This article of the beautyIQ series will provide tips on how to target customers and generate demand for your products in Southeast Asia. In the previous articles, we looked at how to create engaging, localized content and where to best sell online to present your product correctly to Southeast Asian customers. Even if you have the best product in the world, it is important to get it in front of the eyes of potential customers.

The internet is full of tips on how to do automated personalized email marketing, show up at the top of Google search and run ad campaigns to lead browsers to your online store, but with such a diverse and large audience as in Southeast Asia, the general ‘spray and pray’ digital marketing strategy will not work. To make your marketing campaigns successful, the trick is to leverage on the online and shopping behavioral traits of your target audience in each Southeast Asian country.

Which channel does your target audience use for product research? Which are the most popular social media networks? Do customers use laptop or mobile to buy products online?

Southeast Asian nations are among the ones who spend the most time online. Philippines is the second country after Brazil by hours spent online daily – people aged 16 to 64 years access internet through their computers 5.2 hours and through their phones – 3.2 hours every day.

Singaporeans are the least internet active – they spend online daily “only” 4.2 hours on their PC and 2.1 hour on their phones. This provides an excellent opportunity to reach your customers through various online tools as they are connected for the most part of the day.

These are some of the habits you will want to know before moving forward with your online marketing campaign. The better you understand your customer, the more you know what they want. Many companies already sit on gold mines of unutilized consumer data – take advantage of it as well as these reports to increase the success of your digital marketing strategy.

An ecommerce marketing strategy in Southeast Asia should include the following parts:

  • Continual communication with the customer, i.e. several direct emails per month
  • “Always-on” paid search campaigns
  • Dynamic retargeting
  • Discounts and samples

 

Send Emails to Keep Communication Fresh

As 96% of online Southeast Asian consumers identify themselves as email newsletter subscribers and 48% have made a purchase as a result of a marketing email, it is the top communication channel for marketers who target their products to customers in the region.

Offer your customers a newsletter subscription pop-up with an incentive and send them emails directly (EDMs) one or two times per week depending on how many promotion campaigns you plan to run. If you offer deals more frequently, send emails more often. aCommerce internal data find that even if your offers are less frequent, sending emails accordingly to remind your subscribers about new products at least once or twice a month will still result in conversions.

Some tools to automate email marketing include: Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, Getresponse Bluecore.

Examples of beauty brands that do it correctly: Kiehl’s presents first time visitors with an email newsletter subscriber pop-up, offering free delivery and samples. Other brands may take it one step further by offering a specific incentive such as a discount off a user’s first purchase.

Premium cosmetics brand Kiehl’s motivates customers to subscribe to its newsletter with incentives. Source: Kiehl’s Thailand online store

Bobbi Brown Thailand is another brand that continuously connects with customers through emails. It lands weekly emails into subscribers’ inboxes with promotion details, a call-to-action (CTA) link on the image in the email which directs them to the Bobbi Brown website and occasionally, discount promotion codes.

Bobbi Brown offers its customers in Thailand a gift with a purchase worth 2,500 baht. Source: Bobbi Brown weekly newsletter

Once a visitor has subscribed, brands should follow up with personalized emails, which is among the most effective channels for ecommerce business to drive orders. In 2014, the average return on investment in email marketing in Britain was 38 pounds ($47) for each 1 pound spent. Yet, even smaller returns make it worth invest in email marketing.  

Building up a customer database opens the door for marketing automation and highly targeted customer acquisition and activation at scale in the future.

Keep Paid Search Campaigns “Always-On”

Search marketing is the most effective customer acquisition tactic and customers in Southeast Asia, same as elsewhere around the globe, turn to search engines when looking for information about products they want to buy. In Singapore, 67% of internet users searched online for a product or service to buy, while 48% in Thailand and 31% of Indonesia’s internet users did the same.

Google provides excellent tools for brands to appear at the top of search ranks when customers search for a product from your line. Don’t let your competitors or other distributors steal customers who look for your products – do paid search marketing. It means you bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links for keywords related to your business – your brand name, product line or generic product name you sell. Then you pay the search engine a fee for each click.

If the benefit of an online store is purchase at anytime, brands should drive traffic to their sites by keeping paid search campaigns “always-on”, especially for its own brand keyword.

For example, when searching for South Korean cosmetics brand Innisfree, the first link that appears in Thailand is a paid ad of a US online store, iHerb, which sells online Innisfree products among others. The webstore of Innisfree itself appears as the second link, which means that Innisfree is not bidding for their brand name and may lose potential customers.

Source: Google search results page for South Korean cosmetics brand Innisfree

Kiehl’s, Maybelline and Estée Lauder, on the other hand, are brands that run “always-on” campaigns. Keyword search for Kiehl’s brings the brand’s ecommerce site the first on the search engine result page, ahead of other online shops who also sell Kiehl’s products in Thailand and bid on the same keyword. This allows Kiehl’s to acquire high value customers through its brand keyword searches and control the customer experience end-to-end.

Source: Google search results page for premium cosmetics brand Kiehl’s

The average cost-per-click (CPC) for your own brand name is very low as Google gives brands and their landing pages a higher Quality Score, and the more people click on it, the more relevant it becomes and the cheaper it will cost for the brand. There should be no excuse for not bidding on your brand name all year round, even if it is just to protect the brand against competitors.

