Understanding Local Demand: Despite lacking strong representations of the season’s global trending styles on Zalora, the homegrown brands garnered comparable sell-out as their international counterparts with little discounting. This proves that the homegrown brands met the demands of local consumers. It also highlights the fact that a more significant consumer segment in SEA prefers minimalist classic styles and comfort over fashion-forward styles.
Local brands such as Nelissa Hilman saw success with its iconic classic mules and sandals, occasionally reinventing the shoes with trending style elements while maintaining minimalist design aesthetics. Other notable brands are Singapore’s Anothersole, The World at Your Feet and Gena, with brand communication driving unique selling points on comfort and best fitting.
Channel Strategy: The homegrown brands understood that Zalora appeals more to the local mass market segment, hence the assortments curated for the marketplace centred around classic designs, core colours and affordability with a decent injection of trends.
Meanwhile, evident across the brands’ respective Instagram accounts, were progressive assortments showcased to strengthen brand positioning and to cater to the more discerning consumer segment.
Next Steps for Brands
Leverage on Data Analytics: While the homegrown brands mostly met the demands of the local consumers, there were apparent gaps when compared against the international brands – where if addressed tactfully, can amplify success and build competitiveness.
An international brand in Zalora on average has 1.5x more SKUs than the average homegrown brand. Having more SKUs of the styles that best meet the consumer demand can improve online visibility as well as sales performance. Similarly, the lack of nude-coloured newness by the homegrown brands proved to be a huge missed opportunity with sell-out over-performed new-in.
Innovate to Differentiate: With the growing number of local and international competitors, brands need to continually review assortment and channel strategies to maintain competitiveness and to attract as well as retain consumers.
Alternative channels have been brewing in the region and are one to watch. The Singapore-based e-tailer, Naiise, is actively promoting the local creative industry on the world stage, and Pazzion’s recent foray into F&B by opening a café as an extension to its shoe boutique, is an effort to stay ahead of its competition.