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It’s difficult to deny that digital behavior among Thais has changed drastically over the past few years. Research from various institutions agree that Thai people have become increasingly addicted to their screens, often seen with heads bent over smartphones on the public train or during meal times. The surge of mobile phone addiction means that we’re no longer glued to the television for news because a simple scroll through social media can provide us with instantaneous updates in real-time.

The population’s behavioral shift has given rise to a trend in the marketing and commerce sphere; the much talked about social commerce, a new way to shop through social media platforms. Online shopping is no longer restricted to websites – Thais are turning to Facebook, Instagram and LINE to buy clothing, cosmetics, mangos and much more.

Social media platforms are in turn being used by small businesses to boost sales, provide customer support and increase brand awareness. How are a few individuals able to handle it all?

There are no vast differences between marketing for social commerce channels to marketing for websites as both requires similar ‘brand health checks’ to ensure growth and a viable business. This means that the skills needed for website marketing is transferable to social commerce.

eIQ catches up with Vanitcha Wankawisant, Head of Social Media at aCommerce to learn more about the Online Marketing Funnel framework used to acquire new leads, maintain relationships with clients and how social channels now fit into the big picture.

Source: Social Commerce Workshop – aCommerce Academy

The Online Marketing Funnel can segregate a client’s decision process into 5 key funnels:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acquisition
  3. Activation
  4. Retention
  5. Referral

Each funnel requires their own strategy.

 Case Study: Online Marketing Funnel for a Thai cosmetics mobile marketplace

Stage 1: Awareness

The cosmetics marketplace, called Brand A due to confidentiality, created a “free sampling” campaign targeted to social media savvy women in their mid twenties to late thirties through Facebook. The goal was to sell more products and increase their customer base. They also implemented a hashtag (#) and encouraged users to comment and share their posts to boost engagement.

Stage 2: Acquisition

Aside from ongoing activity on the brand’s social media channels, Wankawisant also recommended Brand A to sign up for a LINE@ account for users to signup and receive notifications regarding exclusive giveaways and announcements.

Working with aCommerce, she revealed the cosmetics marketplace increased their followers by 100% within 1 month.

LINE@ is LINE’s newest platform for businesses that want a direct relationship with customers and more personalized channel to reach them. The business account onLINE@ can be customized for retail brands to bloggers from various sectors.

Through the platform, brands can push out a promotion through a mass group message or customers can contact an admin member directly to chat. LINE@ allows up to 100 admin members to ensure that customers will be given the attentive customer service that is needed.

Brand A decided to move onto the LINE@ platform because they found that other social media platforms had a low level of organic reach whereas LINE@ was able to capture a great portion of the already active 33 million LINE users in Thailand.

Brands can directly “activate” followers through rewards cards, coupon/voucher activation that users can click on to store in their coupon book function in the LINE app.

How coupons can be used in LINE@

Stage 3: Activation

During the time period between the social media campaign to the free sampling announcement day, the brand used the “Broadcast Message” feature on LINE@ to send regular updates and promotions to followers, including discounts for first time buys.

Brand A improved its blended conversion rate by 20%.

Stage 4: Retention

Aside from promotions through “Broadcast” in LINE@, the brand also introduced fun activities to followers such as games relating to the products online. The quickest respondents received free products.

These efforts allowed the brand to maintain their number of active and organic followers and a low block rate of 10%. The games also boosted sales during the campaign period by 15%, and retargeted customers through the Rich Message  feature in LINE@. This feature attracts followers through big banners and includes outbound links to the brand site. It’s also a good way for business owners to obtain organic consumer data.

LINE@ for fast fashion brand, Pomelo

Stage 5: Referral

For every referral that was made between an existing user and a friend, the brand would give discounts to both parties – win-win. The brand gains another potential customer to activate through other methods aside from Facebook or LINE@ such as through email direct marketing (EDM).

Although social commerce is still a new sector of its own, it is becoming a viable business model that is one to watch in Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia where social media usage is one of the highest globally.

Business owners in the ecommerce industry and offline stores are already capitalizing. What are you waiting for?

 

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Line is losing users, but making more money than ever

The messaging app announced today that it lost three million users from October to December, stumbling from 220 million to 217 million. The bad news comes six months after Japan-based Line IPO’d in a dual listing in Tokyo and New York, debuting with a US$9 billion valuation. That has since fallen to US$8 billion.

