The Southeast Asia region is now witnessing a massive penetration of internet services. With over 648 million of citizens, 35% of increase in smartphone usage and up to 1.5% of e-commerce annual growth, online retailers, business start-ups and investors can start tapping into new market opportunities and finding ways to fulfilling the demand of the ever-increasing Asian online shoppers.
On top of the rise of technological adoption, the region also receives a tremendous support from the government. Most recently, the Singapore government has launched its Smart Nation initiative with an aim to provide full internet connectivity to its citizens. With it, the Singaporeans can expect to be “perpetually connected to the internet via their mobile devices” and “remain online from the moment they leave their home until they return.”
On a larger picture, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has also come up with its ICT Masterplan of 2015 that aims towards developing a better ICT landscape in the region – increasing cross-border connectivity is one of them.
If you are an online retailer who wishes to expand your business and boost sales, such promising online market and supportive government initiative should mean one thing to you: a thriving e-commerce industry connected to millions of internet-connected mobile devices ready to skyrocket– but only if targeted properly and if you are willing to think outside of the box.
The Internet of Things and the future of big data
With the increase of internet users and digital buyers, Asian retailers should be ready to handle the accumulation of their client data. It is expected that with the current “Internet of Things” trend, where everyday gadgets can communicate with each other and third-party applications, we will see a major burst of data collection activity. We will see more and more users browsing the internet, searching for the things that they would normally buy offline buying online.
All of these surfing and buying behaviors of users are expected to be captured online and analyzed by online retailers, for them to be able to make sense of the patterns and provide the most relevant product offerings to their clients. Today, companies are not only expected to gather their client data from smartphones, tablets, PCs or laptops, but also from other internet-enabled products such as home appliances, wearable products and even, vehicles.
It is now up to you, as a forward-looking business entity, to make use of big data collection to your advantage. Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, said in his post in Huffingtonpost.com that “in the next decade, the amount of information we will aggregate will grow exponentially” and “we will not be able to analyze all of this data ourselves, nor will we always know the right questions to ask.”
So, in which technology do you put your trust when it comes to processing the terabytes of data and providing you meaningful and profit-generating information? For online business owners or retailers, the answer might lie in Data Management Platform.
Data Management Platform
Data Management Platform, also known as DMP, might look like a normal database. However, the difference is obvious in its functionality and purpose, as DMP will help online marketers, entrepreneurs, and retailers to retrieve audience segments and other related customer information.
The collected data, which majorly comes from client campaigns, social networks, email listings, website analysis, mobile data and offline programs, can give you some understanding of your audience’s demographic backgrounds, buying trends, interests, browsing and clicking behaviours as well as shopping history. With such comprehensive and filtered understanding, you can now create a customized ads campaign that will provide relevant product information to your well-targeted audience.
Converting clicks to sales with programmatic campaigns
Without a DMP technology, it can be very tricky for you to track your interested buyers and make the most relevant and enticing product offering. For example, take the case of “Lisa”, one of your interested clients who just recently browsed for activity trackers on your website. She got all the information that she needed about the gadget, but just like any other 98% of online shoppers, she did not make the final purchase on your website.
However, with Data Management Platform, you can identify Lisa’s browsing behavior on your online store and reconnect with her by sending an email in real-time that showcases several fitness gadgets such as Jawbone Up and Nike+ Fuel band. The retargeted email responds exactly to the shopper’s search which in turn will significantly increase your chance of selling your online product to Lisa – up to 70% (source LiveTarget).
Today, many of the emails sent by online business owners are either left ignored or tagged as spam by shoppers . In Symantec Intelligence Report for July 2014, it is reported that up to 63.7% of all emails received worldwide were considered as spam. DMP technology and smart email retargeting will help you to replace this spam tagging into profitable clicking by providing enticing, relevant and pleasant-looking ads emails.
Traffic acquisition and data analysis
Besides converting sales via email retargeting, such personalized advertising emails can also increase traffic to your online stores. The interested buyers are more likely to click your email content and eventually make a purchase on your website when the product that is being served in front of them is really something that they want to buy, coupled with an irresistible discount coupon, and not just any random and irrelevant merchandise.
