In this exclusive “Masters of Media” series, Integral Ad Science (IAS) speaks to the Movers and Shakers of the Southeast Asia advertising industry, on all matters digital.
This issue, we speak with Michelle Yip, CMO at Lazada Singapore. Michelle is a very experienced brand marketer who’s worked with leading brands such as Samsung, Philips, Lazada across the region. She’s an expert in creating great customer experiences through improvements across all touchpoints.
Integral Ad Science (IAS): Hi Michelle, would you be able to share with us about your digital advertising journey and what prompted you to join Lazada?
Michelle Yip, Lazada (Michelle): I’ve always been intrigued by the user discovery journey and its evolution. From a one-way, linear journey to how it is now a matrix and multi-touch one; social interactions and information sourcing are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Before joining Lazada, I was part of a social listening and digital command centre project at Philips where we wanted to bring awareness to the importance of indoor air quality. Figuring out which air purifier to purchase and where to get them was not very easy at that time because information was scattered, there were expert opinions available but it included the use of language that was not easy to understand. To add to the complexity of the discovery journey, retail stores generally did not carry the full range for an “easy” shopping experience. Whilst problem solving, it prompted the exploration of the evolving user journey where advertising partners, online retail and offline retail partners could work together better to serve the customers’ needs. That’s when I started to be intrigued by the central role that eCommerce platforms play to build the commercial ecosystem and indeed very happy today to be playing a role in it.
IAS: What are the key industry developments in e-commerce you’re excited about and what are the top key trends you foresee in 2020?
Michelle: Rise of New Retail – Whilst many see the rise of eCommerce as a threat to offline retail, we see it more as an opportunity to serve the customer better. The eCommerce ecosystem (comprising platforms, merchants, logistics partners, etc) is ever-evolving and to thrive is to see each other as partners and grow together. Our pilot with CapitaLand and Amorepacific, AMORE Store x Lazada, is Lazada’s first permanent offline store at Funan and showcases the new ways of shopping and collaboration with partners of the ecosystem.
New Retail is the next stage of commerce that blends the best of offline shopping with online shopping. After testing new products at the shop, consumers then can develop a routine buying behaviour via eCommerce. The cycle repeats when new ranges of products are introduced.
IAS: 5G technology has the potential to transform the world around us, including bringing futuristic technology such as VR and AR into the mainstream. So how will this impact the way we shop online?
Michelle: Consumers are increasingly dependent on the smartphone to manage their daily lives for communication, social networking, banking, shopping, gaming and entertainment. This prompts companies to explore an app-first approach. Together with L’Oreal, we’ve adopted AR technology into the Lazada shopping experience, allowing customers to virtually “try” varying lipstick shades, simplifying the buying process.
While VR and AR will never be able to fully replace physical touch and feel, it will certainly be helpful for time-strapped consumers and making all consumers make informed shopping decisions, from the convenience of shopping at one’s comfort and convenience. This is just the beginning of other possible synergies we can explore with VR and AR!
IAS: What are the key innovations your team is spearheading at Lazada to keep in pace with its promise of retail revolution?
Michelle: From user research and global trends, we know that consumers are always looking to their smartphones to utilize pockets of time throughout their day. We asked ourselves, “What can we provide consumers that will meaningfully engage them during these pockets of time?” And thus we pioneered “Shoppertainment” – blending entertainment and shopping that is increasingly becoming the new window shopping. Whether it’s playing in-app mini-games or recreating the joys of shopping with friends, to real-time interacting with brands who are hosting livestreams, there’s something for everyone.
IAS: What do you do in your free time? Any books or podcasts you’d like to recommend to our readers?
Michelle: I like being outdoors and getting some vitamin D. My family enjoys spending the weekends at the beach and recently started cycling with the increasing availability of the park connectors.
I am reading “Thank you for being late.” By Thomas L. Friedman. A friend gifted me this book some time back. I just started reading it and really like it so far. In the age of acceleration and technological advancement, we can either allow the technology to consume us or use it for betterment. It is also a reminder of the importance of the human capacity and communities which is a topic close to my heart.
IAS: What is your advice to fresh talents on how they should ‘pursue their interests and take bold steps’?
Michelle: Put your whole heart and soul into it and try your very best. You may fail many times before you find success and that’s ok. There is something so infectious and powerful in belief; never stop believing. Have those bold ideas and back it up with robust financial projections and a well-thought-through implementation plan. Increase your chances of success by always learning and being updated in the area of your passion. If you do not have a mentor, consider being matched with one and surround yourself with people who believe in you and will give you honest feedback.