How to Use Zalo for Business? A complete guide | Alibaba Blog – Alibaba.com

A homegrown messaging app has emerged as Vietnam’s growing e-commerce scene superstar. Established just under a decade ago, Zalo first staked its claim as local competition to established instant messaging brands Facebook and WhatsApp.
But as the platform has grown, so has its profile. Today, Zalo has attained “super app” status, with a nucleus of lifestyle-focused services centered around social, payments, and easy online shopping.
If you’re looking to start an e-commerce store in Vietnam or want to expand your business into the country, it’s well worth considering how Zalo can facilitate those ambitions. This detailed guide explains all you should know, from what the platform does to how it supports digital selling in Vietnam.
Table of Contents
Zalo is a Vietnam-based social messaging platform owned by VNG Corporation. The social app, whose name exemplifies the laidback nature of the platform, is Vietnam’s favorite messaging app, used by tens of millions in the country and over 100 million globally.1
Zalo’s name is a play on “alo,” an informal way that Vietnamese say “hello,” and “Zing,” one of the app’s parent company’s popular services. While the messaging service was only introduced in 2012, it quickly gained favor as a locally-relevant alternative to big-name brands like WhatsApp and Facebook.
Unlike its competitors, Zalo was “built by locals, for locals.” The app’s creator, Vuong Quang Khai, designed Zalo to work well on the low-end smartphones and 3G internet service typical in Vietnam. The app was also developed in Vietnamese, meaning it provides rich language context and can recommend fun stickers as one chat in the local language.2 Although English users can also enjoy Zalo.
Everyone is on Zalo, from government agencies and large corporations to individuals and small businesses. Some of the popular features through which individuals interact with one another and business organizations through Zalo include:
These features, alongside others like Zalo Diary, which provides a daily feed of captivating information for users, and Zalo Connect, which helped people find assistance during COVID, have catapulted Zalo to super app status. Consequently, it’s unsurprising that Zalo was ranked one of the top 3 most used social apps in Vietnam in 2021.3
Amongst the Vietnamese population of 61.3 million smartphone users, 80% use Zalo4 and combine to send 1.7 billion daily messages.5 As of 2021, the platform reported over 60 million active users, and Zalo itself was declared Vietnam’s first ever unicorn (worth over $1 billion) in 2019.6
how to use zalo for business
Zalo is great for business because of its extensive reach and popularity with Vietnamese people. So whether you’re looking to start or expand a business in the country of 98 million, you’re unlikely to find a better partner to reach millions in Vietnam.
Here are some other reasons why Zalo for business could be a great deal.
Consequently, Zalo presents an interesting and potentially beneficial online sales partner for local and foreign businesses looking to sell in Vietnam. In the next section, we will discuss what e-commerce sellers should know about starting a business on Zalo and the key steps.
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Starting a business on Zalo is easy and seamless. Whether you’re a local entrepreneur or an overseas seller just entering the Vietnam market, it’s straightforward to open an online store on Zalo Shop. We’ll explain how below.
But before launching into how to start a business on Zalo Shop, it’s worth learning how the platform works. VNG Corporation released Zalo Shop in 2016 as an online marketplace for purchasing and selling goods. The marketplace adds an e-commerce component to Zalo’s social media component, and sales happen in the same social format.
Zalo users interact with online stores on Zalo Shop in two main ways: by searching for specific stores using the search function or clicking a product ad or other content from an official account on the platform.
Online stores are required to open a Zalo Official Account, which is the equivalent of a business page on Facebook. Through the official account, e-commerce sellers can create catalogs, upload products, and seek engagement with potential customers through Zalo Ads, customers’ Zalo Diary feeds, and subscription content delivered directly to customers.
While Zalo allows sellers to trade in a wide variety of products on its platform, there are limits to what you can sell. Counterfeit goods, banned substances, and services that infringe on another’s intellectual property are examples of things you cannot sell on Zalo Shop.
