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For smaller brands in Southeast Asia dipping their toes in ecommerce for the first time, it’s usually easiest to start selling on an online marketplace such as Lazada, Wemall or MatahariMall before fully investing in a brand store. Being on multiple marketplaces can help new brands build brand awareness without having to stretch small budgets.

Smaller merchants often lack the in-house capabilities or industry know-how to successfully drive an ecommerce website of their own and a marketplace gives a young brand increased visibility that will eventually turn into conversions.

However, it can become difficult to manage a presence in a marketplace because each comes with its own set of regulations and restrictions. There is limited space in a ‘shop in shop’ for a brand to sell itself, which is why it’s vital that all product content is optimized to attract the interest of a browser. How?

Product content refers to product descriptions, size and quality of visuals, user generated content all the way to customer reviews. These components drive the user further down the shopping journey. Research conducted by Shotfarm shows that poor product content can harm your brand, majority of shoppers abandon their online shopping carts because the product isn’t what it appears to be, which is due to inaccurate or missing product images (26%) and product content (30%).

Charles Gourlaouen, General Manager of Channel Management at aCommerce, Southeast Asia’s leading ecommerce service provider, shares insights for helping brands compete with other merchants on leading marketplaces in the region.

The three product content staples:

1. Creating strong product descriptions (titles, content, benefits)

Fig.1 : Best practice for content optimization

From Fig.1, brands can see the ‘checklist’ on what marketplaces recommend to include when posting an item for sale. Often overlooked, it is crucial to include details such as shipping time, supplier name and warranty to legitimize the brand and give the potential customer a degree of trust.

Instead of simply describing the product, let’s say a phone, by color and size, include the product’s key functions such as the dual LED flash and having a fingerprint identification sensor. These details can make a product more valuable to a potential customer and differentiates it from the countless similar items that are also being sold on the marketplace. If a shopper needs to leave the page to search for more information, you are adding an additional step before purchase.

According to insights from Lazada, improving the product quality score—Lazada’s big data algorithm output that determines how high a product should rank on Lazada—would drive almost an immediate  3 to 5% increase of the conversion rate in Southeast Asian countries. The components of product quality includes content (title quality & richness of content), reviews and performance (click through rate & browsing time etc.)

How to create an effective title

Different categories have formulas that work best, depending on what kind of product they are. For example, laptop titles should be written as:

Brand + Model Number + PC Type + (Processor speed + MB of RAM + Hard Drive Size+ Optical Drive), but for cutlery, it should be written as Brand + Line + Size+ Product Type.

Below are examples of both:

  • Sony VAIO PCG-FRV25 Notebook (2.66-GHz Pentium 4, 512 MB RAM, 40 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD-RW Drive)
  • Calphalon Professional Hard-Anodized 8-1/2-Quart Saucier with Lid

 

Use bullet points

Bullet points simplify your information, breaks it down effectively, and doesn’t make a potential customer have to reread your block paragraph three times – a key to a good user experience.Fig.2

Fig.2 is an example of how to effectively roll-out product descriptions on Lazada. By splitting a product’s key attributes into sub-headings and listing its details by bullet points, the reader has an easy time to digest the information.

Constructing strong product copy

When trying to persuade a browser to purchase your product, it is advisable to lead with its benefits. A browser may be less inclined to purchase if all they read are technical specifications, color options and so forth. A curious browser would want to know why they should buy this product, what will they get out of it?

For example, if you’re selling a multi-device charger, build a picture of going somewhere with three devices and the added convenience of being able to charge them all at once.

The main content body should be informative but kept short and concise. Product descriptions should not be treated as a blog. (see fig.3).

Fig.3 La Roche Posay on Lazada, product content

Premium skincare brand La Roche Posay includes a wealth of product centric content to educate potential consumers. For example, it includes tips & tricks and insider information about the product type being viewed. The brand also includes skincare advice from medical professional and skincare experts to legitimize its product.

