Lazada Malaysia chief operating officer Kevin Lee says the company has sellers registering with them everyday, and most of them are small-medium enterprises. (NSTP Pic by SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD)

PETALING JAYA: Lazada Malaysia is on track with preparations to cater to the 600 million projected customer-base once the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) fully takes off in 2019, said chief operating officer Kevin Lee.

Since the launch of the DFTZ by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in March, Lee said Lazada has sellers registering with them everyday, and most of them are small-medium enterprises.

“They are no longer the same as before. They are more sophisticated, mature and are excited to be part of growing this ecosystem.

“We have sellers that have been with us for five years and they see their business grow with us. They feel that they have a responsibility to help grow the ecosystem,” said Lee during a warehouse tour with reporters in Subang Jaya today.

“Some of them come to us asking for our advice on how to make their products more appealing, what they should be selling that are on demand.

“Some of them are even inviting their friends who are SMEs but have not become a seller with Lazada to hop on to the bandwagon,” he added.

Lee expressed confidence that with Lazada’s website presence in Southeast Asian (SEA) countries and they being one of the strongest e-commerce platforms (in each country), it will be able to drive the DFTZ to its fullest potential.

“We have a SEA network and logistics to push sales. We have also started cross-border shipments in an effort to connect the dots between these countries.”

Lazada is looking at connecting the systems because “if we don’t connect we cannot sell to the SEA countries”, Lee said.

“We are also working to connect our systems to the customs’ systems to enable a more simply process.

Lazada has also integrated its processors and systems into the DFTZ as it will become one of the sales points in its SEA network.

“With DFTZ, we will have to increase sale speed and we are very excited for the SMEs that will be benefitting from the 600 million customer-base.

“Malaysia needs this and I think that the SME’s should work hard to put the right products in here, working with the right team and people to take advantage of the opportunities that DFTZ has to offer.”

Meanwhile, Lee said the e-commerce market although not taking up a big number in the Malaysian retail market (1.5 to 2 per cent) it has grown rapidly since it took off.

“We have grown, but the space and opportunity for growth is much higher. We are building towards that.

“At the end of the day, there is two things we are focusing on - what the customer wants and on the seller side, how they too can gain satisfaction from being a seller.

According to Lee, the e-commerce market still faces several challenges one being awareness.

“People are still not aware of the opportunities to shop online. Many people out there still don’t know what they can buy online.

“How many people actually know that Lazada has 80 million items sold online?” he asked.

They don’t know that they buy almost everything online today.

“Trust is another reason why people don’t shop online as much. That is one reason why Lazada offers many different types of payment methods.

“We want to build that trust and when people trust us, they will eventually understand the convenience and speed e-commerce,” he said.

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