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Marketing Featured APAC

What’s NEXT: How mobile is redefining shopping experiences

When I look back to the time someone in my family had to do grocery runs to the neighborhood store and then at the present, where what we need is available at the click of a button, it often seems surreal. In the world of today, there is so much more convenience – convenience that we did not even know could exist all those years ago.

As we approach the end of the year, holiday shopping and many mega-sales are beckoning. Although festivities are expected to be carried out in a measured way due to mobility restrictions and social distancing, consumers continue to shop online. Within Southeast Asia alone, 70% of the population is now online. According to the latest report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, the region gained 40 million new users in 2020 alone, as compared to the 100 million that cumulatively came online in the past 5 years.

Mobile has embedded itself in our lifestyles

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the adoption of digital ways to stay connected with family and friends. Mobile has been playing an instrumental role in helping people stay connected as they navigate this new normal. It has also been like a shot in the arm for mobile commerce.

Shopping over the mobile has already become a part of our lifestyle and will soon become so, in many other households. According to a recent study, purchases made over the mobile phone rose 30% from January to May 2021, with the Asia-Pacific region driving a majority of the global growth.

In Singapore, a study by InMobi found that 63% of all online retail sales are being conducted on mobile, while 34% of shoppers are expecting to spend more than SGD 500 this holiday season. This is despite a majority of respondents having not finalized their holiday shopping plans this year due to the uncertainty of how COVID measures will change.

New digital habits and why there is no going back

The new digital habits learned during the pandemic have been fully integrated into people’s daily routine, where the latest e-Conomy report by Google found that more than 9 in 10 still are still using at least one digital service adopted in 2020. A whopping 94% of these new users have expressed that they will be continuing with these digital habits post pandemic.

The improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased adoption of mobile services is benefitting both consumers and brands. Mobile technologies and services generated over $750b of economic value added in Asia Pacific over the past year. This figure has been forecasted to increase by another $110b by 2025 to $860b.

Asia being slower on relaxing COVID control measures have caused consumers in the region to still be wary while following social distancing and lockdowns measures. Shoppers continue to be resilient this holiday season as they leverage on online channels to skip the crowds and hunt for bargains. Many consumers in the region are purchasing through mobiles across a wide category of items with clothing and accessories being high on the list of many in the SEA countries. The region has experienced a 240% increase in spending according to an AppsFlyer report on the State of eCommerce App Marketing in 2021.

A personalized experience versus a kitchen sink approach

The evolved shopper has new expectations and is seeking richer experiences from existing brands. Brands that are able to adapt to this change and create bespoke experiences for their customers will thrive. For example, Lazada targeting customers who are moms with diaper and baby merchandise deals makes them feel that the brand understands their needs and wants.

With personalization in the forefront of the current retail experience, and smartphones accounting for 70% of total digital media time, mobile is an ideal way to reach audiences at scale and directly at this point in time. Brands must look to adopt a mobile centric advertising strategy, and avenues such as in-app advertising within apps with engaged users. In-app ads are scaled to fit the app, and therefore look much more appealing to the user than mobile web.

Moreover, by improving user experience, retail brands in SEA have a huge opportunity to turn newly acquired users from the pandemic into long-term customers.

For mobile commerce to continue to grow, it takes an understanding of data, design, and how people behave. Not all retailers understand that, and if they do they are presenting personalized screens or personalized shopping journeys that are keeping consumers engaged.

This article is written by Karam Malhotra, partner and global VP at global internet technology company, SHAREit Group

The article is published as part of MARKETECH APAC’s thought leadership series What’s NEXT. This features marketing leaders sharing their marketing insights and predictions for the upcoming year. The series aims to equip marketers with actionable insights to future-ready their marketing strategies.

