When it comes to Southeast Asia, there is nothing more exciting than its dynamic digital commerce. Strong economic growth for the last few years has driven the prosperity of the region and gave birth to many opportunities. This has caused Southeast Asia e-commerce to thrive forward at a fast pace.
When Alibaba, the Chinese behemoth, invested US$1 billion in Lazada, it signalled the beginning of the Southeast Asia e-commerce boom. Not later than that, Amazon opened its business in Singapore as the first move in a long-awaited showdown with Alibaba.
The money and excitements keep mounting as investors from around the world place their bets on Southeast Asia e-commerce scene. So, the question is, as part of the e-commerce scene, how can you benefit from this?
Gaining a piece of the action
Do not let the numbers intimidate you. True enough that those big companies are high-rolling into the Southeast Asia e-commerce scene but you can also benefit from the boom.
- Focusing middle-class population
The recent e-commerce boom indicates that aside from the economic growth, Southeast Asia population are experiencing higher average income. This means that more and more people are becoming middle-class population.
According to Nielsen’s report, by 2020, there will be 400 million middle-class people in Southeast Asia. That means, more potential customers and more money. This also means that this new consumer class will be taking over the market and dominating it.
Meanwhile, Google’s head of e-commerce, travel and financial services, Marc Woo expect by 2025, there will be 600 million internet user. He also told the Bangkok Post that internet access will expand at a rapid pace and tripling the current number.
With higher internet penetration and positive economic growth, the rise of middle-class should be the centre of your online business. Build your business around their needs and wants. Catering both of that should be your aim and goal from now on.
- Develop mobile apps for your business
Having a smartphone is not a privilege like it used to be anymore. Moreover, having one with internet subscription is not a rare sight. You can find mobile internet users are everywhere nowadays regardless of age. They can be as young as 7 years old to senior citizens in their 80’s.
In Southeast Asia, a study showed that almost 302.3 million people are mobile internet users. Whether they are using the internet to surf websites, social media or even shopping, all of them have one thing in common, the usage of mobile applications.
The dependency of these mobile internet users towards apps are inseparable. Hence, for your business to move forward, attending to this scenario is crucial. You cannot just leave this part of the nowadays norm out of your business.
A study by shows 85% of online consumers prefer mobile apps. By replacing the traditional website store with mobile apps store, you will delete the conventional ways of online shopping.
The study also shows that smartphone owners prefer to use apps because of the loading time. Compare to a website, mobile apps loads faster. By creating your own store apps, it will not only save your customers some time but also increase the efficiency of your business.
Creating a mobile apps is a necessity as “pass” to participate in booming scene of Southeast Asia e-commerce.
- Integrate your website/mobile apps with payment gateway
If you are thinking of handling the payments for your online website/mobile apps on your own, you might want to take a rain check on that. As a merchant, handling the payments on your own might sound like a brilliant idea. Why wouldn’t it be? It is economical, you can see the numbers yourself and on top of all, the thrill of receiving money directly to you is exciting.
However, if you take a step back and evaluate the negative sides, it is not worth it. Payments handling is not an easy task to do as a merchant. You will have to worry about the security issues, the time cost and not to mention the management of incoming and outcoming payment. Let other people worry about that.
By integrating with a payment gateway, all of that issue can be avoided. Not only you will gain the benefits, but your customer will also benefit from it too. Secured payment, saves time and most importantly, convenience.
The integration is very important for your business. As mentioned before, these rising Southeast Asia middle-class consumers are your potential customers but they are also 21st century customers, which means, any delay or inconveniency is a red flag for them not to buy your product. Any un-up-to-date business will be ignored and overlooked.
Aside from the above issues, integrating with a payment gateway can also secure you a wide range of customer base. A good payment provider company can help you connect with customers across the region by filling the cross-border payment gap, for example, the initiative that has been done by a Southeast Asia payment gateway, MOLPay.