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Noteworthy Takeaways from ECommerce Expo 2022

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This is a summary of some of the noteworthy takeaways from eCommerce Expo 2022, for the benefit of those who did not manage to attend.

1. How Live Shopping is Redefining the Next-Gen Customer Experience

This is a panel discussion by:

Pablo Che Leon, General Manager, South East Asia, VTEX

Prakash Gurumoorthy, General Manager, APAC, VTEX

Terence Yow, Managing Director of Enviably Me Pte Ltd – Retailer and Distributor of Melissa brand.

Key Takeaways:

  • Live shopping started in china 2015 as a very personable experience
  • How a consumer behaves at different channels (we behave differently in different channels)
  • Melissa’s inspiring journey in experimenting with live commerce from 2020 (start of pandemic).
    • Learnings from failures (Melissa)
    • Alot more failures than success
    • Long painful journey of failures
    • Live commerce is nothing like creating a piece of content on YouTube and Instagram.
    • Live commerce is a unique experience and a skillset to do well all on its own. It has its own preparation, setup, production.
    • 6-9 months of total failure. Embarrassed with 0 views and 0 sales.
    • Word of advice: Learn more from failing. As long as we don’t repeat the mistake. We will get there one day.

My personal reflections:

I believe we need to constantly relook how we conduct our live-selling, noting that China did well because it made live selling a very personable experience. We should see better success in our live selling experience if we work towards this direction in our approach.

Live selling is the future for eCommerce – we cannot deny nor avoid. Embrace it. Every brand that wants to make it happen goes through that baptism of fire – sheer embarrassment. Suck it up and move on with it. Sooner or later you will get better at it. It’s better than not daring to start at all.

2. How new technologies are expanding the online retail journey

This is a talk by Jay Jenkins, Global Tech Evangelist, BytePlus

BytePlus is a business arm of ByteDance – it brings tech from ByteDance to businesses.

The main problem it’s trying to solve for businesses: Online was missing Offline experiences

Allow the slides to speak to you –

My Personal Reflections:

This looks more like an enterprise-level solution – for the bigger brands that already have a huge following on TikTok and will continue so. Now, they may want to bring the entire experience “home” onto their website instead, while still building new followings on TikTok.

This works when you already have a huge consumer base all ready to engage with your brand, and you are now providing a platform for them to engage deeper with you, without the noise of other brands.

Will this work? We don’t know. Do consumers prefer to engage with brands on a shared platform like TikTok or do they want to also enter a brand’s website for deeper engagement?

I think many brands have not thought about how too many avenues of engagement can be overwhelming from the consumer’s perspective. Too many apps to download, too many platforms to sign in to, too many loyalty programs, etc. Consumers today can get too easily distracted. That’s why I am mostly discouraging when potential clients come to me and say they would like to build another mobile app. I wonder if it is totally necessary in the first place.

BytePlus is not the only such solution in the market. There are quite a few. Let’s see how brands take on such solutions, and how they fly with these solutions.

Key Takeaways:

While I sound quite skeptical about the need for an in house live solution, I feel this speaker has shared some good stuff that we can learn from as well! So here’s some key takeaways from his sharing:

  • Short form videos taking the world by storm – yes it’s true. If you’ve not explored short form videos, try to play around with them. Tinker and see what works for your brand.
  • Levels of engagement continue to progress. A good case study to learn from is Nike. It’s way ahead of the game in terms of engagement and staying relevant. Read this fresh off the oven article: Nike Will Let People Design and Sell Sneakers for the Metaverse .Most of the brands today are not near there yet, maybe at Level 3 still – Interaction (if any). But what should always be on top of our minds must be – how do we form deeper engagements? How can we take baby steps towards that?
  • Entertaining and Immersing audiences accelerates conversion. This was something well embraced by Melissa brand too. They tried using influencers to do live-selling but didn’t have good outcomes. They actually found success in having their own customers do live-selling for their brand!
  • Personalization is the new “hygiene factor” in retail. How can we create a more personalized experience for our customers, starting from something manageable?
  • Retail of Tomorrow: User Generated Content post purchase. How can you convince your buyers to post their purchases on their social media account? That’s the challenge. Food for thought.

3. Applying personalization to enhance the customer journey

This is a talk by Mandy Arbilo, Associate Director of Global Ecommerce Platform, Razer

This left me quite a deep impression because I was really impressed with the structure he brings into the eCommerce game. He totally knows what he’s doing here, and he delivered.

Allow the slides to speak for themselves first. Regretfully I didn’t take many pictures here as I was so engrossed in his sharing. I’m only glad I managed to capture the 2 most important slides:

Personal Reflections:

eCommerce work is only getting increasingly challenging because there’s just so much to learn – so many platforms to work on, so many ways of engaging customers, and so much that needs to be planned and done.

A good structure makes it all easier. This good structure can look very different for each brand. It depends on what you have and how you can make use of it.

I think the 2 slides above can be a great guiding point for most brands – how we want to move towards personalization. What can be done at each stage.

4. Re(de)fining your winning strategy: Insights to the future of social commerce

This is a talk by Stephen Tracy, Chief Operating Officer, Milieu Insight

One slide says it all:

My Personal Reflections:

If you’re based in Singapore and experiencing some frustrations with live selling, understand that Singapore is still lagging behind in embracing social commerce. This means that starting now gives you some first mover advantages. When consumers are ready, you are also present for them already.

Markets like Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand have embraced social commerce quite well. If you can offer consumers in these markets a convenient purchase experience through your website while interacting with them through your Live TikTokShop, you may have a chance to build a good following from these markets.

Social commerce only makes up 17% of online spend across SEA – potential for growth.

Conclusion

I see “social commerce”, “conversational commerce”, “live commerce” being repeated again and again this year. It is a trend emerging and has immense potential for growth.

Nobody has all the answers. Everyone is finding out, sharing their findings and grappling their way around this new emerging trend.

This is the best time to get in the game to test out different ways of presenting our brands to a live audience. Different brands succeed different ways. There’s no one size fit all, we just need to find a strategy that feels right for ourselves.

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