[Battle of the Brands] Lazada vs Shopee: Which is the Better Online Shopping Site?

by Venus Zoleta, on category "Personal Finance"

April 23, 2019


Where do you usually shop online? Chances are, Lazada and Shopee are among your go-to sites for buying stuff on the internet.

Indeed, these two e-commerce platforms dominate as online shopping destinations in the Philippines. Based on a Kantar Worldpanel survey, 84% of Filipinos would rather buy from established e-commerce companies despite having many more alternatives in the market.

Lazada in the Philippines wins the popularity game, with twice as many monthly web visits (32 million versus 16 million, according to the latest iPrice report) as its competitor. But Shopee Philippines is quickly catching up with its catchy ads and attractive pricing. With the e-commerce competition in the country getting more intense, the two companies come up with their own ways to win more customers.

Which between Lazada vs Shopee is the better e-commerce platform in the Philippines? This comparison review should give you a glimpse on how each company fares in different aspects of e-commerce and customer service, so you can make an informed decision on where to shop online.

It’s just difficult to forget this Shopee ad.

Business Models of Lazada vs Shopee

Before we begin comparing Lazada vs Shopee, it’s important to understand first their respective business model, which affects their pricing, user experience, delivery speed, and other e-commerce features.

The two leading online shopping sites use different business models.

Lazada online shopping has a combination of retail and marketplace models. It started and continues to use a retail model in which it manages and sells inventory from its own warehouses. Eventually, it added a marketplace model, opening its doors to third-party merchants who sell their products using the e-commerce platform.

Shopee online shopping works a bit differently, adopting a purely marketplace model. This means all products sold on the site come from third-party retailers. Because it doesn’t have its own inventory or warehousing, it uses third-party logistics companies for product deliveries.

Lazada and Shopee also differ in terms of generating revenues. In addition to the sales from its retail business, Lazada charges third-party sellers a commission fee for every item sold through the site. On the other hand, Shopee doesn’t charge commissions. There’s no official information online on how exactly Shopee earns from its business.

Desktop and Mobile User Experience

User experience in e-commerce refers to how easy it is to navigate a website and perform transactions such as order placement, tracking, cancellation, and refund.

Let’s compare Lazada and Shopee in terms of user experience using desktop and mobile devices.


Which Website is Easier to Use on Desktop?

Lazada and Shopee online shopping websites are user-friendly, complete with easy-to-search and varied shopping categories and filters (based on price range, brand, color, rating, etc.) that help visitors find the exact product they need.

Both of these e-commerce sites have a Help Center section (in question-and-answer format) that let people find easily the information they need about transacting with the site. They also have their own built-in chat service that allows people to directly message sellers for inquiries. Lazada takes it a step further with its “Questions about this product” feature where prospective buyers can post questions about the product and get responses from the seller. Others can read the questions and answers on the product page, which help them make an informed buying decision.

Also, the whole transaction process—from browsing products and placing an order to paying for the purchase—is smooth on Lazada and Shopee.

Lazada needs to improve on the accuracy of its product search results, though. If you sort the items from the lowest to the highest prices, for instance, the first page shows some items that are not exactly on the search term.

Take this search for “air fryers” as an example. The cheapest items shown on the first page are not actual air fryers. Either they’re different items (e.g., BBQ fryers, air filters, etc.) or add-on items for air fryers.

Back to Lazada vs Shopee, one handy feature that Lazada has (and Shopee lacks) is the Wish List section that lets users bookmark items they consider buying later. When you add a product to your Wish List, you can come back to it later when you’re ready to order it—no need to spend time browsing for the particular product again.

Which Provides Better Mobile Experience: Lazada App or Shopee App?

The Lazada app loads faster and has a neater, more organized design than the Shopee app. Lazada’s products pages have more detailed and easy-to-read product descriptions with more images than its competitor.

The Lazada app is easier to navigate, too. When you open a product page, you can quickly go to sections like Ratings and Recommendations without scrolling down the page, as the links can be tapped on the top of the screen. This makes it easy for mobile users to find great deals on the product they’ll buy.

The Shopee app is easy to browse as well. But it needs to improve on its speed, as its Home screen, search results, and images in product pages take quite a while to load.

Winner: Lazada


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Product Range

The two e-commerce sites have the same range of products: men’s and women’s clothing, groceries, electronics, personal care, appliances, and more. Customers may even buy prepaid cellphone load from Lazada or Shopee.

However, Lazada has a wider product selection than Shopee, with over 10 million products versus the latter’s three million active listings. This means you’re more likely to find most of your preferred items on Lazada vs Shopee.

Winner: Lazada

Prices

Although both online shopping sites provide great deals, Shopee generally offers lower prices than its competitor, particularly on gadgets, clothes, toys, and bags. Selling cheaper items has earned Shopee the monicker “online Divisoria” among Pinoy online shopping enthusiasts. Shopee sellers are able to reduce their prices since they don’t pay commission fees.

