As published by: Inquirer.net
Southeast Asia’s e-commerce future promises only big results. By 2025, it’s projected to be a USD 175 billion industry. At the helm of this progress is Etaily. Co-founder and CEO Alexander Friedhoff gives us an insider perspective on why this is so.
“There are a lot of steps involved so that the products arrive smoothly at our customers’ doorstep,” says Friedhoff. “As an e-commerce enabler and house of digital brands, our platform makes multi-channel e-commerce easy, fast, and flexible. Etaily is the one-stop solution which helps to navigate the increasingly competitive e-commerce market.”
Etaily saw immense triumphs in its founding year of 2020. The company has and continues to build, manage, and scale the e-commerce arms of leading consumer brands in The Philippines and Southeast Asia, with end-to-end technology, operations, brand, and data approach.
The overwhelming response is only telling that Etaily is at the edge of what’s next to online shopping. Etaily evolved from a solo operation to a mighty team of 50+ experts from ZALORA, Lazada, and other worldwide-known e-commerce players.
They have partnered with over 20 brands and are on the path to double-digit market share in fashion, beauty, consumer electronics, and home & living. Etaily also closed an undisclosed seed funding round and is backed by renowned investors in the region and leading southeast Asia tech entrepreneurs.
Etaily’s fledging mission isn’t just an indicator of today’s trend. It’s about Etaily being at the forefront of transforming e-commerce. Its revenue jump is 3x quarter-on-quarter as it expanded in its core categories across consumer electronics, fashion, beauty, and home & living. It also tripled the number of international and local brands on its client list in less than one year, reaching over millions of consumers with brands like Terranova, Landmark, Vans, and Toshiba.
Etaily’s first investor, Foxmont Capital, trusts how the company is growing and where the e-commerce industry is heading.
“The past year has accelerated global e-commerce growth by a decade. Etaily is at the right time, in the right spot, with the right product-market fit. Not only from a Foxmont Capital but also from a Magsaysay perspective, the investment underscores our fundamentals of investing in great people, ideas, and passion in execution,” shares Jesse Maxwell, partner at Foxmont Capital and COO of Magsaysay Shipping and Logistics.
Below is the exclusive Inquirer.net interview with Friedhoff and how Etaily is redefining e-commerce on a grand scale.
What makes Etaily a standout when it comes to its services?
Etaily helps brands and small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) accelerate their growth on Southeast Asia’s e-commerce platforms, such as Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora. We offer end-to-end management like warehousing and fulfillment, channel management, and marketing services but will go into further streams such as enterprise-grade SaaS.
What is unique about us is that Etaily`s ecosystem spans the entire customer journey, from development to delivery to a global customer base from Etaily’s warehouse network. As a result, no other brand owner or retailer has built a fully vertically integrated operating platform to retail locally and regionally, both at scale and profitably.
Our ecosystem is a unique asset and is central to our pre-eminence as a digital brand builder and retailer of both our own and 3rd party brands.
What gaps in the existing landscape did Etaily address?
The majority of the e-commerce enablers are working successfully on the ultimate goal: To generate as much as possible the highest amount in sales (GMV).
What we see as a gap is the data analytics and automation behind different processes. Going online requires so many different steps. Across the region and the channels, it is still sometimes a very manual process. We want to enable brands and SMEs to boost their sales across the region’s e-commerce not only through generating the biggest sales.
We want to enable them with the needed learnings after each campaign. Finally, we want to close this cap with data analytics and automation tools, such as product listing, stock keeping unit decoration, stock sync, and competitor price monitoring.
What have been the major milestones of Etaily?
The closure of our seed round with renowned investors such as Foxmont Capital and Magsaysay Logistics and the participation of one of the biggest conglomerates in the Philippines.
What is the ultimate goal in Etaily’s vision, seeing how the past year has given them much success?
Re-imagining retail every day. We want to become a regional proven builder and enabler of digital global brands. Accelerating the growth, global reach, and digital presence of brands is integral to our model, as is evidenced by the growth of our own brands.
We also follow this up with a clear game plan. One is to have a digital-first approach to brand building and marketing, facilitated by our own tech, a unique one-business data view.
Second is the end-to-end e-commerce solution, with internally developed e-commerce, trading & marketing software, warehouse management system, marketing automation, influencer platform, and courier networks.
What are the next steps in Etaily’s growth?
There are two pillars to take into account. First, Etaily is continuously investing in the development of our own tech, our wholly in-house developed, proprietary, end-to-end e-commerce technology and operating ecosystem.
Second, we are building on our success of digitizing a department store and scaling this experience with other offline retailers. We see that our brand partners have concluded that digitization is no longer a “nice-to-have.” Still, an absolute must – we have proven our capabilities with one of the biggest department stores in The Philippines. We are now in the step of using that experience also with other offline retailers.
What makes The Philippines a unique and exciting place for e-commerce and Etaily?
There are several reasons why The Philippines is a unique and exciting place for e-commerce. Similar to its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, The Philippines is poised to undergo tremendous growth in e-commerce over the next few years. Figures from Google and Temasek’s e-Conomy SEA 2019 report show that in 2019, the country’s Internet economy, which includes e-commerce, online travel, online media, and ride-hailing, was valued at approximately USD 7 billion in 2019, growing from USD 2 billion in 2015.
Furthermore, these industries are estimated to grow by more than 3x to USD 25 billion in 2025. These numbers do not include the exponential growth during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the fascinating part is covered by the consumers: This is a country with 76 million active Internet users, the second largest in Southeast Asia. What’s more, practically all of these internet users are on social media. This makes it interesting for Etaily to reach out to this audience and promote our brand offerings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and online marketplaces like Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora.
If 2020 proved to be a victory lap for Etaily, the next years prove to be all about creating a legacy and creating more options we only dream about now.