If you register on Google Adwords, you will be able to estimate how much bidding on your brand name as well as other keywords would cost. Google will provide you with suggestions what other keywords you may want to bid to get seen on the search engine’s result page. For a new brand in the cosmetics industry the minimum recommended amount to spend on paid search advertising in Thailand, for example, is 7,000 Thai baht (around $200), while the average monthly budget might be around 20,000 Thai baht (around $570).

Increase Brand Awareness on Social Networks

Southeast Asia claims one of the highest social media usage in the world – in all six countries social media penetration exceeds 70% and is expected to grow in the future as well. On average, internet users in the region spend on social networks every day from 1.6 hours in Singapore to 3.7 hours in Philippines. Across the region, Facebook and Instagram and Youtube are among the most popular social media networks.

Use this knowledge to run dynamic retargeting campaigns – it means that customers who’ve already once visited your site to look for a product, but have left without a purchase, would be reminded on social networks such as Facebook that the product they are interested is still available on your online store.

Dynamic retargeting through platforms like Google, Criteo or Sociomantic are the most effective channels in ecommerce to drive both customers to your online store and sales. Platforms like Criteo allow brands to retarget users across both Facebook and ad networks as well as across multiple devices. Dynamic retargeting is a “no-brainer” channel commonly applied by retailers such as Lazada and Sephora, but unfortunately still ignored by many brands.

Facebook also allows businesses to target ads towards existing customers or potential customers that share their interest with its Ads Manager function, a ‘lookalike audience’. That is another way you can make your customer list work for you.

Offer Discounts and Samples To Drive Sales

Everyone loves discounts, especially in Southeast Asia. According to a Mastercard Survey, 75.8% of Thais are influenced to shop impulsively from online merchants when prices are lower, second only to shoppers in the Philippines, who came in first at 76.4%.

Offer discounts to your customers on certain product lines or on major public holidays, when people like to give gifts to one another to keep them coming back to your online store. In addition, offer them samples to try out new products. Both of these incentives work well as retention strategies.

Brands such as Bobbi Brown and Kiehl’s offer samples upon check-out, allowing shoppers to choose between miniature sizes of cleansers and toners, providing in-store perks with the online experience. A small, yet pleasant detail.

Shoppers can choose up to 3 samples upon check-out on the Kiehl’s Thailand website. Source: Kiehl’s Thailand online store

 

Southeast Asian consumers’ internet usage and shopping habits offer a great opportunity for brands to capture existing and new customers – they are already online, a nudge with an email subscription or a discount might be all that is needed to persuade them to buy your products.

Stay tuned for the next article in our beautyIQ series the following Monday. To better understand the general population habits in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, we have also gathered reports and infographics to better guide your journey.

BY AIJA KRUTAINE AND ANUTRA CHATIKAVANIJ

 

We’d love to hear your feedback,

find us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Indonesia Ecommerce Landscape

Mapping Southeast Asia’s Dynamic But Fragmented Ecommerce Market

In order to ‘win a market’, some online publications will say: ‘define your brand’, define your competitive advantage, ensure product-market fit, create a customer database, and/or market to the world. And while your business should encompass all these strategies, the very first step any company, old or new, should take is to identify the key players already in the field.

Southeast Asia has become a hotspot for saturation thanks to booming growth – the online sector is expected to reach more than $87 billion by 2025 and many global players such as Alibaba and Amazon are scrambling to get their own slice of ecommerce pie.

However, what new entrants often overlook or find out too late when entering the region is its fragmented nature. Every country brings with it a different set of strengths and challenges.

For any player looking to grab Southeast Asia market share, the key to unlocking its potential is knowledge. Different players exist in several market segments, and some dominate certain niche segments all hoping to solve problems or capture an untapped opportunity but the ecommerce bottlenecks vary across borders.

The ECOMScape Series by ecommerceIQ aims to bring you a complete picture of the ecommerce ecosystem in individual Southeast Asian countries from the businesses selling, to the specialists providing their online solutions, all the way to the end customer. We hope it will help you navigate the competitive space. Let’s start first with the region’s biggest and most promising market, Indonesia.

Indonesia Ecommerce Landscape: 6 Key Takeaways from Current Market Conditions

The country is on track to become one of the biggest markets in Asia with the potential to comprise 52% of Southeast Asia’s entire ecommerce value by 2025.

Despite the country’s attractive $46 billion ecommerce valuation that keeps foreign investors and companies pouring in, local players are not intimidated by the influx of global ones. What else can we tell from the bird’s eye view of Indonesia’s ecommerce ecosystem?

1. Local players are dominating the market, especially in niche sectors

Indonesian run companies are seen selling in every sector of ecommerce in Indonesia, especially C2C, Lifestyle & Travel and smaller niches that fall under the ‘Other’ category. These include marketplaces like Cipika, Qlapa, and KuKa that sell local and handcrafted products and Limakilo, a marketplace targeted at farmers.

Indonesia Ecommerce Landscape

‘Others’ category under B2C sector is filled with niche players.

Some locally owned companies such as Shoot Your Dream and AkuLaku also better understand the country’s payment pain points and allow customers to buy products via installments through their website without a credit card.

Targeting a smaller consumer segment for local players is one way to empower local SMEs to go online. It also means less competition as foreign and big players usually try to compete over a more ‘mainstream’ audience such as Lazada, Elevenia and MatahariMall.

A reason for the success of Indonesian owned companies is due to familiarity of local trends and behavior. These companies, such as Bukalapak, customize marketing campaigns to match cultural preferences and identify better with the customer.

