange, return, or refund their purchased products is also a plus point for this shopping habit.

Vela Asia’s Co-Founder Susie Sugden was on the same page, “E-commerce blooms because Indonesians are connected to Internet much easier today, while offline shops cannot meet their demand.”

Partner with Other Industries

To survive in the industry, an expansion to other industries that support our main business may be made. This is what Lippo Group’s MatahariMall applied. After being reported to have an O2O (Online-to-offline) business that covers the logistic matters, it is reportedly ready to enrich its services with its own PayPal-like payment gateway by next year.

Blibli now has a newly-established delivery service, after Lazada did the same earlier. In the future, it seems that this trend will make people forget third-party logistic companies, unless they improve themselves pretty soon.

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