ecommerceIQ, together with Sasin SEC, created LEAP (Leadership Ecommerce Accelerator Program) to provide the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to successfully run an ecommerce business in the world’s fastest growing market.

Southeast Asia’s first ecommerce program kicked off last Thursday with three lecturers from honestbee, L’Oreal and aCommerce teaching a full class of C-suites and Senior Managers from banking, travel, retail and FMCG industries, etc.

Every week after class has wrapped up, we will be sharing a few highlights from each session.

Welcome, Class of 2017.

1. Thailand’s Emerging Digital Consumer, the Super App, and Marketplace Verticals

LEAP Ecommerce Course Southeast Asia

Paul Srivorakul, aCommerce Group CEO, co-founder Ardent Capital

Messaging platforms are the emerging leaders in the ecommerce space to watch for because they’re no longer just social platforms but have the capacity to move up and down the value chain to become a ‘super app’.

An example is LINE: LINE@ (advertiser), LINE Shop (ecommerce) and LINE Man (on-demand).

LEAP Ecommerce Course Southeast Asia

Convergence of media, advertising, ecommerce and logistics. These brands move up and down the value chain

With millions of dollars behind titans such as Go-Jek, Lazada and Tokopedia all fighting for the region’s 200+ million internet users, what’s left for SMEs? According to Paul, the future is in vertical marketplaces.

“It’s more important to build a community around your company’s products and services than continual subsidizing because what matters is the consumer experience.”

2. What is a Product?


product can be the feel of your packaging, it is the brand image, the UX on your website, it is essentially everything that reaches your end consumer.

LEAP Ecommerce Course Southeast Asia

Bounthay Khammanyvong, honestbee Thailand Country Manager

“It is imperative to define and understand your product to understand who is your real competition and whether you can avoid a war.”

And for ecommerce, make sure to offer consumers something they won’t be able to find offline. Otherwise, what’s the point?

3. The 10 Golden Rules to Succeed in Ecommerce as a Brand


As a brand builds its digital strategy from the initial strategy, business plan to constructing the right internal ecommerce team to execute and measure the right KPIs, there are a few questions the Ecommerce Manager should always ask:

“What do you need to do to succeed?” and “why should you do this?” at each stage of this 10 step ecommerce strategy.

LEAP Ecommerce Course Southeast Asia

Praponsak (Cafae) Kumpolpun, L’Oreal Ecommerce Manager

What L’Oreal focuses on when establishing its ecommerce presence on multiple online channels is A+ Content – engaging content that inspires purchasing.

The next LEAP class is on Thursday September 14th, 2017. Stay tuned for this week’s learnings.

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Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Lazada Indonesia to on board SMEs

The Indonesian unit of Lazada said it plans to focus on adding small merchants to its online marketplace, emulating the strategy of Alibaba Group Holding. According to Florian Holm, co-CEO at Lazada Indonesia, Lazada also plans to enable some merchants to sell products to shoppers in China through Alibaba’s Taobao ecommerce platform.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Alibaba’s robot maker raises funding

Geek+’s automated pods look like those from Kiva, the American startup snapped up by Amazon for US$775 million in 2012. The larger Geek+ bot can transport 1,000kg, while the smaller one scoots up to 100kg. They’re designed for any warehouse or factory where bits and pieces need to be moved to be accessed by human workers.

The startup says it has over 300 robots already in commercial use across China.

Its $14 million round was led by Vertex Ventures, a spin-off from Singapore’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund, Temasek.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Amazon will now tell Prime members what to wear via “Outfit Compare” 

In the latest version of the Amazon shopping app, Prime members will find “Outfit Compare” in the sidebar navigation under the “Programs and Features” section.

 Outfit Compare prompts shoppers to share two photos of themselves wearing two different outfits they’re deciding between. A minute later, the user will get a response from an Amazon stylist who will tell them which outfit looks better. This determination will be made based on a number of factors, including how the clothes fit, what colors look best, how they’re styled, and what’s on trend.
Read the rest of the story here.


4.  Community Chatter: Adidas focuses on online operations

Source: aCommerce Group CEO, Paul Srivorakul’s Linkedin account

Here are the headlines you should know for today.

1. Digital currencies are here to stay

Financial institutions in Indonesia should brace themselves as cryptocurrency is gaining popularity in the largest economy in Southeast Asia with no intention of slowing down.

