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.

Ecommerce, as the name suggests, is the process of buying and selling a product over the internet. The ability to shop online is not confined to only laptops and PCs, but more and more, being conducted on smartphones and tablets in developing regions.

Opportunity is where the people are; in Thailand alone, mobile social users make up 42 million out of the country’s total 68.22 million population making the smartphone an important channel for retail companies.

The sixth week of LEAP looked at the potential of mobile commerce, introduced the fundamentals of app marketing, and illustrated how an omni-channel strategy is possible in even Thailand’s oldest, highly reputable, retail players – Central Group.

1. Three Mega Trends of a Mobile-Driven Economy


Brands often ask, “what do customers want next?”, the truth is that many of them don’t really know what they want.

Instead of watching customer behavior for trends, it’s better to watch innovative businesses.

LEAP Ecommerce Course

Nathania Christy, TrendWatching Insights & Community Lead APAC

According to TrendWatching, brands must create something that serves the basic needs of humans as well be aware of how these needs will evolve. This is how to achieve what Nathania calls the “sweet spot”.

LEAP Ecommerce Course

She discussed three mega trends during her lecture and how businesses can integrate them into core products:

1. Helpfull – contextualizing a brand’s omni-presence to serve convenience-oriented consumers. It does not have to be online or involve with sophisticated technology.

Example: In Indonesia, government officials employ WhatsApp to allow Indonesians to schedule appointments with government agencies. Effectiveness does not require fancy technology, your goal can be achieved as long as it answers a basic need – convenience.

2. Infolust – information is everywhere, today’s consumers want to be informed in real-time.

Example: Japanese supermarket “U” proves that its produce is fresh by launching an official Snapchat account and filming the journey of its fish through “Stories”.

3. Joyning – there are various types of connections made possible through a mobile-driven society:

  • Instant Encounters are about making direct, face-to-face contact to create relationships
  • Middlemen Removal becomes the new business model where intermediary is eliminated and in return, brands are able to produce goods of better quality and price
  • Digital Detox is much needed as more consumers are glued to their phones and less people are connecting in real life
  • Mass Mingling offers an activity for consumers to get together and do meaningful things in groups

Example: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines brought strangers together during Christmas time by preparing a Christmas feast that was only accessible if every seat around the dinner table was filled. Take a look at the heart-warming application of Mass Mingling by KLM here.

Want more mega trends? We’ve shared the TrendWatching deck here.

2. App Installs Do Not Translate into Success  


For brands that offer a mobile application, getting consumers to install the app may be a main objective but it doesn’t guarantee success.

Why? Because consumers uninstall applications all the time. Thailand has a 34% rate of uninstalls for Android app users.

LEAP Ecommerce Course

Jonah Kadish, AppsFlyer Customer Success Manager

So how can brands measure app success? Rather than focus on driving installs, focus on in-app events. They include:

App usage – Is it frequent within a week?

Session length – Is it long enough to make a purchase?

LEAP Ecommerce Course

3. The Importance of Omni-Channel in the View of Central Group


As the world of commerce evolves, so does a customer’s’ expectation.

LEAP Ecommerce Course

Selling goods is no longer defined by the famous 4Ps (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) but rather the experience that consumers are expecting to get. Khun Bhumsaran shares a private case study regarding Topshop’s success moving into an omni-channel strategy.

LEAP Ecommerce Course

Bhumsaran (Top) Amthong, Central Online SVP Head of Commercial

The next class is on Thursday October 19th and will take a look at logistics and fulfillment, from industry leaders include Lazada and Pomelo. Stay tuned for next week’s takeaways!

[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

commerce marketing

Criteo Exec Connect 2017 in Bangkok

“The question that needs to be asked is not for more channels but have we maximized our efforts in the current ones?”

This comment comes from Scott Minteer, VP of Online Marketing at LOOKSI (previously Zalora Thailand), during an executive roundtable held by Criteo Exec Connect last week.

The once popular question, “should I go online?” has long passed.

In a room filled with the region’s top ecommerce players, enablers and forward thinking global brands – LINE, Lazada, Agoda, Beiersdorf, Meiji, aCommerce, Orami, Konvy, etc. – the question has now become, “how do I maximize the returns on my existing ecommerce assets?”

