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eCommerce can scale up ASEAN business

Brands must also continually update their granular, deep-dive understanding of their SEA customer in their campaigns



Southeast Asia (SEA) is projected to ascend as the world’s fourth-largest economic bloc in 2030. Along with eCommerce acceleration, the region is one of the most attractive markets for companies worldwide.

However, businesses outside the region find that entering its market is a complicated process that requires a deep understanding of eCommerce fundamentals and the SEA customer experience.

The key to helping them establish a beachhead is a partner that can equip them, digitally advise them on each country’s diverse legal and cultural nuances, and help them create a fulfilling customer experience.

“Going into the SEA market, you will never make it without a partner,” stressed Alexander Friedhoff, CEO and Co-Founder of eCommerce enabler etaily. “Players who want to enter into SEA need strong local partners for import licenses, eCommerce expertise in customer service, influencer management, — all these nitty-gritty things happening in the back end which is completely underestimated when it comes to observing the overall eCommerce outlook.”

etaily has established six strategic business locations across SEA, including the Philippines. The company’s suite of services, including eCommerce strategy, data and analytics, and multi-warehousing, has also made it a strong partner for European brands such as Nivea, Alpecin, Sebamed and many others.

Friedhoff, who is immersed in the SEA digital platforms and legal frameworks, discussed the requirements of brands who want to penetrate the regional eCommerce market in two recent events: The first held by the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the second organized by the Internet & Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines.

A partner on the ground in the concerned SEA country can guide international brands entering into the local industry’s inner workings, which are held by channels like Lazada. It can also make them familiar and aligned with the different markets’ complex warehousing, delivery, and customer infrastructures. Finally, that partner can help the brands scale in the region through a skillful implementation of eCommerce, data analytics and core technologies.

Brands must also continually update their granular, deep-dive understanding of their SEA customer in their campaigns. Understanding the customer’s journey, the competitors, and what both are looking for can make a difference in their digital strategy. “It’s always about the customer, and making the customer happy to allow them to buy, fulfill, return and get information about the products they want,” emphasized Friedhoff.

Technology can infuse them with the adaptability needed to respond to a changing regional market, such as social media data on market behaviors, efficient logistics and inventory that can be viewed in real-time, and a multi-regional warehouse and supply chain system for distribution.