It is also advisable to curate original content rather than replicate existing or generic copy. Reusing a manufacturer or competitor’s product content will hurt your brand’s rankings when it comes to search engine results.

Strong product content versus weak product content

Strong

What makes this content strong?

  • Detailed, personalized product description
  • Key breakdown of product features with description
  • Supporting images to showcase product features (more than one)

Weak

What makes this content weak?

  • Long, disjointed product title
  • Disjointed sentences with spelling errors
  • No content, just specifications of product. The description is not engaging for potential buyers

2. What makes a good product image?

Read any brand guideline provided by a marketplace like Amazon, Lazada or MatahariMall and it will specify that a brand should optimize product images for the best results. At aCommerce, brand commerce experts take clients through each marketplace’s specific criteria to ensure product photos meet required image clarity and dimensions.

A way to tackle a high cart abandonment rate is through optimized product images.

Quick pointers to optimizing product images on Lazada

  • If possible, always include multi-angle view of product
  • If possible, always include a zoom option
  • Can have up to eight images for one product
  • Image measurements: the main product image must have the size of at least 600 x 600 pixels and at most 2000 x 2000 pixels.
  • Secondary images must have the size of at least 450 x 450 pixels and at most 2000 x 2000 pixels.
  • At least 85% of the frame should be filled with the product image
  • No text, borders, reflection or additional logos on the image
  • Image is clear, sharp and not pixelated
  • Item should not be cropped
  • Product against a clean white background

Fig.4 Maybelline offers multi-angle product views on Lazada

One of aCommerce clients such as Maybelline cosmetics effectively showcases its product content on Lazada. From multi-views of its products, it also offers a zoom function that allows a customer to have a close up look at product texture, particularly important when buying something such as cosmetics.

A particularly good brand page would also include the available colors of the product and additional images of the product packaging.

3. Leveraging authentic user reviews to enhance brand reputation

We’ve all been guilty of being influenced by product reviews. No matter how convincing a brand’s testimonial of its products, we tend to be receptive to other people’s opinions. 25% of those surveyed in PwC’s research “Total retail SEA 2016” showed that respondents always read product reviews before making a purchase.

In a survey conducted in the United States, 88% of respondents admitted to trusting a review like they would a personal recommendation. Positive reviews and rankings can increase your brand’s product ranking, hereby increasing your influence in a marketplace.

For smaller brands, who’s to say that you did not ask a friend or a family member to put in a good word about your product online?

There are certain ways for a brand to establish a good relationship with its customers. For example, a smaller brand with a growing following should concentrate on establishing a strong following in the beginning. After a purchase, a brand can email the customer with a review request.

Another tip to generate authentic reviews is to reach out to influencers on social media or encourage the usage of brand-centric hashtags such as #MyKiehls. These reviews can be re-posted on your page (if the marketplace allows) to enhance your brand’s visibility on social media channels.

Marketplaces are usually the first step to a digital strategy and increased brand visibility for online sellers. Despite its benefits, being on a marketplace means that a brand, no matter how big or small, would have to share the spotlight with competitors alike. For new brands lacking ecommerce expertise, it is particularly important to ensure that your brand stands out through effective, trustworthy and legitimate content. Win the marketplace.

INSIGHTS PROVIDED BY CHARLES GOURLAOUEN, GENERAL MANAGER, CHANNEL MANAGEMENT, ACOMMERCE

Thailand Ecommerce Landscape

Thailand, while not the most populous nor richest of the Southeast Asian nations, is currently the fourth largest ecommerce market in the region, valued at $900 million and is expected to increase its ecommerce business 12-fold to a value of $11.1 billion by 2025.

What does the attractive Thai ecommerce market looks like now and what can be expected in the coming years? ecommerceIQ shares ECOMScape: Thailand to provide a quick snapshot.

1. Lazada is the dominating marketplace, while others compete in niches

What differentiates Thailand from other markets in Southeast Asia is that one online marketplace – Lazada – has significantly advanced over its local ecommerce rivals. The traffic of Lazada’s two closest competitors WeLoveShopping.com and Wemall.com combined makes only around a quarter of Lazada’s monthly traffic.

