Zalora, one of Malaysia's leading online retailer, is looking into the possibility of offering Bruneian designers and fashion businesses the opportunity to sell their products on its Marketplace.
The Zalora Marketplace, an online fashion community in Asia, allows independent fashion designers and boutiques to bring their brand online and reach Zalora's existing customer base, said Luca Barberis, director of the online fashion retailer in an interview yesterday.
"I would love to work with the local designers and entrepreneurs in Brunei and get them be on the Marketplace.
"If there is potential and strong interest, I don't see why we should not open it (Zalora Marketplace) in Brunei. So it is in the pipeline," he said.
According to Barberis, Zalora's huge existing customer base - which covers Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand - guarantees strong business for Bruneian fashion designers and entrepreneurs.
On its website, Zalora maintains a combined 15 million visits per month to its sites across the region.
"(Therefore) market is not the challenge," said Barberis.
However, he noted that the main challenge which may be faced by Bruneian companies is delivery.
"Due to lack of manpower and minimal production, this can be a challenge. If they can deliver their products across the Southeast Asian destinations, then I think there is an immediate opportunity there."
He also dispelled notions that Zalora will be opening an offline store in Brunei.
"Zalora's main focus has always been online; we believe there are more and bigger opportunities online. We have made big investments in our online operations," said Barberis.
The high cost of opening up and operating an offline store in a foreign country is not in line with the company's business strategies, he said.
Barberis said Zalora offers free delivery to Brunei for purchases above RM150 (S$56).
The online retailer offers an extensive collection of over 500 top international and local brands and designers including men's and women's fashion apparel, shoes, accessories, and beauty categories online.