UNIQLO, Japan’s global fashion label, will open an online store for the Thai market next Friday, in a move that will complement its physical stores by offering unlimited items, nationwide coverage and around-the-clock access to consumers.

Chanvit Khieonavavongsa, marketing and public relations director and head of ecommerce at UNIQLO Thailand, said the ecommerce channel is a means of answering the demand for broader coverage, since the firm has consistently received queries from consumers who do not live in those areas where it has branches

Entering the Thai market nearly five years ago, UNIQLO currently has 32 physical branches in nine provinces, covering around one-third of the population.

Chanvit said the online channel would not, however, decelerate UNIQLO’s expansion of its physical outlets in the Kingdom.

The Thai online store is the Japanese fashion label’s 12th worldwide, following similar stores launched in Singapore in 2014 and in Malaysia last year.

UNIQLO has assigned Singapore Post to handle logistics and delivery for orders placed via the Thai online store, with guaranteed nationwide delivery of between one and three days. The company charges no delivery fee, while the packaging charge is waived for orders of above 1,500 THB.

Thailand’s Internet penetration rate is expected to reach 56% this year, or 36 million people, growing over 20% from last year, while about 42% of Internet users have experienced buying online.

The estimated value of the Thai ecommerce market last year was 1.2 trillion THB, up 3.65% from the 2014 level. Beauty and fashion together accounted for 42.6% of all online transactions. Chanvit said UNIQLO sales in Thailand so far this year were still in line with its target.

A version of this appeared in The Nation on July 23. Read the full version here.

iFashion Group, Singapore-based platform, has announced the acquisition of online fashion store Dressabelle for $5.5 million, reports Deal Street Asia.

iFashion Group covers varied market segments from offline to online ventures in Southeast Asia. Their ventures include:

  • Invade: Real-Time retail booking system with over 35,000 retailers
  • Flea Where: Flea market organization
  • Space Invasion: Pop-up retail concept with a collection of labels

iFashion Group only has presence in Singapore, and Dressabelle has a strong presence in Malaysia and Indonesia with annual revenue run rate of $3.24 million. It is not surprising then, that iFashion Group has Southeast Asian expansion plans in the pipeline.

By joining the iFashion Group, Dressabelle now has a wider product selection and looks forward to forming exciting collaborations with other brands under iFashion.

Aside from regional expansion, Dressabelle customers can expect more frequent collection launches, a wider selection of clothes and collaborative projects under iFashion Group’s management. Dresssabelle’s acquisition suggests that following the ecommerce trends for 2016, companies are choosing to acquire companies rather than build a whole new platform.

A version of this appeared in Deal Street Asia on July 19. Read the full version here.

Glazziq plans to expand regionally as they find success selling high-quality, affordable glasses designed in-house and made on OEM basis in Thailand, reports The Nation.

The Warby Parker model success

“It was really about bypassing retailers, bypassing the middlemen that would mark up lenses 3-5x what they cost, so we could just transfer all of that cost directly to consumers and save them money.” – Neil Blumenthal, Founder of Warby Parker.

Based on the popular American glasses brand, Warby Parker, Glazziq will deliver the frames to customers at home, for which it charges a deposit of 300 THB, which be returned as a full credit, she said, adding that once they have finished their trial, customers can simply drop off the frames at any 7-Eleven store around the country.

glazziq, Ecommerce Startup Glazziq Plans to Expand Regionally

Source: tcdcconnect.com

Customers can get their eyes tested for free and a prescription issued at any of over 100 Better Vision – or Hor Wan – eyewear stores nationwide.

The prescription will then be automatically put into the www.glazziq.com system for matching with the order, and sent directly to the factory where the frames and lens will be assembled and despatched to the buyer’s home address.

Customers will receive the finished products within five to 10 days of their prescription entering the system

The website, launched last December, has already grown to more than 100 orders being placed monthly.

The company plans to expand to Malaysia and Singapore next year, with the eventual goal of becoming one of the largest eyewear ecommerce operators across Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific, the Chief Executive, Prinda Pracharktam said.

The standard business models in Southeast Asia are looking to the West to successfully adapt to the ever-changing customer demographic in Asia while remaining focused on the local market. Glazziq is a perfect example.

