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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Top retailers in PH: SM Retail, 3 local firms lead rankings

Philippines – The pandemic flipped everything on 360 degrees, and to look at the current rankings of the top companies in the business sector is to view it from a whole new perspective. Market research firm Euromonitor International has recently released its list of the top companies in the retail industry in Asia for 2020, and in the Philippines, a majority of those that were leading the in the year 2019 are still the ones that reigned in 2020.

Out of the 10 in the list, the top five all registered steady growth in sales in 2020, retaining their standings from the past year. SM Retail, which holds a nationwide portfolio of department stores, supermarkets, and specialty stores, still came out as the leading firm in the sector. It was followed by pharmaceutical company Mercury Drug, with grocery retailer Puregold Price Club coming out on the third spot. Meanwhile, another giant in retail, Robinsons Retail Holdings, registered neither a drop nor an improvement in sales as well, landing the top fourth spot, while specialty store group Seven & I Holdings rounded the top five. 

Top retailers in the Philippines

Three of the top firms, which are also all international companies – beauty and wellness AS Watson Group, China-based Alibaba Group, and Shopee’s parent company Sea – all recorded improvements in sales landing the 6th, 8th, and 9th spots respectively.

Meanwhile, local grocery retailer Metro Retail Stores Group was shown to drop sales in 2020, with international home retail Wilcon Depot also demonstrating the same movement in sales.

SM Retail, which registered $5.4b in sales in 2020 came out as the 9th leading retailer in the Southeast Asia region. For the region, Tokopedia took the crown with $11.7b in total sales for the year. 

Meanwhile, for the whole of Asia, it was China’s Alibaba Group Holding and JD.com that were named as top firms. 

The pandemic remains to be the biggest determinant of the rankings, where the lockdown in the Philippines had become one of the longest globally, which started in March of 2020, and is still presently in reinforcement. According to Euromonitor, this affected the way people chose to fulfill their essentials, where mixed retailers were the worst hit, with consumers opting for specialist retailers, presenting a convenient way to obtain what they needed in stock. 

With people cooped up at home, the current situation panned out greatly for e-commerce, and this showed with Shopee’s parent firm Sea registering an increase in sales. According to the report, the category had already been growing at a double-digit pace pre-lockdown but this was accelerated in 2020 with people maximizing the ease of online retail. 

An interesting growing trend in 2020 in the Philippines is community stores, or stores that are situated in nearby communities and neighborhoods. These existed prior to COVID-19, and the increase in popularity can be attributed to the presence of Alfamart, a minimart that is a hybrid between a supermarket and a convenience store. 

Alfamart is a chain of convenience stores from Indonesia, with over 10,000 stores across Indonesia and the Philippines. Euromonitor said the concept increased in relevance in 2020 as consumers looked for the most convenient ways to complete their shopping trips, with the trend expected to continue further.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PH retailers need to listen to socmed chatter to understand COVID-19 consumer behavior: study

Manila, Philippines – As the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country, pandemic-relevant items such as face masks, face shields, and hand sanitizers have surged in demand. With this new ‘essentials’ in market, a new study from media monitoring and insights solution provider Isentia notes that Philippine retailers need to listen to the clamor of consumers regarding these essentials, especially through social media channels.

Isentia notes that face masks have naturally garnered high attention from the general public on social media, as buzz online has peaked at 75,715 impressions at least during March 2021. The demand has been also amplified with three local events, as follows:

  • The initial announcement from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) last 13 March where the agency stated that face masks should be worn, even inside of their homes. The statement was met with ridicule from the general public on social media, stating that wearing face masks at home was unnecessary. Some had sarcastic reactions saying that they should then wear masks while bathing, that policemen should be assigned inside their homes to monitor, and that they might as well require wearing a face shield at home.
  • A video of a woman onboard the Metro Rail Transit-3 Train line (MRT-3) last 23 March was met with outrage from netizens after not wearing a face mask and face shield on board the train, where she was met with confrontation from other passengers.
  • An online news report from 30 March stated that people from the English territory Gibraltar are no longer wearing masks due to the absence of COVID-19 cases in the territory. Filipino netizens perceived the news in awe and envy, while others expressed skepticism on how the Philippine Government has been handling the pandemic in the country.