If you are a marketing leader and have insights that you’d like to share with regards to the upcoming trends and practices in marketing, please reach out to [email protected] for an opportunity to have your thought-leadership published on the platform.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Unlocking the power of video for unforgettable shopping moments

After over a year of enduring lockdowns and restrictions, there is no stopping the e-commerce wave. Driven by boredom and necessity, shoppers continue to flock to online shopping platforms in droves as evidenced by record-breaking numbers across the board on e-commerce platforms. According to Facebook and Bain & Company, about 70 million more people have turned into avid online shoppers in Southeast Asia since the start of the pandemic.

This boom in online shopping is a tremendous opportunity for brands to seek and deepen audience engagement through digital channels. With the year-end shopping and holiday season approaching, this is a critical period for brands looking to cap off the year with a bang.

In today’s digital age, where audience attention spans are shorter, simply trying to stand out among the competition is no longer enough due to the sheer amount of content dispensed on every page and with every click. Online consumerism is no longer merely about purchasing products, but also the customer journey and experience. One way to embrace this period of disruption and retain consumer attention is through harnessing the capabilities of video and creative for genuine audience-brand connection.

It is also no surprise that video consumption has grown amid the pandemic, especially in mobile-first Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific regions. Results from a 2020 study conducted by Media Partners Asia revealed that mobile video streaming increased by 60% across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore, with social media videos being one of the top channels for the discovery of new products.

The rise of Connected TV 

Standing out amid the rise in video consumption, Connected TV (CTV) continues to grow and dominate viewing habits worldwide, with 42% more attention going to CTV since lockdowns began. Compared to the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, CTV ad spend in Asia Pacific is forecasted to have the fastest growth by a Forrester study, contributed by new CTV channels and devices entering the market. 

The growth of CTV presents plenty of avenues that advertisers can leverage; its scalable and premium qualities, along with unskippable content, provide prime advertising real estate. As CTV viewership increases, brands should utilize this opportunity to adopt an audience-first strategy through tailor-made, data-driven, and relatable content relevant to their target audiences. As a massive canvas on which multiple formats can be experimented, CTV provides the perfect opportunity for storytelling and engagement within high-quality environments. This could come in the form of branded frames to reinforce product visuals, dynamic overlays to supercharge the viewing experience, and even opportunities for the audience to customize their own products on-screen.

Television and on-demand viewing platforms are often referred to as ‘lean-back’ media due to the audience experience of being relaxed and served content without being fully engaged. Hence, to capture attention, transfer the experience from TV to mobile device, and encourage further interaction, consider supporting CTV ads with a seamless purchasing experience across multiple screens. A great example would be a click-out feature, where consumers can scan a QR code for products to be instantly added to their shopping carts – seamless, quick, and fuss-free.

Genuine emotional engagement 

People forget what you say, but they will not forget how you made them feel. Emotion has always been a powerful tool in engaging and creating valuable connections with consumers. Video is one of the best mediums to evoke emotion and drive emotional engagement, and subtly help audiences respond more strongly and favorably to a brand. This helps to enable brand recall in peak moments and influence post-viewing behaviors, including brand perception and decision making.

Advertisers can better equip their ads for memory by leveraging a mental short-cut known as the peak-end rule – affecting how users remember the past through selected snapshots of memories that shape their perception and feeling about an event. To take advantage of this, place important takeaways at intense positive or negative moments, also known as its ‘peaks’, as well as the final moments of an experience.

It is also important to select the right mix of emotions to be evoked in ad campaigns, as the right emotional mix can have a huge impact on brand building and sales uplift: the right visuals, copy, sounds, and placements can all stir feeling and impact. Playing around the full spectrum of emotions – from positive to negative – can create that much-needed spark.

When it comes to season shopping, no other holiday evokes stronger emotions than Christmas, and the pandemic seems to have further amplified those feelings. Based on a study by video ad platform Unruly, amid the pandemic, 2020’s Christmas ads were found to be 51% more emotive than the global average, and even increased the average purchase consideration score by 41%.

In the Philippines, the same study found that Christmas ads evoked 14% more intense emotions than the average ad, and the top positive emotions associated with Christmas ads were happiness, inspiration, and warmth. Similarly, in Australia, a study of 2020 Christmas ads saw a 36% increase in intense emotions than the average ad. 