On the other hand, it’s common to see stores sell products like dietary supplements, specialty medication, cosmetics, and handmade items on the platform.
To open your store and start selling on Zalo Shop, you’ll need to verify your business and the services you provide. We’ll cover how this works in the steps to starting a business on Zalo, which we’re discussing next.
Being a local seller means you live in Vietnam or have an active business presence there. If you fall within this category, you’ll find the following steps valuable in creating an online store on Zalo.
Opening your Zalo Shop online store begins with creating a personal account. That’s because you cannot proceed to open an official account without first having a personal account. Go to zalo.me or download the mobile app to begin the process of creating your free account.
Please note that you’ll need to provide a Vietnamese phone number (+84) to open the account. Aside from this, you will also be required to provide other details such as a name, contact details, and more. Follow the instructions on the Zalo website or mobile app.
Once you’ve created your account, you can begin the process of opening a Zalo Official Account. First, log in to your personal account and go to the Zalo Official Account management portal. Next, click “Create a new Official Account” and select the type of official account you wish to create.
Zalo supports three official account types:
You’ll be prompted to provide information to the platform, such as the official account name, description, contact details, and the nature of your business. You’ll also need to provide a cover photo and avatar.
After successfully creating your official account, you’ll move next to populating your store with choice products. Create a product catalog by clicking on “Store Setup” in your official account and selecting “Catalog,” then “Add Catalog.”
You have the option to create several product categories, which is great if you plan to sell multiple product types. Provide the required information and click “Agree” to conclude.
Next up, you’ll add products to the categories you’ve created. Click on the “Product” tab and select “More Products” to start uploading products. You’ll be prompted to provide product details such as the name of each item, price, description, and relevant photos.
Be sure to comply with the platform’s requirements as to image number and size and character limits for product descriptions. After supplying all the details, click “Create Product” to conclude.
To display the goods, go to “List of Products,” click on “Manage,” and then “Product Information.” You’ll be asked to scan a QR code, and afterward, you'll see the product information page. Scroll to “Store” and then tick “Display.” Click “Agree” on the prompt that appears, and that’s it. Your products are now live.
With your Zalo Shop online store and products published, it’s time to spread the word about your store. You can start by sharing your product catalog with friends or your other contacts on the platform.
Additionally, you can explore digital marketing techniques, including Zalo Ads, to increase the reach of your products and attract attention from potential customers.
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As an overseas seller, you either do not have any presence in the Vietnam market or are planning to trade in the country for the first time. While starting a business on Zalo Shop involves much the same procedure as that required for local sellers, there are other considerations you should note.
Here are the key steps to opening a Zalo Store as an overseas seller.
To open your Zalo Shop online store, you may be required to partner with a local agent or open a local business. This is because, as mentioned above, opening a Zalo account requires a Vietnam phone number. In addition, you’ll need to provide a local ID for verification during the official account opening process.
As a result, you should consider registering a local business to manage your Vietnam interests or partnering with a local agent if you’re not minded to bear the costs of a local branch in Vietnam.
If you’re choosing to register a local business in Vietnam, you’ll need to register with the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade.9 People seeking to open an e-commerce business in the country will need to obtain:10
You may also be required to obtain necessary approvals from the Vietnam Ministry of Planning and Investment.11
When you’ve completed the steps to register your Vietnam business, or if you’re choosing to work with a local agent, you’ll proceed next to opening your Zalo Official Account.
Follow the steps outlined above to register your official account, including starting with a personal account and then providing all the details needed to open an official account. Next, create your product catalog and upload the goods you wish to sell on Zalo.
Lastly, you should have a plan not only to reach customers but also satisfactorily meet their e-commerce needs. For instance, clarify if your products are available in Vietnam or need to be shipped from overseas. Goods imported from overseas may take longer to deliver, and your customers must be aware of this.