Yet, that and the fact Lazada now has the support of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, is not scaring off competitors. Korean ecommerce marketplace 11street is expected to launch in Thailand in time for campaign season, 11/11, in hopes to replicate its success in Indonesia and Malaysia. The group’s claimed annual gross merchandise value of $7 billion is 7 times bigger than that of Lazada Group, but will it manage to challenge Lazada in Thailand?

Deep pocketed conglomerates are also moving in to steal market share, such as Thai CP Group, which belongs to the richest family in Thailand – brothers Chearavanont, owns Tesco Lotus, Shopat24 and 24Catalog. The second richest man in the country, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, this year bought BigC and Cmart (formerly Cdiscount). While Central Group, the operator of Central department stores and distributor of several tens of foreign brands in Thailand behind which stands the third richest – Chirathivat – family, owns online marketplaces Central.co.th, Robinson and Tops. All of the above mentioned retailers have both – offline and online stores.

Thailand Ecommerce Landscape

Despite Lazada’s dominance, competitors are not easily scared off, especially deep pocketed Thai conglomerates who want their share of etailer online market.

Fashion & Apparel is one of the most competitive online market segments. In Thailand, this category represents a healthy mix of local players like Pomelo and WearYouWant, regional players like Zalora, Reebonz and global brands such as Adidas and Uniqlo.

Thailand Ecommerce Landscape

The competitive Fashion & Apparel online market in Thailand represents a healthy mix of local, regional and global players.

Brand.com webstores are also gaining traction in Thailand, which is best observed in the beauty category. Brands such as Maybelline, L’OccitaneEstée Lauder and Kiehl’s in Southeast Asia embrace the ecommerce market boom and use the opportunity to sell on their brand web stores, marketplaces or through distributors to capture the widest possible audience.

Thailand Ecommerce Landscape

Beauty brands go all-in in Thailand selling their products online on their own webstores, marketplaces or through distributors.

2. Old school vs new kids on the block compete in C2C

Classifieds and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplaces were the first ‘ecommerce’ businesses to operate and remain an important part of the online journey in Thailand. Three of the most popular C2C marketplaces – WeLoveShopping, Tarad, Pramool – were created around the millennium and are run by local companies. However, newer market entrants like Shopee, supported by Southeast Asia’s largest gaming company Garena, are on their heels.

Tarad and Pramool ecommerce sites can be accessed on desktops, while the newest competitors – Shopee, Blisby, as well as WeloveShopping – all have mobile apps, which rank among the top 10 most popular C2C ecommerce apps in Thailand. Since approximately 85% of online shopping outside the major metro areas in Thailand takes place through mobile, it is easy to see that the new kids on the block are disrupting traditional, desktop-first marketplaces.

3. Social commerce is driven by Facebook, Instagram and LINE

An ecommerce business model specific to Thailand is social commerce – merchants set up ‘shops’ on Facebook and Instagram where they post images and details of their products so online browsers can inquire about the product and other details to further facilitate the deal.

Thailand Ecommerce Landscape

Thailand is the leading country where half of online shoppers buy directly from merchants through social networks.

According to a PwC report, Thailand is the biggest social commerce market and around 50% of online shoppers purchase products through social networks. Therefore it was no surprise when this June, Facebook started testing social commerce payments in Thailand and later in August launched Facebook Shop, the first in the world.

Companies like Shopee are looking to lure merchants selling on social networks to its online marketplace with aggressive marketing by offering easy integration of their Instagram shops and reimbursing shipping, cash on delivery fees to sellers. Other players like LINE also have eyed this market segment. LINE Shop was created to utilize the wide audience of LINE messaging app and tap the social commerce market. Yet technical issues such as a requirement to upload merchant product catalogues on the app through mobile phones, as well as limited payment options through LINE Pay, has hindered the success of LINE Shop.

