She says commerce in general is moving away from traditional browse, click, shop experiences to more entertaining for the consumer Zilingo is on a roll. Less than a year after grabbing US$54 million in Series C, the Singapore-based online fashion marketplace has just closed a massive US$226 million round with some of the best VCs […] The post We want to blur the lines between offline and online worlds: Zilingo CEO Ankiti Bose appeared first on e27.
12 Feb, 2019E27.CO
Zilingo Co-founder and CEO Ankiti Bose
Zilingo is on a roll. Less than a year after grabbing US$54 million in Series C, the Singapore-based online fashion marketplace has just closed a massive US$226 million round with some of the best VCs in the world to expand into new markets in Southeast Asia.
CEO Ankiti Bose, who comes from a business analyst background, has been heading the company since its inception in October 2015. The startup is already making waves in the online fashion industry in the region and has been registering a steady growth for a while.
e27 had a chat with Bose to know about Zilingo’s growth story and future plans.
Below are the edited excerpts from the interview:
Zilingo is a commerce platform that is making the fashion and beauty supply chain more efficient through technology. Zilingo connects businesses across the entire supply chain and empowers them with everything they need to run a business — from design, product development, fabric procurement, manufacturing, cataloguing, marketing, inventory management, distribution, billing, customer service, working capital and trend forecasting.
By creating inclusive growth for businesses in fashion and beauty, Zilingo is democratising the industry and bringing the best value, the latest trends and the widest choice to fashion and beauty shoppers anytime, anywhere.
So in essence, we’re not just an online marketplace. We’re a full-stack commerce platform that’s unlocking efficiencies across the whole supply chain. We’re aggregating and digitising a US$3-trillion industry, a majority of which extremely fragmented and needs investment and infrastructure to evolve.
So we see a multi-hundred-billion dollar opportunity, and we believe we’re not even one per cent done!
We think capital raising and capital spending are delinked. Fortunately, fashion is a high margin segment and this means that we can invest our capital into long term avenues of growth. We’ve spent the last few years building and expanding our tech stack so that a large number of merchants in the fashion supply chain can use it — whether they are big or small.
Indonesia has been a focus market for us and we see immense opportunity in scaling the business here. Going forward, we’re also looking at the Philippines and Australia as key markets to expand.
We’re continuously experimenting with brand building and implementing creative campaigns to reach more people in all our markets. We empower the teams in our local markets to create viral and interesting brand campaigns that are localised and deployed across all effective channels in that geography. Our teams on the ground know best what marketing and branding resonate with our audience.
What customers want in Asia, and I believe everywhere in the world, is the best product, the best pricing, the best variety, the best quality. One way to achieve growth is definitely through deep discounting and in some cases this may be effective, but that is not a path for us. In the long term, it’s critical to improve the entire supply chain so that customers are getting value for money without businesses having to burn money at every step. Our focus is on giving the customer the most value for their spend, and that can be done very effectively and sustainably by empowering merchants to be more efficient.
We do see some opportunities for acquisitions — but primarily to add to our technology stack. We haven’t yet identified any good synergies with existing companies but we are looking out for interesting and novel technology that can add value to our merchants.
The fashion supply chain today is highly fragmented and disaggregated. Most of the manufacturers and raw material suppliers are completely undigitised. A majority of businesses in this industry are not equipped with the technology that can help them scale. We need to invest in the infrastructure needed to bring these businesses into the modern technology-driven ecosystem we’re building. This means a lot of coaching, education and skill development to enable entrepreneurs to harness technology effectively.
We’re also investing in building out the product so that every use case for the merchant is covered and that the platform is effortless to use. This is a continuous investment in developing and scaling our software to make sure it’s accessible to all.
Each of these markets for us poses a market opportunity. Indonesia and the Philippines are large, high growth markets where the fashion and beauty industry has a lot of potential. At the same time, there are few players serving merchants in the industry with a full-stack solution.
In Australia, the fashion consumer has high per capita income and the population is sizeable. It’s one of the fastest growing fashion and beauty markets in the world. Meanwhile, fashion manufacturing and supply in Australia is still originating from Asia and we see ourselves making these routes more efficient.
The Philippines is the second largest market in Southeast Asia in terms of population, and with e-commerce and digitation starting to take hold, merchants are hungry for tools to help them grow, but they have very little access to technology and software they need. So we see an open playing field here.
We believe that the future of retail is in meaningful experiences. There will be seamless integration between online and offline. Especially in fashion, touch and feel and delight will still be relevant. So we don’t see offline going away in fashion and beauty. Instead we want to make the lines blurred between these two worlds.
Zilingo Asia Mall is our sourcing solution for brands, SMEs and labels. Through the Zilingo platform, they can access manufacturers and suppliers globally from the world’s fashion supply hubs. Through us, merchants can have a smoother process during sourcing and they can enjoy pricing as efficiencies are unlocked.
Z-Seller is the console/SaaS tool that every business on Zilingo uses to manage his or her business. Everything from procurement to inventory management to pricing to shipping and distribution can be managed through the software. Merchants can also use the platform to unlock other services like cataloguing, marketing and financial services.
We are experimenting with solving for trust in interesting ways. Blockchain remains an area of interest and we will talk more about it soon.
Southeast Asia is at the cusp of rapid growth. With higher per capita incomes and high social connectivity, fashion trends spread fast and often die just as fast. Instagram and celebrities drive fashion choices today more than ever before and street culture is on the rise. Being responsive to these trends is critical if you want to always provide consumers with the trends and styles they’re looking for at an affordable price.
Commerce in general is also moving away from traditional browse, click, shop experiences to more entertaining experiences for the consumer. Livestream shopping with KOLs and shopping games are a trend that’s entering the market fast. It’s no longer just about utility, it’s about delight and entertainment as well.
The post We want to blur the lines between offline and online worlds: Zilingo CEO Ankiti Bose appeared first on e27.