In addition, Isentia notes that the most discussed face masks in the country are N95 masks and the brand Coppermask, as many netizens complain online about using disposable surgical masks when wearing makeup. Some netizens reacted negatively towards the Philippines’ vaccine expert panel’s suggestion that wearing two face masks reduces the risk of getting COVID-19 by 90%. Others praised Doc Adam, an Australian doctor and YouTube personality, for his critique of the Coppermask – saying that wearing the mask is just a fashion statement for most people. 

“Since the pandemic, what the public deems as essential has very much shifted. Masks are now a must-have and retailers and producers have found ways to cater to different tastes,” said Victoria Bernadette Lazo, insights manager at Isentia Philippines.

In regards to face shields, conversations about them were driven by multiple events during the month of March, garnering a total of 43,599 total buzz during the month. The highest momentum was on the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III who went out on the streets of Baclaran to hand out face shields. The majority of the comments were highly unfavorable in nature, with netizens dubbing that it was a ‘failed PR attempt’ for the government arm and its top official.

Lastly, ‘hand sanitizers’ garnered 1,605 total buzz in the social media. One news article that included the mention of sanitizers struck out on 13 March when Thailand Prime Minister Paruth Chan-ocha sprayed hand sanitizer on the reporters of his press conference to avoid answering questions. Filipino commenters still found a way to correlate the news to Philippine government leaders such as President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo. 

“With the threat of COVID-19 still lingering, you can never underestimate any measure when it comes to your safety. A lot of luxuries were taken away from us but what we still have is a choice, an option to choose your face masks, face shields and even the hand sanitizer that goes along with your bag,” Francis Angelo Calucin, insights analyst at Isentia Philippines, said.

The report uses the example of Coppermask which engaged in a so-called ‘Streisand effect’, where the brand attempted to hide, remove, or censor information about negative reviews of their product, such as those of Australian doctor/YouTuber Doc Adam, which in return has the unintended consequence of further publicizing that information, often via the Internet.

“Social media, given its volatile nature, is a good avenue for retail brands to gain insights into customer preferences. Amid the clutter in online platforms, trendspotting reports unlock relevant organic conversations that may be leveraged by brands in devising strategies that will impact their consumers.” Kate Dudang, insights manager at Isentia Philippines, explained. 

Meanwhile, Gladys Mae Ruiz, insights analyst at Isentia Philippines added, “A critical situation like the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed human behavior in different directions. Trendspotting studies such as this will help brands and businesses better understand and respond to the ever-changing consumer behaviour.”

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

Omnichannel retail strategies in the era of connected experiences

Retailers across the globe were already facing challenges engaging with the increasingly digital consumer when the global pandemic hit. The sweeping lockdowns and movement restrictions only made the problem worse. Analysts predict that more than 100,000 stores will shut down by 2025 in the United States alone and retailers across the globe are experiencing disruption in the way they’ve connected and engaged with consumers in the past. 

The only way to thrive in this environment is to take a connected retail approach through omnichannel engagement. Retailers can no longer remain purely online or offline players and need to stay in step with customers across multiple touchpoints. This also means brands need to rethink their engagement and communication strategies to acquire, engage, and retain customers in this context. In the process, they must ensure that every touchpoint delivers a consistent, convenient, and continuous experience to the customer.

According to IDC, an omnichannel experience can improve the customer’s lifetime value (LTV) by 30% and customer retention by 90%. These experiences are vital to recognize user behavior across multiple channels. They also magnify user actions to grow ‘micro-conversions’, the ‘wow’ moments that nudge shoppers towards a purchase, such as following a brand on social media or adding an item to the cart or wishlist. At the same time, connected experiences can highlight critical user moments to lower drop-offs.