Remember that Zalo is successful primarily because it adapts excellently to local preferences and lifestyles. If your store also aims to provide international goods with a great local experience, you’ll find buyers that want to shop with you.
how to use zalo for business
With the information we’ve shared, you’re in good shape to start laying concrete plans for your business presence on Zalo.
As you start your Zalo business, keep in mind that success depends on knowing your customers and finding the best ways to give them excellent service. While that can sometimes mean adopting service standards and measures that help you meet customer needs, it can also involve playing by Zalo rules to ensure your store remains in good standing.
Here are a few tips that can help.
If you’re not already aware, chatbots can be a game changer for your online store. As statistics indicate, chatbots can help automate many customer interactions and handle up to 80% of standard customer questions.12 Zalo supports chatbot integration through its Zalo for Developers interface.
Ads are a core part of selling on any platform, and Zalo is no different. The app provides a dedicated ad service that lets businesses target customers with videos, articles, promos, and other content through their mobile devices. Even better, you can employ Zalo ads to funnel traffic to your e-commerce website, thereby creating organic growth for your business.
Vietnam has a robust gift-giving culture, especially around holidays such as Tet. So if you’re looking for a way to hit the ground running with your customers in the country, giving a simple holiday gift can be a way to stand out. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate – but it should be something your customers would appreciate.
As you explore the app and strategize on how to get your business running, be careful to stay within the rules. While Zalo does not have many strict platform rules, there are a few you should be aware of. For instance, while Zalo allows you to send messages to customers outside Vietnam with its Zalo Notification Service, all messages must abide by the rules.13
You cannot send messages to such customers without their express consent unless you notify them beforehand about the message. Likewise, you can send limited message types with ZNS, and the rules limit businesses to one message per transaction.
We’ve mentioned that culture is a big deal in Vietnam. Part of that culture revolves around respect for certain periods deemed significant within the local environment. For instance, it is the practice in Vietnam to avoid making big decisions or starting significant business ventures during the 7th lunar month (July).
So, learn the local culture and transact with your customers with an understanding and respect for their beliefs.
Lastly, seeing as transacting in Vietnam as an overseas seller can involve many nuances that are not readily apparent, it might be beneficial to work with a local consultant who knows the culture and environment. This might be extra important if you plan to conduct B2B sales, as you would be working directly with CEOs and managers of potential client businesses.
Ultimately, if you’re planning to get a fast start in the Vietnamese e-commerce market, Zalo can provide an easy route to a mammoth customer base and broad engagement. And with the steps we’ve explained here on how to start a business on Zalo, you have the tools to make a profitable entry into Vietnam.
If you also require reliable suppliers and high-quality products in your push into Vietnam, Alibaba.com can be your fulfillment partner. Alibaba.com has a comprehensive directory of manufacturers and suppliers from countries worldwide.
And it provides the business and logistics support you need to connect with quality suppliers and conclude transactions that help preserve your profit margin. Open a seller account today to see how Alibaba.com can help make your Vietnam push a success.
References
1. https://bz-zalo-me.translate.goog/?_x_tr_sl=vi&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc
2. https://leevey.medium.com/what-other-messaging-apps-can-learn-from-vietnams-zalo-866b830b50ff
3. https://www.decisionlab.co/blog/gen-zs-social-distraction-gives-new-platforms-hope-in-vietnam
4. https://quoracreative.com/article/zalo-app
5. https://recordtrend.com/instant-messaging/zalo-becomes-the-most-popular-messaging-application-in-vietnam/
6. https://theaseanpost.com/article/aseans-unicorns-growing
7. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/DealStreetAsia/Vietnam-s-VNG-invests-6m-in-gifting-platform-Got-It
8. https://www.moit.gov.vn/web/web-portal-ministry-of-industry-and-trade/home
9. https://www.vietnam-briefing.com/news/how-to-set-up-e-commerce-business-in-vietnam.html/
10. http://www.mpi.gov.vn/en/Pages/default.aspx
11. https://thrivemyway.com/chatbot-statistics/
12. https://zalo.cloud/terms
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