This is my official entry to the iPrice E-Commerce Blogging Competition, which is organized to encourage experienced or new bloggers to share great ideas on how to improve Philippines online shopping space.
iPrice.ph is a site where we can buy things online in the best way possible since it helps us discover new items that we might need, plus we get to compares prices, delivery period and payment options between different e-commerce sites and use online coupons.
It’s a handy site to have around especially if you want hassle-free online purchases and you’re not quite sure where to get them. Since I love to shop online and I’ve decided to grab this rare chance to help improve my choice of an E-commerce site in the Philippines.
E-commerce sites make it easier for us to buy items online thus, making us avoid heavy traffic and saving us time and effort. Plus, with the technology and multitude of payment methods available today, it’s so easy to just click and wait for orders to be delivered safely to my house.
No long cashier queues, no stress, no aching feet and all the other issues we experience whenever we go to malls or stores to buy something. When it comes to importing things from the U.S., I only have two go-to sites (both of which I have already blogged about) that I use and trust to ensure that everything is hassle free.
For local items as well as items originating from China, I use only Lazada, that’s why I chose to focus on this site, LAZADA PHILIPPINES (www.lazada.com.ph). Given this chance to make this blog as a proposal of some sort to the CEO/Managers of Lazada PH, I hope I could help improve it along with the online shopping space in the Philippines. ABOUT LAZADA PHILIPPINES:
Just a short info about Lazada, it’s a German e-commerce company founded by Rocket internet 6 years ago (2011). It started its operations in the Philippines last March 30, 2012 and just this month, they’ve celebrated their 5th Anniversary.
Lazada is also operating in other countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. If you’ve done some online shopping, chances are, you’re very familiar with Lazada. It’s the top online shopping site in the Philippines according to several sources online but please don’t take my word for it, just google the search term, “Top Online Shopping Philippines” and see for yourself. PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG POST:
In this blog post, allow me to transform myself into a special advisor to the CEO of Lazada Philippines. As an avid online shopper, I just want to put my suggestions into writing so that if the CEO, managers or officers of Lazada would read this post, they would have an insight about improvements that a typical customer would wish for.
Lazada is already a league of its own but there’s always room for improvement since more and more E-commerce sites are sprouting everywhere. It may be time for Lazada to upgrade what they can and ensure that they elevate their customer satisfaction so that they would be able to keep their loyal customers.
Hopefully, this blog post would provide some insights and ideas that would help Lazada maintain their leadership, competitiveness, and innovativeness when it comes to a customer’s overall online shopping experience and they would continue to lead the online shopping space in the Philippines.
POTENTIAL ISSUES FACED BY LAZADA PHILIPPINES:
a) Delayed Delivery – Perhaps the most number of complaints I’ve read online are about delays in delivery. Most people usually buy items based on occasions (birthday, anniversary, Valentines Day, Christmas, etc.) & most of them do not buy things way ahead of time and just rely on the delivery date they see on the site. This is a major problem because fortuitous events happen and when they do, customers end up frustrated and angry.
- For items coming from abroad, add a text reminder when the item has reached the Philippine soil. Based on my experience, text reminders are usually sent only when items are being dispatched from Lazada’s warehouse.
- “Preparation is Key”. Create a video to serve as a soft reminder to customers to buy gifts ahead of time so that when there are fortuitous events that happened (heavy storm, accidents, delay in shipment abroad), they would still have enough buffer time to resolve the problem.
b) Refund & Damage Replacement Period – Sometimes, it takes months before this is settled thus annoying customers who need the item/s urgently or at least, need the money to buy an alternative.
- Constant communication is a must in order to improve customer satisfaction. Being blind to what’s happening only increases the irritation level of a customer. Assuring them exactly what’s happening and when they would be receiving the money or replacement item would definitely increase their confidence level towards Lazada. It just means that they are important and treated with the highest regard.
