Lazada is working on a new effort to blur the lines between online and offline shopping. In this case, the online retailer is introducing several physical pop up stores around the Klang Valley; ones that allow customers to interact with the products before buying them through the Lazada mobile app.
These Lazada stores don’t actually sell anything or carry any extra stock. Instead, the idea is to allow customers to experience products before buying them online. QR codes are attached to each item; allowing customers to scan them with the Lazada app and go straight to the relevant product page. In a way, they function exactly like the cashless stores Alibaba operates in China.
At the moment, these pop up stores will focus mainly on fashion and lifestyle items. Seeing that people would still rather be able to try on clothes before buying them. However, Lazada is also looking to expand the concept to consumer electronics and other categories.
“I can’t name names but one partner that has shown a lot of interest already is a brand that sells speakers and audio tools. You can see why, speakers take a lot of space, and storing those speakers will cost a lot. You might as well create experience stores. If they like the product they can scan a QR code to complete the purchase online, and then have it delivered to their home,” Lazada Malaysia Chief Marketing Officer, Andrew Gnananantham.
Two of these pop up stores have appeared over the past week; with the first turning up in Citta Mall for a weekend. The only other store is currently running in Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus.
The location and timing of these stores is deliberate on the part of Lazada. The idea is not to create its own physical stores, but rather encourage its partners and sellers to take up the concept on their own.
“We have the technology, and we’re showing a proof of concept. Here’s how to do it, and we’ve already seen three or four sellers doing it at their stores. I don’t have the exact names, but they are out there,” says Gnananantham.
That is not to say that Lazada is ruling out the idea of setting up its own store. Gnananantham says that while the goal is to empower partners and brands to take up offline-to-online shopping, the company will still move to build more proof of concept stores if the need arises. As an example, he pointed to the Alibaba cashless store in Hangzhou – which operates as a more traditional supermarket.
For now, Lazada will be pushing to expand the number of pop up stores across Malaysia; although the company could not share any plans for what this might entail. What we do know is that the goal is to change how people think about the shopping experience.