Data Analytics-Driven E-Commerce for the Small Seller: Zilingo
Zilingo, a play on the word ‘Zillions’, is an online e-commerce platform for selling fashion products and was founded by Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor in Bangkok in 2015. Established with the vision of providing the small seller in South East Asia with an efficient online platform to sell their products, Zilingo had grown 25% month-on-month in its second year of operation.
The Zilingo e-commerce platform is driven by data analytics-driven research tools to enable small sellers to target demand from customers and drive sales efficiently. Reports generated by the platform encompass buyer statistics, supplier statistics, fashion trends and buyer preferences. Suppliers can manage logistics through third-party logistics partners available on the platform, and better sell their products by using the myriad tools available on the mobile-friendly app to upload images of their products, manage inventory, schedule pickups, track orders, consult on price-setting, and even liaise with third-party loan providers.
Zilingo had also built a significant consumer base by December 2017, with seller hubs in Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and China. The company had also proved to be one of the fastest growing e-commerce businesses in South East Asia and had been able to raise substantial funding (US$27 million) within its first two years of operation. In April 2018, the company had raised US$ 54 million in funding, making it among the top ten funded startup companies in Singapore. The company has also launched its B2B product in the US market in line with its market strategy of quickly growing its customer base as well as its geographic base.
Zilingo had satisfied several sources of innovation in entrepreneurship in context to Drucker’s theory of innovation. However, was this enough to keep the company in the growth track? Moreover, was rapid growth the right strategy for the company? Bose knew that her company had fared well so far in a competitive market. However, how could her company further expand its consumer base? What could be Zilingo’s competitive strategy?
This case looks into the sources of innovation in entrepreneurship and exemplifies how incongruity in an existing market can create avenues for new ventures to be successful. The case also tries to highlight how harnessing on the power of data analytics capabilities of an e-commerce platform can help an online business create value-added tools and services for its customers and suppliers.
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