- Customers don’t always read instructions online so I suggest placing a FAQ brochure inside the Lazada package so customers can act quickly if items are damaged or they receive wrong items. The more clueless a customer is when a problem arises, the more irritable they become so the brochure would avoid this problem and the customer and Lazada customer support team can concentrate on solving the issue. The brochure would also help those who are non-techy and hate being having to search for solutions, read and understand the procedures instantly.
- Bank transfers take time and most of the time, it is the bank’s fault why funds aren’t transferred yet. In order for the customer not to blame Lazada for the bank’s slow action, Lazada should inform the customer via text and email about the situation. Why not just email? People most likely open up their phones and see private messages more than they open their emails.
c) Cancellation by Customer – It takes some time after purchase before a customer can cancel the purchase/delivery of an item. I noticed that once purchase has been made, it isn’t immediately available for cancellation. If the customer does not have mobile wifi or does not have the time to log in later to make the cancellation, this will be a big problem. If the item is COD (cash on delivery), this would also reduce the efficiency of delivery as it would be a lost cause to deliver the item to a customer who doesn’t intend to buy it anymore. Women’s indecisiveness is a major factor in the cancellation issue.
- I suggest that cancellation can be made immediately instead of having a waiting time because customers aren’t always online or have the luxury of time to wait for 6 hours before canceling an order.
- If immediate order cancellation is not possible, at least put a reminder about the waiting time for cancellation (in an attention-grabbing color or box) before the customer hits the purchase button. By doing this, customers are immediately aware of it rather than having frustrated customers panicking and searching the site or in google on how to cancel an order in Lazada.
d) Cancellation by Lazada – Customers are complaining that they are not informed about canceled delivery and they cannot repurchase items because the price is no longer the same because of previous promos and discounts.
- If the purchase has been canceled by Lazada because of internal problems with the system or partner/provider and it’s not the fault of the customer, a voucher with a value closest to the difference in price should be given to the customer to appease him/her about the inconvenience and to enable the customer to repurchase it.
- If the cancellation was due to failed delivery attempt, take note that it should go through all allowed number of times of delivery attempt before the order is canceled. Ensure that the customer is aware that a final delivery attempt would be made before the order is canceled to serve as their “final warning”.
e) Wrong Item Delivered – There are cases wherein customers buy a certain item yet they receive another item that is totally different from the item they ordered. There are also cases wherein the box is correct but the contents have been changed.
- If customer reported a switcheroo (correct box but different content), ensure that someone is in charge of the immediate investigation and for repeat offenders ( whether it be the courier or the customer’s fault/lie), there should be a penalty or process involved to teach them a lesson.
- The time frame should be followed and the customer should be informed via text and email about the schedule of refund/delivery of the new item.
f) Damaged and Poor Quality of some items – There are several cases I’ve read online wherein items delivered were damaged or of poor quality. Honestly, I haven’t encountered damaged or poor quality items from Lazada yet and I’ve ordered from them several times already.
- Get the attention and explanation of the partners/sellers who provide poor quality items. Encourage them to ensure that items have passed Quality check before being offered online on the Lazada website.
- There should be strict policies concerning this as this is damaging not just the seller but Lazada as a whole.
g) Difficult to contact and Slow Response/Updates – Some customers have reported that they’ve tried contacting
- Create an interactive “customer complaint” page to filter out those that are just concerns on delivery etc. plus include in the hotline an answering machine that might answer the basic concerns. This is being done by other service providers like Globe. Customers will pick the number to press to enable them to troubleshoot their own concerns since most of the time, complaints are caused only by the lack of information.
- Create an online chat system similar to the ones being used by web host providers. There should be a queue system wherein customers know how many minutes they would have to wait for their turn. This will help a lot with customers who cannot rest until they know what happened to their packages or refund.
h) Failed Delivery Attempt/s
- Using a camera phone or action camera, the courier can take images as proof that they really went to the location to try to deliver the package.
i) Credit card concerns like Double Payment and Credit Card Fraud – Concerns that pertain to Credit/Debit cards should be prioritized as usually, the amount is substantial. I know that Lazada is very cooperative when it comes to this type of concern.
