Sitting on the sidelines of the glitzy stage, with electronic music blasting from nearby speakers, Thai designer Salisa Cheewapansri watched the fashion show with what appeared to be a calm confidence. Her make-up was understated, at least in comparison to the extravagance of the occasion, while her jet-black hair framed eyes that never strayed from the models on the catwalk, models who wore her latest collection.
Under that cool expression, however, the 27-year-old was nervous. After months of preparation, her namesake brand, Salisa Clothing, had finally hit the runway – at Lazada Group’s third “See Now, Buy Now” fashion show in Southeast Asia. She was one of 24 local designers invited by the region’s e-commerce leader to spotlight their work at the Bangkok event, the most important event in Lazada’s monthlong “Women’s Festival,” a shopping bonanza held throughout May to celebrate women shoppers across Southeast Asia.
WATCH: Lazada Brings ‘See Now, Buy Now’ to Thailand
But there was another reason Cheewapansri was so anxious. She knew her work was going to be seen, not only by hundreds of influencers, key opinion leaders and well-known local fashionistas present at the venue, but also by tens of thousands of fans and potential customers across Thailand and the region, thanks to Lazada’s livestreaming technology.
See It. Like It? Buy It!
By leveraging that technology, over 120,000 viewers in Thailand watched the show in real-time on their mobile phones in cities and villages across the country. Moreover, the “See Now Buy Now” feature allowed them to purchase the items they saw on the runway, immediately, via the Lazada app. They simply had to click the viewing screen, put the item in their shopping cart and check out. Unlike traditional fashion shows, consumers didn’t have to wait for products to arrive at a brick-and-mortar store before buying what they wanted.
The show, which also featured several Thai celebrities and pop singers, exemplified what Lazada calls “shoppertainment,” a strategy that injects entertainment into retail to make it both fun and more engaging.
“This type of fashion show, plus the livestreaming, is so effective and convincing because consumers can see for themselves the products in motion. They can literally see how the clothes move as the person moves,” said Cheewapansri.
Lazada also held the same “See Now, Buy Now” fashion shows in the Philippines and Malaysia earlier in May. The total viewership for all three shows topped 300,000, the company said.
Prima Senakant, a 23-year-old Lazada user at the Thailand show, said the “See Now Buy Now” technology enhanced her experience because it gave her the choice to buy the latest products on her phone – right away – as she watched the show at the venue.
“This really erases the divide between offline and online shopping,” she said.
“Shoppertainment” also extends to gamification. During the Women’s Festival, Lazada users could play in-app games such as Shop-and-Match and win vouchers to shop on the Lazada platform.
“At Lazada, we empower sellers and support them with game-changing marketing and shoppertainment initiatives to better engage their customers and even become leaders in their fields,” said Mary Zhou, chief marketing officer for Lazada Group. “That is how they can ultimately excite customers, which will drive the growth of their e-businesses and online shopping.”
Bringing Buyers and Sellers Together
Calling it a win-win formula for both the buyers and the sellers, Lazada Thailand’s chief operating officer, Jack Zhang, said that livestreaming can narrow the gap between buyers and sellers, including small businesses like Salisa Clothing, whether it’s for major events such as “See Now, Buy Now” or the other real-time broadcasts that are increasingly happening on the platform.
“The buyers can directly interact with the sellers and the sellers can provide lots of creative, engaging and interesting content to let customers gain a better understanding of the brand and the products,” said Zhang.
Lazada has hosted 270 livestreaming sessions on its platform in Thailand from May 21 to May 26. Over 80 local Thai brands and 20 global brands have participated in the sessions, attracting more than 400,000 viewers.
Cheewapansri said that by using the livestreaming tool and participating in the “See Now, Buy Now” show, her new collection sold out 12 hours into the Women’s Festival campaign.
Looneystore, another local indie brand that participated in show, sold over 1,700 garments during the first hour of the campaign.
Expand and Empower
When Cheewapansri launched her brand in 2014, she followed the playbook used by many Thai fashion entrepreneurs: displaying products via social channels, such as Facebook and Instagram. It was an effective way to tout her clothes online, but she had to do all of the work herself, from handwriting orders to answering text messages from customers.
That all changed when she joined Lazada last year. To help brands and local sellers capture what has become booming appetite for e-commerce, Lazada has designed a suite of tools that optimize their operations, from inventory management and consumer engagement to payments and logistics.
One example is the Business Advisor. By offering real-time performance breakdowns, Cheewapansri can keep track of her company with just a few clicks. Analytics provided by Lazada also helped Cheewapansri make more-informed decisions about inventory management, logistics and raw-material purchases. And by using Lazada’s real-time chat app, she could engage with her customers more easily.
The process wasn’t any better for her customers. Previously, they had to send photos of a product they liked through instant messaging to request pricing and other information. Cheewapansri would reply and then have wait for a money transfer before shipping the order. Now, by using Lazada, all the information her customers need is on one page.
“Thai people not only like to shop, they like to shop with ease, and Lazada is making it happen for them,” she said.
Zhang said that sellers like Cheewapansri are examples how his company is empowering local small- and medium-sized enterprises. By providing them with digital tools that can generate accurate and timely analysis, sellers can operate more efficiently, giving their customers a shopping experience that makes it more likely they will return to shop again.
“We want the Lazada customers to not only think of Lazada as a click-and-check-out site, but a lifestyle platform that customers can watch, play, and stay,” he said.