“This will allow us to grow our online sales by three times compared to what we saw in 2015 and 2016,” Pier-Luigi Sigismondi told CNBC, adding that Unilever’s online sales in Southeast Asia have been higher this month than in the entirety of 2016. Sigismondi cited online tailored marketing as the primary reason.

“Consumer trends are all going online, so the opportunity is exciting.”

The data collected by Lazada will allow Unilever to better understand consumer behavior patterns of its consumers and target them individually online.

But, while global consumer products giant Unilever sees e-commerce as the next wave for significant growth in the region, Sigismondi said the deal will also help inform future brick-and-mortar offerings.

The partnership will allow Unilever to test new products before deciding whether to send them offline, while also allowing the company to offer exclusive products to Lazada shoppers.

According to market research by Frost & Sullivan, online sales account for just 2.5-percent of total retail sales in Southeast Asia, compared to more than 12-percent in China.

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