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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Amazon will now let you try clothes at home

For many people, buying clothing online is not worth the hassle of getting a pair of pants or a shirt that does not fit.

The company revealed a new program called Prime Wardrobe that allows people to order clothing — from three to 15 items at a time — without actually buying it.

Amazon will charge them only for the items they keep. Customers can return the items they don’t want in a resealable box with the preprinted shipping label that the order came in.

The service will be an option only for members of Amazon Prime, the company’s membership service.

By the end of this year, analysts expect that Amazon will become the largest apparel retailer in the United States, at a time when many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are closing stores or filing for bankruptcy.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Alibaba execs: ‘Don’t mistake us for Amazon’

China holds massive opportunity for U.S. sellers, Alibaba executives told 3,000 small-business players from 48 states at a conference it hosted in Detroit this week.

Alibaba’s new customers are more likely to hail from Asia and emerging markets rather than from the U.S. or Europe.

Earlier this month, Alibaba executives told investors that it’s targeting revenue growth between 45% and 49% for the current fiscal year. In the last fiscal year, Alibaba generated free-cash flow of $10 billion, which Alibaba Group CFO Maggie Wu said would be plowed back into the company to gain B2C market share.

In Detroit, the Chinese ecommerce giant took that message to the smaller businesses that it sees as having potential for growth, even in the relatively small terrain of the U.S.

The Chinese company seems also to be creating an ecommerce infrastructure that is more social and interactive beyond search. The company has essentially grown into an economy unto itself, fueled by Chinese consumers’ comfort with interacting with retailers on mobile.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: Uber’s lesson: Silicon Valley’s start-up machine needs fixing

Travis Kalanick’s spectacular rise and fall at Uber contains many lessons for the technology industry. But one lesson should rise above the others: This was not just Mr. Kalanick’s failure — it was far bigger.

What happened at Uber is an indictment of everyone who enabled Mr. Kalanick’s worst tendencies and practices, which is just about everyone in a position of power at the ride-hailing company and its funders.

It adopted a more aggressive posture in dealing with forces outside the company — competitors, regulators, drivers and everyone else. By managing drivers as contractors rather than actual employees, it accelerated a new way of thinking about labor.

Staying private created a hothouse that reinforced its worst side, and allowed it to delay building a sustainable culture with a focus on long-term interests.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab opens R&D center in Indonesia

Grab announced the opening of its new R&D centre in South Jakarta, in a media conference. The sixth Grab R&D center will employ up to 200 engineers by end of 2017, and is situated on a 4,500 square meter land.

According to Kudo CEO and Co-Founder Albert Lucius, the center will focus on researching and developing technology to be used by Grab drivers and Kudo agents, as well as data on consumer behavior and pattern.

For the next step, Grab announced that it aimed to build five million new micro-entrepreneurs in Indonesia by 2018, and to increase the number of its local engineering talents by the hundreds by end of year. It also announced that it will be looking for more Indonesia startups to invest in.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2.Walmart reports 63% rise in online sales

Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Messaging app Line lost more users, still focusing on key markets

Line has told Tech in Asia today that it’s another three million down, dipping to 214 million users in total.

Source: Tech in Asia

The $7.6 billion company surprisingly did not disclose its total number of active users in its latest earnings report, which came out towards the end of last month – the first time it has not revealed that figure since late 2014.

Line – which makes money from ads and content in an array of spin-off apps and services such as Line Pay, Line Music, and Line Moments – focuses its business interests on those four markets, therefore those are where most of the money comes from.

So as long as Line is growing in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia, the company seems unperturbed by the loss of global users to the increasingly indispensable WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Alipay to launch in Malaysia

Malaysian merchants are set to accept the use of Alipay, China’s indigenous mobile wallet, in stores around the country this month.

Six local banks have received regulatory approval from the Malaysian Central Bank to process Alipay-enabled settlements, according to a company statement. Alipay will also be scheduled to be accepted as a payment option across the Southeast Asian nation by 2018.

Malaysia is surely making strides with their partnership with Alibaba as of late, following the announcement of the collaborative Digital Free Trade Zone.

Read about eIQ’s take on the Digital Free Trade Zone here.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Malaysia and Alibaba sign MOU to launch e-trade initiative

Alibaba, state-run development agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corp. (MDEC) and the Hangzhou municipal government signed a memorandum of understanding to connect the first two hubs in the Electronic World Trade Platform in Hangzhou and Kuala Lumpur.

The eWTP is Ma’s vision of digital free trade via ecommerce as a way to bring small and medium enterprises into the global economy.

Now, the parties will “explore linkages” between the Hangzhou and Kuala Lumpur projects to create an “e-road” for cross-border trade.

Read the rest of the story here.

Welcome back from the weekend. Here’s what you should know today.

1. Line Man introduces postal service for android in Thailand

The chat platform said the “Postal” function was built with SMEs in mind. The feature will offer nationwide, door-to-door parcel delivery service which is fast and affordable.

The service is a collaboration with Alpha, an ecommerce delivery service. The Postal feature will pick up parcels between 8am-10pm  and delivers them via two options including delivery by Alpha, which handles all deliveries, from pick up to destination.

The merchant will be able to save a reasonable amount of time, they can simply drop a pin on their phones to specify an address.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Alibaba to launch distribution hub in Malaysia

Alibaba Group plans to set up a regional distribution hub in Malaysia to cater to its fast-growing business in Southeast Asia. The hub would be sited within KLIA Aeropolis, a 24,700-acre development led by airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.

Many people see Malaysia as an emerging hub next to Singapore. Malaysia may not be able to take all of Singapore’s business but it is a good choice logistically

According to sources, Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak are expected to announce the plans at an event in Kuala Lumpur next week.

This would mark Alibaba’s first investment in Malaysia.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Salim Group joins fight for Indonesian ecommerce share

Indonesia’s Salim Group is planning a major foray into ecommerce this year in partnership with South Korea’s Lotte Group. The 50-50 joint venture by the two conglomerates, will launch the iLotte online shopping platform as soon as July, injecting $88 million into the project initially.

The service will be geared primarily toward 20- and 30-something women and feature brandname cosmetics sold in South Korea

Drawing on a robust infrastructure built up over the course of years will let Salim achieve economies of scale for the ecommerce business

Salim Group’s infrastructure investment and know-how will benefit its foray into ecommerce.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Singtel to help F&B businesses go digital

Singtel has announced a new initiative with the two Singapore-based polytechnics — Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to help F&B and retail businesses go digital.

It will collaborate with the Singapore Institute of Retail Studies to help these SMEs hire digital professionals who will offer their expertise in ecommerce, retail analytics and digital marketing solutions such as SEO and SEM.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Central Group to focus on ecommerce

Central Group aims to raise the share of its ecommerce sales to 15% over five years, up from the present 1%.

About 10% of the $1.3 billion capital investment allocation this year will be devoted to online business.

The funds will mainly go toward developing a logistics network and an omni-channel platform.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: How luxury fashion brands in China use WeChat in 2017 

Luxury fashion brands started to develop WeChat-specific features through their official accounts, that took advantage of the added-value services offered by WeChat.

Today, two-thirds of the luxury fashion brands active on WeChat now operate a service account, a step up from subscription accounts, which are primarily used by news and media entities.

Something to think about: Only 24% of the luxury fashion brands analyzed were integrating call-to-actions and links to an ecommerce platform, no brands currently offer the possibility to set up an appointment in-store or request a call-back from the sales staff.

Read the rest of the story here.

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?