Indonesia Ecommerce Landscape

Bukalapak’s viral video campaign for Online Shopping Day 12-12 last year, starred their CEO creating a small-budget, home-made marketing initiative while ‘apologizing’ to the executives everywhere for distracting and decreasing their employees’ productivity with big discounts offered.

Among the top 20 websites in the archipelago under SimilarWeb’s ‘Shopping’ category, more than half are native Indonesian run companies.

Indonesia Ecommerce Landscape

Even OLX and iProperty, who have the advantage of vast resources to be at the top of their respective niches as seen in the ‘Classifieds’ section, were once local companies acquired by regional players.

2. Brand.com and the rise of omni-channel

Indonesia’s most popular ecommerce model is presently the marketplace like Tokopedia and Lazada. Even in the vertical sectors like Fashion & Apparel, Electronics & Gadgets and Local & Handcrafted products, the dominant choice is still a marketplace.

This model is popular to accommodate the growing interest of SMEs and brands that want to bring their business online but lack the capital or are unwilling to take a risk jumping online with both feet.

Indonesia Ecommerce Landscape

However, as the industry matures and brands realize the importance of having an online channel, more adopt a brand.com strategy to directly reach customers.

HP and Kiehl’s are some of the big brand names in their field that recognize the potential of going online. And it isn’t restricted only to brands because offline retailers are also joining the ecommerce bandwagon.

MatahariMall and MAPEmall are just two examples of retailers with deep pockets that recently joined the online space and it’s paying off. MAP, the parent company of MAPEmall, has stated 78% year on year profit growth in August and credit their online venture as one of the main drivers.

As more customers demand convenience to shop anywhere and at anytime, it is vital that retailers complement their offline networks with an online strategy to create an omni-channel experience.

3. B2B sector is slowly gaining momentum

B2C is not the only sector that has seen an increase in online adoption. The country’s biggest industrial retailer, Kawan Lama, is among the early players making the jump to ecommerce in this sector.

The company launched a shoppable website to cater to both a B2B and B2C audience after seeing steady traffic from consumers browsing its catalogs, indicating a change in customer behavior. Another big offline retailer that followed suit is Electronic City.

Indonesia Ecommerce Landscape

However, despite the push for B2B ecommerce in Indonesia with the establishment of Indonetwork, an online directory and marketplace for SMEs catering to B2B and B2C alike, the sector is still very scarce. Bizzy and Lippo-backed Mbiz are the only significant B2B marketplaces that launched in the past year.

Indonesia Ecommerce Landscape

4. Market research is urgently needed

Due to the infancy of the industry in Southeast Asia, there is only a handful of resources that exist to help businesses make informed decisions. Even established research firms like Nielsen are having difficulty obtaining enough market data to create a comprehensive report.

Indonesia Ecommerce Landscape

The lack of knowledge and insight affects the growth of ecommerce as executives are forced to make strategic decisions based on gut thus the reservation of conservative brands going online.

ecommerceIQ aims to bridge the gap of knowledge in Southeast Asia by providing market research to executives in the form of summits, reports, insights and data.

5. More payment options to tap into the unbanked

With more than half of the population in Indonesia still unbanked and credit card penetration at only 1.4%, payment has become one of the biggest bottlenecks to ecommerce growth in the country.

Telco companies in Indonesia are one of the key contributors that help build the ecommerce ecosystem by launching their own versions of mobile wallets, a popular payments method. And it’s not surprising, considering that each telco company has their own ecommerce website.

Other popular payments gateway include Adyen, a payments unicorn used by both Uber and most recently, Grab and aCommerce. The payment gateway offers both online and familiar offline options that locals trust, such as ATM transfers.

6. Diversifying delivery services

Infrastructure is often acknowledged as one of the top barriers for ecommerce in the region, especially Indonesia where lack of public transportation, tricky island geography and under-developed roads pose serious problems.  

Ride-hailing apps are expanding their offerings to include courier services to cater to growing demands. Gojek, for example, a traditional transportation startup has become the preferred delivery method for C2C merchants and buyers as it offers same-day delivery services and a built-in tracking system at an affordable price.

Indonesia Ecommerce Landscape

The third party logistics (3PL) category is also very saturated in Indonesia. Brands are provided with so many options that it becomes a time-consuming task to find one that suits the needs of their business and consumers. Multi-shipping tech from aCommerce or Alibaba’s Cainiao aim to save time by aggregating the best options based on the price and destination.

The potential of ecommerce in Indonesia has already tempted many players, both foreign and local, to enter the market. However, it’s still a long time before a clear winner emerges from the battlefield.

Click here to download the full, high-resolution version of ECOMScape: Indonesia and join the ecommerceIQ network for the next ECOMScape in our series.

***Are we missing an important player? Let us know! Reach us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

The first two articles of beautyIQ series looked at how to get customers’ attention by blending transactional and discovery content and localizing it according to Southeast Asian customer cultural preferences. The next step to any brand’s successful ecommerce journey in Southeast Asia is to figure out where to sell their products, which will be the focus of this article.

Two thirds of shoppers in developing Asia say access to branded goods is at the core of their ideal shopping experience.

Yet Southeast Asia has only one third of retail stores per capita compared to the United States, limiting offline shopping of branded apparel, beauty and other products and making the internet a great distribution channel. In order to sell products in Southeast Asia, it is vital for brands to be seen online.

