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Sharing app rides digital renaissance

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Photograph courtesy of SHAREIt Karam Malhotra, Partner and Global Vice President of the SHAREit Group.

Social media platforms were the key communications outlet during the pandemic including among entrepreneurs, making the content-sharing platform, SHAREit, ride the boom, enhancing its potential as one of the big successes in the digital world.

According to SHAREit Group spokesperson, partner, and global vice president Karam Malhotra, social commerce has been picking up traction rapidly in Southeast Asia and is accounting for close to half of the region’s $109 billion e-commerce market.

Social commerce makes up 38 percent of the domestic e-commerce gross merchandise value (GMV) in 2020.

“It is unique as it is built around the idea of sharing — both online and offline. Transactions are usually conducted on social networking platforms. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), discovered that more than half of consumers have increased their use of video or messaging apps and social media,” Malhotra relayed to the Daily Tribune.

He said the main driver of social commerce is the core idea of sharing, which would be for both online and offline, as social commerce is highly dependent on community user interactions and word of mouth.

“Whether it is product recommendation, sharing of the best pricing, or even deal coupons with friends and family, online interactions are built on offline relationships. It utilizes peer recommendation, also known as word of mouth, to facilitate trust and engagement between merchants and customers,” Malhotra noted. He cited a survey of social commerce users in the Philippines in 2020, that showed boosting of advertisements on social media platforms was the most preferred method for driving online sales traffic by retailers.

Live-selling, where products are featured in a live broadcast, was the second most preferred method,” he stated.

Malhotra said the same as SHAREit, its ecosystem is built on trust and sharing, as it leverages on its distinctive online/offline accessibility to enable word of mouth growth.

Linking with consumers

He said SHAREit has been helping e-commerce platforms and reach consumers through personalized dynamic ad solutions.

“Through SHAREit’s distinctive influencer model of recommendation, we have helped drive massive high-quality user acquisition and translated them into in-app purchases for e-commerce platforms,” according to the company spokesperson.

In the latest AppsFlyer report, SHAREit has been ranked third in Southeast Asia for driving the largest volumes of in-app purchases amongst Android users for companies in the finance and e-commerce industries, next to Google and Facebook, the biggest platforms for marketers.

To deepen interactions with customers and, thus, retain them, especially as their expectation grows, e-commerce players are investing in personalized experiences and experimenting with new channels especially as the uncertain effect of digital advertising rises.

“One key reason for SHAREit’s ability to create dynamic and personalized campaigns for e-commerce platforms is due to its integral role in the customer’s app journey right from the beginning of the app download. This would facilitate a higher conversion rate of users to make in-app purchases as compared to a blind ad network,” Malhotra stated.
In addition, he said SHAREit utilizes a Flywheel model that is grow, enable, and monetize to facilitate the user acquisition journey for brands.

Through monetizing their users, they can put that money back into user acquisition creating a cycle, where brands can almost self-fund their growth.

“We specialize in performance marketing and branding solutions and have been helping brands in various industries drive user growth. SHAREit makes use of unique and customized ad formats as per brand requirements. SHAREit’s Hot Apps functionality helps drive app installs by high-intent users and allows users to download and share apps without using data, triggering a ripple effect that can lead each app to be shared up to 16 times.

Booming digital payments
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), digital payments will grow 162 percent in Southeast Asia by 2025.

Malhotra said this was due to the rise of e-payments that has been pushing digital shopping towards wider adoption.

“Digital payments are expected to account for 91 percent of total e-commerce spending by 2025, up from 80 percent in 2020. As an instantaneous and secure method of payment, it has seen a 16 percent global drop in cash use. Digital payment methods have not only streamlined the customer journey but also facilitated access to e-commerce through e-wallets, especially to the large unbanked population in SEA,” Malhotra explained.

“Cash and automated teller machines (ATM), though significant for now, might slowly become an afterthought. Due to the pandemic, the trend of digital payments has only accelerated. Not only do they enable a smoother purchase, but they also provide a variety of payment methods for customers to choose from,” he added.

E-payments are driving the economies of many countries including the Philippines. The support by the governments towards digital currencies and e-wallets has strengthened the trust amongst the masses towards these.

GCash, a popular digital wallet platform in the Philippines, has reported P1 trillion or $20.8 billion in transaction value in 2020.

Rise of e-commerce, digital banking

For Malhotra, e-commerce and digital banking’s strategic importance, including the factors driving digital inclusion, will continue to grow.
As a “plumbing” piece of Southeast Asia’s digital infrastructure, he said SHAREit helps e-commerce players understand and reach underserved consumers and digital banks to reach the unbanked.

“Buoyed by the pandemic, e-commerce and digital banking are sectors that are growing at a rapid pace and projected to grow even faster. In-app purchases have been on the rise in Southeast Asia in 2021 as consumers spend more online, be it in the confines of their homes or wherever they are. The region has experienced a 240 percent increase in spending,” he noted.

And as more and more people shop online, she expressed that opening digital bank accounts, and making transactions online, digital and financial inclusion reaches the next level.

“About 40M new Internet users came online in 2021, bringing the Internet penetration in Southeast Asia to 75 percent. This trend will continue to grow and is expected to push for more digital inclusion,” Malhotra said.

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