Captivating viewers with creative

Apart from cookies and targeting, which are some of the primary drivers of today’s campaigns, a Nielsen study found that creative is responsible for 47% of the uptick in sales from advertising.

Ultimately, creative should continue to be aligned with specific media goals, as well as its audiences, screens, and placement types. Capture audiences’ attention by telling engaging, relevant stories across all screens.

Brands can also capture viewers’ attention with short-form videos, where shorter ads can deliver higher dwell time, completion rate, and brand recall.

Interaction is key

Interactive video ads provide unique and engaging experiences for audiences, allowing them to live through your brand’s narrative and driving immediate action. Standalone interactive elements, or a combination of elements, can take the viewing experience to greater heights.

A common example today is the use of QR codes; their popularity has been further driven by the pandemic as viewers may take action almost instantly. Particularly useful in CTV, QR codes are an efficient way of getting viewers to continue the consumer journey on their mobile devices – including downloading an app, adding an item to an online cart, or even redeeming a gift.

Other elements that help push users down the conversion funnel include countdown clocks, which heighten the sense of urgency and excitement for promotions and product releases, and shoppable videos, which provide an instant path to purchase.

As CTV and video continue their rise as one of today’s most important marketing channels, it is time for brands to start riding on the wave of video and creative to unlock growth. With the close of 2021, it’s now time to harness the host of possibilities that CTV and video bring, to engage with audiences uniquely and personally for the most unforgettable shopping moments.

This article is written by Greg Fournier, senior vice president of global strategy at video advertising platform Unruly.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

This is the top reason SG adults will shop year-end sales–and it’s not the discounts

Singapore – Black Friday and massive year-end sales are here and shoppers are ready to tick off their lists–even in the least ideal times. An Aussie study has already revealed that some shoppers have added to cart and checked out–while drunk. Meanwhile, Singaporean shoppers, on a lighter note, would do it–out of boredom. 

Of more than a thousand Singaporean adults, 37% will shop sales for a number of different reasons. Topping their intentions was surprisingly to stave away boredom, with 16% saying so, found a survey by comparison platform Finder

This is only slightly higher than the number of people who’ll shop because the sales provide good value (14%). In terms of demographics, women are slightly more likely than men to shop the sales overall (38% women vs. 37% men), while men are more likely to be shopping out of boredom (18% men vs. 15% women). 

Meanwhile, Singaporeans aged 65 and above are most likely to shop the sales, with 41% of people from this age group saying they’ll be making a purchase. Only 33% of those aged 35-44 say the same. 

Despite affirmative findings, the survey also found that 63% of Singaporean adults choose not to shop for reasons such as inflated prices (6%) and due to personally-eyed sales not being discounted (5%). 

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Platforms Featured ANZ

About 18% of Aussies admit to doing online shopping—while drunk

Sydney, Australia – Online shopping while under the influence of alcohol might sound hilarious, but it does happen: the latest survey from comparison platform Finder shows that around 18% of Australians admit to doing so.

In terms of the frequency of doing it, this is split by 12% admitting to having done it once or twice, and 6% having doendo it often. 

Meanwhile, 62% of the respondents admit that although they haven’t done so, have actually shopped online while mildly sober. 

In terms of what items or services respondents eyed while ‘drunk-shopping’, the most is having food delivered, with around 1212% of the respondents. This is followed by buying alcohol (11%), and shopping for clothes or shoes (9%). Some have even gone as far as applying for a job (2%), applying for a house/apartment (1%), buying airline tickets (1%), and purchasing a pet (1%).

The average amount most spent online while drunk in one sitting was AU$328. Demographic-wise, men have admitted to spending AU$343 while drunk in one sitting, compared to AU$306 for women.

By age group, Gen X drunk shoppers are the worst offenders, spending AU$425 on average per sitting, compared to AU$299 for Millennials and AU$265 for Gen Z.

