ecommerceIQ, together with Sasin SEC, created the Leadership Ecommerce Accelerator Program (LEAP) to provide the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to successfully run an ecommerce business in the world’s fastest growing market.

Originating from China, Singles’ Day online shopping festival has become Asia’s official Black Friday and Cyber Monday since 2009. Taking place on November 11th of every year, it was initially set up to celebrate the individualism of Chinese consumers but became an annual online shopping extravaganza that Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined cannot even touch.

Southeast Asia’s very own Singles’ Day, nicknamed the Online Revolution, happens on the same day.  For the last class in the Leadership Ecommerce Accelerator Program, students learned how knowledge was put to action through a practical look at ecommerce operations in a 21,000 sqm fulfillment center handling B2B and B2C orders for 11.11.

Project Management is the Backbone of Your Fulfillment Center

Lai Tze Siung (TS), Operations Director aCommerce Thailand

Lai Tze Siung (TS), Operations Director aCommerce Thailand

Whether you are preparing for 11.11 or beginning to set up a fulfillment center, frequently asked questions often revolve around the capacity and resources needed to run the warehouse efficiently.

So how do we answer such questions?

Proper project management.

At aCommerce, TS explains there are 5 stages: Initiate, Plan, Execute, Control/Monitoring and Closing. Some vital areas to watch out for is demand forecasting, which requires active communications with clients to plan for upcoming promotions and campaigns equating to high influx of orders.

For special sale periods such as 11.11, the warehouse floor is re-adjusted to increase efficiencies for the shortest process cycle time. Customer expectations during the holidays are much high than normal and must be managed.

Other tips? Ensure to call COD customers before arriving at their doorsteps to collect cash because many times they aren’t at home or don’t have the exact change.

Over the years, the entire ecommerce landscape has changed and shifted the way our warehouses are built. The packing tables, shelves and racks need to accommodate larger items as more consumers become comfortable with ordering items such as refrigerators and TVs online.”

After the presentation, TS and the operations team led the class through the fulfillment center to understand how customer service reps answer product questions.

More people are using social media to connect with their brands. We have seen the number of phone calls declining drastically over the years.”

The class was also showed how high-value items are stored in a secure location, which operations technology systems were running the backend and the entire picking and packing process.

The flow of our fulfillment center

A quick introduction of the safety measures and the fulfilment center operations.

The tour started at the inbound station, where goods are delivered to be stored according to brand. Items are also categorized according to its popularity. The fast-moving items are placed near outbound for quick pick-and-pack and delivery.

A walk through the large, bulk item section where 50” television, refrigerator, air conditioning units, etc. are stored.

aCommerce uses movable workstations to bring the labels and processing to the large items.

aCommerce staff explains the information each employee needed to complete the process. This includes the identification the location of the items or what are the items ordered in a basket.

At aCommerce’s pick-and-pack stations, where the items are being packed into boxes and the system will automatically choose suitable logistics supplier to complete the delivery.

As we come to the end of the first Leadership Ecommerce Accelerator Program, we look forward to celebrating the success of our senior executive class as they move forward in their companies with the new knowledge gained.

Thank you to all of our lecturers from leading industry players such as Lazada, Pomelo, eatigo, Kerry Express, honestbee and aCommerce. Thank you to Sasin Graduate Institute for the support and input. And congratulations LEAP graduating Class 2017 for the completion of Southeast Asia’s first ecommerce executive program!

For those interested in learning more about upcoming classes and workshops, please send us a message here.

If you haven’t had a chance to catch up on the past nine highlights from the 10-week program, here are the links to the past insights:

[LEAP Week 1] eIQ Insights: The New Ecommerce Opportunity in Thailand

[LEAP Week 2] eIQ Insights: Refinement of an Ecommerce Channel Strategy

[LEAP Week 3] eIQ Insights: Market-Product Fit First Before Anything

[LEAP Week4] eIQ Insights: Central Marketing Group’s Shares Phase II of Digital Strategy

[LEAP Week 5] eIQ Insights: Startups Need to Have an Independent Source of Income to Survive

[LEAP Week 6] eIQ Insights: In Mobile Commerce, App Install is Only the Starting Point

[LEAP Week 7] eIQ Insights: Logistics and Fulfillment, The Other Side of The Ecommerce Coin

[LEAP Week 8] eIQ Insights: Looking to Succeed in Fulfillment and Logistics? Start with Data and People

[LEAP Week 9] eIQ Insights: Thailand Must Do More With Less to Achieve a Digital Economy

As internet adoption grows at a double digit pace year on year in Southeast Asia – a 31 percent increase last year – retailers and brands must find ways to capture the wave of the some 80 million new consumers coming online.

Internet shopping has become one of the most robust areas of growth in the last few years, especially in markets like Indonesia and Thailand as both international and local ecommerce players pour money into winning the emerging digital customer in the region.