Brands have typically three options when selling online:

  • Create a localized brand web store
  • Partner with official distributors or sell on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LINE
  • Open a flagship shop (shop in shop) on a marketplace or online retailer

Of course, each option has its pros and cons for brands to consider. The channel on which to sell online will depend on the particular brand guidelines and its positioning, for example, Kiehl’s strictly cannot sell on a marketplace. Yet, in Southeast Asia having a localized brand web store and presence on a marketplace might bring in more dollars.

Where to Sell

The beauty of selling on your own webstore is complete control over the branding of your products, sole ownership of customer data and higher margins as you would sell directly to consumers and no commissions would need to be paid to ‘middlemen’.

aCommerce internal data showed localized webstores of particular brands in Thailand last year experienced 15% month-on-month growth of gross merchandise value (GMV) and GMV of products sold on brand webstores made up 45% of total product sales on various online platforms.

The risk is that the creation of a brand webstore is pricey as brands might have to invest up to $100,000 over a one year period with additional costs for logistics or marketing.

Selling on social networks is another important channel to capture consumers in Southeast Asia as this is a mobile first region. According to Bain & Co, around 30% of sales in Indonesia come from social media, blog shops and messaging apps as 27% of consumers in big cities and close to 80% in the countryside research and buy products on their phones.

This channel may not be appealing for established brands as social networks are mostly used for consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sales but up-and-coming local, regional or global brands may consider partnering with LINE or Facebook for more personalized communication and direct channel to communicate with potential customers.

Opening a flagship store on an online marketplace or “shop-in-shop” provides more powerful distribution. For example, Lazada drew more than 150 million visitors in August from six Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore), SimilarWeb data shows. While it is extremely popular in most markets, it’s not the number one go to marketplace in every country.

By analyzing average monthly web traffic, businesses can decide which marketplace to sell its products on for heightened exposure. eIQ has compiled the rankings for Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The benefit of selling on a marketplace is the opportunity to tap into an existing large pool of potential customers. There is no such thing as a free lunch and the cost in this case is more competition and a commission that marketplace will charge for brands to sell their products on their platform.

Tricks to Know

If your brand does decide to sell on Southeast Asia’s popular marketplaces to capture their millions of visitors every day, it is best to keep in mind no two are alike.

Each platform has its own guidelines and product content needs to be modified accordingly.

For example, marketplaces tend to promote products on their front page from brands who have proven good sales, so sellers may find it beneficial to work with a brand solutions team to secure higher visibility for their campaigns.

Lazada allows brands to create a “shop-in-shop” that incorporates interactive features such as sliding banners and video content. This is so sellers can customize their shops to feel like a brand.com and provide shoppers with a pleasant shopping experience. This option may be wise for brands who do not have the budget to create a full ecommerce website.

Maybelline Thailand official “shop-in-shop” on Lazada. Source: Lazada Thailand

 

L’Oreal Thailand “shop-in-shop” on Lazada. Source: Lazada Thailand

 

For beauty brands, Sephora may be a good marketplace to sell on as it features detailed product descriptions and reviews, but all product images are shot from one angle and there is no brand related content. However, compared to, for example, Lazada where almost any brand can sign up to sell their products, getting sold on Sephora is dependent on a decision by retailer’s buyers.

Display of L’Oreal Paris products on Sephora Indonesia online store. Source: Sephora Indonesia

Zalora allows brands to provide a short description or visual, while the product descriptions are standardized. As product reviews are rare on Zalora, the marketplace might offer a discount or some other incentive for users to leave reviews which is a great tool to persuade customers to buy products.

L’Oreal Paris shop on Zalora. Source: Zalora Thailand

 

Brand Spotlight

La Roche Posay’s “shop-in-shop” on Lazada is a good example of how to exercise engaging content into a marketplace site. With multiple product displays, sliding banners and video content, the brand stands out amongst other standard displays.

La Roche Posay’s “shop-in-shop” on Lazada. Source: Lazada Thailand

 

How to Make the Most of Your “Shop-in-Shop”

Follow these tips and they will help your brand gain more visibility and increase sales when selling on marketplaces:

  • Fully optimize page design and brand banner (use slides, images, graphics)
  • Consider ‘knowledge buttons’ that lead to more discovery content. For La Roche Posay, the knowledge button leads to tips from certified medical professionals. Rich content here is advisable, as the page could be redirected to engaging/actionable content
  • Optimize product images: create 360 degree view of products. Currently a lot of brands showcase one dimensional product images, but customers should have a complete view of what they intend to buy as they can’t touch it
  • Banner should re-direct to product category page
  • Optimize video content to differentiate brand identity: tell a visual story
  • Fully engage customers in product details: explain benefits, ingredients/nutrition and instructions (if applicable)
  • Create engaging content such as product endorsement (for example, from doctors) and brand history

Brands should consider the above mentioned benefits and drawbacks of selling on various online channels in Southeast Asia as preferences will vary. It would not suit premium and luxury brands to open a “shop-in-shop” on marketplaces as that could tarnish their brand image.

Yet, for many brands, especially new, having both – a brand web store and a shop on various platforms will ensure that more customers see and can buy their products, especially if they are not widely available in the limited amount of retail stores in the region.

Stay tuned for the next article in our beautyIQ series the following Monday.

BY ANUTRA CHATIKAVANIJ AND AIJA KRUTAINE


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beautyIQ Series Part 1 looked at various practices global brands use in Southeast Asia to boost sales through intertwined transactional and discovery content. This article will focus on the importance of adjusting content to the cultural preferences of brand’s target customers in order to grab market share. Let’s begin!

