American actress and model Bo Derek once said, “Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”
There is a little bit of truth in Derek’s words. Shopping does give men and, especially women, a brief sense of purpose and happiness. There is that excitement when we go hunting for a special pair of shoes or bag and a sense of accomplishment when we finally find and buy it. That happiness lasts long enough until we covet the next big thing. Shopping is indeed addictive.
In Indonesia’s bigger cities, there is no lack of decent places to dig up new fashions. In Jakarta, bargain hunters head to Tanah Abang, West Jakarta, to find inexpensive, mass-produced apparel. Shoppers with deeper pockets can go to the classy boutiques in one of the high-end malls in the Thamrin area in Central Jakarta to get personalized service while browsing luxury items.
However, busy schedules and Jakarta’s notorious traffic mean that hitting every shop on your list may be too ambitious and downright aggravating to attempt.
That’s where Zalora, an online fashion e-commerce website, comes in.
Hoping to harness the power of the Internet to reach customers who don’t have time to visit malls, markets and boutiques, Zalora is touting itself as hassle-free shopping for Indonesian consumers, 24/7.
“We provide everything from men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, shoes, bags, accessories and home and living products,” said Catherine Hindra Sutjahyo, Zalora Indonesia’s managing director. “We’re like an online department store.”
The website has been filling orders since February, with a full launch slated for August.
Catherine said that business had been brisk during the soft launch.
“We have around 40,000 to 50,000 visitors [to the site] per day,” she said. “And we receive about 300 to 400 orders each day.”
Zalora is currently offering more than 10,000 styles and items from over 300 local and international brands.
“Our international buying teams are based in Singapore and London,” Catherine said. “They go all over the world to find new and exciting merchandise.”
Zalora also offers Indonesian shoppers Muslim apparel for men, women and children, as well as a special section for unique Indonesian handicrafts.
But the draw will still likely be the trendy fashions. On Zalora’s website, you can find the local and international brands that you normally find in malls and department stores in Jakarta at similar prices. Prices can range from Rp 50,000 ($5.30) to Rp 1,500,000 ($160) for products from small accessories to dresses and fancy jewelry.
Visitors to the site’s homepage are treated to a slideshow of new styles and promotions.
But the site’s main selling point is its insistence on overcoming every online clothes shopper’s worst nightmare: purchasing something that doesn’t fit.
“One of the most difficult things when shopping online is finding the right fit for you,” Catherine said. “Therefore, we provide a detailed sizing chart for men’s and women’s shoes and apparels.”
For your purchase, you can choose to pay by credit card, bank transfer or cash on delivery.
Every purchase (notwithstanding the amount) will be delivered free-of-charge to the customer’s address, in any location in Indonesia, within seven to 14 working days. “We’ll even deliver purchases to Papua free of charge, despite the very high delivery costs,” Catherine said.
Zalora Indonesia is part of the Zalora fashion e-commerce group that operates in eight countries in Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The Zalora Group is part of Rocket Internet’s investment portfolio.
Rocket Internet has helped to develop some of the fastest growing fashion e-commerce companies in the world, including Zalando (Europe), Dafiti (South American) and Jabong (India).
“Indonesia is a lucrative market,” said Zalora Indonesia’s vice president of digital marketing, Razi Thalib. “More than 60 million Indonesian people, or 23 percent of the population, have Internet access. Approximately 44 million Indonesian people, or 17 percent of the total population, are on Facebook.”
Despite the high number of Internet users in Indonesia, many are still not familiar with online transactions.
Therefore, Zalora Indonesia provides a customer service team to answer any customer questions from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
“They’ll also help customers that are not familiar with online transactions to place their orders step-by-step on the website,” Razi said.
By the end of this year, Zalora Indonesia hopes its online transactions will exceed 1,000 purchases per day.
“We aim to be the online fashion destination for Indonesian customers wherever they are,” Razi said.
For more information, visit www.zalora.co.id.