RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Meet the entrepreneur helping small fashion sellers in Southeast Asia

These retailers now have the means to get their products online.

Ankiti Bose spent three years working in venture capital and management consulting at Sequoia Capital and McKinsey & Company prior to co-founding Zilingo, a fashion e-commerce platform that aggregates the small fashion sellers of Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia onto a single website.

At age 25, Bose saw an opportunity to bring real value to thousands of smaller sellers who don't have the resources to create an online presence for themselves. "Micro-entrepreneurs are at the heart of the business," she says. "They work hard to push their small businesses ahead, but are getting left behind as retail becomes increasingly digitised. Zilingo wants to make sure that these sellers do not lose out in the digital race."

The platform currently has half a million active users and over 3,000 small enterprises that sell apparel, accessories, bags, shoes, and lifestyle products. Zilingo targets the long-tail of vendors, otherwise seen as too small for larger e-commerce companies, the kind that exhibit and sell offline within markets and malls across Southeast Asia.

"As opposed to typical e-commerce sites that merely aggregate sellers and list them on their websites, Zilingo strives to create more value by supporting and helping these small offline sellers that have less resources to get their products online and in front of a much larger audience on the internet," notes Bose.

Amidst a price war in e-commerce retail where players offered deep discounts and were spending huge amounts on marketing, the Zilingo CEO undertook a different strategy. She aggressively pursued discount sharing with sellers, focusing on targeting Zilingo’s audience – 18 to 30-year-olds who are passionate about fashion – and engaging consumers with video content in ways that competitors have not done, thereby reducing the cost of customer acquisition and increasing the customer lifetime value.

Bose co-founded Zilingo with CTO Dhruv Kapoor. 

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