The Selangor Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (SITEC) held a class on mobile commerce on the 28th of February, providing attendees with the information they would need to make an informed decision on selling via mobile commerce platforms.
The class was led by Coach Adrian Oh, co-founder of eCommerceMILO, with guest speakers Edward Ling from Shopee and Becca Yap of Shoppr, to an audience of 95.
Oh started by sharing statistics of mobile and internet penetration in Malaysia, and compared them to global and regional figures. According to him, internet penetration in Malaysia is actually higher than the world’s average, with 7 out of 10 Malaysians online (see image on right).
With over 43 million active mobile subscriptions in Malaysia, mobile browser usage has surpassed desktop browser usage in Malaysia since early 2016, signalling a prime opportunity. As such, the move towards Mobile is no longer an option now, but a necessity, for e-merchants, he further noted.
App or Web?
According to Oh, merchants can consider two choices when it comes to moving to mobile commerce. The first would be through a Mobile App, which would require the development or use of a mobile app unto itself. The second would be through Mobile Web, which requires making your website entirely mobile-friendly.
He advised merchants to balance the issues of cost, technology, distribution, and the type of business the choice is being made for. Costs may be immediate or long-term.Some of the costs may include app development and app maintenance, and manpower costs (people who maintain the app, be it yourself or a hire).
At the same time, this has to be weighed against the technology and distribution. He noted that the Apple Store has its own highly stringent checks, which have to be passed each time the app is updated or changed, quite unlike the Google Playstore (which has its own requirements and checks, though not quite as stringent).
One last point of balance is the type of business the choice is being made for. Oh advised to consider if the business deals in fast-moving consumer goods, or in items which are only bought once every few years. Oh advised the choice of developing an app is more suited to businesses dealing in FMCG items, such as groceries, as that would then lend convenience to the consumer. However, the cost and upkeep of the app would not stand up for slower moving, higher priced items such as kitchen appliances and air-conditioning units.
m-Commerce tips from Shopee
The first guest speaker was Edward Ling, a Business Development Category Manager with Shopee, a Garena subsidiary. Shoppee is a mobile-first, social-oriented marketplace with payment and logistical support for merchants.
“When people go on an app, they already have an idea of what they want, what they are looking for, so they use the search function. Then there are the browsers, who browse through a category. These make up 57% of shoppers in Shopee,” explained Ling.
He then shared four basic tenets of optimising m-Commerce with the class:
This action involves letting people know about the product or making it able for customers to search for or find the product.
This can be facilitated through actions such as ensuring the proper categorisation of products and using the right keywords in the product name or descriptions, depending on the common search terms used.
Additionally, merchants can utilise social media with proper hashtags, and making use of a platform’s own options, with examples being Shopee’s feed and newsletters.
The next step, Attract, is for when customers know of, or have found the product.
At this point, Ling suggests using informative taglines and clear and attractive photos.
A protip he added was to use photos that illustrate the benefits of the product, how it looks like in use, and how it looks like in reality.
This step aims to secure your potential customer’s interest and sale by using techniques to convince them that your product is superior to your competitors’.
There are several ways to do this, including offering free shipping, attractive discounts, or creating a sense of urgency, using terms such as ‘limited time only’ or ‘timed sale’ in the tagline.
Merchants will find that addressing common consumer concerns may help to increase their customers’ confidence in purchasing from them. Other means include making a mention of ready stock, along with the amount, and the days required to ship, together with other pertinent details such as clear descriptions. These are all additional details that help the consumer form a decision.
Maintaining quick and regular response times helps to convince the consumer as well, showing that the merchant is reliable and ready to respond to queries. Of course, the merchant has to pair this with good customer service.
This is where customer service, after-sales, and appreciation come in.
Merchants can update the buyer with their order status, say thank you for choosing the product, and exchange feedback/ratings.
In summary, Ling pointed out that a concise title with keywords, attractive photos, detailed product descriptions, important information like time and/or logistics, and relevant hashtags can help a merchant ride the m-Commerce wave.
Desktop Dominates? No, it’s Mobile, according to VISA
The second guest speaker was Becca Yap, Brand Manager and Head of Finance of Shoppr, who started her presentation with a video introducing Shoppr, which functions as a mobile fashion shopping assistant.
Becca addressed several misconceptions that people tend to have about mobile commerce.
The first was that a majority of users choose to shop via desktop.
According to Yap, the smartphone stands as the most often used device to access the internet in SEA, with about 50% of respondents from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand reporting they made purchases using smartphones (according to data from Visa in June 2015).
Yap advised that, to leverage on the dominance of the smartphone, merchants could consider utilising omnichannel marketing (marketing using various sales channels at the same time), as well as improve the mobile experience so that the UI is fully responsive and easy to use. Second-generation channels can also be incorporated, such as mobile browser pushes and targeted, personalised offers.
Mobiles also have the potential to catch impulse purchases, with Yap stating that people stuck in congestion, in her experience, tend to browse products on their phones and make purchases.
Age Not A Barrier for Mobile Consumerism
The second misconception was that m-Commerce only targets a specific age group, namely under-25s and millennials, as well as the belief that smartphone penetration is higher amongst youths and have a better understanding of mobile transactions.
Yap countered that, according to Kantar’s latest study, 52% of 25-34 year olds use mobile payments weekly, and this is the highest among other age groups. Popular chat apps like WeChat and Line have also paved the way for easier mobile transactions with services like WeChat Pay and Line Pay.
Yap also reminded attendees that the older age groups also have access to bank accounts and have more disposable income, while also finding m-Commerce more convenient due to time spent at work, with Shoppr being a case in point.
Mobile Commerce Not Just For Big Businesses
The third misconception is that only big brands and businesses have the capacity, capital, and capacity to take advantage of m-Commerce, due to the need to develop an app, and having a budget for mobile marketing and marketers who understand it.
Yap noted that, as previously mentioned by Coach Adrian Oh, there is the option of mobile-friendly websites, and that it was about the mobile experience, rather than the capital put into it. Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram are also recognised as new advertising channels as well.
In summary, Yap noted that a mobile-friendly site along with seamless checkout and reliable payment gateways remains the key to m-Commerce. Mobiles are a primary influence of driving a sale, and is the go-to tool for comparing prices and researching products.
Coach Adrian Oh responded that he personally thinks that marketplaces nowadays are a very capital-intensive game.
Talent is also needed, but unfortunately the supply cannot meet the demand.
The Malaysian market will eventually consolidate, as he does not see how the market will support so many marketplaces.