For example, if you were in a physical store and couldn’t find the staff to help you with questions about an item, eventually you might put it back on the shelf and leave. The same can happen online if brands are not present for these moments. Finally, connected experiences allow for relevant, personalized communications across channels and a boost to LTV through loyalty programs.

A connected experience is more than just having multiple channels of communication. Gartner defines a connected experience as one during which customers can shop without any channel limitations. Customers can choose their preferred channels for purchase; how they’d like to pay; and how they’d like to obtain the items. 

How can retailers create this kind of unified experience and transform brick and mortar customers into digital ones? 

Before retailers start implementing a connected customer journey, they need to have a clear blueprint of how to implement it and assess preparedness. A one-size-fits-all approach could fail. A connected experience strategy can be divided into three stages: crawl, walk, and run. 

Crawl: The most basic stage where foundation building happens. This is where brands and retailers understand the things that work best for customers such as typical user events and the triggers for them. The key objective in this stage is to initiate communication with customers. An example of this in practice could be sending a personal message to thank someone for following you on social media and sharing a link to your website. 

Walk: With the triggers identified and messaging refined, the next stage is to connect the dots across channels. Steps in this stage are creating separate messages for acquisitions, retention, and engagement across each channel; knowing what action you want the customer to take and selecting the trigger for it (e.g., a push notification); and developing an alternate plan in case the customer proceeds in a different direction. 

Run: This is when retailers begin to focus on long-term relationships. You should now be in a place to better leverage data to trigger personalized campaigns. If you are seeing strong engagement, now is also the time to introduce a loyalty program and collect feedback post-purchase. Examples of these activities could be focused campaigns for special occasions; unique offers and incentives based on past purchases; or offering promotions that can be redeemed at nearby stores.

Once you know how to build a connected customer journey and the stage you are in, the next step is execution using engagement workflows. It’s crucial to have workflows mapped across the customer journey, i.e., from micro-conversions (link clicks/page visits) to macro conversions (purchase). 

Retailers need to carry out a series of activities to engage customers throughout their journey, from the time they register on an app or website to the time they add items to a wishlist or complete a purchase. However, the journey doesn’t end here. The process must be repeated for each new or existing user, every time they become active on your app or website. 

Best practices for creating engagement workflows include analyzing micro, ‘intent-rich’ moments to create connected journeys; segmenting by tags, events, and actions; creating workflows by deploying user event and activity conditions, and setting touchpoints using the most suitable channels for each customer segment and the point they are at in their purchasing journey. 

With some insight into how to create workflows for the different stages that customers might be in, it’s time to implement. Before retailers begin, they should keep the following in mind for the best chance of success:

Set KPIs and goals based on workflow rationale: No two customers are alike. If one is in the onboarding stage, another is in the retention stage, so each workflow will need to be measured by different key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, your goal for onboarding customers could be to increase first-purchase transactions. On the other hand, your goal in the engagement phase could be to nudge customers to purchase again. The goal for the customer advocacy workflow could be to collect more feedback from customers. Focused KPIs for each of these goals will allow for better planning.

Delegate to team members: Although the marketing workflows automate processes, some functions should be delegated to team members to improve the campaign’s outcome. For example, different team members can monitor different campaigns and deliver actionable insights on how to meet goals. When team members know exactly what they need to focus on, there is less confusion and more clarity about how to achieve the desired outcomes of the campaign.

Revise workflows with a similar rationale: Remember to review campaigns periodically – weekly, monthly, and quarterly- to measure performance. Customer needs may change during the process of implementing the workflow and you can revise your workflows to integrate any new insights that you gain that could improve the outcome of your campaigns. You can also do an A/B test to know if a campaign performs well before implementing the workflow completely. However, ensure that the revised workflow does not disrupt the customer experience in any way. As is the goal with all customer interactions, it should be hassle-free and frictionless. 