How can I drive a higher number of quality users to my app, my webstore, my marketplace shop-in-shop to increase conversions?”

When the majority of retail’s biggest names are trying to reach customers through a desktop/mobile website, marketplace official shop, and/or dedicated app, it’s easy to get lost in the digital space.

This is where quality commerce marketing technology comes into play.

Companies with vast ad networks mixed with new age machine learning such as Criteo, one of the world’s largest commerce marketing ecosystems, exist to help growing businesses like fashion retailer ZALORA and booking giant Expedia capture the attention of Southeast Asia’s most relevant 200+ million digital consumers.

Commerce Marketing

Alban Villani (Criteo), Julien Chalté (LINE), Thanawat Malabuppa (Priceza)

ecommerceIQ chats with Alban Villani, General Manager of Criteo Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, to understand where the region stands in terms of marketing maturity, how brands can optimize online performance and how businesses can adapt to gain more from marketing tech.

But First, Education.  

There are multiple ways that a business can drive traffic to its ecommerce store – banner ads, search keywords, SEO-optimized content, etc. – but marketers need to first understand if they are utilizing the right channels for their market.

Is the business driving traffic to the best channels?

Alban believes there are a few changes that need to happen before retail can really take off in the region.

  1.     Ditching a conservative approach

“Smaller brands need scale and personalization to compete on equal footing with larger retailers. Sometimes all marketing effort is still placed only on desktop,” says Alban.

The desktop started as the main device favored by consumers to shop on but in order to reach the new generation of shoppers using various devices to browse through multiple platforms, companies need to capture much more information than the conventional statistics reveal such as age, gender, geographic location, etc., one of Indonesia’s largest retailers, used a Criteo specialized retargeting tool to discover an online visitor’s readiness to purchase by assessing factors such as consumers’ online navigation patterns and what they add to ‘shopping carts’. This increased the e-retailer’s advertising ROI by 900%.

Once a customer has been segmented, simple dynamic retargeting tools can then display the most relevant ads in real-time to them later in the purchasing funnel and local brands can leverage targeted marketing to capture relevant shoppers outside the walls of their own assets on third-party apps like Facebook.

Take for example, Joan is browsing on the Lazada app for a Maybelline lipstick on the brand’s official SIS (shop-in-shop) during her morning commute to work. In the evening, she accesses her desktop computer at home to look at vacation photos on Facebook when she notices an ad that shows her the same lipstick she didn’t purchase earlier in the day. She decides to buy.

Businesses of all sizes are slowly beginning to realize that channels are all connected and marketing efforts should reflect the same by tracking cross-device and cross-platform performance.

  1.     Investing into a mobile application

“They [brands] are already making money on web, so they don’t spend too many resources on app,” says Alban.

Southeast Asia’s affinity for smartphones has caused companies such as Shopee and LOOKSI to adopt a mobile-first strategy to reach a wider audience. By building an app with strong UX and ads targeted at encouraging installs, they can directly send alerts and deals with loyal customers.

Central Group’s Scott commented that majority of the LOOKSI’s revenue came from its app.

Commerce Marketing

LOOKSI app advertising

“We build brand awareness through desktop so it’s still needed but the conversion rate is higher on the app,” says Scott.

The popularity of mobile apps in the region and performance marketing tactics like in-app retargeting by Criteo increased Zalora’s app traffic and sales transactions by 9X from September 2015 to 2016.

More than 4 in 5 Thai respondents find it more enjoyable and convenient to use a retail and shopping app over a brand’s mobile website – Criteo APAC Research

“The key to mobile success is keeping the retention rate high because even a 5% increase could grow the value of purchase from anywhere between 20 to 90%,” shared Ronen Mense, VP Asia of Appsflyer, during the roundtable.

“You can talk about the future and what’s going to happen based on future technologies like progressive web apps, AR, VR,” he continues. “But the most important thing to focus on is where your consumer is engaging with your brand and service today. If you wait until a new technology reaches critical mass, it will be too late.”

“The focus isn’t only on installs anymore, the key challenge for brands is encouraging repeat usage and improving conversions,” says Alban. “Very simply, it costs more to acquire a new user than it is to retain an existing one.”