Line is more dependent than ever on its four main user bases in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia, who now make up 77% of its audience, up from 67.3% a year prior.

But its making more money? The app makes most of its money from ads, gaming, and stickers . The company has seen its total revenue in 2016 hit $1.2 billion, up 17 points from the year before.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Facebook Messenger begins to test ads in Australia & Thailand

What? Facebook today is beginning to test integrating ads into its mobile messaging app’s user interface. The company says it will launch what it characterizes as a “very small test” in Australia and Thailand. This will allow businesses to place ads on the Messenger home screen.

How? The link to ads can direct users to click & learn more about the business, or signing up for a service.

Why do people like Messenger? People like to reach out to businesses via Messenger because it’s a more efficient way of asking questions and getting customer service.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Indonesia’s Mimpi launches luxury mattress only sold online 

Mimpi, a tech-startup in Jakarta will launch the Mimpi Mattress in less than 33 days. It’s a luxury mattress sold exclusively online in Indonesia for an affordable price.

The startup allows for a free 100 day home try on exchange program, and can be shipped in a box or delivered with white glove service.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know for today.

1. Mobile payments boom in China, spend a lot in Singapore & Thailand

Alipay hit record highs in 2016 for the amount its 450 million users spent online or in stores. Shoppers in Shanghai paid out an average $20,400 last year and spent 1.5 times more than in 2015. The new trove of data comes weeks after the app hit a record high of 1 billion transactions in a single day.

Read the rest of the story here.

eIQ thinks: With Alipay getting a lot of traction in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand and Singapore (major malls & airports), it will be interesting to see the apps integration with Ascend Money in Thailand. Although China’s 195 million mobile wallet users far outweigh Thailand’s, the merge will bring more cross-border opportunities to the landscape.

 

2. Alibaba Tracker: Eye on the 2020s

Alibaba is set on making China a country filled with “smart cities”, whilst simultaneously eyeing expansion in international markets.

China’s 13th five year plan (2016-2020) for national economic and social development has set goals to move ahead on the construction of smart cities. Alibaba Group has also announced its role and goals for facilitating a smart nation. Ant Financial reported that it had teamed up with 352 cities in 25 provinces with plans to construct credit systems and public mobile services.

Other Chinese giants such as Tencent and Baidu are also reportedly involved in the building of smart nations.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Facebook eyes revenue growth opportunities in Asia-Pacific

Opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region where more than 30% of online commerce takes place through social media. The report from Bain & Co cites that Facebook can benefit from the growing use of social media in Southeast Asia as over 30% of ecommerce in the region takes place through social media platforms versus 7% in the US.

Facebook has 629 million monthly active users in its Asia-Pacific region. It’s a good bet most of those users are on either Messenger or WhatsApp as well.

eMarketer estimates that Facebook’s ad revenues will grow to $33.76 billion in 2017.

Read the rest of the story here.

eIQ thinks: With over 50% of Thailand’s ecommerce transactions contributed to social commerce, it’ll be interesting to see if WhatsApp will gain popularity over LINE if/when Facebook doubles down on the region to strengthen commerce on its platform.

2016 has been somewhat of a definitive year for ecommerce in Southeast Asia. With the region poised to experience an ecommerce golden age, trends and predictions that will shape ecommerce in 2017 have been identified and there is no denying that the year will most likely bring significant milestones to the region’s development.

2016 certainly set things in motion: acquisitions, closures and entries were this year’s key themes. As the year draws to a close, we present the top 5 stories and briefs covered on eIQ that have made an impact on the development of ecommerce in Southeast Asia.

1. Battle of the giants

The first foray in a series of moves that would eventually complete Jack Ma’s trojan horse for Southeast Asia. In April, Alibaba made a $1 billion acquisition of Rocket Internet’s Lazada, effectively injecting much needed investment into the cash strapped marketplace, and hereby making an effective entry into the region.

This was followed by an announcement in November that Alibaba’s Ant Financial has invested in Thailand’s Ascend Money.

Amazon finally announced its entry into Singapore Q1 of 2017. Although a much covered angle in the media, these three stories have defined the majority of Southeast Asia ecommerce in 2016.

 

2. Indonesia’s Go-Jek, Singapore’s Garena & Grab are unicorns

After raising $550 million, Go-Jek is now valued at $1.3 billion, claiming unicorn status.

Singapore’s Garena has also maintained its status as Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup with additional funding that came through in September.