The digital era has placed even more emphasis on the customer experience. Gone are the days of customer service with a smile. Today, retail customers want clear communication and control of their shopping experience. For retail brands, this means that there is more pressure than ever before to deliver crisp, rewarding, and connected experiences. Taking a comprehensive approach to your digital outreach strategy and investing in the tools that streamline this process will ensure your success in the near term and beyond.

This article was written by Saurabh Madan, general Manager for SEA and ANZ at MoEngage.

MoEngage is an insights-led engagement platform built for marketers and product owners looking to bolster their customer engagement. With AI-powered automation and optimization, MoEngage enables brands to analyze audience behavior and engage consumers at every point of the purchasing journey.
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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

P&G, Lazada rolls out new campaign to raise awareness on Imposter Syndrome

Manila, Philippines – Procter & Gamble (P&G) has partnered with Southeast Asia’s e-commerce platform Lazada to launch a new campaign for women titled ‘#RealDeal’, with the aim to raise awareness around Imposter Syndrome a psychological phenomenon in which a person feels inadequate and incompetent despite her evident success and capabilities.

According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine, about 82% of the general population experience imposter syndrome in different periods of their lives, while the statistics from the 2019 Imposter Syndrome Study, also shared that 1 out of 2 women experiences Imposter Syndrome on a daily or regular basis, attesting to the fact that women often doubt their own abilities through feelings of fraud and belittlement of their own experiences and expertise.

The ‘#RealDeal’ campaign aims to shed light on this psychological experience through a short film, telling the real-life story of Singaporean entrepreneur, Yeo Wan Qing, who overcame Imposter syndrome by being open to those around her about the struggles she was facing.

The campaign will run on Lazada in May and June across five Southeast Asian markets including the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, as well as Indonesia, and Vietnam, with a wide range of exclusive offers on P&G products such as Olay, Pantene, and Oral-B.

“Imposter Syndrome should be taken seriously. Women who experience Imposter Syndrome need to come to the realization that people value their expertise, and they can focus on growing through the process. Additionally, they can speak to someone they trust to help them realize that their fears are unfounded,” said Dr. Lim Boon Leng, the psychiatrist from Dr. BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness.

Meanwhile, Alexandra Vogler, the senior director of e-commerce at P&G Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, shared, “P&G is deeply committed to equality and inclusion. Through this campaign, we want to bring to light the inner struggles that go unnoticed among women experiencing Imposter Syndrome. Through this short film, we hope to inspire people to start conversations about Imposter Syndrome, and support one another in overcoming it.”

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Main Feature Technology APAC

DTC and data-driven CX: Two key e-commerce marketing trends to thrive post-pandemic

2020 was the year when Direct to Consumer (DTC) achieved mainstream status, with renowned brands like Adidas, Kraft, Heinz, and PepsiCo shifting to a DTC-first model. The appeal of DTC is not only that it puts control back in the hands of brands but it also allows brands to have a 360-degree view of the customer, at every touchpoint, offering more opportunities to connect through tailored and personalized customer experience. Powered by the rise of e-commerce platforms, social media, connected devices, and channels, digitally native brands now have multiple pathways to build customer loyalty.

According to GlobalData, the e-commerce market in Australia has been on a high growth curve for the past few years, and the COVID-19 outbreak is further set to boost e-commerce sales in the country with the e-commerce market value predicted to grow from $47B in 2020 to over $77B by 2024.

The rising appetite for online shopping is driving brands to increase their digital presence, and the increasing demands have also raised expectations when it comes to customer experience (CX). About 73 per cent of consumers expect brands to understand and cater to their individual needs.

If brands want to adopt a DTC strategy, and do it well, data-driven CX has to be at the core of their marketing strategies.

Achieving real impact through CX

In traditional retail, wholesale manufacturers sell through retail distributors with little control over how the product is sold – where exactly it is placed in the store, how much information salespeople share about the product, and whether the customer is satisfied with the overall shopping experience. The brand experience is no longer standalone but instead depends on the retail experience. If the latter is unpleasant, the customer’s frustration will likely get projected on the brand itself and may even prevent a sale.