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Platforms Featured ANZ

More younger Aussie consumers turn to social media for product research, discovery

Sydney, Australia – More younger consumers in Australia are utilizing social media to conduct product research and discovery before deciding to purchase a product, the latest survey from cloud-based e-commerce solutions ChannelAdvisor notes.

According to the survey, 64% of 18- to 25-year-olds have researched products on Instagram during the past 12 months, while 67% of 26 to 35-year-olds have researched products on Facebook within the same period. 

Despite that, social media use for product research remains the least-used online channel for product research, with only 6% of all respondents using it. Search engines or organic search remains to be the go-tochannel for product research, which is used by 37% of respondents. This is followed by brand websites (23%) and marketplaces or retailer sites (35%).

In regards to what affects a consumer’s purchasing decision, price takes the lead with 79% of the respondents agreeing so, followed by availability (55%), reviews (44%), delivery speed (42%), brand name (35%), and payment options (35%), and flexibility of delivery time (22%).

“The survey results are clear: consumers aren’t buying products and interacting with companies the way they did before 2020. Consumers want convenience at each stage of the buying journey — from research to sale. Brands and retailers need to shift their focus to their consumers’ demands,” said Mike Shapaker, CMO at ChannelAdvisor.

The survey also noted that factors such as a product being out of stock (61% of respondents), a possible better price (46%), negative reviews (35%), unclear product information (32%), as well as unclear product images (26%), and too few reviews (17%) are reasons why consumers would abandon online purchases.

For the upcoming holiday season, about 36% of surveyed consumers plan to do more holiday shopping online this year, while 42% of survey respondents plan to use ‘buy online, pick up in-store’ or curbside options this season. Meanwhile, 7% plan to do less holiday shopping online.

“Ahead of peak season, they’ll [brands and businesses] need to reimagine and reinforce e-commerce strategies to take advantage of these permanent changes, as their competitors will soon begin doing the same,” Shapaker added.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Nearly all SEA consumers planning to leverage online shopping this festive season

Singapore – Despite many consumers now reducing their budget for shopping and fearing shopping in-store due to pandemic concerns, about 93% of Southeast Asian consumers say that they will shop more across digital commerce sites this festive season, new insights from marketing technology company InMobi shows.

According to the report, about 39% of respondents have said that this is the first time that they will be trying out online shopping.

A positive sentiment is evident across online shoppers in the region, saying they want to learn about a product (39%) and explore product categories (71%), as well as making a purchase (69%). Some 24% of respondents declared that they would spend more on online shopping for the holiday season, while 47% planned to reduce their budget for in-person shopping.

“Despite a tough 2021, Southeast Asians are still gearing up for the year-end holiday shopping season, which has traditionally been the most active period for e-commerce sales in the region. More shoppers than ever are going online and spending more money online, most using their mobile phones to explore, discover and purchase. The time is right for brands and marketers to leverage mobile-first marketing to attract the interest of the connected festive shopper this year,” said Rishi Bedi, vice president and general manager for Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea at InMobi.

However, nearly 64% of consumers are still ‘undecided’ or are ‘completely unplanned’ on their online shopping experience, giving brands the opportunity to capture this market.

The report also noted that there are three key buyer personas that are emerging across Southeast Asian consumers for the holiday season, namely bargain hunters (64% of respondents), category explorers (26% of respondents) and brand lovers (10% of respondents).

In terms of spending, some 51% of Indonesians planned to spend over IDR 500,000 for their online shopping, while one in five Singaporeans will spend more than S$1000, with the average Filipino family shelling out ₱7627 for the festive season. 

Meanwhile, clothing and accessories, groceries, gadgets, and home appliances emerged as the most in-demand product categories across Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

“Since 2020, the consumer shift towards mobile shopping has meant a surge in the adoption of InMobi’s shoppable media and online to online/offline commerce solutions by brands for maximizing ROI. These solutions, along with our unique deterministic audience targeting on programmatic, will play an even more significant role for brands in this online festive season,” Bedi concluded.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Top PH e-wallet GCash launches first-of-its-kind online shopping insurance

Manila, Philippines – Top e-wallet in the Philippines GCash’s new service is a step forward in customer service and in fulfilling its brand promise of safe financial transactions. In partnership with Singapore-headquartered regional insurtech Igloo, GCash launches a first-of-its-kind online shopping insurance protection that will secure consumers from online marketplace fraud.