Smartly crafted website content is essential to engage customers and nudge them towards making a purchase. Even more important to note is that

75% of shoppers are more likely to purchase products with information in their native language.

Southeast Asia constitutes diverse countries with varied consumer trends. To thrive here, global brands need to understand the demands of each market by localizing their content, offering promotions on local holidays or using faces familiar to the target audience in photo shoots. While it may not be budget friendly to create unique content for each country website, even small adjustments have the potential to increase a website’s conversion rate by as much as 25%.

Here are three ways brands can make their online content more relevant for customers in Southeast Asia:

1. Communicate like a local

To enter a new market, any brand should ‘speak’ the language of the country. That is especially the case in Southeast Asia where English language proficiency levels vary widely across countries. In Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, the levels are moderate, while Thailand and Cambodia rank 62 and 69 out of 70 countries, respectively. The only Southeast Asian countries with high proficiency of English are Singapore and Malaysia, who were a part of the British Empire in the last century.

The first step brands should take when launching an ecommerce website is providing a language selector for countries with low English proficiency in addition to a site in English.

French cosmetics store chain Sephora has web shops in local languages in Indonesia, Thailand and China, but its online stores in Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore are in English.

Sephora caters to local customers in countries with low level of English language proficiency by providing the content in customers’ native language. Source: Sephora Thailand website.

 

Yet, the difference between being good and being great is not simply translating website content, but also taking into account cultural differences and preferences.

The global brand that stands out with well crafted content is American premium cosmetics retailer Kiehl’s. Besides its brand.com website being available in Thai and Bahasa languages, Kiehl’s collaborates with local brands to leverage popular social media trends.

In Thailand, Kiehl’s collaborated with Jay The Rabbit, local loveable Facebook sensation, on ‘Kiehl’s heritage for Thai heritage’ campaign where it donated part of the earnings to an elephant foundation. This would definitely score brownie points in Thailand, once ranked the most generous country globally. 

Kiehl’s works with social media influencers to increase its brand awareness and engage new audience segments. Source: Kiehl’s Thailand website.

 

Kiehl’s also has dedicated Instagram accounts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore, to share promotions relevant for locals, such as hijab and makeup demos in Indonesia. At the same time, all sites and social accounts are consistent in maintaining Kiehl’s global brand identity with look and feel.

Kiehl’s localizes promotional campaigns making them relevant to their target customers. Source: Kiehl’s Indonesia Instagram account.

 

Many global brands have strict guidelines that leave little room for maneuver – meaning promotional campaigns, visuals or tutorials targeted to Southeast Asia have to be the same across all countries from headquarters in North America. If brands don’t adapt to cultural preferences, however, they fail to engage customers and face getting overshadowed by competitors with more flexibility.

2. Leverage the power of peer and celebrity opinions

Asian shoppers’ purchase decisions are strongly influenced by peer feedback and celebrity association, according to a report by PwC.

47% of customers in Asia consider opinions of friends and family before making a purchase, while 90% are influenced by information found on social media.

In Thailand, one of the brands that leverages the potential of local celebrities, bloggers and other key online influencers for their promotional campaigns, is Maybelline. Its Youtube channel, which is featured on its local brand.com website, contains many videos with well-known Thai celebrities and beauty gurus – immediately putting their products in front of a new audience.

Maybelline features several videos with Thai model and actress “Lukkade” Metinee Kingpayom, Thailand’s Kate Moss. Source: Maybelline Thailand Youtube channel.

 

In Indonesia, Kiehl’s collaborated with well-known actor Nicholas Saputra and TV presenter Sarah Sechan for their ‘Kiehl’s Gives’ campaign to support Wehea Forest Preservation in East Kalimantan.

Indonesian celebrities became personality partners of Kiehl’s to support Wehea Forest Preservation in East Kalimantan. Source: Kiehl’s Indonesia Instagram account.

 

Global brands should also use Asian models to showcase products as it’s crucial for the customer to gauge how a blush or lipstick shade would look on their own skin tone. For example, Maybelline Thailand uses predominantly Thai models in their product videos hoping consumers can more easily identify with them.

Source: Maybelline Thailand Youtube channel

 

Skincare brand Nivea also uses local-looking models on their Indonesian, Filipino, Thai and Vietnam local websites (although it is not possible to buy their products online).

Source: Nivea Indonesia website

 

Brands such as Shu Uemura and Bobbi Brown also have a balanced mix of Asian models integrated in their visual web content.

Source: Shu Uemura Thailand website

 

Another issue brands may want to consider is the fact that around 40% of Southeast Asia’s population identify as Muslims. Luxury brands such as Dolce Gabbana, Oscar De La Renta and DKNY as well as fashion brands like Uniqlo and Mango hope to tap into this new customer segment by creating apparel collections specially targeted to Muslim women.

While no global beauty brand has created ads using Muslim models in hijab, Indonesian brand Wardah takes it one step further by offering halal beauty and skincare products and personalizing the marketing to Muslim women as seen below. 

Indonesian beauty brand Wardah creates products particularly for Muslim women. Source: Wardah Indonesia website.

 

3. Celebrate like a local

Due to its cultural and religious diversity, Asia has many major holiday and festival seasons. And as the region’s incomes rise, so too does its holiday spending, creating a wealth of opportunities for businesses. — Nikkei Asian Review 

While Christmas gift frenzy might be global, other celebrations vary from country to country. To achieve the best results, promotional campaigns should be adjusted to major holidays and cultural events of the particular country.  