4. Cash is still king

Thailand is still a cash driven society and cash on delivery (COD) is the preferred payment method for 70% of ecommerce shoppers, making payments a bottleneck for faster ecommerce growth as many sellers cannot offer COD. There are various mobile wallets offered by telecom companies, banks as well as independent players but so far, none of them have quite caught on.

Thailand Ecommerce Landscape

Despite various mobile wallet providers, cash is still the most preferred payment method.

The large unbanked population and low trust in the security of personal financial details does not make the task of Thais adopting digital payments any easier. And though there has been a surge in fintech players, none really address the core issue. For example, LINE Pay accounts can only be linked with a credit card in Thailand, where just  3.7% use one to make payments. Mobile wallets and banks offering a top-up through either ATMs or special kiosks, defeats the purpose of an mwallet. Good news is that there is an opportunity for a player to provide a convenient and easy digital payment solution for those without a bank account and/or credit and debit cards.

5. Fierce competition in logistics leads to price war

The ecommerce gold rush across all Southeast Asia has facilitated growth of startups who hope to solve logistics problems like next-day delivery and live tracking, and Thailand is no exception. The success of ride-hailing apps Uber and Grab has encouraged several startups to offer on-demand delivery services.

Thailand Ecommerce Landscape

The success of ride-hailing apps has driven several start-ups to offer on-demand delivery.

There are numerous companies who provide 3PL services and ensure a smooth last mile delivery. This means companies engage in price wars and suffer lower margins, if any at all.  

The packed logistics market is beneficial for marketplaces and merchants as they have plenty of delivery service providers with whom to negotiate a lower price.

Thailand Ecommerce Landscape

Numerous companies offer 3PL services and ensure last mile delivery driving down delivery costs for the benefit of marketplaces.

Click here to download the full, high-resolution version of ECOMScape: Thailand and join the ecommerceIQ network for first look at the next ECOMScape in our series.

Check out also ECOMScape: Indonesia

Are we missing any players? Let us know on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

The first two articles of beautyIQ series looked at how to get customers’ attention by blending transactional and discovery content and localizing it according to Southeast Asian customer cultural preferences. The next step to any brand’s successful ecommerce journey in Southeast Asia is to figure out where to sell their products, which will be the focus of this article.

Two thirds of shoppers in developing Asia say access to branded goods is at the core of their ideal shopping experience.

Yet Southeast Asia has only one third of retail stores per capita compared to the United States, limiting offline shopping of branded apparel, beauty and other products and making the internet a great distribution channel. In order to sell products in Southeast Asia, it is vital for brands to be seen online.

Brands have typically three options when selling online:

  • Create a localized brand web store
  • Partner with official distributors or sell on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LINE
  • Open a flagship shop (shop in shop) on a marketplace or online retailer

Of course, each option has its pros and cons for brands to consider. The channel on which to sell online will depend on the particular brand guidelines and its positioning, for example, Kiehl’s strictly cannot sell on a marketplace. Yet, in Southeast Asia having a localized brand web store and presence on a marketplace might bring in more dollars.

Where to Sell

The beauty of selling on your own webstore is complete control over the branding of your products, sole ownership of customer data and higher margins as you would sell directly to consumers and no commissions would need to be paid to ‘middlemen’.

aCommerce internal data showed localized webstores of particular brands in Thailand last year experienced 15% month-on-month growth of gross merchandise value (GMV) and GMV of products sold on brand webstores made up 45% of total product sales on various online platforms.

The risk is that the creation of a brand webstore is pricey as brands might have to invest up to $100,000 over a one year period with additional costs for logistics or marketing.

Selling on social networks is another important channel to capture consumers in Southeast Asia as this is a mobile first region. According to Bain & Co, around 30% of sales in Indonesia come from social media, blog shops and messaging apps as 27% of consumers in big cities and close to 80% in the countryside research and buy products on their phones.

This channel may not be appealing for established brands as social networks are mostly used for consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sales but up-and-coming local, regional or global brands may consider partnering with LINE or Facebook for more personalized communication and direct channel to communicate with potential customers.