In contrast, a DTC approach allows brands to have complete control over their product lifecycle, marketing, and every moment of engagement. Since they are so close to the process, they have first-party data to connect with prospects and customers on a one-to-one basis, at every touchpoint. Customers expect DTC brands to use that data to enhance and personalize CX, regardless of the channel that they are using at any given point in time.

Those touchpoints live in a vacuum, and marketers have the advantage of leveraging customer data to guide changes to their marketing strategies and create a frictionless experience for the customer. DTC players know when, where and how consumers engage with their brands and the effect of each touchpoint. In other words, they have the information necessary to power ultimate personalization.

Managing omnichannel transitions

However, DTC isn’t the be-all and end-all of success. Consumers are demanding a holistic omnichannel experience, and this includes traditional, bricks and mortar retail. The demand for an omnichannel experience fits with the nature of convoluted modern shopping and ever-changing consumer behavior as around 73 percent of people now demand the convenience of an omnichannel approach for their shopping journey.

Moreover, from a business and sales standpoint, giving the consumer more flexibility drives revenue growth and retention from the added convenience of a consistent omnichannel experience such as allowing customers to visit a retail location before purchasing online or giving them the option to buy online and collect in-store. According to research by V12, retailers with omnichannel strategies have a 91 percent greater annual customer retention rate.

If brands choose to go this route, it is imperative for every step of omnichannel journeys to contribute to a positive and seamless overall experience – including the physical ones. This can only be achieved when all systems and marketing programs are communicating with each other to ensure that each interaction informs, and is informed by, every other interaction in real-time.

However, brands won’t be able to create touchpoints that are deeply engaging, one that demonstrates attentiveness to customer needs and preferences, and one that rewards loyalty with increasingly compelling experiences, unless they invest in their data. Data holds the keys to defining customer journeys, discovering pain points, and optimizing and integrating experiences across channels, in real time, to better understand and serve customers.

As consumers globally continue to live with uncertainty amid the pandemic, their purchasing behavior becomes more unpredictable. Adopting or transitioning to a DTC model, while delivering consistent and exceptional data-driven CX will help brands and marketers accommodate unforeseen consumer behavioral changes and capture more market share.

Brands that want to capitalize on this eCommerce boom need to engage directly with their consumers to future proof their businesses against the evolving market, changing trends, and the impacts of the pandemic.

This article was written by Robin Marchant, head of marketing at Shopify for APAC.

Shopify is a global commerce company, headquartered in Canada, which provides tools for businesses to start and grow their brands.
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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Retail company FJB to boost O2O performance through Lazada team-up

Singapore – As the pandemic forced businesses to shift to online, retail company FJ Benjamin (FJB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with e-commerce platform Lazada Singapore to boost its brands’ online-offline (O2O) retail experience e. The partnership aims to optimize regional online sales, as well as to expand and develop new FJB brands, to eventually integrate brick-and-mortar and virtual stores.

The signed MOU will see Lazada managing the full online ecosystem of FJB brands, developing new tailor-made solutions to deliver an excellent omnichannel customer experience for FJB brands in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The parties will also discuss with brand principals the opportunities for e-commerce in markets where Lazada has a presence, such as Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. 

Besides operating principal branded sites, it is also intended to host certain brands on LazMall as well as other regional sites, subject to principal approvals.

Group CEO of FJ Benjamin, Nash Benjamin, commented that the retail company has been strategizing and planning its omnichannel business model for some time now.

“This partnership with Lazada is intended to get us to where we want to be much faster and in a more cost-efficient manner. This will combine our respective capabilities to strengthen customer experience across brick and mortar and virtual channels,” said Benjamin.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Lazada Singapore, James Chang said that they are thrilled to be part of a new chapter with FJ Benjamin, valuing their trust in Lazada. Chang further shared that lifestyle, fashion and beauty are important pillars in their e-commerce plans and shoppers can now look forward to seeing more well-known brands and labels on their platform, for an integrated shopping experience.