Kiehl’s in Thailand is a good example how to leverage holiday season. The company centered their promotion around Songkran Festival, which marks the Thai New Year, to offer special discounts for its products and drive sales.

Localize promotional campaigns leveraging on public celebrations. Source: Kiehl’s Thailand Instagram account.

 

Popular public celebrations brands in Southeast Asia can benefit from are:

  • Western New Year
  • Chinese New Year celebration
  • in Thailand Songkran Festival and Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday (which is celebrated as Mother’s day)
  • in Indonesia the month of Ramadan has become known for driving online retail sales and Harbolnas

While it may be complex to calculate exact return on investment in localization of content, the benefits of it for global brands include first mover advantage and higher revenues from new markets.

Tailoring content to match local quirks and preferences, whether it’s using models that match the general consumers’ skin tone or leveraging the popularity of local celebrities, will help you monetize local behavioral traits such as the fact that 87% shoppers in Asia share their retail experiences on social media.

Stay tuned for the next article in our eIQ series the following Monday that will focus on tools needed to distribute products on various platforms in Southeast Asia.

BY ANUTRA CHATIKAVANIJ AND AIJA KRUTAINE

 

We’d love to hear your feedback,
find us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Betagro marketing

The rise of technology and the internet isn’t just disrupting traditional retailers; it’s also enabling brands to reach their customers directly without the need of a ‘middleman’. Dollar Shave Club effectively sold to their loyal subscribers without ad agencies, traditional media or offline distributors like Walmart and Walgreens.

With the Death of The Advertising Industrial Complex looming upon us, traditional, mass advertising such as outdoor, print, TV and distribution through offline brick and mortar retail are rendered inefficient. Companies like Unilever have no choice but to acquire ‘the little guys’ like Dollar Shave Club to stay relevant.

It doesn’t end here. Fresh off their $1 billion acquisition of DSC, Unilever is already in talks to buy Jessica Alba’s Honest Co. for another $1 billion.

The Advantages of Moving Towards Direct-To-Consumer

In many of his speeches, Alibaba’s founder and chairman Jack Ma talks about how the world is moving from Information Technology (IT) to Data Technology (DT). In a DT world, businesses have direct relationships with consumers, enabling the former to collect data to build and market products and services personalized to the latter.

One classic example is Xiaomi, the Chinese electronics company and 4th largest smartphone maker, who sells attractively priced smartphones on its website to drive the direct relationship with its users. The company then uses the data to push peripheral products, plush toys, software, and online and mobile advertising.

Amazon is the other example, selling other people’s products at lower margins to get the volume it needs to monetize through marketplace fees and Prime subscriptions:

Amazon, meanwhile, is transitioning to a new model completely. The vast majority of Amazon’s products are increasingly sold with little to no margin at all: profitability comes from fees paid by third-party merchants and Prime subscriptions. It is a model that is completely dependent on scale, and the lower the margin and thus prices, the higher Amazon’s volume, which means ever more leverage from Amazon’s massive fixed costs in infrastructure and logistics.” – Ben Thompson, Stratechery

This transition from IT to DT is exactly what Unilever is trying to achieve through its acquisitions of Dollar Shave Club and Honest Co. Both firms enjoy better margins through online marketing and distribution. More importantly, they own the direct customer relationship, which they leverage into higher customer lifetime values through innovative models like subscription commerce.

Direct-to-Consumer Accelerated in China and Southeast Asia

China and Southeast Asia are growth markets unburdened by a legacy offline retail infrastructure meaning brands are jumping over the middleman at a much faster pace than in mature markets like the US, Europe or Japan.

Why did internet ecommerce grow so much faster in China than in the US? Because the infrastructure of commerce in China was bad. Unlike here, where you have all the (physical) shops: Walmart, K-Mart, everything, everywhere. But in China, we have nothing, nowhere. So ecommerce in the US is just a dessert; it’s complementary to the main business. But in China, it’s the main course.”Jack Ma, Founder and Chairman, Alibaba

An example of traditional, non-conventional brands going direct to consumer is Yurun Group, China’s second-largest meat supplier in China. Based in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Yurun operates in two sectors, chilled and frozen meat, and processed meat products, which are marketed under the brand names of Yurun, Furun, Wangrun, and Popular Meat Packing.

Yurun operates an official Tmall flagship store through which the company sells its various brands and products and also distributes digital vouchers.

Betagro marketingBetagro marketing

Betagro marketing

Capturing the Direct-to-Consumer Opportunity Through Digital Transformation

Fashion, electronics, and consumer packaged goods (CPG) aren’t the only categories that are increasingly being sold online. Let’s take a look at Betagro, a 50-year old Thai food manufacturing conglomerate, and identify the opportunities available for the company to go direct-to-consumer and transform itself to capitalize on today’s digitally-savvy consumer.

Who is Betagro?

Betagro Group was founded in 1967 by Dr. Chaivat Taepaisitphongse, the company’s current chairman. Headquartered in Bangkok, Betagro engages in animal feed production, livestock, animal health products, and food product businesses. The company is known for its brands like S-Pure eggs, Better Food, and Dog’n Joy pet food.

Betagro Value Chain & Gap Analysis

Below is a simplified overview of Betagro’s value chain. We specifically looked at Marketing and Sales & Distribution, two areas that are typically impacted by internet, ecommerce and technology.

