Posts

The ecommerce world today is all about data. It’s not a nice-to-have but rather a must-have. Why? Because the richer the data, the better the decision brands make.

Collecting data is easy when brands have their own ecommerce website or what we call 1st party data. Some channel partners do share their data to a certain extent, that’s called 2nd party data. The 3rd party data, which is a set of data collected from sources by a company that isn’t directly involved in the transaction, will help brands drive successful action and increase their ecommerce sales.

Types of data in today’s ecommerce world; BrandIQ

Brands in Southeast Asia are accustomed to ‘surveyed data’, but have a limited amount of data from online marketplaces, so much so that it is insufficient for them to craft a successful online marketplace strategy.

BrandIQ is envisioned to provide brands in Southeast Asia with measurable data and actionable insights for their online commerce strategy. Using sophisticated ecommerce data collection and proprietary machine learning technologies, BrandIQ will empower brands to monitor online merchandise, analyze competitors, offer better promotions, understand consumer sentiments, and improve the overall ecommerce experience.

When 4Ps is not enough. BrandIQ Analytics will be able to provide brands the data and insights across 9Ps; BrandIQ

At Okura Prestige Bangkok, three brands – Beiersdorf, Kimberly Clark, and L’Oreal, were brought together by BrandIQ to discuss and share their experience about the growing influence of data usage and user-generated reviews.

From left: aCommerce’s Group Director of Product, Poonpat Wattanavinit as the moderator, and panelists: Praponsak Kumpolpun, Senior Ecommerce Manager, L’Oreal CPD Thailand, Aviroot Prasitnarit, Sales Director – Kimberly Clark Thailand, and Phunnapa, Limtansakul, Senior Ecommerce Manager SEA – Beiersdorf Thailand

This is what was discussed:

Keep your Friends Close, Your Enemy Closer

By having an understanding of your competitor’s movement, brands can gain a significant advantage to help guide its own pricing and marketing strategy.

Tracking your competitor can be easily done offline, especially the price. Brands can simply send an intern to take note of the price. In the country’s FMCG industry, prices change every two weeks. Online channels? Every minute.

“Unlike offline, monitoring our competitors’ online movement is extremely challenging. Promotions are constantly changing and without a proper tool, it is impossible for a human to keep up,” says Aviroot Prasitnarit, Sales, Kimberly Clark. “My team once woke up to a surprise that our competitor could perform really well overnight because of its flash sales at 10 PM. None of my team members was standing by to track that.”

Being in the competitive FMCG industry, Kimberly Clark aims for a double-digit growth. Therefore, taking up more market share from its competitor is very important to Aviroot. So when it comes to price, Aviroot suggests keeping friends close, enemies closer.

In addition to direct competitors, brands should also be aware that grey sellers on the online marketplace can be a threat. According to BrandIQ, 35% of e-marketplace sales happen through grey sellers. This should raise a concern among brands because not only can grey sellers take away your share on an online marketplace, brands will not be able to create a unified brand experience.

Because at the end of the day, consumers will not differentiate if the sellers are grey, authorized or official. They will perceive it as one brand.

The New Rising Star: Nano Influencer

Besides price, reviews and ratings are also important for L’Oreal Thailand where the cosmetic industry is a “Red Hot Ocean”, according to Praponsak Kumpolpun, Senior eCommerce Manager, L’Oreal CPD Thailand.

“Thailand has many strong local beauty brands that are 40-50% cheaper than L’Oreal with roughly the same quality. So monitoring 4Ps (Price, Product, People, Place) is not enough.”

BrandIQ also found that the FMCG category has almost 70,000 reviews with most comments regarding the quality and speed of delivery. This is because FMCG has a “need it now” characteristic, making consumers very sensitive to delivery lead-time.

The number of reviews versus % of reviews that are about delivery across the categories on Thailand’s leading online marketplace; BrandIQ

Aviroot also added that a survey conducted by his team revealed that commercials on televisions are not convincing for consumers today. 80% of respondents also say they’d rather listen to recommendations of their friends and family. This is where the concept of nano influencers comes in.

Influencer marketing is not new in Southeast Asia. Around 40% of companies’ social media advertising spending has been allocated to influencer marketing in Thailand, up from 15% three years ago. Thailand, being the home to 57 million active Internet users, consumers are fairly familiar with social media. Seeing the success of established influencers and bloggers in the industry, many could not help but aspire to be one, in hope to enjoy the perks brands offer; overseas trips, free products, and a large amount of side income.

The trend to become influencers made the social web of today home to a millennial digital entrepreneurial society. Brands make a good use of it by handpicking matured ambassadors, ready to promote their values, from the army of new social influencers.

“Whether they are macro, micro, nano, influencers play a big part in convincing the digital consumers. Knowing that Nano influencer is new to the market, I think it is a big opportunity that brands should start considering.” – Phunnapa, Limtansakul, Senior Ecommerce Manager SEA – Beiersdorf Thailand.

What Can Brands Take Away from This?

Time and again, brands are constantly curious about two things: what is my competitor doing? How do my consumers feel? As ecommerce and social media become a bigger part of consumers’ daily lives, brands are looking for ways to gather data and gain insights from platforms such as Lazada and Shopee as a rich and dynamic data set.

The metrics that BrandIQ will be able to offer to brands.

And the metrics that brands should start paying more attention to, tools like BrandIQ will be able to track and analyze consumer behavior and sentiment on marketplaces, in addition to tracking their own performance as well as benchmarking against competitors selling similar products.

Interested in monitoring your competitor? Get BrandIQ’s free trial here.

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