Commerce Insights: Florian Legendre, Founder & Co-Managing Director Isobar Commerce
With the launch of Isobar Commerce today, we caught up with Co-Founder & Managing Director, Florian Legendre, to find out his thoughts on the outlook of e-commerce in the Asia-Pacific region.
How do you think Consumers will be impacted by the launch of Amazon Singapore (scheduled for later this year) and the host of online grocery stores popping up throughout the region?
Amazon is using Singapore as a stepping stone to expand its business in the South East Asia region. Amazon Singapore itself will provide yet another e-commerce platform that aggregates both well-known brands and startup e-merchants in Singapore, along with Amazon’s own product offerings, thus providing a convenient channel for buyers to obtain goods and learn about new products. While we wouldn't know the exact impact until Amazon Singapore launches, we can surmise that users will recognize and trust the Amazon brand, leading to more online transactions for Amazon and the brands on the platform.
With regards to online grocery sales, consumers in APAC continually look for ways to save time. As they are embracing technologies, growing wealth, rapid urbanization, the continued increase in mobile adoption and broadband penetration rates will boost online grocery sales.
An increase in specialty retailers have emerged in the health and wellness space, from national online grocery delivery services to local produce delivery services, suggesting an influx of consumer online purchases.
With e-commerce providing a new and convenient channel for consumers to purchase, traditional brick and mortar stores in bigger, more technology savvy cities may experience a decrease in sales.
In the digital age, consumers are now able to make more educated decisions about the products they buy. Naturally, they will tend to gravitate towards brands and platforms that give them ease of access to the information they require, such as product attributes, peer reviews and pricing.
Improvements in logistics and delivery networks, coupled with an ever-evolving online ecosystem for business will encourage consumers in the region to shop online.
Commerce will see 20% annual growth over the next 3 years and will account for nearly 13% of total retail value by 2019. What does this shift mean for businesses and brands, as-well-as the advertising industry?
For business and brands, it means they need to disseminate their brand and product information to cast a wide net to attract potential buyers. This can be through affiliate marketing, their own blogs that highlight the relevance of their products with a target consumer’s lifestyle, use of key opinion leaders to showcase the viability of their products, and by providing accessibility to their products through e-commerce and marketplaces.
For advertising companies, they will need to prioritize digital marketing. Digital is now consuming more of the end users’ time as compared to traditional media such as TV, print, radio, and so on. Advertising companies will need to activate consumers through digital channels by creating relevant content with the right tone of voice, while spreading it through the touchpoints with a high density of prospective buyers. At the same time, the importance of having analytics and measurable KPIs with each campaign cannot be understated. The wealth of information through analytics will inform advertisers of their campaign’s impact, thereby allowing them to adjust their methodology accordingly.
There will continue to be a shift to new technologies transforming the relationship between content and commerce and the further integration of points of inspiration and points of transaction closer together.
Finally, Marc Woo, Google’s head of e-commerce, travel, and financial services, recently said that South East Asia is the next frontier of e-commerce growth within APAC. How can businesses and brands within the region stay ahead of the curve, and stay relevant to consumers?
Firstly, businesses and brands need to ensure that the content on their platforms are localized, this means that they need to take into account font and text localization, currency, tax and logistics infrastructure, among others, as-well as the content having correct tone of voice across multiple channels. This provides greater product availability and brand accessibility.
Beyond this, having a robust e-commerce enabled online presence is key. Along with increased daily online shopping, dedicated online shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and recently Amazon Prime Day, are putting greater strain on platform performance, and can lead to damaged brand reputation if approached in the wrong way.
Building brand loyalty by focusing on customer satisfaction, building positive word of mouth or having a membership program to attract and retain customers is recommended.