Betagro mainly sells through retail partners like Tops, Tesco Lotus, Big C, and Family Mart and its own distribution channels, namely Betagro Shops, with a footprint of over 100 in Thailand. Unlike its main competitor Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL, who has access to massive distribution through its 8,000+ 7-Eleven branches in Thailand – Betagro still has to rely on partners.

From a marketing perspective, like many other traditional business in Thailand, Betagro still uses offline channels such as event marketing through roadshows, mall booths, etc. and sampling in supermarkets. Its online efforts are limited to its corporate website Betagro.com, which is lackluster, and content marketing on its “Betagro Society” YouTube and Facebook pages.

Betagro marketingMaximizing Marketing Opportunities

To maximize the company’s online efforts, there exists many opportunities across the user journey for specifically Content Marketing and Influencer and Affiliate Marketing that we highlight here. 

betagro marketing

Content Marketing: Videos

Given the very nature of its business, content marketing is a great way to educate, activate and engage customers for Betagro. Similar to how Dollar Shave Club leveraged its now cult-like “Our Blades Are F**king Great” viral video to spur its initial hyper growth, Betagro can create cooking videos and online recipes to engage their audience and build brand identity.

Betagro’s official music video on YouTube garnered over 5 million views in less than one year’s time. Although impressive, it pales in comparison to short-form cooking videos on Facebook like those by Tasty, some racking up over 30 million views in less than 12 hours.

Betagro marketing

Betagro marketing

Facebook’s powerful short-form, auto-play videos are now being applied by food business in Thailand such as Unilever’s Best Foods.

Content Marketing: Recipes

Best Food’s US website is another great example of using online recipes for SEO and engagement. While Betagro’s website mainly covers corporate information, Unilever’s BestFoods.com offers many recipes that allow the brand to display their products in attractive high-res imagery – selling without direct selling.

Betagro marketing

Having recipes online not only helps with engagement but also with SEO, resulting in an increase in organic traffic from Google. A quick look at Similar Web data for BestFoods.com shows top keywords are all recipe-related ones.

Betagro marketing

Influencer & Affiliate Marketing

Facebook paid advertising is one way to distribute content for Betagro. Another – and sometimes more efficient way – is to leverage influencers or “Key Opinion Leaders” (KOLs). In Thailand, due to a “no-tail” environment, a lot of these KOLs are on Facebook instead of having their own blogs or websites. Below is a list of popular cooking and food related KOLs.

Betagro marketing

Betagro could partner with these KOLs to educate and increase brand awareness through text and video content directed at an audience with interest in their products. In the Mai Yom Auon example above, the page owner cooks using a pan provided by the advertiser Korea King.

Another way to leverage these KOLs is by adding them to an affiliate program where the aim is to drive traffic to a future Betagro ecommerce website – either in the form of a brand.com or shop-in-shop on a marketplace.

Betagro marketing

Betagro marketing

Betagro marketing

Influencers can post a ‘shop’ on their official Facebook page to showcase the brand’s products to their fans.

 

Monetization: Ecommerce

The amount of distributors for Betagro products are limited leaving the company to the mercy of its retail partners such as Tesco Lotus and Family Mart. But by offering its products online, Betagro is able to increase its leverage vis-à-vis these partners as well as collect data from the end consumer.

Similar brands have already started doing so such as Yurun Group in China on Tmall and Globo Foods in Thailand on Lazada.

Betagro marketingBetagro marketingBetagro marketing

Monetization: Online-to-Offline

Betagro can also leverage digital channels to drive offline sales. For example, Honestbee and HappyFresh are food delivery apps that are being used by major food retail distributors across Southeast Asia.

By partnering with these companies, Betagro can help drive foot traffic to offline Betagro Shops as well as promote and advertise Betagro brands and products.

betagro-happyfresh

By implementing the marketing strategies mentioned above, Betagro will be able to expand their audience, increase sales and jump ahead of competitors. The best part?  without largely denting their budget.

Written by Sheji Ho, aCommerce Group CMO

Betagro Case Study: Direct-to-Consumer Opportunity Through Digital Transformation Full Download

Ecommerce website content, which encompasses all copywriting and visuals, provides the first impression of a brand to any customer. Content is a major deal breaker for an ecommerce website to inspire confidence to shop without the user seeing or sampling the product. 34% of online shoppers in the Philippines reported they were influenced by online content prior to making the purchase.

With its young populations, growing middle class and digital adoption, Southeast Asia is right in the middle of the ecommerce hype. Around 40% of Southeast Asia’s 620 million population have smartphones and 100 million or one in four consumers over the age of 16 have made an online purchase. The region’s middle class is expected to double to 400 million people by 2020.  

As a result, global brands are looking to expand their online footprint in the region. So how can ecommerce sites in the region ensure returning traffic and ultimately convert their visitors?

To create engaging content, an ecommerce site in Southeast Asia should include these features:

beautyiq-content-types

Transactional content means that product images, collections, and reviews should be enticing and lure customers to make the purchase without seeing the product in real life.

Discovery content, also known as editorial, is the content that does not have a strong sales message, but is useful or enjoyable to the user. Discovery content is not new in the online world, but brands that are able to blend both transactional and discovery content seamlessly will find themselves ahead of the curve.

Localized content means that content is not just translated, but together with visuals it is adjusted to cultural preferences of the target customers.

