It all started in 2008 when Lotte Department Store (LDS) inked a 3-year management contract with Diamond Plaza, marking the Korean retail company’s official entrance into Vietnam. In 2014, after opening in Russia, China, and Indonesia, LDS reached another milestone with the opening of its first department store in Vietnam, Hanoi.
Even in today’s economic climate, the brand’s expansion is showing no signs of slowing down. Scheduled for the 2023 launch, 'Lotte Mall Hanoi' will be the very first purpose-built shopping mall in Vietnam’s capital for the company. Physical retail offering will be supported by the freshly launched elLotte, an e-commerce site with a flair for sophisticated visual style.
The ultimate goal is to create an LDS-shaped commercial ecosystem encompassing both online and offline retail and offering customers an experience at the crossroads of convenience and distinction.
Join us in conversation with Mr. Kim Joon Young, Vietnam Country Head of Lotte Department Store, to learn more about elLotte - Lotte Department Store's first Fashion & Lifestyle e-commerce site.
How substantial was the shift in Vietnamese consumers' behaviors and needs after the pandemic?
2020 was a year of instability, especially for the F&B and Services industry. However, with regards to retail, Vietnam is still experiencing relatively positive revenue growth and welcoming the mass arrival of new brands, with some notable examples being in the home and fashion categories.
Based on our data analysis, a few brands’ revenues related to health & well-being have increased two-fold, while others have seen growth in the double digits compared to last year.
During social distancing, I came across quite a few online groups and articles about people giving themselves and their living space “makeovers". I was awed with the boundless creativity that Vietnamese customers expressed in adapting to the new normal. The trend is also a testament to the fact that Vietnamese people are increasingly investing more in their home (interior and decoration), kitchenware, as well as health and beauty.
The pandemic’s complicated developments have drastically reduced social gatherings, which has given rise to online shopping. In April and May, LDS was testing the waters with online sales through our fanpage, and the feedback was positive overall, especially when it came to cosmetics and fashion products. This proves that the need for self-care remains strong among the Vietnamese despite reduced socializing with others.
How is Lotte Department Store responding to the changes from the customers?
Having run the trials on our fanpage, we proceeded to develop an online shopping platform called elLotte.vn, which we launched in early October 2020. As part of a one-stop destination that caters to all premium lifestyle needs, products at elLotte are selected from more than 30 leading brands by our in-house curators.
At elLotte, shoppers will have access to Lotte Group’s exclusive brands, namely Sa Maison, Eli’den and Lotte Tops.
For the launch, LDS has partnered with Got It, a leading online voucher platform, to attract more new customers, as well as looking to increase our online presence through partnerships with ecommerce platforms.
That said, we remain committed to constantly improving customer experience at our physical stores. As part of our Lotte Mall Hanoi project, we will be introducing a world-class aquarium and the first KidZania in Vietnam, an interactive city made for children that combines fun and learning through realistic role-play. We will also upgrade the facilities at existing stores Lotte Department Store Hanoi, and Diamond Plaza in HCMC, to create a more engaging shopping experience.
What brands is elLotte partnering with for this launch? What do these brands all share in common?
At elLotte, you can find a wide range of products that all customers will find appealing; and women especially so. Shoppers will have access to Lotte Group’s exclusive brands, namely Sa Maison, Eli’den and Lotte Tops.
At LDS, we do not put a limit on the number of brands. Instead, we provide the tools for everyone to pursue the lifestyle they aspire to. Any brand that brings value to our customers is welcome. We prioritize modern, premium brands and brands that specialize in home interior and decoration, beauty and wellness products.
Despite our modest start, we hope to establish ourselves as a preeminent destination for premium lifestyle needs, and to further expand our e-commerce platform.
Apart from the standard features of an e-commerce platform, what are elLotte’s competitive advantages?
What sets elLotte apart from other e-commerce sites is our “Curator's Blog” feature, where our customers receive the latest updates on modern fashion and lifestyle trends. It can be a source of inspiration that people can refer to when they want to reinvent themselves and their living space, and a space for them to share their takes on modern life. We would like to use this as an opportunity to communicate with our customers.
Furthermore, in order to enhance customers' online shopping experience, elLotte is bringing to Vietnam three brand new services: Interior design consulting, On demand shopping and Home delivery and testing.
What are some of elLotte’s upcoming plans?
Early next year, we plan to expand our product catalogues by inviting more existing LDS tenants to join the elLotte platform. We also want to bring to our customers a shopping experience that seamlessly integrates the best of both online and offline retail. That is why we are making constant efforts to invest in both online and physical channels.
Our ultimate goal is not just to make profit by selling products or leasing spaces. We have been the industry leader in Korea contributing to economic growth, community development, and shopping culture since 1979. We would like to achieve the same here in Vietnam, and be loved and recognized for our effort.