For example, an iPhone X (64GB) currently costs PHP 58,989 at Lazada.

But an iPhone X with the same specs costs PHP 49,500 at Shopee. The price difference is substantial at PHP 9,489.

There are other reasons why Shopee is a more cost-saving option for online shoppers. For example, some of its sellers offer discounts to customers who buy in bulk. Customers can even haggle cheaper prices with sellers through chat.

Some merchants on Shopee sell second-hand or pre-loved items, providing more affordable options for shoppers on a tight budget.

Shopee also has a Lowest Price Guaranteed feature that allows customers to claim 120% of the price difference (in Shopee Coins, which can be used to get discounts on next orders) if they find the same product with a lower price from its main competitors, Lazada and Zalora.

Winner: Shopee

Payment Options

Lazada and Shopee offer a variety of payment options for customers. Both websites accept cash on delivery (COD), credit card, debit card, and GCash payments. They also have their own in-store digital wallet for purchase transactions and receiving and storing refunds.

Which Company Offers More Payment Options?

Shopee payment options have more methods than Lazada, though. Shopee customers can pay for their online purchases through online banking, over-the-counter bank deposit, Coins.ph, remittance centers, and payment centers.

Lazada payment options currently doesn’t have those methods for customers. The e-commerce company used to accept payments through PayPal, but it has discontinued this payment option.

However, Lazada offers a flexible payment method that Shopee doesn’t: installment payment plans that can be used with or without a credit card. For a minimum purchase of PHP 3,000 at Lazada, you can have your payments spread out over three to 36 months.

 

Payment Methods

Lazada

Shopee

Cash on delivery Yes Yes
In-store e-wallet Yes (Lazada Wallet) Yes (Shopee Wallet)
GCash Yes Yes
Coins.ph No Yes
Credit/debit card Yes (Mastercard, Visa, JCB, American Express) Yes (Mastercard and Visa card for Preferred and Shopee Mall shops)
Online banking No Yes
Installment payment plans Yes (via Billease for non-credit cardholders and BDO/BPI/Metrobank/Citibank for credit cardholders) No
Remittance/Payment centers No Yes (Bayad Center, SM Bills Payment, Robinsons Department Store, 7-Eleven CLiQQ, ECPay, M Lhuillier, Cebuana Lhuillier, LBC)
Over-the-counter bank deposit No Yes (BDO, BPI, Metrobank, etc.)
PayPal No No

Lazada vs Shopee: COD Restrictions

Do you prefer the security you get from using COD to pay for your online purchases? Manage your expectation: COD isn’t available for all items, sellers, and locations in the Philippines. This goes for both Lazada and Shopee.

Sellers on both platforms may choose to enable or disable the COD option for customers for all or some of their products. Also, COD may not be offered in your shipping address.

COD is further restricted for certain customers of Shopee. Failure to receive your Lazada orders twice or more will get you into its COD blacklist, which means you can’t use COD as a payment option for 90 days.

Winner: Shopee

Delivery

In terms of promised delivery time, the two e-commerce sites don’t differ much, except for Shopee’s longer overseas delivery time and Lazada’s longer delivery time for shipments to Mindanao via sea.

Here’s Lazada’s and Shopee’s expected delivery time frame for standard deliveries in the Philippines:

 

Destination

Lazada

Shopee

Metro Manila 2 to 3 days
  • 2 to 5 days (from Metro Manila)
  • 3 to 7 days (from Luzon)
  • 3 to 8 days (from Visayas and Mindanao)
Luzon 3 to 5 days
  • 3 to 7 days (from Metro Manila and Luzon)
  • 3 to 8 days (from Visayas and Mindanao)
Visayas 5 to 7 days 3 to 8 days
Mindanao
  • 5 to 7 days (via air)
  • 14 to 15 days (via sea)
3 to 8 days
Anywhere in the Philippines (international deliveries) 1 to 2 weeks 15 to 24 days

Which Delivers Faster?

But when it comes to actual deliveries, this is where Lazada beats its main competitor. Orders usually arrive within the given delivery time frame or even earlier than expected. Some customers even receive their orders within 24 hours.

Shipping is a hit or miss at Shopee, depending on the logistics provider used for delivery. Deliveries via Grab Express and Ninja Van are fast, according to feedback from Shopee customers posted online.

However, many customers complain about receiving their package in one to two weeks, especially those delivered via Shopee’s logistics partner Black Arrow.

Which Provides Same-Day Delivery?

Both e-commerce sites offer express delivery options to customers who need their orders ASAP.