The first of beautyIQ series will cover tips for making good transactional and discovery content, while the importance of the localization will be featured in the next article later this week.

eIQ’s Take on Thailand’s Beauty Ecommerce

eIQ has taken a deep dive into the ecommerce maturity of beauty brands in Thailand. Worth over $7.2 billion, the beauty industry in Thailand is highly attractive for brands overseas, especially due to high demand for global beauty products in the local markets.

eIQ combed through global brands who have their own brand.com websites such as MAC and L’Occitane, and also brands who sell their products on ecommerce marketplaces. This series will provide insight on various topics to show how these beauty brands successfully approach the tricky market that is Southeast Asia and how they could further tailor their transactional and discovery content for consumers in the region. Here are the top three content must haves:

1. Invest Big in Visuals

75% of customers cite quality of images as the most important feature when viewing products in online stores. Without being able to touch and feel the product, customers can only rely on images to make their decision so it is extremely critical to show them an accurate color tone  and provide the option to zoom. This also ensures they do not get a disappointing surprise when they receive the product – ending up in a negative review of your brand. For that reason, high resolution images is quite obviously a must.

Unlike fashion, beauty has the challenge of selling a product that looks virtually the same no matter what angle it is photographed at. As a result, eIQ found that the majority of the brands limited their product display to a zoom functionality of the container. This is not considered helpful in the customer journey when deciding whether to make the purchase of let’s say, a lipstick.

How can a brand show a product’s texture or color palette other than simply contrasting the desired tone against a white (or black) background?

South Korean cosmetics brand Innisfree is a trailblazer in this area and can provide some ideas even to major global brands. Its online store provides high resolution product images in multiple angles – from top, from side, with packaging or flat on the table. All products have zoom option and are photographed in an environment that feels like home.

Innisfree also uses real models to showcase the genuine color and texture of the products. For example, a customer can compare tones of eyeshadows or see the texture of a cleanser applied on a model’s skin. Whether the brand is selling cosmetics or skin care, the goal is to give shoppers a ‘real life’ perspective.

Innisfree texture

Innisfree uses models to showcase the genuine color and texture of their products giving shoppers a ‘real life’ perspective. Source: Innisfree website

 

Attractive, clean images do not require the best of breed photographers. It is possible to do it yourself using simple Shopify’s at-home tutorial or outsource to a content specialist who excels in digital production such as Channelsquid CMS.

channelsquid

Channelsquid CMS offers companies to outsource creation of visuals and content to specialists who excel in digital production. Source: aCommerce website

2. Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews

According to Econsultancy, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews, and the sales uplift from reviews can be as much as 18%.

Unlike in Western markets, many brands in Thailand omit the funcionality of user reviews on their brand.com webstore. Gain from customer reviews by making them as visible as the product purchase content. L’Occitane local webstore has reviews in Thai language and also incorporates reviews in English from customers overseas providing a broader overview of customer experience. On the Innisfree webstore, customer reviews are easily seen right below the “Add to Bag” button.

L’Occitane user reviews are easily seen on its product description page. Source: L’Occitane Thai website

Customers will not skip Innisfree product reviews that are featured just below the “Add to Bag” button. Source: Innisfree website

However, it is not only about creating the functionality, customers should be actively encouraged to leave reviews. For example, American premium skincare brand Kiehl’s on its Thai webstore enables reviews after the user has made a purchase. Another option is to offer a discount or some other incentive for users to leave a review.

One of the best tools of marketing still is word-of-mouth, therefore allowing your customers to share their favorite products on social media channels by having share buttons will be for your benefit as well.

3. Combine the Shop and Editorial Content

“How-to” make-up tutorials either as blog posts or videos show the brand’s products in action and can nudge viewers anywhere from 64-85% more likely to purchase. Yet often the discovery content is isolated from purchase content. As eIQ observed, in many cases the user is asked to make a choice between entering the site’s magazine/blog or entering the shop.

The best practice is to give the user an option to browse through both blogs and shop. Websites such as Estée Lauder and Bobbi Brown succeed in framing content around certain products in an educational narrative of how-to tips, which also gives the user an option to click on the product and make a purchase.

Beauty brands Bobbi Brown and Estée Lauder offer how-to tips while also giving the user an option to click on the product and make a purchase. Source: Bobbi Brown and Estée Lauder Thai online stores

The blend of editorial and product content also works the other way around – with links to tutorials or blogs included on the product description page.

Another way to offer the user a glimpse into the variety of products is user generated content. Drive traffic and sales to your brand’s webstore by integrating social media, such as Instagram or Facebook,Youtube, posts of local beauty bloggers or make-up artists using the brand’s products.

By using a hashtag or creating a special campaign, your brand can save costs and let the happy user showcase their satisfaction with your product on social media.

Kiehl’s Malaysia Instagram account encourages users to use the hashtags #mykiehls and #UseItRight in order to be featured on their page. The content created by their customers is spread across their other country specific accounts such as Kiehl’s Thailand.

kiehls-ig

Kiehl’s Malaysia features on their Instagram account customers who use their products and share pictures with hashtags #mykiehls and #UseItRight. Source: Kiehl’s Malaysia Instagram account

 

Offering discounts is another way to incentivize customers to share their experience. This strategy not only increases audience reach as customers share your brand with their network, but also helps other potential customers. 93% of customers find user generated content helpful when making a purchase decision and it can increase web conversions by up to almost 30%.

Stay tuned for the next article in our eIQ series that will focus on the importance of localization, content adjustments to cater to cultural preferences.

By Anutra Chatikavanij and Aija Krutaine

What do you think makes content a lasting impression?
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