It’s no secret: ecommerce trends and consumer needs evolve rapidly. This is especially true across Asia Pacific and specifically in Southeast Asia, a largely mobile-first region where an estimated six years of transformation has occurred since 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, with no sign of slowing down.
Since ecommerce is expected to generate growth unmatched by any other retail channel throughout the region over the next five years, the digital shelf – the diverse and fast-changing collection of touchpoints shoppers use to discover products, research brands, and make purchases – will be key in reaching Southeast Asian Asian consumers, who will drive US$60.7 million 2.5 trillion in ecommerce marketplace sales, according to Edge Retail Insight.
Recently, Ascential Digital Commerce hosted a webinar about the future of digital shelf, where the speakers discussed the evolution of retail, digital shelf transformation, and how businesses can strengthen their digital strategies.
Listen: Nicholas Lee, Vice President & Market Leader Asia Pacific, Philips Domestic Appliances, Jill Meng, Customer Success Director, APAC, Edge by Ascential, and Robert Gregory, Research Director, EMEA Advisory, Edge by Ascential. Fill out the form below to get a full recording of the webcast and PDF presentations.
Making sense of ongoing digital shelf transformation with Philips
Though necessary for ecommerce success, the digital shelf often poses a challenge for brands trying to navigate it due to its ever-evolving nature, the impact of the region’s rapid digital transformation – which continually brings more people online and requires the digital shelf to advance – and the emergence of omnichannel retail trends, including quick commerce.
One company that has excelled at transforming its digital shelf is Philips. Nicholas Lee, Vice President and Market Leader for Asia Pacific at Philips Domestic Appliances, joined the webinar to share details about the company’s ecommerce journey.
The digital strategy Philips has successfully used to futureproof the company and grow ecommerce sales from a single digit to one-third of its business includes understanding consumer needs, thinking of the offline and digital shelves as one shelf rather than separate entities, and ensuring that top SKUs are never out of stock.
“You must be on shelf 100% of the time,” Mr. Lee said during the webinar, adding that a focus for Philips over the past year has been growing availability of its top products from 93% to 100% to ensure items are never out of stock. “If you are never out of stock, you don’t lose the advantage that you have in algorithms and search.”
However, this can be a major hurdle for brands: providing omnichannel and quick commerce services often require businesses to work with micro-fulfillment centres, which stock a limited number of in-demand, best-selling products. This goes to show that thinking of the online and offline retail realms as one shelf is crucial in ensuring products are never out of stock.
Beyond this, Philips is working continuously to maintain a deep understanding of its customers, including how they consume media and which social media platforms they use each day to shed light on online preferences.
“Information is organised differently digitally, especially in mobile shopping platforms” Mr. Lee said. “Consumers are not going to scroll up and down forever. Ideally, they want to see information quickly and ideally on one screen.”
According to Lee, Tik Tok has done a great job of this, by compressing the consumer decision journey into one moment, and it’s the approach other platforms, including Meta are now striving for.
Employing a strategy that starts with customer needs has helped Philips understand where to focus as well as build a seamless customer journey where merchandising is great both online and offline.