In such a fragmented market segmented varying in cultures and languages, there are a few common key threads to be noted about the region’s increasingly affluent shoppers:

  • Southeast Asia is mobile first. Mobile subscriptions have increased by 8% since last year, adding an additional 60 million users.
  • Southeast Asian’s are the most actively engaged with social media. Indonesia is sometimes referred to as “Twitter city” whereas Total Access Communication Pcl, estimates that Thais spend up to six hours a day on Facebook and Youtube – the 8th highest in the world.
  • Southeast Asia has low credit card penetration and a large unbanked population – 73 percent – due to a lack of financial maturity.
  • There is an overall low trust in anything ‘digital’ due to its novelty and user unfamiliarity.

So how do retailers, brand stores and marketplaces attract more consumers to shop on their websites?

One highly successful and proven method is to incentivize with large discounts, leading to the emergence of some of the region’s most infamous flash sales.

Sign up here to get the PDF.

Here are the key headlines you should know today.

1. Nike, Apple and Playboy amongst the most popular US brands during 11.11

“Alibaba is using this year’s Singles Day to showcase the number of international brands participating, everyone from Apple, Victoria’s Secret, Burberry, Gap, [and] Nike, acting as the gateway to China for these brands and fulfilling Chinese consumers’ insatiable demand for Western products,” said Danielle Bailey, head of Asia-Pacific research for L2 Inc.

Read the rest of the story here


2. Malaysia takes serious steps to obtain digital economy goals

“The e-commerce ecosystem will continue to evolve in the future with the maturity of services, and the consumption patterns of the citizens. Two key areas worthy of future attention are figuring out how to retain more revenues from e-commerce sector within Malaysia, as well as encouraging global e-commerce platforms to increase investment in the country,” said Vijay Sundararaman, IDC Malaysia Country Manager.

Read the rest of the story here


3. South Korean beauty startup, Althea, moves into Southeast Asia

One of Althea’s co-founders and CFO, Jae Kim, told CNBC the decision to move into the region was a “no-brainer” because of a pent-up demand for Korean beauty products that was being unmet by other companies.

Kim added various payment preferences added to the uniqueness of southeast Asia. When asked if Althea had plans to introduce its own line of South Korean beauty products, he said, “We are thinking about it but no concrete plans yet.”

Read the rest of the story here.


1. Alibaba and Thai Chamber of Commerce team up has appointed the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) as its first authorised e-commerce training center in Thailand. Both organizations have joined forces to accelerate ecommerce group in Thailand and to help boost SME growth.

Read the rest of the story here

2. Record $12b spent by Alibaba shoppers halfway through China’s biggest sales day

Alibaba manages to break its own 11.11 record every year. This number averages out at a billion dollars per hour. Virtually all of China’s shopping apps and websites have a day of sales, but only Alibaba is releasing real-time data on how much people are spending.

*update: 11.11 smashed records this year, with total GMV rounding up to $17.73 billion.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Fintech startup MC Payment raises $3.5m to move into Thailand

 This latest funding round was led by Thailand-based investment firm 2W Group. Aura Funds Management, Tryb Capital, and Perle Ventures also participated.
In addition, MC Payment says it will use the money to explore acquisition opportunities and to do some strategic venture capital investing of its own in Southeast Asia. It’s looking to work with companies that can help it get more merchants to use its products across its current market.
Read the rest of the story here

It’s 11.11, and in ‘ecommerce speak’, we know what that means. Look no further for our round-ups on Alibaba’s shopping extravaganza and more.

1. Alibaba beats Singles Day sale record

the ecommerce giant made $5 billion within the first hour, and this number shot up to $7 billion by the second hour. The company led into today’s sale with a star-studded promotional gala that it called “a cross between a 1960s variety show and home shopping network.” Katy Perry, who had been set to appear, canceled at the last minute.

Read the rest of the story here


2. Cambodia Will Be Asia’s Next Online Shopping Battleground

TNS Global expects that international sites like AliExpress and Amazon will come to dominate e-commerce in Cambodia, especially with their consumer protection policies. But that may be at least five years away, and for now the domestic market is adopting to local conditions, such as the fact that most Cambodians still do not use credit or debit cards.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Live Updates of Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival Through Alizila

10:37 a.m. CST: Alibaba had released the following updated figures about the massive online sale so far. These numbers are as of 8 a.m. CST:
•Total GMV had reached $9.12 billion.
•The percentage of mobile GMV to total GMV was 84.9%
•The number of countries and regions with completed cross-border transactions: 207

Read the rest of the story here

Here’s some key headlines to round up the day.


1. Lippo’s retail arm Matahari Department Store dives into ecommerce

According to Christian Kurnia, Director of Marketing & Merchandising, Matahari has a loyal customer base of 3.5 million registered under its loyalty card programme. By going online, the retailer can reach many more, though Christian did not say how many they were targeting.

Read the rest of the story here


2.How Southeast Asia’s ecommerce companies should brace for Singles Day

Partner up, automatic on-boarding, sync stocks and more.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Online fashion retailer Nasty Gal will file for bankruptcy

The decade-old company is reportedly preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it restructures. Additionally, founder Sophia Amoruso is resigning as executive chairwoman.

Read the rest of the story here