- Credit Card Fraud is very hard to avoid but it would help deter it by asking for a government ID and taking the picture of the recipient of a Credit Card/Debit Card transaction. Mention that it is for the customer’s safety. Those who use fraudulent cards can be immediately reported plus there would be an evidence that they are the ones who received the package. Those who want to attempt to defraud someone would think twice since their face and real name would be captured by the courier.
- In case taking of picture is a concern, the courier can wear a helmet with an action camera attached (for motorcycles) or the chest mount action camera for those who use delivery vans.
- This information/guideline should be included while the customer is filling up his/her card details online.
WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA RELATED:
a) Missing Images – Some items have images for a specific color but none of the other colors. Images are essential because customers should know exactly what they are buying.
- Remind all partners that they have to place images of what they are selling.
- Better yet, ensure that the system won’t accept products that do not have their own images.
b) Not Enough Customer Reviews, some may even be fabricated – Sometimes, I am guilty of purchasing several items from Lazada without leaving a review whether I liked the product or not. I did leave a review once but that was about it. I also noticed that registered users who didn’t purchase the product can leave a review.
- Place a paper inside the package to provide instructions on how to give customer reviews including the length of time needed before making a review (to check if items are working).
- To remove false reviews, only those who have actually purchased the product can leave a review.
- Also, to encourage customers who are satisfied with the product to leave good reviews on the Lazada site, there should be some sort of incentive which leads me to the item below (membership).
c) Need to Provide a Membership “Level” to increase website engagement – in Forums as well as sites like TripAdvisor, there are levels among the members and the level is determined by the number of comments/replies a member has made. This may be applied to Lazada and since some people want recognition or are competitive, they might make more purchases to make sure they get to a specific level.
- Create a membership level. Each review or purchase has a point equivalent and by earning points, members can level up their membership (e.g. Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, etc)
- There could be perks for reaching a certain level. Note that on the TripAdvisor site, there are no perks (just levels which are treated as status symbols by some jet-setters and travelers) yet people are placing reviews. I’m pretty sure that if Lazada can replicate this into their site, more products will have more exposure and there would be more “members” and purchases in the future as the reviews lead people to buy the product or not.
- Perks can be in the form of discounts or an exclusive sale for members within a specific level. This would be the digital counterpart of privilege or membership cards. Another perk could be a “Members only” sale or a sale limited to a certain level so that people would do their best to reach a certain level.
- Only verified purchases can do a product review.
d) Gift service – similar to a help center, maybe it’s possible to provide selection to the customer so they can get the best gifts for their loved ones based on color, preference, hobby, type of toy etc, Lazada can take into account the BEST SELLERS since there’s a reason why they are selling like hotcakes.
- Gift card with message. This enables OFW parents/family members to give gifts to their loved ones.
- Wishlist public sharing and requesting. Lazada members can share their wishlist on their social media accounts (particularly Facebook) and their family and friends can buy and cross out from that list. This is great for weddings, birthdays, Christmas etc. and it will help people give great gifts that the recipient would actually appreciate.
- Generate a Gift. If a person doesn’t know what to get for a specific person, this app (cellphone and online app) can help provide ideas with regards to gifts. Example: The app will ask the gender, age, sports, hobbies, personality of the recipient and it would generate possible gifts. The member can tweak the proposals by setting parameters like no toys, no watches, worth less than 1,000 pesos, etc. Lazada should determine also their best sellers and hot items plus list down potential gifts.
e) Do Weekly or Monthly Theme – Monthly and Weekly themes that target hobbyists and enthusiasts are highly shareable. Also, it would be beneficial if Lazada Social Media Managers are also able to tap on to Facebook Groups and post images like the one below.
If there’s a certain theme, there’s a higher chance of a group of enthusiasts to buy and share it among the group. Instead of just posting the name of the item, the social manager can also use call to actions like, “Tag your hiker friend“!