Opening a flagship store on an online marketplace or “shop-in-shop” provides more powerful distribution. For example, Lazada drew more than 150 million visitors in August from six Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore), SimilarWeb data shows. While it is extremely popular in most markets, it’s not the number one go to marketplace in every country.

By analyzing average monthly web traffic, businesses can decide which marketplace to sell its products on for heightened exposure. eIQ has compiled the rankings for Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The benefit of selling on a marketplace is the opportunity to tap into an existing large pool of potential customers. There is no such thing as a free lunch and the cost in this case is more competition and a commission that marketplace will charge for brands to sell their products on their platform.

Tricks to Know

If your brand does decide to sell on Southeast Asia’s popular marketplaces to capture their millions of visitors every day, it is best to keep in mind no two are alike.

Each platform has its own guidelines and product content needs to be modified accordingly.

For example, marketplaces tend to promote products on their front page from brands who have proven good sales, so sellers may find it beneficial to work with a brand solutions team to secure higher visibility for their campaigns.

Lazada allows brands to create a “shop-in-shop” that incorporates interactive features such as sliding banners and video content. This is so sellers can customize their shops to feel like a brand.com and provide shoppers with a pleasant shopping experience. This option may be wise for brands who do not have the budget to create a full ecommerce website.

Maybelline Thailand official “shop-in-shop” on Lazada. Source: Lazada Thailand

 

L’Oreal Thailand “shop-in-shop” on Lazada. Source: Lazada Thailand

 

For beauty brands, Sephora may be a good marketplace to sell on as it features detailed product descriptions and reviews, but all product images are shot from one angle and there is no brand related content. However, compared to, for example, Lazada where almost any brand can sign up to sell their products, getting sold on Sephora is dependent on a decision by retailer’s buyers.

Display of L’Oreal Paris products on Sephora Indonesia online store. Source: Sephora Indonesia

Zalora allows brands to provide a short description or visual, while the product descriptions are standardized. As product reviews are rare on Zalora, the marketplace might offer a discount or some other incentive for users to leave reviews which is a great tool to persuade customers to buy products.

L’Oreal Paris shop on Zalora. Source: Zalora Thailand

 

Brand Spotlight

La Roche Posay’s “shop-in-shop” on Lazada is a good example of how to exercise engaging content into a marketplace site. With multiple product displays, sliding banners and video content, the brand stands out amongst other standard displays.

La Roche Posay’s “shop-in-shop” on Lazada. Source: Lazada Thailand

 

How to Make the Most of Your “Shop-in-Shop”

Follow these tips and they will help your brand gain more visibility and increase sales when selling on marketplaces:

  • Fully optimize page design and brand banner (use slides, images, graphics)
  • Consider ‘knowledge buttons’ that lead to more discovery content. For La Roche Posay, the knowledge button leads to tips from certified medical professionals. Rich content here is advisable, as the page could be redirected to engaging/actionable content
  • Optimize product images: create 360 degree view of products. Currently a lot of brands showcase one dimensional product images, but customers should have a complete view of what they intend to buy as they can’t touch it
  • Banner should re-direct to product category page
  • Optimize video content to differentiate brand identity: tell a visual story
  • Fully engage customers in product details: explain benefits, ingredients/nutrition and instructions (if applicable)
  • Create engaging content such as product endorsement (for example, from doctors) and brand history

Brands should consider the above mentioned benefits and drawbacks of selling on various online channels in Southeast Asia as preferences will vary. It would not suit premium and luxury brands to open a “shop-in-shop” on marketplaces as that could tarnish their brand image.

Yet, for many brands, especially new, having both – a brand web store and a shop on various platforms will ensure that more customers see and can buy their products, especially if they are not widely available in the limited amount of retail stores in the region.

Stay tuned for the next article in our beautyIQ series the following Monday.

BY ANUTRA CHATIKAVANIJ AND AIJA KRUTAINE


We’d love to hear your feedback,
find us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

ecommerceIQ Summit panel

Pioneers of ecommerce in Thailand at the ecommerceIQ Summit in Feb 2016. Tarad, Kiehl’s, Lazada, aCommerce discuss the difficulties of moving online.

