The Omnichannel Retail Play in South East Asia

July 27, 2020
Written by:
SEA Omnichannel

‘Omnichannel’ is a multi-channel content strategy that businesses use to enhance their user experience and forge better relationships with their customers across all points of contact.

The Omnichannel experience demands the cooperation of all communication channels and their supporting sources. It is designed so to increase efficiency and to make the user experience more appealing.

Omnichannel Retailing – A Customer-Centric Approach:

Omnichannel retailing is similar to that of multi-channel retailing but is regarded as its evolved version.

Omnichannel retail refers to adopting strategies, using different engagement tools, and a smooth approach to enhance customer experience by utilizing all possible shopping channels.

These channels can be mobiles, computers, TV, email, catalog, brick and mortar stores, and more. Adopting an omnichannel strategy can allow retailers to integrate all available channels and reach consumers simultaneously.

Consumer Behavior

Research finds that omnichannel customers enjoy using the vendor’s touchpoints in different places and using all sorts of combinations.

An example would be purchasing a product offline and having it delivered to their home or sending in-store customers curated messages to their mobile.

The Benefits

According to a study of 46,000 shoppers by Harvard Business Review publication, a few interesting data have been found on how omnichannel retailing works and how it benefits both the parties – brands and users.

  • Omnichannel consumers spend 4% more during shopping ventures and 10% more online as compared to single-channel consumers.
  • Shoppers spend more money in the store with every additional channel they use.
  • Customers who use more than 4 channels spend 9% more than customers who only use one channel.
  • Omnichannel users are also more loyal. These customers have repeated shopping trips to the vendor’s stores by 23%.
  • Some findings suggest that a deliberate search before purchasing shows a 13% increase in in-store purchases. It contends the popularity of impulse buying.
  • We also see a rise in ‘webrooming’ where the customer browses products online and then go to make a store purchase.
  • There is no proof yet to determine the cause for omnichannel led customers to spend, advocate, and return more. However, there is no denying that omnichannel retail is exhibiting positive signs.

Southeast Asia’s eCommerce Scene

The rising influence of eCommerce has brick and mortar stores in Southeast Asia rethinking their marketing strategies.

From the Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba investing in, launching online shops in Indonesia, and Softbank’s heavy investment in Tokopedia (Indonesia’s most favored online marketplace); the eCommerce industry of Southeast Asia is buzzing with activity.

The Priceza Group predicts that the Southeast Asian region, after China and India, is all set to become the third-largest eCommerce market in the next 5 years.

The early eCommerce markets of China, USA are moving towards the model. The SE Asian market, however, sees the model surviving along with offline stores and marketplaces.

Omnichannel Play in Southeast Asia

Omnichannel retailing has been on a steady rise since its inception in the West. Southeast Asia has recently started warming up to the idea of an omnichannel play. Here’s how –

  • The Matahari Mall in Indonesia is the perfect example to exhibit the success of this model. The Matahari Mall’s (O2O) Online to Offline concept has given rise to a passionate debate in the markets of the country.
  • Several brick and mortar stores have resorted to launching online and offline shops to increase their market shares.
  • Businesses need to interact with their customers on many retail touchpoints to stay relevant in an ever-changing market. Omnichannel retailing can offer an exceptional shopping experience online and offline and can increase brand visibility.
  • Modern consumers jump from channel to channel before even placing a single order. They go online to choose what they want, search for good deals, and find out about the modes of deliveries and payment, and finally make a decision.
  • Zalora is one of the first to acknowledge the benefits of omnichannel retail. Its first digital interactive pop-up stores in Southeast Asia take full advantage of the approach. At these pop-up stores, customers can try out the various apparels displayed in the store, pay for the chosen products at check-out. These items are later delivered to the customer’s home.
  • Businesses must develop integrated communication technologies and strategies to adopt omnichannel retailing. Doing so can offer a smooth shopping experience to the customers. The entire shopping trip of the customer should be kept in mind.
  • Proper research, in-store buying, establishing a solid foundation for the customer-vendor relationship by coming up with loyalty programs, boosting new products and promotions to increase sales, and finally integrating online and offline touchpoints to announce a uniform message should be conducted.
  • It is vital for businesses to use their eCommerce websites, social media handles, email lists, their mobile applications, and influencers to maintain the brand’s interaction levels and visibility.
  • The Southeast Asian region remains an almost untouched territory till now for the eCommerce industry. It now lays await to be a witness to increased competition and creative business models. The entry of large global brands is another eventuality.
  • Singapore has 1 billion USD worth in eCommerce sales, of which 60% is being spent on cross-border commerce, reports a survey that was done by SP eCommerce. Another survey by a real estate firm JLL, states that Singapore, because of its multi-cultural residents, is the third most lucrative city for key international brands that want to expand in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The coming years are likely to witness the appearance and adaptation of next-generation channel management services/platforms. These products can help businesses enable omnichannel retailing on all the major marketplaces. They can also provide conventional program advantages like plug and play integration with several first and third-party data resources and dynamic optimization for targeting better opportunities, optimization, and customization.
  • In such a transient time, the retailer’s role will change as the eCommerce industry grows, and how companies manage such a transition will be key to their survival.

In the developing market of Southeast Asia, the department store business is huge, but eCommerce has started establishing itself.

Any player that can use omnichannel retail and gain success looks to achieve the $150 billion worth retail opportunity.


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