With the clicks and purchases, you will be able to see an increase in the open rate, CTR and conversion rate percentage. Gone are the days where emails are left unread or worst, dumped into the spam box. The positive chain reaction does not stop there. With a smart DMP technology, and a proper email retargeting campaign, you will be able to collect more and more browsing behaviours, purchasing trends and interest data from their website.
Behavioral profiling and modelling can then be made further to prepare a better product offering or services to your customers, lost clients or prospective buyers. Such profiling is especially important in the year of 2015 where the region will witness a mass acquisition of customer data through mobile apps and shared data platforms.
Craig Stires, the Assistant Vice President of Research for Analytics, Big Data and Software at IDC Asia/Pacific, said:
“Asian organizations should be prepared to answer this question, “Am I doing everything I can to understand and anticipate the needs of my customers, or am I the next tale of caution for disruption from Big Data and Analysis?”.”
This has opened an exciting market for platforms specializing in gathering and analyzing client data.
The boom in personalized emails
Otherwise well known to retailers no matter what sector, customers who leave your website normally remain lost forever and anonymous, and your marketing efforts go down the drain. However, Asian retailers are beginning to engage with their own qualified lost audience by reconnecting with them via email.
After seeing its major success in several countries across the globe such as USA, Canada, Europe, Brazil, Australia, email retargeting services have boomed worldwide in 2015. Solutions such as Live Target from LeadMedia Group or Vizury are just a few of many others who offer help to retailers to re-engage with their lost customers in real-time via personalized automatic emailing campaigns.
Personalized emailing campaigns help to reap the benefits of your big data and create custom adverts for millions of active online shoppers. With its simple and smart email retargeting service, merchants see up to six-time open rate, five-time click rate and twice sales conversion rate.
Asian businesses are also taking advantage of the rapid internet penetration in several countries (e.g. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand) to expand their audience and the high rate of smartphone adoption to boost up their online sales. It is reported that up to 37% of Asia Pacific buyers were more likely to purchase online merchandises through mobile gadgets, this rate is way higher than the global rate of 26%.
Ways to gain quality traffic
1. Price Comparison Websites – These audience generation platforms such as Shopbot, PricePanda, and PriceArea allow Asian online buyers to seek for sale offers, compare prices, view product descriptions, and read product reviews of various online products in a single website. As an online retailer, you will also be able to reach out to millions of online customers, promote products with interesting prices and offers, and ultimately triple your business profits with such a funneled traffic source.
2. Social Advertising – In 2014, internet advertising surpassed newspaper advertising spending for the first time in history. The value of social ads have become a major interest for retailers from all verticals. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are the top social media platforms to advertise on. Just on Facebook alone, desktop ads and mobile ads receive a whooping 8.1x and 9.1x higher click-through rate respectively. Social Advertising is not just a buzzword anymore, it’s a billion dollar industry.
3. Mobile Push Notifications – The boom in mobile is something that everyone is well familiar with, but few make full use of this new mobile-user generation. Mobile Push notifications is just one of many ways in how to increase traffic by bringing a location to life using personalized, contextual mobile messages within your store, a shopping mall, an airport, etc. Using beacons, virtual beacons and geofences retailers can now pinpoint their customer down to nearest shelf increasing brand interaction and customer loyalty.
The e-commerce industry in Asia has seen the birth of several leaders in this region such as Alibaba (China), Rakuten (Japan), Flipkart (India) and Lazada (Singapore), and things are only getting started with the extensive deployment of Internet infrastructure, enhanced government policies and a strong economic growth, we can anticipate an emergence of many new players in the e-commerce business.
To stay in the game, simply installing a robust technology to gather data is not enough. In order to compete with the titans in this e-commerce industry and get a slice of the USD$7- billion-worth market pie, you will need to manage, segment and connect the dots in your big data.
Long gone are the days when marketing efforts go unnoticed and quickly dispersed and diffused, this is the age of implementing effective personalized targeting efforts towards your audience. Online shoppers are becoming more and more demanding where they expect brands and retailers to find them and not the other way around and not to mention only when they are in a “shopping mood”.
Retailers need to think outside the box and step up their game to become visible on all fronts in the online sphere with shopping comparison websites, email retargeting, drive to store tactics, social advertising and so much more all while responding to the user’s needs in an almost intuitive way.