Singapore – Airasia’s food delivery platform, airasia food, which is part of the airline’s super-app,has now expanded to Singapore, starting off with a special offer for newly-signed food and beverage (F&B) merchants in the island.

Airasia food offers an online solution for merchants in maintaining their F&B business, as it runs on flat-rate plans and a fast turnaround, allowing merchants to go live within 48 hours upon registration, and at the same time offering a new alternative for consumers. 

For special sign-on rate, airasia food is offering those signing up in Singapore before 1 March, 2021 a commission rate from as low as 8% for the month of March, compared to the usual commission rate of 15% by airasia food. 

Furthermore, airasia food merchants will also receive support from a dedicated account manager who will assist in bringing the F&B business online, provide system support on data analytics and monitoring. Merchants can also leverage on airasia’s extensive marketing effort and periodic campaigns to drive publicity and sales. 

For Tony Fernandes, CEO of the airasia Group, their expansion to the Lion City responds to the ‘vibrant market’ in the region, and hopes that airasia food’s local presence will “democratize the food delivery industry by providing value, simplicity and inclusivity for everyone.”

“Airasia food offers the lowest commission rate in town, enabling merchants to earn more while having full control over their menu, pricing and easy access to data aside from being able to communicate directly with their customers. We look forward to serving the people of Lion City on ground with the delicious offerings from their favorite F&B outlets,” Fernandes said.

United States – As more businesses in the APAC region turn to eCommerce amid the pandemic, Google has decided to make it free for merchants to list their products on the Google Shopping tab, which takes effect in mid-October.

The free listing has been available in India and Indonesia since 2019 and was earlier introduced to the United States in April as part of its COVID support to retailers.

“For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For advertisers, it means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings,” said President of Google for APAC Scott Beaumont on a product update.

Google said the time of the pandemic changed the way people shop and sell in the region. According to Google analysis, 53% of online shoppers in APAC stated that they’ll choose to buy online more frequently after the pandemic, while almost 40% who weren’t online shoppers before said they intend to continue buying online.

To help retailers adjust to the changes, Google will be offering skills training through its dedicated learning resource Grow with Google. Google will also be sharing research and insights on its market research platform Think with Google to inform retailers’ business decisions.

In addition, Google has launched a playbook and webinar series on how to better manage digital storefronts. It will also be working closely with a number of partners to help merchants manage their products and inventory; this includes global partners like eCommerce platform Shopify, and those across the region such as Vietnam-based SEO website design platform Haravan, eCommerce Shopline in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Thailand’s eCommerce business provider LnwShop.  

The free listings will be automatically applied to retailers already registered on its Merchant Center and those currently using Shopping Ads, while for new registrants, Google will continue working to streamline the onboarding process over the coming weeks.

Starting an online business is becoming more of an option amid the ongoing pandemic as more people are relying on online purchases to obtain their needs. Albeit such a trend, deciding to put up a digital business can still be a tricky affair, as you’re dealing with matters that of any other type of business such as setting up a capital, procuring suppliers for your products, and building a staff among others. 

One of the considerations that must be taken into account is your marketing strategy, and with the influx of social media tools at your disposal, one must learn to leverage such tools in order to translate branding into sales, and eventually start seeing those bucks rolling  in.

Social Media Strategist Janelle Swing of the entrepreneurship and freelancing group Filipina Home-based Moms (FH Moms) shares the best ways to do just that. 

Janelle imparts six expert but doable steps the you can do right now to maximize the available online platforms, and eventually see an improved growth on your business online.

1. Product knowledge should be at the back of your hand

Start off by listing the features, benefits, and real of your products in order to identify how to properly draw your communication and marketing plan.

Janelle said that these three facets are essential for customizing branding and helping the product or service stand out amid a sea of online sellers breaking from the clutter 

“As an entrepreneur, you must be fully aware of the product feature and offerings that you are selling. It builds credibility and institutes trust amongst your target customers,” said Janelle.

2. Identify your target audience

As an entrepreneur, you have to walk in your customers’ shoes and identify correctly your customers’ concerns, needs, and pain points. Once you have figured your business audience, you can come up with an effective marketing effort, content plan, and communication treatment to reach out to your target audience.

3. Identify your price points

As an online seller, it is important to identify accurate price points of your offerings. Reaching a reasonable price point will be based on factors like your target audience, their consumption habits, the market competition as well as the value for money the product offers. 

Janelle further advises that an estimated price point lets you benchmark your position and helps you customize your communication plans for promoting your offerings and engaging well on social media without overdoing it. If gauged well, a well thought of price point can scale up a business to a great extent.

4. Craft a content strategy

An essential way to maximize social media reach for your business is to have a content strategy calendar in place, which if properly utilized can prove advantageous for most brands or businesses.

“It doesn’t have to be an expert strategy. But rather, you must identify what would best appeal to your audience. You just have to be able to use the existing tools of your platform in order to get the most out of it,” shares Janelle.

Showcase your products with multiple photos

While Shopping online you would want to vet a product and inspect the product details quite minutely before making a purchase. Similarly, it is essential that your customer gets to view different angles of the product you are cataloging in your website. Always make sure that you upload multiple photos that are shot well, backed by suitable lighting conditions and background, for your audience to fully appreciate it.

Leverage FB’s pinned post option

You can highlight the product or service that you want to feature with this option. It could also be an FAQ, or a “ways to order,” and descriptions showing available modes of payment in order for your customers to easily navigate their way and understand your offerings.

Use the auto-response feature

Using an auto-response feature is the best way to engage your customers, while you’re away. You can earn loyal and new customers depending on reliable and satisfactory customer service. With this auto feature, you can assist customers and answer their queries in real-time without having to log into your account every single time.

Use the FB live-selling feature

Part of your content strategy must include FB Live sessions to further engage your online audience. With this feature, you can directly engage with your audience in an instant while also offering your product and services. However, live sessions must be well planned in advance and spaced out adequately to build a sense of anticipation amongst your audience. Do not rush into these sessions, live selling is a terrific opportunity and if leveraged well, can have a reaching impact for your brand and business.

5. Find a bankable supplier to tend to your overall business needs

Apart from a considerable social media presence, as a seller, you should have access to the best available space to procure your regular supplies.

Always make sure that your supplier is a legitimate source of products with trusted sellers and offers dedicated customer service.

6. Your creative materials are the most essential tools

Presenting a fetching catalog of product photos is no easy task – it takes a good amount of creativity and adequate photo skills to make your product stand out from the clutter of online sellers. There are a lot of good options to curate highly engaging content online as per your business taste and needs.

Use Canva

“For starters, you may use Canva in creating your layout. This is an easy- to-use platform where you can use templates to layout your product photos, plus it is free. You just have to be consistent with the colors and template style of your photos to have an effective brand recall and brand association,” said Janelle.

Using social media to get positive leads and generate revenue doesn’t need a big budget. As an entrepreneur, you need the right attitude, a positive and go-getter mindset, and the ability to tap into free online tools at your disposal to unlock the social media prowess and strive towards a successful online business venture.

This article is brought to you by Zilingo Philippines.