A version of this appeared in The Nation July 14. Find the full version here.

ecommerceIQ Summit panel

Pioneers of ecommerce in Thailand at the ecommerceIQ Summit in Feb 2016. Tarad, Kiehl’s, Lazada, aCommerce discuss the difficulties of moving online.

In the era where two-thirds of the world are going online, a phenomenon known as FOBO, or the Fear Of Being Offline, is becoming a real one. People panic when they lose access to the internet, no matter how temporary those situations might be. But did you know the reverse is experienced by companies in emerging markets?

Despite the massive opportunity of ecommerce in Southeast Asia ($70  billion by 2020, according to Bain and recent Amazon and Alibaba forays into the region), only 3% of total retail sales come from the online channel. What’s going on? In order to understand the apparent slow migration into online retail,ecommerceIQ surveyed 132 senior level retail executives in February 2016 at the eIQ Summit in Bangkok.

The Summit was attended by Director and C-level executives from a majority (67%) of top brands, retailers and e-tailers in Thailand such as L’Oreal, Essilor, LINE, Central Group, Casino Group, P&G and more. Here is the result of their survey responses.

ecommerce research Southeast Asia


1. Limited internal know-how (47.7%)

Forming an ecommerce team to build an online strategy is one of the most strenuous bottlenecks encountered in Southeast Asia. The region remains low tech intensive and resources are so scarce that Lazada, Southeast Asia’s largest online marketplace, has taken the talent challenge into its own hands by educating the first ecommerce generation and generating local expertise out of fresh graduates.

Sheji Ho, aCommerce Group CMO, explains, “Because of the lack of talent, companies are constrained to hire ex-digital marketer or brand managers as to run ecommerce divisions but the scope encompasses warehouse management, delivery, fulfillment, reverse logistics, it is a much broader set of activities than what they are used to.”

2. Cannibalizing offline sales (24.2%)

Channel conflict is when online sales cut from offline sales or if you’re a brand looking to sell direct to consumer, you immediately create a channel conflict by putting yourself in competition with your distributors. In Brand Commerce, channel conflict can be crippling, as retailers can sometimes punish brands offline positioning due to ecommerce promotions or perceived exclusive offers. To overcome this, brands like L’Oreal are creating coordinated online and offline promotional campaigns that compliment and encourage each other. 

3. Not enough demand (23.5%)

With ecommerce slated as less than 3% of all retail sales in Southeast Asia, businesses simply do not think the market is ready yet. But as the Bain report showed above, the market is evolving rapidly. Others believe that the demand is there, but because the customer experience is so poor, Southeast Asians are not compelled to repeat purchase. The internal ecommerceIQ Beauty Report findings in Thailand showed that only 20% of top global brands have a customer experience rated higher than 70%. 

II.What are the top in-demand services?

offline business fear of going online

Source : ecommerceIQ Thailand 2016 Survey

Interestingly, strategy and consulting is the top sought after service for ecommerce in Southeast Asia. This reflects the very nascent level of ecommerce development for the vast majority of retailers in the region still who are not ready to get operational and is very much indicative of an emerging market. Below is a ranking of the top ecommerce services businesses are looking for in Southeast Asia:

#5 Web Development

A website serves as the first touchpoint with customers in an online world so an experienced team dedicated to its development is key to a successful strategy. It helps the company reach millions of internet users who may become potential customers. UX, UI developers are highly sought after. 

#4 Fulfillment, Logistics & Delivery

The ecommerce ‘business-to-consumer’ model requires a different set of systems and mindsets. In Southeast Asia, the complexity of deliveries due to the region’s poor infrastructure, difficult geography, complex cross-border commerce, high rates of cash on delivery all take the challenge to an entirely foreign level. The company must also take into account the customer demand for visibility and transparency. Reverse logistics in case of returns must also be taken into account.

#3 Omnichannel enablement

The omnichannel experience leverages customer behavior across all relevant sales and distribution channels, online and offline. It is basis for a consistent, personalized interaction between brand and customer. Having an omnichannel strategy is the next step to reaching your customer and providing them with convenience to shop anywhere at anytime. 

#2 Performance Marketing

Data collected online is a powerful tool to enhance marketing to a level that cannot be reached with offline tools. A combination of new advertising tools and innovation makes performance marketers able to help retailers and affiliates grow their businesses and drive online sales. Performance marketing done right creates win-win opportunities for both retailers and affiliates.