A Real Marriage Between Online and Offline Data

“Thailand started to slow down in [retail] progress a year and a half ago. What we have seen is mostly consolidation, meaning there are fewer ecommerce sites and fluctuating churn.”

Less opportunity has led to an emerging hybrid model where brands and ecommerce sites must work together.”

What Alban is referring to is a symbiotic relationship where ecommerce platforms like Lazada, Konvy, etc., build tools to enable sellers to gain more visibility on its platform and sellers in turn, share consumer behavior data – what do they like to buy? Which products do they purchase together, what time do they like to purchase?, etc.

“Lazada wants brands to be more involved, we empower them through our platform and technology, while brands bring in their deep consumer knowledge,” commented Aurélien Pallain, EVP of Marketing at Lazada Group, at Criteo Exec Connect.

Although marketplaces are slowly developing in-house solutions to help its sellers drive traffic to their shop-in-shops, majority are still heavily dependent on off site re-targeting agencies to acquire high volumes of traffic by tapping into a large publisher network.

“Data sharing is necessary to help companies maximize their online performance, it benefits all parties and ultimately the consumers by allowing brands to reach them with relevant offers,” added Julien Chalté, Head of Ecommerce at LINE Thailand.

To optimize existing ecommerce assets is to optimize available marketing tools through data.

But in order to capture valuable data, structured systems need to be in place internally in a business and this is where Thailand’s traditional retailers and brands lack maturity.

Criteo has the capacity to utilize a brand’s offline database to reach a custom audience online, but very few players in Thailand’s retail industry have tech-powered brick and mortar stores or “clean, usable data” from offline purchases.

“Criteo uses first-party data, never the third party, to build quality product recommendation so clients use us as a discovery tool as well as a conversion tool.”

“We can take data from the brand that they have collected from their CRM, loyalty cards, and offline transactions and match it with our recommendation engines for O2O [offline-to-online] marketing but not many businesses have this type of information readily available,” says Alban.

How can this be fixed?

By holding more brainstorming sessions like Criteo Exec Connect and building more partnerships within the ecommerce ecosystem between enablers, platforms and brands, Alban feels positive about the region’s development and piquing interest from brands looking to improve existing marketing efforts.

Commerce Marketing

Criteo Exec Connect 2017 in Bangkok

“Smaller brands must tap into an open commerce marketing ecosystem and use machine learning to connect shoppers to the products they need and love. Criteo’s technology allows them to engage shoppers with relevant experiences on both retail apps and third-party platforms directly driving sales and profits.”

“There’s actually a quicker speed of adoption in Thailand than Singapore between brands and agencies. The big difference is in the average revenue per user (spend) but most brands are more interested in looking at market potential.”

And where else has a brighter potential than Southeast Asia’s online future?

Download the Report2017 Criteo APAC Research: App Commerce Goes Big in Thailand


Here’s what you should know today.

1. AppsFlyer raises $56m to capture Asia’s mobile marketing opportunity

Appsflyer has raised $56 million for its series C round. This brings its total funding to US$84 million. AppsFlyer’s tools are integrated into most popular mobile apps and systems to monitor their use. This helps marketers target their campaigns with greater accuracy and measure their effectiveness.

What now? China will be a big focus for the company. The startup will use its partnerships with companies like Tencent and Baidu to explore that market further. This also means hiring more people in China and Southeast Asia and opening a new office in Indonesia. Some acquisitions might also be in the pipeline…

Read the rest of the story here.


2. For cross-border ecommerce, regulations are becoming a key roadblock

Cross-border e-commerce is growing substantially in Southeast Asia, but regulations serve as a major bottleneck to its current development.

What the experts say: “Every logistics company has their own procedures, and it takes time to negotiate through difficult bureaucracies seen in countries like India and Indonesia, where at times regulations are too big and too vague,” says Anchanto chief executive officer and co-founder Vaibhav Dabhade.

Read the rest of the story here


3. Recommended Reading: Why online grocers are so unsuccessful, and what Amazon is doing about it

From price, technology to perishables, how is Amazon filling the gaps not filled by other grocery startups?

What the experts say: “Once Amazon’s growing grocery business reaches critical mass, the shift will happen immediately. All other retailers will have no other choice but to make it work any way they can,” says Uwe Weiss, CEO of machine learning software Blue Yonder.

Read the rest of the story here.