Bitcoin Indonesia currently has 250,000 members, up from 80,000 at the end of 2015, with a daily transaction value of Rp 20 billion ($1.48 million).

The presence of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin or EDinar Coin, could help support the Indonesian government’s plan to create a cashless society.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Recommended Reading: What every entrepreneur should know about doing business in Bangkok

This is a fairly universal concept, but takes on new meaning in the developing world and Thailand in particular. “Right now there are more investors than there are builders in Southeast Asia, that’s crazy!” Says Paul Srivorakul, founder and CEO at aCommerce.

‘You need to build local and defensible.’

Read the rest of his interview here


3. Social media boosts success of e-tailer Asos

Asos is continually future-proofing the business, ensuring it can cope with increased demand as it expands globally. The strong growth in international sales, particularly in the US as a result of the weak pound, means Asos will have to keep up with order fulfillment as the retailer expands.

Part of the reason behind the consistent Asos success is the way it successfully targets customers with creative email and social media marketing on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. The retailer also offers attractive delivery options such as Asos Premier.

Read the rest of the story here.


aCommerce, a Bangkok-based startup that helps ecommerce companies in Southeast Asia run their businesses, has landed $10 million in new funding ahead of a planned Series B raise later this year. TechCrunch reports the latest raise is led by MDI Ventures — a fund associated with mobile operator Telkom Indonesia — with participation from Australia-based fund Blue Sky and existing backer, Switzerland-based market expansion firm DKSH.

Already $50 million raised

The ecommerce enabler was founded in 2013 and has now raised closed to $50 million from investors, including a $10.7 million Series A in June 2014 and a $5 million bridge round last May, alongside today’s reveal and the DKSH injection.

aCommerce Group CEO Paul Srivorakul comments,

“We want to get maximum valuation with minimal dilution.”

Talking up his new backers, Srivorakul said that MDI Ventures could be hugely strategic in Indonesia, which recently overtook Thailand as the startup’s largest revenue generator.

aCommerce said it still has money in the bank but wants to spend to grow to secure a more favorable raise. Specifically, it plans to expand its business to Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore. aCommerce expansion to Singapore will see it reenter the country having previously exited in 2014 due to oversaturated market.

A version of this appeared in Tech Crunch on July 19. Read the full version here.

Thai protests in Bangkok

Despite barricades all around the city, Thai businesses found a way to carry on.

In an interview with BBC News, aCommerce Founder and Group CEO Paul Srivorakul talks about setting up a company in the middle of a political coup and how, despite the turmoil, the tech logistics startup managed to find a silver lining during a tumultuous situation.


People stayed at home. They were scared to go out and shop, therefore they did more ecommerce.- Paul Srivorakul

The experience showed the American-Thai CEO that businesses should not be reliant in one area, especially in a developing country such as Thailand, where risks are higher. Diversification of services offered, as well as geographical diversity can also enhance business visibility and minimize risk when there is an issue in one market.

Siam Piwat Group, a Thailand based shopping mall and real estate enterprise also has a policy of actively trying to invest and expand in a time of domestic turmoil. Siam Piwat owns and manages Siam Paragon, one of Bangkok’s most iconic luxury shopping center. CEO Chadatip Chutrakul says this decision makes sense, as it is the cheapest time to do so.

All the construction costs go down. When we build, it takes around two to three years to complete. By that time, the economy would catch up, which it did everytime- Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO of Siam Piwat Group

Despite Thailand’s political instability, growth in the country remains relatively robust. Thailand’s GDP grew 3.2% year-on-year in Q1 of this year, up from the previous quarter’s 2.8% growth. During times of turmoil, private companies mostly continued operating as normal, with ongoing instability making companies more efficient. Ho Ren Hua, CEO of Thai Wah Group, a large food products business with operations across Asia, credits Thailand’s private companies as growth enablers.

The role of the private sector is to continue to help deliver economic growth, innovating new jobs and services.- Ho Ren Hua, CEO of Thai Wah Group.

With two government overthrows in the span of six years (2006 and 2014), Thailand has indeed been a politically volatile country, a factor that may scare off short term investors. However, as Thai companies and CEOs continue to successfully find opportunities despite government issues, it continues to makes for a interesting economic landscape.

A version of this appeared in BBC News on June 28. Read the full article here.