How Southeast Asian ecommerce companies should brace themselves for Singles Day

Mobilised and motivated by Alibaba, China’s Single’s Day (11.11) shopping frenzy is spreading to Southeast Asia this year. In 2015, the 11.11th drove US $14.3 billion in online sales in China. In comparison, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, sold a mere $5.8 billion in the United States.

Whether you are a merchant, reseller or marketplace, here are some tips that can help maximise returns on the busiest sales day of the year:

 1. Partner uppartnership

Stick to what you’re good at. There is no way one platform or merchant can do everything. Take Lazada for example. During key sales periods last year, the company saw its revenue uplift by six times on November 11 and December 12. Not to mention, there was a 55% spike in orders on Black Friday and a 45%.

Due to the growing consumer base, the company has changed approach over the years. Instead of trying to do everything in-house, the platform has moved to a partnership model of eBay and Amazon to work with specialist partners who can help everything from creating content, recommending photographers, to fulfilment and logistics partners. Spend on partnerships that exist to do all the heavy lifting for you.

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What are Google Shopping Ads?

Google Shopping ads are ads that include richer product information such as product image, description, price, promotion and merchant name. They offer a richer ad experience resonating well with shoppers resulting in highly qualified clicks. They also include a direct click to purchase.

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Opinion: Marketplaces are the new search engines in Southeast Asia

Ecommerce in Southeast Asia (SEA) is heating up. Google Shopping Ads recently launched in Singapore, with plans to expand across the region. Amazon is similarly making headlines for an upcoming regional launch and new advertising solutions. Alibaba is also already in the market, with its latest move of putting 400,000 products on Lazada through Taobao Collection.

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Solutions to the biggest e-commerce headaches in Southeast Asia

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.ecommerce-challenges

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.

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