Offline stores are still important: aCommerce
By Yunnie Marzuki December 5, 2017
- Brands need to own their data and customers to remain competitive
- Customers research products and prices online but make purchases offline
HAVING securing its Series B round, Thailand-based e-commerce enabler and e-distributor aCommerce, shared insights on e-commerce trends, especially in Indonesia.
Focusing on the retail market, aCommerce co-founder and group CEO Paul Srivorakul says that retail is shifting into “new retail” which involves being digital first, having an omni-channel platform, going direct-to-customer, and changing the concept of distributors and wholesalers.
“Customer behaviour in searching for the product online before purchasing means that 70% of the retail journey begins online.”
He adds that adopting direct-to-customer relationships will make the business a better brand.
“Brands need to own their data and customers to remain competitive.”
Given the rapid growth of the B2C market and retail industry in Asean, more brands are looking to launch on multiple channels to reach new audiences such as B2B. This pool includes specialty retailers, resellers, business-to-governments (B2G), and business-to-corporate employees (B2E).
“Retailers in Indonesia have to connect themselves to different channels so they will be able to distribute their products widely and become businesses-to-all.”
Srirovakul believes that even though online businesses grow very fast, offline stores are still important to optimise business growth.
Shift in customer behaviour
Representatives of two retail brands that are also aCommerce’s partners, HP Indonesia and Eiger Indonesia shared their thought on how technology has helped them to grow their businesses.
HP Indonesia country sales manager Firmansyah Is Nursal says that the brand’s customers are no longer going to offline stores to search for a product or check prices. They search online and purchase it offline.
“This shows a shift in customer behaviour and because we focus on business-to-business (B2B), the approach to online stores in this market is moving fast.”
Eiger Indonesia head of e-commerce Andreant Tendo says that exploring and distributing their products through online stores and marketplaces helped his brand figure out that there are wider options and more variety in market segments.
“Before we started selling our products online, the majority of our customers were male and from the high-middle-class segment. After we started offering our products online, we see that female customers are also purchasing them. It helps us to create a better variety of products in different price ranges.”
Eiger Indonesia sells apparel, bags, shoes, and accessories for outdoor activities such as hiking and riding.
Talking about a vital factor that could lead to a brand’s success, Firmansyah thinks that product availability and fast delivery are important.
“In the supply business, customers want their products to be delivered instantly, and it is best if we always have the products ready in our offline stores.”
To Andreant, knowing your customer is crucial to growing your business. So, in Eiger, offline stores play a part as a community base.
“It is good to be able to get insights from your own customers as it will help you to figure out which area needs to be developed.”
He also says that the existence of social media can help a brand to connect with and update customers.
When asked about future views and plans for both brands, they agreed that offline stores are still important for customer engagement.
“For our brand, customers want to see the real product because its electronics. An offline retail presence will help us in that,” explains Firmansyah.
He also says that HP Indonesia would like to approach the small and medium enterprise (SME) segment in the near future.
Andreant says that its brand’s 400 offline stores across Indonesia will be synchronised with its online stores.
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