Central scraps Zalora, launches Looksi

Central scraps Zalora, launches Looksi

New name to end confusion with Lazada

Ms Pornchanok says Looksi offers products with a trendier image.
Ms Pornchanok says Looksi offers products with a trendier image.

Central Group Online Co has rebranded its fashion-focused e-commerce site as Looksi to replace Zalora, which it acquired last year from Rocket Internet in a bid to build its own brand.

The name change is to lessen confusion among consumers with Lazada, another online marketplace, said Pornchanok Tanskul, Central Group Online's president.

The website's domain has been changed to www.looksi.com from www.zalora.co.th.

Apart from the renaming, the company has decided to reduce the number of fashion brands available at its online marketplace by half, to about 1,000 brands, spanning a wide range of products from apparel and bags to shoes and sporting goods.

"We've also ramped up the image of products to be a trendier look to fit with the young generation of shoppers," Ms Pornchanok said.

That means Looksi is not a website to sell discount products, but instead will offer new seasonal products and "vertical" offerings, she said.

Existing e-commerce websites available in the market include Lazada, WeLoveShopping, Pomelo and individual sites that sell only their own brands.

According to statistics compiled by the Commerce Ministry, e-commerce business in Thailand continues to grow in line with the expansion of internet penetration.

Internet penetration in Thailand was 65% last year. Relative to other countries in Asean, Thais spend the highest amount of internet time on mobile phone at 4.1 hours a day.

The value of e-commerce business was about US$30 billion or some 105 billion baht in 2016, according to the Commerce Ministry figures.

Euro Monitor, a market research company, said spending on fashion products via the e-commerce channel in Thailand reached 3 billion baht last year and is expected to hit 10 billion baht by 2021.

Ms Pornchanok said that in Thailand at least, Looksi lacks direct competitors among local fashion-focused e-commerce sites because it offers vertical fashion products, meaning a variety of items from a sole brand.

Some 10-15% of products at Looksi are either by house brands or brands from operators that merchandise goods at Central Department Store -- names such as Topshop, Calvin Klein, Aldo, Lacoste and Dapper.

In future, the plan is for products from 500 international and local fashion companies to be available on the e-commerce channel.

"We try to differentiate from others with a unique blend of fashion items, beautiful displays, good logistics and content," Ms Pornchanok said. "Our approach will be to the same standard of two international e-commerce brands: Zalando in Germany and Asos in the United Kingdom."

She said the Looksi website will not only help accelerate sales for Central Group, but also serve as a space to promote brand awareness for fashion brands that Central plans to sell through its retail network.

Central Group Online aims to use 100 million baht to build consumer awareness of the Looksi, one of the many online businesses of Central Group.

Moving forward with online business is consistent with Central Group chief executive Tos Chirathivat's strategy of each business unit under Central pursuing its own online platform to boost the group's sales growth.

At present, there are six websites under Central Group: OfficeMate, Power Buy, Tops Supermarket, Robinson, Central Department Store and Looksi.

Online business generates roughly 1% of Central Group's total sales and is expected to rise to 15% over the next five years.

Central Group forecasts combined sales revenue of 320 billion baht this year.

Sales from Looksi are expected to reach 500 million baht by year-end before doubling to 1 billion baht within the next three years.

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