Igloo’s Online Shopping product is part of its Cyber Protection vertical, which secures financial loss arising directly from any online marketplace fraud. Through the partnership, GCash users will be protected from any transaction they make via online marketplaces such as Lazada, Shopee, including Viber, and Facebook marketplaces as long as their payment was fulfilled through the GCash platform. 

GCash continues to be the leading digital wallet in the Philippines and is continually amplifying its services. The fintech has also recently announced that it is eyeing to launch a Buy Now Pay Later service within this year. 

Martha Sazon, GCash’s president and CEO, said that the shopping insurance offering comes at a time when they have seen robust growth in online transactions and user base.

“With excellent customer experience being the heart of our business alongside value-added services through our platform, we are thrilled to launch this new product with Igloo that secures online transactions for our customers,” said Sazon.

Mario Berta, Igloo’s country manager for the Philippines, commented, “We are excited to partner with the leading e-wallet in the country, GCash, who shares the same vision of protecting digital consumers by pioneering innovative solutions to end-customers at an economical price. With the growing number of digital consumers in the country, now more than ever, is it most important to provide flexible solutions for the changing needs and processes of both businesses and customers.” 

According to GCash, its users currently stand at 46 million. The app has also had over 13 million log-ins per day, peaking at almost 15 million in the second quarter of 2021.

GCash has been integrating insurance as one of its value propositions to users. Within the app, it currently offers a line of insurance products similarly powered by Singapore-grown insurance firm, Singlife. GCash’s offerings are mainly characterized by low-cost premiums and include a range of protection from income loss to health coverage such as Dengue and even COVID-19.

The Online Shopping protection is one of the first products Igloo will be launching with GCash but will soon be rolling out more products with the e-wallet in the next six months that will be geared towards MSMEs.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Average Aussie consumer spends AU$500 monthly on discretionary items: report

Sydney, Australia – As more and more consumers now resort to their mobile devices to create online purchases, social media has changed consumer spending on discretionary items, as a new study by Australian direct bank UBank estimates that the average Australian consumer spends around AU$500 per month on such items, or the equivalent of AU$6,000 per year.

According to the report, with the current Australian adult population standing at 19.75 million, it is estimated that the discretionary spend is around AU$118.24b, and all of these purchases are only made via our mobile devices. 

For Philippa Watson, CEO at UBank, such behavior can be attributed to existing COVID-19 restrictions, which not only drastically affected our way of living but also how we spend and make purchases online.

“Australians are finding new avenues to part with their cash using apps on their phones and devices,” she said.

By demographic, the report notes that men are spending an average of AU$602 each month compared to women that AU$400 per month on discretionary items. These include clothing and shoes (AU$89.14 men spending per month compared to AU$75.44 women spending per month); dining out (AU$102 compared to AU$62); entertainment (AU$86 compared to AU$56); and tech gadgets (AU$88 compared to AU$38).

“More surprisingly, it’s men who are spending more on average each month in areas like clothing, dining out, entertainment and gadgets,” Watson added.

Meanwhile, in terms of age demographic, millennials are spending the most each month, averaging to AU$773, compared to Gen X who spend AU$528, with Gen Z that spend AU$465 and Baby Boomers spending AU$236. In fact, millennials account for 50% of all discretionary spending on these channels splashing AU$59.1 billion each year.

The report also noted that social media exposure has made a positive impact in online spending among Australians, as one in five or 21% of Australians say social media has had a positive influence on the way they manage their money, with millennials, or about 35% of the respondents, are more likely than all other generations to say social media has had a positive impact on the way they manage their money.

“While we know young people love social media and apps, it’s encouraging to see some positive money management behaviors resulting from these channels,” Watson concluded.