#1 Strategy and Consulting

It is necessary in today’s digital age to have an online presence if businesses want to continue growth. In order to get pass the fear of going online, finding the right ecommerce service partner to provide strategy and consulting will take the brand to the next stage of ecommerce maturity and rid them of FOGO once and for all.

III. Value of the ecommerce B2B landscape

The good news is that these potential ecommerce businesses are willing to invest into the process, although almost a quarter of participants are not willing to spend more than $20 thousand annually. In ecommerce terms that’s barely enough for a website and fulfillment of very few items per week, according to The Evolution of Brand Commerce in Southeast Asia, which gives a cost breakdown of ecommerce.

ecommerceIQ Summit budget survey questions

Ecommerce in Thailand and Southeast Asia is being restrained by a lack of expertise and fears of offline retail legacy politics. But as the region wakes up to the opportunities inherent in online, much like the US and China before them, businesses will find a way to overcome the bottlenecks.

By Alexandre Henry

Tweet your feedback to @ecomIQ and @alex_Nry

According to L2, social media has evolved into a dynamic ecosystem where brands can use a multitude of tactics to interact with consumers. Updates to algorithms have increasingly limited organic reach and will continue to do so, but brands can re-position their social media strategies to complement marketing goals by fully utilizing the toolkits available through each social platform.

Over The Counter (OTC) brands face unique challenges driving engagement on social channels as the nature of the products don’t lend themselves to visually appealing content as easily as categories like fashion or beauty. However, creative campaigns catalyzed by well-timed promotional spend can generate organic reach through social sharing while retargeting warm leads with coupons and ecommerce links can nudge shoppers closer to purchase.

Advertising a loyalty program to fans post purchase can increase engagement and spur a network of social brand evangelists.

OTC Brands must use Facebook

Source: info.voodooviral.com

While many brands capitalize on driving awareness with social media, very few maximize the post-purchase opportunity. Only six brands used either the word “reward” or “loyalty” in a Facebook post in the past 180 days, with Systane and Zyrtec accounting for a combined 48% of related post-purchase content. A look at how brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: OTC Health Care use social media suggests more could integrate purchase and post-purchase goals in their strategies.

Systane provides an example of how brands can deploy these tactics. The brand prioritized Facebook as a CRM tool in 2016, uploading a promoted post roughly once per week. This strategy helped the page earn over 405,000 interactions in the past 180 days. The top post for this period directed fans to register at Systane.com/Rewards in exchange for a three-dollar-off coupon. This link redirects to EyeFile.com, the destination for parent company Alcon’s eye care loyalty program.

Both Systane.com and EyeFile.com experienced 60% increase in traffic since November 2015, demonstrating that social media can be highly effective in engaging shoppers in post-purchase mode.

By targeting a neglected subset of OTC Health Care shoppers, Systane drove fans into its rewards program, creating a direct line of communication with opt-in consumers. Through its Facebook investment, the brand will now be able to collect explicit data and more effectively target leads with personalized content in future campaigns. Furthermore, the majority of millennials identify brand engagement on social media as a key tool for securing their loyalty.

A version of this appeared in L2 on July 8. Read the full article here.

2016-05-25-Baidu-cosmetics-industry-report-2015-2016-02-redo

Cosmetic brands in Southeast Asia are experimenting with ecommerce marketing strategies and part of that includes buying adwords with Google Adwords Network in order to rank on the region’s most used search engine. Determining which are the most effective keywords to buy are a strategy in itself. In China, new data indicates that search terms beyond just brands names are very important in connecting with the Chinese cosmetic consumer. From China Internet Watch:

Over 70% Chinese consumers search non-brand keyword on the internet; of the non-brand searches, 58% consumers search for non-product such as solutions and how-tos. Chinese cosmetic search trends are as follows:

  • Nail and eyebrow become popular while consumers are looking for the makeup skills
  • Many consumers cannot figure out the difference of BB, foundation, primer and cushion products
  • Consumers are pursuing convenience so that products become more and more diversified
  • ‘Look’ becomes more important
  • Drama and celebrities lead the new fashion

Over 50% of searches are for cosmetic techniques or methods, regardless of whether on mobile or desktop.