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. Philips Lightings introduces Facebook ‘chatbot’

Philip Lightings has launched a chatbot on its Singapore Facebook page to help users make a purchase decision and buying products directly on the platform.

The move is part of its LEDs Get Smart Campaign, aimed at educating consumers of the benefit of installing the right lights at home. People from anywhere in the world can try out the chatbot, providing they access it via the Philips Singapore Facebook page.

The company has also partnered with Lazada Singapore to launch its first-ever specialty e-store on the ecommerce platform. Alok Ghose, MD of Philips Lighting, said that the partnership will serve as an excellent opportunity for the company to tap into the growing ecommerce segment.

Read the rest of the story here

2. Flipkart raises $1.4 billion from eBay, Microsoft, and Tencent

Indian ecommerce giant Flipkart has confirmed that it has raised $1.4 billion in new funding with some big names like China’s Tencent, eBay and Microsoft as strategic investors.

These names join the existing Flipkart backers that include Tiger Global, Naspers, Accel and DST Global as strategic investors. The company is now valued at $11.6 billion and getting ready to battle Amazon and Alibaba.

The investment will also see Flipkart take control of eBay India, which will remain an independent ecommerce site.

“This is a landmark deal for Flipkart and for India as it endorses our tech prowess, our innovative mindset and the potential we have to disrupt traditional markets. It is a resounding acknowledgment that the homegrown tech ecosystem is indeed thriving and succeeding in solving genuine problems in people’s daily lives across all of India,” founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal said in a statement.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. New report by Criteo reveals a distorted view of Southeast Asian online retailers

According to the new report published by Criteo, Southeast Asian retailers lacking a cross-device perspective will have a distorted view up to 41% of their online transactions.

The company indicates that in the long run, this distorted view results in inefficient allocation of marketing spend which in turn has a direct impact on the quality of shopper engagement and the volume of customer acquisitions.

It emphasizes the need for retailers to deepen their understanding of cross-device consumer behavior and align marketing strategies.

“In today’s competitive landscape, ecommerce businesses cannot afford to draw the wrong conclusions and waste money on the wrong channels,” explained Alban Villani, General Manager, Southeast Asia, Criteo.

Read the rest of the story here.


Here’s what you need to know before the work day craze sets in.


1. Fintech adoption to increase soon in Thailand

The adoption rate of financial technology among Thais is likely to pick up velocity in the near future, according to a study from PWC. Read the rest of the story here.


2. More than half on online viewing done on mobile devices

Mobile devices, for the first time, now account for more than half of all online viewing, and compares video engagement between iOS versus Android users, according to the second-quarter 2016 Global Video Index from Ooyala. Read the rest of the story here.


3. Criteo to acquire HookLogic for $250m in push for commerce stack

HookLogic’s performance marketing exchange enables these consumer brand manufacturers to bid on sponsored product ads on ecommerce and publisher sites. This is a big move for Criteo as it gives them access to ecommerce advertising inventory. Read the rest of the story here.

Here are the key ecommerce headlines you should know from today.


1. Foodpanda shuts down operations in Indonesia

Rocket Internet-backed food delivery startup Foodpanda announced that it is officially closing down its operations in Indonesia, less than three months after it first announced that the company is up for sale in August. Read the rest of the story here.


2. More than 50% of shoppers turn first to Amazon in product search

This means that leading into the busy holiday season, the company is advancing its lead over major retailers like Wal-Mart and search engines as the starting point for online shopping. Read the rest of the story here.


3. Criteo and Ovum’s new whitepaper: ecommerce startups must evolve now or fall by the wayside

Millennials and Generation Z consumers, for example, will be demanding more from e-commerce providers, such as the ability to discover, in real-time, unique goods they will not find in big-box retail chains. Read the rest of the story here.


4. India based Betaout is cloud-based marketing software provider that enables all the marketing channels of an ecommerce company to work together.

Some of its prominent clients are Paytm, Goibibo, GOQii, and Tokopedia. “We are working with over 150 ecommerce companies worldwide,” says Nandini. Read the rest of the story here.


5. Alipay and Wechat is changing the way Chinese travelers shop in Thailand

Porameth Rungrongtanin, chief executive of Asset Bright Plc (ABC), a Thai real estate and e-commerce business, said the company is expanding into cross-border retail payment service offering clearing and settlement services. ABC expects to enter into an agreement with Tencent by this year-end to support Chinese mobile-based cross-border payment services. Read the rest of the story here