In the era where two-thirds of the world are going online, a phenomenon known as FOBO, or the Fear Of Being Offline, is becoming a real one. People panic when they lose access to the internet, no matter how temporary those situations might be. But did you know the reverse is experienced by companies in emerging markets?

Despite the massive opportunity of ecommerce in Southeast Asia ($70  billion by 2020, according to Bain and recent Amazon and Alibaba forays into the region), only 3% of total retail sales come from the online channel. What’s going on? In order to understand the apparent slow migration into online retail,ecommerceIQ surveyed 132 senior level retail executives in February 2016 at the eIQ Summit in Bangkok.

The Summit was attended by Director and C-level executives from a majority (67%) of top brands, retailers and e-tailers in Thailand such as L’Oreal, Essilor, LINE, Central Group, Casino Group, P&G and more. Here is the result of their survey responses.

ecommerce research Southeast Asia


1. Limited internal know-how (47.7%)

Forming an ecommerce team to build an online strategy is one of the most strenuous bottlenecks encountered in Southeast Asia. The region remains low tech intensive and resources are so scarce that Lazada, Southeast Asia’s largest online marketplace, has taken the talent challenge into its own hands by educating the first ecommerce generation and generating local expertise out of fresh graduates.

Sheji Ho, aCommerce Group CMO, explains, “Because of the lack of talent, companies are constrained to hire ex-digital marketer or brand managers as to run ecommerce divisions but the scope encompasses warehouse management, delivery, fulfillment, reverse logistics, it is a much broader set of activities than what they are used to.”

2. Cannibalizing offline sales (24.2%)

Channel conflict is when online sales cut from offline sales or if you’re a brand looking to sell direct to consumer, you immediately create a channel conflict by putting yourself in competition with your distributors. In Brand Commerce, channel conflict can be crippling, as retailers can sometimes punish brands offline positioning due to ecommerce promotions or perceived exclusive offers. To overcome this, brands like L’Oreal are creating coordinated online and offline promotional campaigns that compliment and encourage each other. 

3. Not enough demand (23.5%)

With ecommerce slated as less than 3% of all retail sales in Southeast Asia, businesses simply do not think the market is ready yet. But as the Bain report showed above, the market is evolving rapidly. Others believe that the demand is there, but because the customer experience is so poor, Southeast Asians are not compelled to repeat purchase. The internal ecommerceIQ Beauty Report findings in Thailand showed that only 20% of top global brands have a customer experience rated higher than 70%. 

II.What are the top in-demand services?

offline business fear of going online

Source : ecommerceIQ Thailand 2016 Survey

Interestingly, strategy and consulting is the top sought after service for ecommerce in Southeast Asia. This reflects the very nascent level of ecommerce development for the vast majority of retailers in the region still who are not ready to get operational and is very much indicative of an emerging market. Below is a ranking of the top ecommerce services businesses are looking for in Southeast Asia:

#5 Web Development

A website serves as the first touchpoint with customers in an online world so an experienced team dedicated to its development is key to a successful strategy. It helps the company reach millions of internet users who may become potential customers. UX, UI developers are highly sought after. 

#4 Fulfillment, Logistics & Delivery

The ecommerce ‘business-to-consumer’ model requires a different set of systems and mindsets. In Southeast Asia, the complexity of deliveries due to the region’s poor infrastructure, difficult geography, complex cross-border commerce, high rates of cash on delivery all take the challenge to an entirely foreign level. The company must also take into account the customer demand for visibility and transparency. Reverse logistics in case of returns must also be taken into account.

#3 Omnichannel enablement

The omnichannel experience leverages customer behavior across all relevant sales and distribution channels, online and offline. It is basis for a consistent, personalized interaction between brand and customer. Having an omnichannel strategy is the next step to reaching your customer and providing them with convenience to shop anywhere at anytime. 