“In the last year, Lazada has supported many businesses that adopted a multichannel approach to set up stores online and we know that our expertise in the e-commerce space will benefit and contribute to the success of a renowned brand like FJ Benjamin, and look forward to seeing positive results with them,” added Chang.

Last year’s lockdown forced FJB stores in Southeast Asia to close down, which led the company to turn to e-commerce. It has ramped up its online presence from one brand, the cult British fashion label Superdry, to almost all its brands including Guess, La Senza, Casio, Rebecca Minkoff, Pretty Ballerinas, Airfree, and Dr. Barbara Sturm. Some of the brands managed by FJB are already available on Lazada’s premiere shopping platform, Lazmall, such as La Senza, Pretty Ballerinas, and Petunia Pickle Bottom.

The press release shared that under the terms of the MOU, both FJB and Lazada will, within 90 days, work on a detailed action plan and a definitive agreement to move the partnership forward.

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Technology Featured APAC

TUMI launches first virtual experiential store in Asia

Hong Kong – Everything has gone virtual this pandemic, and TUMI, the luxury fashion brand, has also joined the lot but with an innovative spin – it launches its first virtual experiential store. 

The store is debuted first in Asia Pacific and the Middle East to launch its Spring 2021 collection. The store uses 360° 3D and AR implementations to give customers an immersive and enhanced omnichannel experience. 

The store is a perfect simulation of the physical store, with products neatly displayed around the store. Displays are interactive, where each one can easily be tapped to display essential information. TUMI has also made purchasing easier with an option to directly shop for the product or opt to contact sales associates to book a personal virtual shopping experience.

Further, TUMI maximizes the online-to-offline experience by connecting the virtual store to its other shopping channels via the Chat & Shop function. 

The brand said the virtual store is a “dynamic storytelling medium.”

“Ushering in a creative new age of digital retail that connects fans with the brand like never before, the TUMI Virtual Store is a dynamic storytelling medium that inspires customers to embark on a journey through thoughtfully designed interactive touchpoints and activations,” said TUMI in a press release.

To make the virtual experience more enjoyable and interactive, the brand has also installed a few fun ‘activities’ such as its ‘Magic Mirror Selfie’, which is usually available in offline stores, allowing one to take a three-second video selfie where visitors are able to enjoy it appear on the mirror before downloading the video file. Visitors can also play and be directed to its ‘Perfecting The Journey’ Instagram and WeChat Game by scanning a QR code viewable in the store. The game involves racing through a forest and across the city and controlling the player’s vehicle using facial movements to collect favorite TUMI bags while avoiding obstacles along the way.

To fully anchor the online and offline experience, TUMI said those visiting the physical stores in the region can explore the TUMI digital landscape via in-store kiosks. 

Together with the launch of the store, the brand has also run another first – its pilot regional live stream, similarly for customers in the APAC and Middle East region to introduce the Spring 2021 Collection, which is said to especially focus on an environment-friendly product line, using sustainable materials for its bags and luggage.  

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SME Featured East Asia

Telecom operator HGC launches retail ICT solution for SMEs

Hong Kong – HGC Global Communications (HGC) has launched its retail ICT (information, communications, and technology) solution to cater to the needs of SME retailers in making their digital transformation strategy easier, especially as enterprise activity has been greatly affected by the pandemic.

An initial offering by the network company is making retailers stay connected to their customers, including Whatsapp+ service and automated chatbots for the retailer’s online chat system.

Furthermore, the new offering also aids SMEs in creating their online shop from scratch, including marketplace tools such as inventory management, trade reports, and analysis, as well as support for multiple payment methods.