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Platforms Featured ANZ

Aussies yet to adopt Amazon as top choice for online shopping: survey

Sydney, Australia – Despite Amazon being a well-known global e-commerce giant, online shoppers across Australia still find Amazon not to be a top choice for their online shopping needs, a new survey from digital experience management company Sitecore shows.

According to their latest data, only a fifth of their overall Australian respondents say Amazon as their top choice for online shopping. Despite such findings, Amazon is mainly gaining traction from their younger generation customers. Through the platform’s online retail service, Sitecore notes that adoption of Amazon as the go-to site is higher among Gen Z, compared to older generations (31% v 21%).

This finding is strengthened by the fact that the platform’s online retail experience has resulted in nearly one in three Australian consumers finding Amazon’s shopping experience to be more personalized when compared with other retailers. On aggregate, Amazon shoppers in Australia would move to other retailers if they provided the same incentives, discounts and purchase experience as Amazon.

Amid positive notes of high trust and personalization of Amazon’s shopping experience, 4 in 10 Australians—and half of Gen Z (53% vs. 39% among older gens) – would like to reduce the amount of shopping they do on Amazon. The research also said that Gen Z in Australia are more likely to shop directly from brands online, rather than Amazon (75% vs 66%).

Part of the reason for this consumer behavior of moving away from big brands is due to the fact that many Aussies fear low-quality and/or counterfeit products, which might be more evident in the larger platforms.

Paige O’Neill, CMO at Sitecore, comments on the findings, “The battle for digital retailer brand preference is in its early days in Australia. There is an opportunity here for Internet commerce players to expand their share of the market, but it won’t be an easy win. They’ll need to offer comparable levels of service and personalization throughout the customer journey as the fight for market share heats up.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Perfumes, skincare products, kaftan–the trinity of this year’s Ramadan sought-after products: report

Singapore – As the Muslim religious holiday of Ramadan draws to its conclusion, new report from e-commerce company iPrice shows that three products are most sought by Muslim consumers in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, namely perfumes, skincare products and ‘kaftan’, a type of robe worn by Muslims and has been a distinct clothing article of Muslims in Southeast Asia.

According to the report, demand for perfume among SIngaporean consumers skyrocketed to 6078% compared to last year’s Ramadan. Other goods most-searched in Singapore include supplements, kurtas, cooktops and cookies, all which saw a huge spike in search at a rate of 2090%, 1974%, 1529%, and 452% in increase from last year respectively.

Meanwhile, skincare leads in the search history among Malaysian consumers, which increased by 8140% compared last year. Other sought-after products include perfume (6183%), Baju Melayu, a form of Malay clothing garment worn mostly by men (4241%), and even sofas (1262%).

Lastly, the Muslim-rich country of Indonesia saw that kaftan saw the highest surge of online searches, with a 8773% increase since last year. Other items include Gamis (a Muslim female clothing garment), Rok Muslimah (a casual version of Muslim female clothing), and Sarung (an Indonesian skirt), all of which saw a surge of 2813%, 1532%, 1850% respectively when compared to the same period last year.

iPrice also noted in their report that consumers in Singapore started their online shopping journey as early as 5 am, after a morning lull. Shopping activities reached its peak at lunch break at 2 pm and after Taraweeh (the night prayer) period at 9 pm up until 11 pm before bed.

Surprisingly, it was even earlier in Indonesia and Malaysia where people began to shop as early as 2 am and 4 am respectively. After the morning period, shopping sessions peaked again at 10 am in Indonesia and noon in Malaysia.

Smartphones have frequently been pulled out by consumers to purchase products online. This is evident because mobile emerged as the most used device for consumers in Singapore (55%), Malaysia (68%), and Indonesia (93%) to shop online than other devices within the first two weeks of Ramadan.

By comparison, the usage of desktops only showed 43% in Singapore, 31% in Malaysia, and 6.41% in Indonesia. This also proves that the mobility and the convenience of mobile transactions eclipsed tablet and desktop usage.