Grab also raised $600 million in funding making it another unicorn in the region.

 

3. Google and Temasek’s e-conomy SEA 2016 report

Arguably the most referenced report this year. Google and Temasek’s analysis of Southeast Asia’s ecommerce landscape has appeared in a string of interviews as references for research arguments and have shined a spotlight into the region’s developing landscape. Access the full report on eIQ’s reports section here.

 

4. LINE debuted as 2016’s largest technology IPO

The dual listing in New York and Japan occurred in July this year. The Japanese messaging app spiked 30% in market debut after opening at $42 per share in what appears to be the biggest tech IPO of this year.

The company is owned by Naver, a South Korean Internet company, who offered 22 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange and 13 million on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

But it hasn’t been all good news for Cony & Brown as news came out in October that the messaging app is struggling to acquire new users, barely moving beyond its 220 million monthly active user base.

 

5.  Goodbyes: Ensogo, Rakuten & Foodpanda

In June, Ensogo announced the closureof all business units in Southeast Asia. Following its shift from a daily deals website in 2013 to a mobile marketplace in 2015, the company was struggling to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.

Rakuten also announced the closing of its Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia marketplaces in February and sold back Rakuten Thailand to original founder, Pawoot Pongvitayapanu. The company did not give a reason for the closures, but announced that the moves are in line with a new roadmap.

In December, Rocket Internet declared that it was selling online food delivery startup Foodpanda to rival, Delivery Hero for $150 million. This announcement came after a string of rumors regarding the service provider’s performance.

The series of chain reactions that occurred have shaped Southeast Asia’s potential ecommerce boom. If these developments were anything to go by, we should be seeing all the puzzle pieces being placed together within 2017. For now, it’s a wrap for 2016!

 

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Lazada’s 12.12 sale nets $40.5 million

Lazada Group’s Online Revolution, also known as 12.12, has again proven to be the biggest online shopping event in Southeast Asia, ringing up US$40.5 million in sales.

About 60% of the gross merchandise value (GMV) of the December 12 event came from mobile, with shoppers spending an average of 12 minutes on Lazada apps browsing deals from international and local brands and sellers.

Read the rest of the story here

 

2. Asian postal services adapt to post-mail era

With traditional mail volumes dropping dramatically, ecommerce offers hope for national postal firms in Asia if they adapt quickly enough and do battle with giants like FedEx and DHL.

Asian postal firms “are doing some very innovative things to take advantage of ecommerce”, said Brody Buhler, global managing director for post and parcel at consultancy Accenture. Japan Post has partnered with convenience stores to provide 24-hour delivery, while Pos Malaysia is boosting its warehousing, logistics and other other capabilities in a bid to become a full-service ecommerce provider.

Read the rest of the story here

 

3. Online retailer brings catwalk to Indonesia’s streets

MullenLowe Indonesia has launched a branding campaign for Sale Stock, an emerging e-commerce fashion platform. Themed “Fashion for the rest of us”, the campaign aims to democratize good quality fashion for cost-sensitive women.

A television and online campaign that is running on YouTube, Facebook, Line and Instagram is titled “Catwalk Nusantara” (‘Nusantara’ translates loosely to ‘the archipelago’ and is a way of referring to Indonesia). The campaign emphasizes the ease of shopping online at Sale Stock.

Read the rest of the story here

 

Sale Stock has been making wakes in the industry this year. Most recently, it has launched the first chatbot in Southeast Asia. Read all about it here.

Here are the ecommerce news you should know for today.

1. Bank Mandiri partners with LINE for e-transactions

State-owned lender Bank Mandiri has joined hands with chat app operator LINE Indonesia to integrate its Mandiri e-cash product with LINE pay service. The partnership is aimed at facilitating LINE users in carrying out electronic transactions.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Amazon reportedly in talks to acquire Dubai ecommerce site, Souq for $1 billion

Souq.com sells more than 1.5 million products online to customers in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, according to its website. Seattle-based Amazon is considering a bid for all of the site, which had initially planned to sell a stake of at least 30 percent, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

No final agreements have been reached and negotiations could still falter, the people said.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Indonesian logistics service providers gear up for ecommerce boom

To help meet the target, the government has instructed state-owned postal service PT Pos Indonesia, which was founded in August 1746, to transform itself into the logistical backbone of Indonesian e-commerce from its current role as a company that heavily focuses on mail delivery.

Read the rest of the story here