I’ve also seen Lazada post some thrifty deals that are below a certain amount, I think that these are more effective than the single item posts. I made the sample below and looking at the image, it would make hiking and trekking enthusiasts want to check it out and share it with their group.
f) Consistent Social Media posts – Use buffer or HootSuite to schedule social media posts to ensure that there are enough posts for the day. Also, posts may be planned in advance for special occasions and holidays. Based on previous social media activity, the Lazada Facebook page should have at least 12 to about 16-19 posts per day. I noticed that there were months where there are very low or no Facebook posts.
- Analyze Facebook data – Social Media Manager should be able to analyze the figures (versus Sales) and check out which type of facebook post works. Note that looking at the figure below, number of posts do not necessarily translate to shareability and product purchase.
- One way to utilize the facebook contests is to reward verified purchasers who provide product reviews. If people knew that these are being rewarded, there would be an increase in positive reviews (which is linked to customer’s interest and the probability of buying)… and in order to make reviews, one must definitely purchase something. This would also ensure customer loyalty since the more they purchase, the more reviews they can make.
OTHER SUGGESTED STRATEGIES:
a.) MEASURE AND ANALYZE STATISTICS:
Make things such as problems/concerns measurable for analysis purposes. They say that in order to really solve or control a problem, we need to know what area you need to focus on. Fixing the customer service problem is a difficult task because we all have different tastes and opinions but it would really help if we don’t jump into the problem blindly. Armed with the proper background on the problem, we can be able to identify its sources and therefore, do trial and error, adjust policies, add manpower, and adjust key performance indicators to improve the customer service level of Lazada.
Monitor customer complaints in social media, customer complaint sites, phoned in and emailed concerns, etc.
Review the customer complaints and focus on improving the highest causes/concerns. Focus on not just solving a current issue but PREVENTING future occurrence of the said issue.
Specific Suggestion: Create an excel file or program which can record all problems and concerns that are reported to all customer service channel.
Measurable Result ~ The figures can be analyzed based on the following:
- Number of Problems/Concerns per month) Number of Incidences per Vendor/Partner (set a threshold level to determine those which should be temporarily suspended from selling anything)
- Number of Incidences per Vendor/Partner (set a threshold level to determine those which should be temporarily suspended from selling anything)
- Number of Incidences per Item (set a threshold level to determine those which should be automatically disallowed or removed from the system because of heavy number of complaints)
- Length of time before an issue is resolved
Review the customer complaints and focus on improving the highest causes/concerns Review the length of time for refunds and returns. Make it the responsibility of a team or group of individuals and use it as a major part of their KPI or key performance indicator.
b) Customer Service Satisfaction Surveys for Complaints and Returns. Prepare an online form that customers can fill up in order to establish the satisfaction rating of Lazada’s customers.
c) Provide an option for those with “very slow” internet to know the steps or tips regarding their concern. The Lazada website has videos and some people have really low internet speed that’s not enough for viewing videos online nor can they surf the net except for some apps like Facebook, etc. Often, customers complain that they are only using Free FB or such, so it would be better to have the information typed in facebook also. Place the FAQs under NOTES. I suggest that this should be permanently pinned.
d) Taglish version of the rules, instructions, and policies. Let’s face it, some customers have difficulty understanding English. They do understand simple and basic ones but when it comes to steps needed or certain information required, they have a tendency not to read it properly enough to actually understand it completely. It would be preferable to have an alternate FAQ’s that’s in basic Taglish (Tagalog+English).
That concludes this blog post. I didn’t have enough time to actually summarize and analyze the available figures and data online, but I really wish I had so that I can think up more ways and strategies in order to improve Lazada Philippines.
Anyway, I hope that this blog post would be able to contribute to ensuring Lazada improves on its overall customer satisfaction. Thank you to iPrice.ph & Sir Ben for giving us bloggers an opportunity to improve the Philippines E-commerce space.