CONSUMERS are spending more money shopping online and businesses should use technology to transform the retail experience into one that is more expansive and relevant for their customers.
“With e-commerce growing so quickly, there is huge potential for traditional retailers to leverage technology and digital solutions to stay competitive and relevant in this extremely competitive space,” says Maxis head of business development Senthil Danapalan (pic).
He adds that going digital will help retailers create an omni-channel experience that will meet their customers’ search and transaction needs.
The e-commerce industry in South-East Asia is booming. According to Bain Insights, the regional industry has a market value of US$50bil.
A joint report by Google and Temasek notes that Google Search interest for e-commerce brands grew more than two-fold in two years.
This has been driven in part by the surge of marketplaces where SMEs sell to consumers on mobile-first platforms, said the report titled “e-Conomy SEA Spotlight 2017”.
According to the report, South-East Asia’s internet economy has been growing at an average annual rate of 27% and is on track to exceed US$200bil by 2025. The region’s internet economy accounted for 2% of GDP in 2017, up from 1.3% in 2015 and is projected to reach 6% by 2025.
Given the scenario, Senthil says now is the best time for businesses to kickstart their online presence, if they have not already done so.
“Malaysia, specifically, is a leading force and one of the most attractive and matured e-commerce markets in the region, valued at US$1.3bil and expected to grow further over the next few years. There is no doubt that technology has become the central enabler for businesses, particularly for SMEs and micro SMEs.
“But despite its widespread availability, almost 70% of SMEs in Malaysia still do not have a digital presence,” he notes.
“Malaysia has a high mobile penetration rate of 65%, with millions of Malaysians increasingly searching and shopping online every month. Brands, including Malaysian SMEs, need to re-invent their consumers’ experience and service delivery model,” he adds.
With customers looking for more personalised and connected experiences when shopping online, a webstore will enable retailers to leverage customers’ search and transaction behaviour to develop personalised and targeted communication around their interest. This will drive higher conversion and build stronger customer loyalty and engagement.
One of the benefits of going digital, says Senthil, is the ability for retailers to understand their brand’s performance through active data analytics. Having such insights will help businesses optimise their webstore’s presence and digital marketing performance more effectively, and ultimately drive more revenue.
“For physical stores, driving sales is a two-fold process. It includes building a store and marketing it to drive footfall.
“Similarly in the digital world, once you already have a website, you need to create awareness and drive traffic into your website.
“Good digital marketing can amplify your business’ e-commerce presence and specifically drive awareness and conversion. Explore social media channels or search engine platforms, such as display ads, to reach your targeted audience,” he says.