Entrepreneur

10 Principles These Founders Used To Up Their E-Commerce Game To The Next Level In M'sia

Exabytes E-Commerce Conference (EEC) had its seventh iteration yesterday, with Exabytes CEO Chan Kee Siak aiming for attendees to collaborate with each other and to better understand the e-commerce trends and its landscape in Malaysia.

Targeting to reach 6.4% GDP in 2020 from the current 6% in Malaysia, he urged for the e-commerce community of sellers and startup founders alike to equip themselves with knowledge and tools to improve the local competency. This is to ensure that local players are able to compete and stand on a level playing field even if larger international players decide to join our ecosystem.

E-commerce as we know it has a lot of potential. With an estimated revenue in the e-commerce market in Malaysia amounting to USD1,121 million this year, it’s expected to show an annual growth rate of 23.2% resulting in a market volume of USD2,585 million, over the next five years.

From the talks at the conference yesterday, we gathered together 10 memorable quotes from founders and leaders in the e-commerce scene on how they grew their businesses to where they are today.

1. “Build the trust between yourself and the consumers.”

“Show that you are there for the customers,” said Shan Li, co-founder of Babydash, a platform that sells baby necessities online. The team once sourced and sent a specific brand of sunscreen to a hotel in Penang for a mother who called the customer care line after she realised that she forgot to pack it for her hyper-sensitive baby. Sometimes, it takes going above and beyond the normal line of service to truly touch customers’ hearts.

2. “Do your research to see what you can do to stand out from a market that is saturated.”

Bernard Lee, Senior Manager of 11street advised the crowd to observe where and what the big brands are lacking, then fill in the gap.

“Consider how people associate your brand with colours,” Shan Li of Babydash followed up. Her co-founder, Lavinie printed logos of all the existing baby brands in the market. That was when they realised the dominating colours were pink and blue so they chose their own unique combination of orange, purple and green instead.

3. “Identify three key points to define your business.”

Siow Hui Ling of The Chic Initiative stressed that this is important as it helps you to work your content and branding around the key points, working like an omnichannel approach as it streamlines the operations, the aesthetics of the website and packaging, and the language used on social media.

4. “Associate the brand and its products with a short and punchy name.”

Shan Li wanted people to associate Babydash as a baby product service that is fast and convenient, hence the name. It also helps for SEO (Search engine optimisation) if the name is somewhat unique, but not too difficult to type or spell.

5. “Play to your strengths and weaknesses.”

While Jeremy Ong of Vape Club International was from a branding background, he admitted he was not as meticulous as Babydash founders. He played to his strength of consumer knowledge by placing importance on SEO and content marketing. “Make sure that you have consistent, relevant and authoritative content,” said Jeremy.

6. “You need to narrow your focus to be more holistic yet specific.”

Taking Lazada, Sogo and Rakuten as examples of big players, Jeremy also advised that it is no longer a good strategy to market solely on the brand name, neither is it efficient to compete with prices and promotions. He encouraged the audience to be specialists in their own game.

7. “Create a relatable community.”

Expertise and authenticity is key in selling a brand or products. “When customers phone the customer care line, a mother answers,” said Shan Li. By understanding the needs and what motivates your customers, you then have to find out what they relate to and take interest in.

8. “Expand your knowledge on the tools of the trade.”

Ahmad Zakwan Bin Mohamad Sharif, founder of Bantu.my uses tawk.to, a free messaging app to communicate with visitors in real time. Weng, managing director of i-PMart developed their own chat function called i-PMart Feedback.

Passion Peers‘ CEO Kanika Agarwal also suggested turning to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Zendesk to reach customers.

9. “Before you even start to think about crowdfunding, go through a self realisation process. What stage is your business in?”

Sam Shafie, CEO, pitchIN and WatchTower and Friends (WTF) Accelerator cautioned that crowdfunding isn’t for everyone that has a business. He encouraged the audience to reflect if their business is worthy enough for investors. If the business has not yet reached the stage for equity crowdfunding, Sam advised alternatives like applying for grants from the government, or participating in an accelerator programme.

10. “Lower your website abandonment rate by splitting the form during the checkout process and don’t make the customers refill their shopping cart again should they exit the website.”

John Lim of MOLPay emphasised the need to make customers of your e-commerce website feel secure. Kanika suggested creating two pages where customers first fill in their personal information then the credit card information instead of a single page.

Avoid frustrating the customer by disabling a time limit so that the need to refill their shopping cart from scratch is hindered, continued Kanika.

Feature Image Credit: Exabytes

 

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