June 22, 2022 Industry news
To help our members achieve growth beyond borders, GS1 UK has partnered with GTM Global, a unique online ecosystem that engages with ambitious tech and digital scale-up companies to help them expand internationally.
The first in our series of "growth beyond borders" webinars saw a panel of six Asia Pacific experts share top tips for developing marketing, sales, logistics, compliance and funding strategies, covering the essential first steps that businesses need to consider.
Read part 1 of our summary for the top tips from Fiona Thai, director of business development Asia at TMX, and Chriag Kotak, Co-founder and COO of Jumper.ai.
Entering the market
The first panellist to share their insights was Fiona Thai from TMX, a digital and supply chain consultancy that helps brands from Europe and America expand into Asia.
Fiona explained that the best place to start is to conduct in-depth market research, as having a strong understanding of your target region is essential for developing an effective go-to-market strategy
Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines represent the six largest markets in South East Asia and all can offer huge opportunities to ecommerce businesses in search of growth overseas.
Once know where you want to sell, you then need to decide how by determining which of the following channels will work best for you:
- Brand website: find out the level of investment required to launch an Asian domain for your site. This will require marketing spend as you won’t be established. You need to invest in raising brand visibility and driving traffic early on.
- Platforms: many brands start selling on apps and online marketplaces to take advantage of their huge reach. While this can be a great first step, remember there will be a lot of competition. Don’t just look at the leading regional marketplaces, also consider the smaller local heroes and vertical marketplaces. Vertical marketplaces are specific to certain categories as opposed to horizontal marketplaces that sell everything. While marketplaces can be an easy route into new markets, you also need to consider commission costs and will still need marketing spend to make your brand stand out from the competition.
- Emerging channels: such as social networks and quick commerce options can also drive great results but remember, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Coordinating across multiple channels can be a real challenge so, start with one, see what works and focus your resources accordingly.
Once you have started to drive traffic to your channels, you will need to find ways to keep it flowing. Fiona says seeking out partners or agencies to manage channels for you can really help you get established. These partners can also work directly with local marketplaces to set your strategy and targets.
Connecting with consumers
Next up was Chirag Kotak, Co-founder and COO of Jumper.ai. Now owned by Vonage, Jumper.ai creates AI-powered omnichannel experiences that boost sales, increase customer satisfaction, and return buyer behavior intelligence.
Chirag believes that social media and establishing conversations with consumers is the future of commerce in South East Asia. He says the way consumers interact with brands has changed, especially following COVID, and that the days of desktop first are over. Asian consumers increasingly favour a mobile-first economy and, as a result, now mainly interreact with images, videos, stories and through one-on-one messaging. This trend continues to grow and livestreaming product demos has also proven to be highly effective, attracting high intent users who can be converted at the moment of inspiration.
However he urged viewers to remember that, as Fiona stated earlier, customer expectations in the region are high. Consumers usually expect instant responses so, the faster you get to them, the more likely they are to convert and if left waiting you may risk losing them.
To prevent this, Chirag recommends combining automation with human agents. Chatbots can ensure rapid response times but human interaction is still essential for delivering a personalized experience that cannot be delivered through eCommerce alone.
Conversational commerce combines the personal touch of offline retail with the convenience of digital”
Co-founder and COO of Jumper.ai
Having well-run social channels in place is essential for building these connections and are one of the most effective ways of reaching large audiences. Social platforms can also be an easy way to establish your business in the region with some merchants in Asia Pacific use them almost exclusively, selling entirely via social media without even having a website.
Chirag concluded by describing conversational commerce as “the personal touch of offline retail combined with the convenience of digital”. “Don’t just talk to your customers” he says. “Talk with them. That is where the real opportunity lies”.
Part 2: exporting your products
Our exporting experts reveal how ensure compliance with local laws and get products delivered.
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