Southeast Asia is projected to become the world’s fourth-largest economic bloc in 2030 on the back of acceleration in eCommerce.
However, businesses from outside the region find that entering it is a complicated process that requires a deep understanding of eCommerce fundamentals and the Southeast Asian customer experience.
“Going into the SEA market, you will never make it without a partner,” said 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 which are happening in the back end which are completely underestimated when it comes to observing the overall eCommerce outlook,” he added.
etaily has established six strategic business locations across the region, including the Philippines.
The company’s suite of services, which include eCommerce strategy, data and analytics, and multi-warehousing, has made it a strong partner for European brands such as Nivea, Alpecin, and Sebamed, among others.
Friedhoff, who is immersed in the region’s 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.
The ability of brands to understand 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. Making the customer happy allows them to buy, fulfill, return, and get information about the products they want to have,” said Friedhoff.
A seamless omnichannel experience can likewise bridge the brands’ offline and online platforms, allowing the SEA market to see offerings from their home countries and giving them the assurance and security that these products can be brought to their doorstep.
Another advantage to having a partner is that the brands will be free to focus on their core business and deliver more rewarding preferred products and services to their new SEA markets.
“Online is, was, and will always be relevant and the pandemic was its semi-accelerator,” Friedhoff explained.
“In the end, we are here for one thing: to build great customer experiences, and we are happy to do this with you,” he added.