#2 Performance Marketing

Data collected online is a powerful tool to enhance marketing to a level that cannot be reached with offline tools. A combination of new advertising tools and innovation makes performance marketers able to help retailers and affiliates grow their businesses and drive online sales. Performance marketing done right creates win-win opportunities for both retailers and affiliates.

#1 Strategy and Consulting

It is necessary in today’s digital age to have an online presence if businesses want to continue growth. In order to get pass the fear of going online, finding the right ecommerce service partner to provide strategy and consulting will take the brand to the next stage of ecommerce maturity and rid them of FOGO once and for all.

III. Value of the ecommerce B2B landscape

The good news is that these potential ecommerce businesses are willing to invest into the process, although almost a quarter of participants are not willing to spend more than $20 thousand annually. In ecommerce terms that’s barely enough for a website and fulfillment of very few items per week, according to The Evolution of Brand Commerce in Southeast Asia, which gives a cost breakdown of ecommerce.

ecommerceIQ Summit budget survey questions

Ecommerce in Thailand and Southeast Asia is being restrained by a lack of expertise and fears of offline retail legacy politics. But as the region wakes up to the opportunities inherent in online, much like the US and China before them, businesses will find a way to overcome the bottlenecks.

By Alexandre Henry

Tweet your feedback to @ecomIQ and @alex_Nry

Alibaba to empower Thai fruit farmers through Tmall

Mango is a very popular fruit among Chinese consumers. Source: funnelogychannel.com

Following Alibaba’s 20% stake in Thailand’s True Corporation branch Ascend Money, the company is now planning to leverage from True Corporation’s Parent Company, CP Group, to offer Thai fruits on Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C marketplace.

Chinese marketplace Tmall currently owns 61% of the B2C ecommerce market share, the site attracts over 1 million shoppers and 150 million browsers visiting daily.

This new business aims to promote Alibaba services in Thailand, leveraging Chinese consumers’ preference for Thai fresh produce and encourage more Thai fruit produces to move online.

Nopporn Swaddhonphisut, Managing Director of Thai Fruit 1975 Co.Ltd, one of the companies on Tmall for the last two years, said there is a lot of cross border sales potential on the site.

On average, Thai Fruit 1975 makes approximately $11,4000 monthly, as shoppers prefer buying bulk quantities of mango and durian online; buying imported fruit off the street is more expensive for shoppers. This partnership is effective as Tmall eliminates the middle man and allows shoppers to deal directly with the owner of the fruit plantation. Local Chinese logistics providers can also partner with Thai companies for delivery to ease the fulfillment process.

Selling through Tmall is a way for companies to expand beyond the local market.

A version of this appeared in Prachachat Online on July 1. Read the full article here.

Rocket Internet To Merge Ecommerce sites Daraz and Kaymu

Bjarke Mikkelse, Co-CEO of Daraz Group. Source: www.daraz.com.bd

In another Southeast Asian ecommerce B2C consolidation (and why that’s not surprising, explained here), Rocket Internet has announced the merging of its Lazada-like marketplace Daraz  operating in Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Kaymu in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Philippines, Tech in Asia reported. The two ecommerce sites will be merged under a new entity, “Daraz Group,” although Kaymu is the larger one with 475 thousand visits overall compared to Daraz’ 11.5 thousands visits from January 2016 (Similar Web).

According to Bjarke Mikkelsen, co-CEO of Daraz Group, “Kaymu is the larger company in terms of customer base and orders, but Daraz is significantly bigger when it comes to the total amount of cash customers spend. The overlap between customers who transact on both Daraz and Kaymu is less than 10% of the combined user base”.

Operations such as marketing, IT and Business Intelligence will be centralized in Pakistan. Only in Pakistan and Bangladesh will the two ecommerce sites remain separate, in other markets, the sites will be merged under  “Daraz Group”.

The decision to centralize operations in Pakistan away from Paris means the group will also have considerably less overheads and be able to operate on a lean model.

A version of this appeared in Tech In Asia on June 24. Read the full article here.