Lazada can deliver on the same day an order is placed before 11 am. This service is available in select areas in Metro Manila, Cavite, and Laguna (shipping fee: PHP 76) and in select cities in Cebu and Davao (shipping fee: PHP 85). Orders for express delivery made after 11 am are delivered on the next day.

Lazada’s same-day delivery service is available only for products from Lazada’s own inventory and shipped by Lazada itself (tagged on the site as “Sold and Fulfilled by Lazada”). There are also package size and weight restrictions for this delivery option.

Shopee offers express delivery through its logistics partner Shopee Xpress, which delivers within one to three business days. Shipping fee ranges from PHP 35 to PHP 55 for packages up to 5 kg. (additional PHP 10 for each kilogram above 5 kg.). Shopee’s express delivery service is available only in select areas in Metro Manila and select sellers.

Shopee also has same-day or next-day delivery option via Grab Express (available in Metro Manila only). Another logistics provider, Zoom Courier, allows next-day delivery for orders placed until 8 p.m.

Which Has Cheaper Shipping Fees?

If there’s a huge letdown for Lazada customers, it’s the site’s expensive shipping fees. This may be the trade-off for its fast delivery time. Strangely, shipping fees for some items are higher than the product price.

Lazada started a new policy in July 2018 that charges shipping fee on a store-level or seller-level. Sellers set their own shipping fee and shipping discounts for a minimum order. This has caused shipping fees to get more expensive on Lazada. Prior to this, all purchases above PHP 1,000 got free shipping.

Likewise, Shopee charges shipping fees on a seller-level, with free shipping and shipping discounts for a minimum order. But most of the time, customers pay cheaper shipping fees on Shopee than Lazada.

For example, the shipping fee in Metro Manila for a rice cooker costs PHP 155 in Lazada, while Shopee charges only PHP 40 for the same brand, model, and delivery location.

Winner: Tie (Lazada for delivery speed; Shopee for shipping cost)

Buyer’s Protection

A noteworthy feature that gives Shopee an edge over Lazada is its Shopee Guarantee. It gives customers a sense of security over their purchases, protecting them against fraudulent sellers and fake or defective items. Shopee Guarantee works by holding the payment to a seller and releasing it only when the buyer confirms receiving the order in good condition. If the item turns out to be unacceptable, the buyer can request for return via the Shopee app.

Lazada doesn’t have such a feature. Instead, it has the Lazada Payment Protection that “protects and covers you from unauthorized transactions made using your Lazada Wallet, saved credit/debit cards, and/or saved bank account.” Oddly though, Lazada doesn’t specify how this feature actually helps customers.

Winner: Shopee

Order Tracking

Both Lazada vs Shopee enable customers to track their orders online. On their respective sites, it’s easy to view which orders are pending for payment, being processed, shipped/ready for shipping, and delivered.

However, checking an order’s status is easier with Lazada. Its on-site order tracking tool provides quick, real-time, and detailed status from its own delivery service and logistics partners without having to go to the third-party provider’s website (though there’s also an option to use the third-party courier’s website to track an order status).

When you shop with Shopee, you’ll have to check the website of the third-party courier for your order status. This can be quite a hassle if you have multiple orders to be delivered by different logistics providers.

Lazada also has a system that consistently notifies customers through SMS and email when to expect their order and when the package is on its way. Sometimes, Lazada’s delivery personnel calls or texts to inform the customer that they’re about to deliver the goods.

Shopee doesn’t consistently update customers on their package delivery.

Winner: Lazada

Customer Support

A good e-commerce retailer provides multiple ways for customers to reach the company for questions, feedback, and complaints.

Customers can contact Lazada for assistance via its third-party chat support that’s available daily, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. only. Lazada’s Twitter team responds to messages from customers, though it always tells them to talk to Lazada’s chat agents for further assistance.

On the other hand, Shopee can be reached through phone (weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. only) and chat (available 24/7 in-app only). It’s also quick to respond to messages sent via Facebook Messenger.

Winner: Shopee

Return and Refund

Based on feedback posted by customers online, it’s easier to return an item to Lazada vs Shopee. With Lazada, customers dissatisfied with their order can fill out a return request form online, drop off the item at the courier, pay for the delivery fee, and wait for the replacement or refund.

Returning items is more frustrating and inconvenient for Shopee customers, as they request it directly from sellers, some of whom may be difficult to deal with and may not grant a refund. However, Shopee may intervene between the two parties to resolve the issue.

Winner: Lazada

Lazada vs Shopee: Final Thoughts

So, which between the two leading online shopping sites in the Philippines is better: Lazada or Shopee?

It depends on your priorities as a shopper. If you want to save more on your purchases (including shipping costs), Shopee is the better place to shop. If you prefer to have items delivered fast, then go with Lazada.

Both e-commerce companies have their pros and cons, so it’s best that you compare their prices, products, services, etc. when you do your shopping online.