Swiping to shop is second nature for Southeast Asia’s growing number of mobile-centric consumers. In fact, the lucrative market is projected to surpass US$25 billion in growth by 2020, according to eMarketer.
Despite being slated as the new growth frontier for e-commerce, Southeast Asia faces challenges unseen in any other major region. In mature common markets like the United States and Northern Europe, you can log onto Amazon or search Google and instantly access 90% of the region. But in order to sell across Southeast Asia’s borders, retailers need to be converting product data and currency from Peso, Baht, Dong, and Rupiah, while translating Mandarin, Vietnamese, Bahasa or other languages. The challenge is incomparable to other markets.
Smooth scaling isn’t just a matter of moving a store online; it’s about being agile enough to move at the speed of the consumer and being reactive and proactive to every whim.
Here are some major roadblocks to conquering Southeast Asia and what you can do about them.