Asia Pacific has the highest ecommerce penetration of chain retail sales with 38% via online retailers at the end of 2018, largely driven by China, according to Edge by Ascential Retail Insights. And with Southeast Asia poised to see significant acceleration in the next few years the Southeast Asia Ecommerce Accelerator Series will help guide brands to build the knowledge they need to win. A quarterly event hosted by Edge by Ascential with a clear purpose of “connecting professionals from the digital commerce ecosystem to share and learn’, the event is open to brands looking to thrive in the world’s fastest growing ecommerce landscape.
At the 1st Ecommerce Accelerator event on 27th November 2019 in Singapore, almost 50 people turned out representing more than 20 global leading brands to hear from industry leaders from both brand and retailer. The launch focused on the fundamentals for ecommerce success with a peak into how global powerhouse brands Unilever and Johnson & Johnson build and execute on their digital commerce strategies. Lazada, the region’s largest ecommerce retailer, also shared their view on how brands can optimise their online success.
The message from all three industry experts was clear and consistent – it takes dedicated time, resource and establishment of the right KPIs to capitalise on and win in this rapidly growing retail channel.
Inspiring the search algorithm
According to Nakul Gaur, Unilever’s Senior Global Manager Design for Ecommerce, “ecommerce offers a number of opportunities compared to traditional retail channel but they are equally offset by challenges” referring to the limited space in traditional stores compared with somewhat unlimited real estate on a website. He captured attention when he stated that “it’s not about influencing the buyer, it’s now about inspiring the search algorithm”.
This message was certainly consistent with Benjamin Yeo’s presentation. Ben, Regional VP Grocery at Lazada, shared his thoughts on the importance of accurate and complete product information to be considered in the first stage of the algorithm’s search result. Stock availability and recent sales then rate highly in terms of influence on search result and reinforcing one of the basic KPIs that Declan Kearney, APAC Managing Director at Edge by Ascential, spoke about - Availability of product when the shopper wants to buy. It might seem simple, but in his experience brands often trade blind to the fact they have “many listed SKUs out of stock which is having a direct impact on sales and a long term negative impact of the retailers algorithm” – a true double whammy!
The audience remained glued to Ben’s presentation as he revealed insights from Lazada’s record-breaking 11.11 campaign – but you’ll need be at future events to gain these behind the scenes snippets!
Akshat Patil, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health’s APAC eCommerce Lead, provided inspiration for what a brand can do with data to understand and then influence shopper behaviour online. However, he reminded the audience that it starts with the basics, “get a scorecard that’s realistic” which was again aligned with Declan’s presentation on the fundamentals.
A final theme which was consistent across all speakers was the importance of investing in online. Akshat shared that 82% of shoppers research online before transacting, a statistic that compared very similarly to the Unilever global study that Nakul presented.
If you have any other questions, please contact Edge.Apac@ascentialedge.com.