Astro makes strong plunge into e-commerce: Page 2 of 2

Selling just part of it

Astro makes strong plunge into e-commerce: Page 2 of 2

However, selling is just one half of the equation in e-commerce. Servicing the customer is even more important and this is where Astro will lean on the expertise of its partner to match the premium service that GS Home Shopping delivers in South Korea.
There, GS Home Shopping backs the products that it sells with a 24x7 call centre, full logistics capabilities with next-day delivery, a no-questions-asked return policy, and with a full IT infrastructure behind it.
Rhetoric-wise, Astro is ready, with Rohana talking about its readily available state-of-the-art infrastructure, “like our broadcast facilities, call centre, channel platforms and production studios,” backed by “the right expertise and best-in-class capabilities to make this venture a success.”
No talk of a no-questions-asked return policy however, and I note that delivery will be slow with Astro talking about a two- to five-working-day delivery time. Many e-commerce sites, with a fraction of the resources of Astro, deliver within three working days.
Along with its TV shopping platform, Astro can be expected to focus on mobile commerce more than the Web. It seems like many e-commerce merchants in Malaysia are putting more emphasis on selling through mobile.
Last October’s #MYcyberSALE was the most recent indication of the rising importance of m-commerce, with 57% of all visits coming via mobile phones. Actual sales were still dominated by web-based visits, but the trend is clearly mobile.
In this aspect, it will help that in South Korea, GS Home Shopping adopted a mobile-first strategy late last year to drive sales through smartphones. It will surely be able to share a lot of tips and tricks with Astro as it ramps up its mobile commerce strategy.
The products sold on its Go Shop channel will also be made available on the Web and mobile platforms. In addition, Astro tells me that the two platforms will also showcase a wider range of products to target not only the mass audience, but “connected Malaysians and younger demographics which prefer to shop online and through their mobile phones.”
All in, this is a major move by Astro into the Malaysian e-commerce market, and it is the most significant move into this space by a non-Internet company.
Astro is projecting to see RM500 million (US$139 million) in total revenue from Go Shop over the next five years, but I will not be surprised if it exceeds this target. It not only has the multichannel reach and marketing power, it has a partner with a proven ability in packaging products to make them more appealing to customers.
The early omens have been really good. Astro has been surprised by the strong response shown since its soft launch in November 2014, with over 115,000 products being purchased since.
Is this then bad news for smaller e-commerce merchants? Not necessarily.
According to Exabytes Network Sdn Bhd founder and chief executive officer Chan Kee Siak, Astro –through the marketing and promotions that it will be carrying out – will be helping to create more awareness and educate consumers about shopping online.
“And while there will be more competition now, it will only help raise the quality and standard of e-commerce. And that is ultimately good for consumers,” he told DNA.
Related Stories:
Astro launches home shopping JV, takes the plunge into e-commerce
Analysts expect Astro key indicators to further improve
Disrupt on e-commerce: Big opportunity, intense competition
Celcom forms JV with SK Telecom’s e-commerce subsidiary
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