Shopping Online: Getting ahead with a click

Shopping Online: Getting ahead with a click

With improved technology and social media innovations, online shopping is catching on fast.

Giulio Xiloyannis, buying and marketing director of Zalora Malaysia, says that online shopping has been around for some time via small blogs and Facebook shops.

But online business mushroomed when AirAsia became the first major e-commerce player. Xiloyannis says the trend will continue to grow as more shoppers change their habit of going to the malls and switch on their phone apps and laptops instead to browse, buy or catch up on the latest trends and brands in the market.

"People were spending hundreds and thousands of ringgit with AirAsia long before we arrived. However, there was a void in the fashion e-commerce arena. When we realised the potential, Zalora entered the market in full force in early 2012," he says.


Just a few years ago, people who needed clothes would go to a store, pick what they liked, try it on and then buy it. The hustle and bustle of the crowded mall was part of the shopping experience but now, all this is changing.

"Think of it this way - which is a more ideal weekend? One spent in the mall, pushing through crowds and running from store to store or a relaxing time spent with friends and family, doing the things you love like sports, travelling and going to the spa?" asks Xiloyannis.

Shopping trends on show that consumers are making most of their purchases during working hours. They visit and browse in the morning and then make purchases before they go home, between 5pm and 7pm.

"This indicates that people love fashion and shopping, but they want it to be a convenient experience, not one that takes up their entire weekend," says Xiloyannis.

Other factors, he adds, include convenience of services such as return policy, customer service and free delivery.

"We also offer exclusive brands like Zalora Jovian collections and Rizalman's ready-to-wear range," he says.

Xiloyannis admits that although online shopping has many advantages, one issue that some shoppers face is size, particularly when shopping for clothes and shoes.

"Realising this, we have dedicated entire teams to take precise measurements (to the cm) of every garment we put up for sale and this information is provided to our shoppers. We also offer free returns for all purchases - yes, we pay the return shipping fees," he says.

He agrees that a common misconception about online shopping is that it is not satisfying as customers are not able to touch and feel the product.

"Fortunately for us, we entered the market at a time when consumers were more mature and had a better understanding of online shopping," he says.

"They recognised the services we offered and things like cash on delivery or 30-day return policy helped motivate shoppers to make their first online purchases."


At Zalora, says Xiloyannis, people buy everything.

"I have seen some items, such as Red Vincci shoes, sell up to 25 pairs per day for a single model and colour. I also see people from rural areas buying international brands as they would otherwise have to drive a few hours to the big city to buy them," he says.

Acknowledging the fact that online stores are popping up almost every day, Xiloyannis says not all stores are the same.

"Zalora is different. We bring new brands to Malaysia such as New Look, American Apparel and River Island. We have unique Muslim ready-to-wear designer collections, such as Rizalman and Jovian, and we have over 600 local and international brands across various categories," he says, adding that the most popular brands right now are Ezra, River Island, New Look, Jovian and Vincci and the most popular colours are red and black.

"People are really diverse and different people shop differently, so it's hard to find strong trends, We have hundreds of thousands of customers and all have different tastes. But they all buy in the same shop - Zalora. Figuring out how to make them happy fashion-wise is the hard yet beautiful part of our job."


Online shopping is fast-growing and there's development in every aspect. Xiloyannis says: "From website and app redesign to product assortment and expansion in both local and international brands, all are evolving to make the customer experience more enjoyable."

While some brands have gone online, others are hesitant, but he is optimistic that the latter will also be moving to e-commerce soon.

"The change is inevitable and we can all look forward to this in the very near future," he says.


After bringing high street fashion brand River Island to Malaysia last September, Zalora is bring in New Look from Britain to add a new vibe to our fashion world. New Look offers celebrity-inspired looks at affordable prices.

Xiloyannis says: "This is just the beginning of our plans to provide the latest and best in high street brands. Soon you will see major cosmetics and apparel brands from the US, Europe and Brazil in the Malaysian market, exclusively on Zalora."

New Look has an affordable take on key catwalk and celebrity-driven fashion. Superstars Lily Allen and Kelly Brooke have had successful collaborations with the label.

Zalora also has an e-commerce partnership with global fashion brand American Apparel and stocks the brand's classic cotton hoodies, scoop neck and V neck T-shirts and tank tops for men. Women's wear includes fitted jersey dresses, chiffon shirts, camisoles and T-shirts in a range of colours and prints.

"By constantly adding fabulous new styles with trend tips and fashion advice, Zalora lets shoppers experience easy and fun online shopping," says Xiloyannis.


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