Customer Story

Zalora: Supporting transformation from startup to multinational business with G Suite

zalora hero image

With help from G Suite, Zalora has grown into a business with 26 million users, with the ambition to become the leading online fashion retailer in South East Asia and nearby regions.

Google Cloud Results

Drives productivity for 1,500 users in 16 locations

• Enabled the business to create one email domain spanning 1,500 users across a range of regions and teams

• Facilitated single sign-on to a range of Zalora systems and simplified employee lifecycle management

• Delivered digitization by enabling online storage and sharing of files such as photos and contracts

“The sharing and editing features of Google Sheets were super helpful as they meant we did not have to send emails with versions of the spreadsheet back and forth.” - Karthik Subramanian, Chief Technology Officer, Zalora

For online fashion retailer Zalora, maturing from a startup to a business with 26 million users across six countries in South East Asia and nearby regions was not an easy process. One of the retailer’s earliest and most important decisions entailed selecting a suite of productivity and collaboration applications to run the business.

G Suite was easy to purchase and met our initial business requirements,” Karthik Subramanian, Chief Technology Officer, Zalora, says.

However, the wise nature of the decision became more apparent as Zalora’s founders began building relationships with brands the business would sell through its websites and mobile applications. “We had to manage our growing warehouse operations, but we didn’t have a technology team and couldn’t afford an enterprise resource planning system,” Subramanian says. “In the meantime, we were able to use Sheets to control our inventory.”

G-Suite provides warehouse management system

Zalora had organized its warehouse with shelving systems and numbering to organize barcoded boxes of products. The business was able to manually enter product location data into a Sheets spreadsheet for easy retrieval. This system supported Zalora for its first year of operation as the business scaled up to 1,000 orders per day.

Collaborating on a single document

“Thanks to G Suite, we don’t have any issues with different usernames and passwords for different systems. So, whenever anyone joins the company, they receive a single Google username and password to access the 2-step verification process and log in to any system their role allows them to.” - Karthik Subramanian, Chief Technology Officer, Zalora

“Part of the beauty of Sheets was the fact it enabled us to work on a single spreadsheet across several workstations,” Subramanian says. “The sharing and editing features of Google Sheets were super helpful as they meant we did not have to send emails with versions of the spreadsheet back and forth.”

Similarly, the sharing and editing features of Docs meant that in Zalora’s early days, its founders could sit in coffee shops in Manila, Jakarta, or other locations and edit documents in real time while on video calls. “We could do the same with Slides for presentations, shareholder pitch decks. you name it!” Subramanian says. “A lot of these use cases have been built into Zalora’s DNA and continue to influence the way we do business today.”

Subramanian and other Zalora team members regularly create presentations using a combination of Slides and Sheets. “We can do cool things like embed slides in multiple presentations and create master slides that incorporate data from a Sheet that updates live,” Subramanian says. “That stuff you can’t do anywhere else.”

A single email domain

Other G Suite applications now power Zalora operations that span Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan. The business now uses Gmail to run a single domain spanning 1,500 employees across all of its teams and locations.

Gmail spam filters are also highly effective in stopping Zalora’s mailboxes from being swamped by spam; nearly 90% of email received by the business is unsolicited. The business has switched on 2-step verification to provide additional protection to employees’ Gmail accounts.

Single sign-on to multiple systems

Furthermore, G Suite helps to minimize the complexity and associated administration involved in giving employees access to its systems. Zalora employs G Suite as a user directory with authentication bridges running to all of its platforms. “Thanks to G Suite, we don’t have any issues with different usernames and passwords for different systems,” Subramanian says. “So whenever anyone joins the company, they receive a single Google username and password to access the 2-step verification process and log in to any system their role allows them to.

“The day they leave the company, I disable their access. This makes the whole employee lifecycle management process very easy for us.”

Zalora team members also heavily use Calendar to lock in meetings, including booking heavily used rooms at each of its 16 office locations.

Digitizing the business

“Google Drive plays an integral role in digitizing our business.” - Karthik Subramanian, Chief Technology Officer, Zalora

Finally, the file storage, sharing, and security features of Drive provide enormous value to the business. “We have been running the business on Google Drive for several years and its use extends well beyond our technology team,” Subramanian says.

“For example, our suppliers share raw photos and contracts with us through Google Drive, eliminating the need for our employees to carry around manila folders and sheafs of documents.”

Drive also provides compliance and auditing capabilities that minimize the risk of valuable files or information being taken from the business.

"Google Drive plays an integral role in digitizing our business," adds Subramanian.

Zalora continues to use G Suite applications to create efficiencies and increase employee engagement. The business is currently developing an intranet using Sites, and Subramanian says the application greatly simplifies the project.

“Overall, we’ve benefited extensively from G Suite and the entire Google ecosystem,” Subramanian says. “We’ve progressively added products and each one has delivered value. G Suite is now the backbone of the business and key to realizing our ambition of being the fastest-growing online fashion destination in South East Asia and beyond.”