Ecommerce activity has increased drastically in Southeast Asia, with an 85% year-on-year rise in digital retail in 2021 alone. Additionally, almost 80% of the customers in this region are expected to shift to online shopping by the end of 2021.
As customers are moving to the digital medium, the competition in online markets is also rising. As a result, businesses take every measure to improve customer experience to become the go-to choice for their target markets.
Therefore, if you have an eCommerce store, you must learn about the latest trends to differentiate yourself from your competitors. With this guide, you can discover ways to elevate your online store and ultimately increase your sales.
State of eCommerce in Southeast Asia
The eCommerce market in Southeast Asia is growing. According to a report by PPRO, the area’s eCommerce market is anticipated to grow at a 5.5% rate, with Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam being the industry leaders.
In terms of product categories, electronics are some of the most purchased items in the region. The bestsellers in this category include TVs, smartphones, laptops, USB drives, power banks, and more. That said, clothing, fashion accessories, baby products, and furniture are not far behind, as Southeast Asian markets experience greater-than-ever sales of apparel, footwear, furniture, and other such items.
If you plan to become an eCommerce distributor in this region, you must take the time to study these trends. For instance, since baby products contribute 30.45% to the Southeast Asian market, your store can capitalize on these products and turn a hefty profit.
Take a look at the following trends and implement them in your digital marketing strategy to take advantage of this unprecedented growth in eCommerce:
Live-streaming eCommerce is becoming more popular than ever. In this approach, a host displays the products enthusiastically to interact and engage with the audience through a digital medium. For example, if your store sells watches online, you can start a live stream on your social media platforms and model the variety of your products.
This can help you craft exclusive discount offers to create a sense of urgency within the customers. Live stream sessions can also promote giveaways and deluxe edition products that compel customers to place orders instantaneously.
Additionally, live streaming eCommerce allows merchants to connect with customers, answer queries, and demonstrate product usage.
In the Southeast Asian market, live streaming for eCommerce platforms is growing at a rapid pace. For example, statistics show that Malaysia and Singapore saw a 200% rise in live streaming hours on eCommerce platforms.
The trend has also caught on in the Philippines, where 60% of brands use live selling to invite more customers to their stores. But that’s not all. Research shows that between January and June 2020, the live stream of eCommerce’s GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) increased by 306% in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines.
Online Payment Options
Another growing trend is the option of providing customers with multiple payment options. As the competition significantly increases online, companies take additional measures to provide customers with the best experience possible.
Multiple options for digital payments are one way to do that. For example, you can allow your customers to place orders as quickly as possible by simplifying the checkout process. Previously, the customers had to type in their credit card number, password, and other billing information before the order was confirmed. This can take up too much time. However, you can provide a secure, fast, and convenient payment method with a single-click payment option.
The single-click payment option is now becoming popular in Asia, as international credit card firms, including Visa, UnionPay, Mastercard, and American Express, provide their Click-to-pay service in Southeast Asian countries.
The rise in the online payment trends is primarily attributed to the brand’s intention of providing customers with a better experience. However, governments also urge merchants to extend digital payment methods to expedite digital transformations in their respective countries. One such example is the Singaporean government, which, according to PPRO’s 2020 report, empowers businesses to switch to digital payment methods.
Integration of BlockChain Services
Blockchain integration in eCommerce stores is beneficial for customers and merchants alike. This approach enables businesses to provide secure financial transactions. Additionally, by integrating blockchain, you can reduce your operational costs, refine business operations, execute faster transactions, and offer a better customer experience.
In the Southeast Asian market, the use of blockchain technology can help your store reach out to a much wider audience. This is because the approach enables merchants to provide a digital payment option to customers without a bank account. According to statistics, around 658 million individuals in the region have not subscribed to any bank. This means, by integrating blockchain in your online store, your store can have a competitive advantage.
Social media has become a hub for online marketers. The social channels provide brands with creative ways to market and sell their products to relevant customers. Considering this, you can integrate your online store with your social media channels, such as Facebook marketplace, to expand your customer base. You can also run advertisements on numerous social media channels to maximize the brand’s exposure to the target audience.
Social media platforms also offer merchants the advantage of creating shoppable posts. For example, a shoppable post on Instagram can encourage customers to purchase within the application without getting redirected to your store. This offers additional convenience, thus urging them to place an order instantly.
The use of augmented reality in eCommerce has changed the online shopping experience. This technology erases all the customers’ doubts about purchasing a specific product by giving them an in-depth look at your offerings. As a result, integrating AR in eCommerce stores increases conversion rates, as customers are more confident about their purchase decisions.
If you integrate augmented reality with your online store, you can allow customers to use their smartphone devices to see how a particular product would appear in their homes. For instance, if the online store sells patio chairs, your customers can try out different colors and designs directly from their smartphones and order accordingly.
For the Southeast Asian market, the integration of AR in the eCommerce store is beneficial, as APAC is expected to be the largest region to add 5G networks, which can counterpart the AR integration.
Following the disastrous impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, customers have become more inclined to shop from brands that employ a sustainable approach. According to a survey, 75% of customers lean towards brands that have sustainable packaging practices. This preference is especially prevalent in Southeast Asian cultures, where women- who control 75% of household consumption, gravitate towards products from sustainable sources and have eco-friendly packaging.
Therefore, you must take measures to make your eCommerce store more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
With analytic tools, merchants can easily collect and organize data. eCommerce platforms use analytics to increase their sales. With analytics, you can collect data on how your customers are interacting with your store. This can help you learn more about the products in demand and the products that customers are less likely to buy. Additionally, analytics can also help you learn more about the store layout. You can see how your customers react to your store, your ads, and other such features with these tools.
Essentially, you can use the data from these tools and make the necessary changes to optimize sales.
If you create your online store with Zaapi, you can get insights on the number of sales made and the products that are trending in your store. This data can then be used to change the back-end, increasing your sales and reducing the cart abandonment rate.
Direct-to-consumer marketing is becoming increasingly popular around the globe. In this approach, merchants plan, manufacture, market, and distribute the products themselves. With the rapid increase in eCommerce businesses and the convenience of marketing and selling products online, the direct-to-consumer market is expected to grow in the coming years.
The most in-demand markets for direct-to-consumer categories include clothing, food, and personal care products.
Mobile-friendly eCommerce stores can generate more leads. 132% of the total population of Southeast Asia are connected to a mobile phone, and most of these individuals use their phones to shop online. Considering this, if your online store is not optimized for mobile devices, you will miss out on sales.
If you want to create a mobile-friendly eCommerce store, you can use Zaapi to bring your vision to life. The platform provides ultimate convenience for merchants, who can construct their store in a matter of minutes.
eCommerce activity in Southeast Asia is expected to increase over the years. However, with growing customers, the digital realm also faces tough competition, urging merchants to implement the latest trends to promote and improve their online stores.
In 2022, the Southeast Asian eCommerce market will see an increase in live streaming, one-click payment options, blockchain technology, social commerce, augmented reality, sustainable practices, and direct-to-consumer marketing.
Additionally, mobile-friendly stores that implement changes based on the analytics data will be at an advantage over the next year. Considering this, you can create your fully functional, mobile-friendly store on Zaapi to target the Southeast Asian market specifically.