Meet the Sin­ga­porean democratis­ing fash­ion on­line

Notic­ing that South­east Asia’s lo­cal re­tail­ers were of­ten miss­ing from the on­line mar­ket­place, Ankiti Bose co-founded Zilingo, a Sin­ga­pore­based e-com­merce ven­ture that ag­gre­gates small fash­ion brands from the re­gion on a sin­gle plat­form. She spoke to Sout

Southeast Asia Globe - - Contents -

How did you end up in this in­dus­try? I al­ways knew I wanted to be in tech – it’s an area where cre­ativ­ity in prob­lem solv­ing re­ally shines. I felt there was a huge gap in the on­line re­tail space and, de­spite the ubiq­ui­tous­ness of the in­ter­net, there was a mas­sive sec­tion of young busi­nesses that were not able to use the digital econ­omy to their ben­e­fit. What ex­cited me the most about start­ing Zilingo was that we were – and still are – on a mis­sion to am­plify the way tech­nol­ogy is used to grow busi­ness. How has the dom­i­na­tion of the in­ter­net changed the na­ture of a ca­reer in the re­tail in­dus­try? Re­tail, like other in­dus­tries, has be­come far more democra­tised. It’s no longer the Louis Vuit­tons and Zaras that rule fash­ion, for ex­am­ple. Small ven­dors, young de­sign­ers and as­pir­ing busi­ness peo­ple have a chance to break that sta­tus quo with­out break­ing the bank. At Zilingo, for ex­am­ple, we have 4,000-plus sell­ers grow­ing their on­line busi­ness and reach­ing cus­tomers who are con­ti­nents away from them. In real time, these sell­ers are able to track in­ven­tory, plan their or­der dis­patch­ing, re­ceive pay­ments and run pro­mo­tions, all through a sim­ple-to-use dash­board on the cloud. In an in­ter­net-less world, this would have never been pos­si­ble. What are you look­ing for when choos­ing a ven­dor to fea­ture on your site?

I’m look­ing for ven­dors who only sell fash­ion and life­style prod­ucts. We have guide­lines set up re­gard­ing im­age qual­ity, prod­uct qual­ity and ship­ping time­lines to en­sure an ex­cel­lent shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence for our cus­tomers. Our fo­cus is on the mil­len­nial crowd, and their av­er­age spend is about $15, so we have quite a few ven­dors that spe­cialise in fast fash­ion. What ad­vice would you of­fer to peo­ple want­ing to build a ca­reer in the on­line fash­ion in­dus­try? As an in­di­vid­ual, the hunger to learn and grow, I think, is very im­por­tant. Change is the only con­stant in this in­dus­try so be­ing adapt­able to a fast-mov­ing en­vi­ron­ment is an as­set. Most im­por­tantly, as in any tech in­dus­try, one needs to cham­pion in­no­va­tion and au­da­cious think­ing. What has got Zilingo and our team ahead is that we cel­e­brate our crazy ideas and our am­bi­tion to do what oth­ers are too afraid to do.

– Madeleine Keck

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