Lastly, the digital offering allows retailers, more specifically in the catering industry,  to practice electronic point of sale (ePOS) systems. The system supports digital menus, enabling customers to use their smartphones to order and pay for meals. This can reduce the necessary manpower and limit mistaken orders, so restaurants can deploy staff more flexibly and efficiently. 

“SMEs are facing various challenges running their business in the midst of the pandemic. Even so, this presents retailers with an important opportunity to optimize their business operations. HGC strives to stand by SMEs at this critical time. Our Retail ICT solution can efficiently address the difficulties they encounter,” said Joe Cheong, COO for corporate business & enterprise market at HGC.

He added, “With the professional follow-up and support provided by HGC’s consultant teams, as well as our competitive pricing, we can guide them on a journey of rapid digital transformation to achieve significant improvements in operational efficiency. We hope to ease the pressure on SMEs, empowering them to continue running their business and identifying new business opportunities even during the pandemic.”

In addition to the digital marketplace package, HGC also offers retailers a unified communication solution (HGC UC) that combines business voice and mobile communication, plus other value-added services like mobile video conferencing to fulfill the needs of enterprises operating during the pandemic through a one-stop ICT solution.

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Platforms Featured South Asia

Miniso to launch full eCommerce operations in Pakistan, buys ToSharing

Pakistan – Chinese low-cost retailer Miniso has acquired the Pakistan operations of eCommerce site ToSharing from shopping website Cheezmall, said a report by Profit.

The acquisition, which has a valuation between $5M and $7M, was finalized in September.

With the business based in China, ToSharing’s operations are manned outside of Pakistan. Prior to the acquisition, Miniso products are offered on a number of third-party marketplaces in the country, with ToSharing considered as its channel partner with direct online sales redirecting to the site.

With the deal, such marketplaces will be halted. Miniso did share that the sale of its products through the said channel resulted in inconsistent customer experiences, where ToSharing now standing as the exclusive online destination for purchasing Miniso products in Pakistan.

Mainly, the move by Miniso will be an acqui-hiring where as of 21 October 2020, cross-functional teams of ToSharing across marketing, supply chain, customer care, security, and risk will be transferred to Miniso.pk, its upcoming eCommerce store.

The site will be ready to process orders by the 31st of October 2020.

The acquisition is only the first phase of the investment from Miniso, with the retailer looking to complete further investments to build eCommerce fulfillment centers and the entire infrastructure, for a successful eCommerce operation in major cities of Pakistan.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Malaysia’s eCommerce Youbeli, PJ Digital Mall make the jump to Online-to-Offline commerce

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – eCommerce platform Youbeli has collaborated with IT mall PJ Digital Mall to adopt an online-to-offline (O2O) commerce.

The new partnership comes as Youbeli gears up for its 10.10 sale event. It has brought together 10 participating tenants from the mall onboard the Youbeli platform.

In conjunction with the 10.10 campaign, the parties have prepared surprise freebies for customers who prefer to self-pickup items from the mall. In the future, Youbeli said that it will be offering same-day delivery to any addresses within a 10km radius from the PJ Digital Mall.

Meanwhile, up until 10 October 2020, shopping vouchers and promotions will be continually announced on Youbeli’s and PJ Digital Mall’s Facebook pages. The promotions will be applicable for computers, laptops, and accessories.

This will be the second time that the platform has collaborated with a physical shopping mall, and according to Youbeli CEO Chua Khai Suan, the new partnership is part of their ongoing O2O initiative to help brick-and-mortar retailers to attract sales.

“[Instead] of competing as two different entities, we complement each other’s business model to bring the best deals for our customers,” Chua said.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Fang, leasing manager of Digital Mall shared, “Since we started the collaborative campaign on 1 October, we saw a long queue of customers outside the mall especially last weekend.”

“At times like this, we need to ensure businesses continue to run to support the country’s economy however much we can so we can reduce the number of unemployment due to the pandemic,” Fang added.

Just recently, Youbeli has also partnered with a co-eCommerce player, Taiwan’s PChomeSEA, to integrate its products to the platform.