Ahead of the Retail Executive Summit Singapore, Aaina Mahajan spoke with Techerati on driving success through marketplaces, cross-border eCommerce opportunities for Singaporean businesses and C-Level leaders.
Aaina Mahajan, the Regional Commercial Project Manager in the Cross Border department for Daraz, will join the Retail Executive Summit Singapore to share her expert insights on tapping into effective strategies for navigating new markets and unlocking cross-border eCommerce potential for Singaporean C-Level executives.
The Retail Executive Summit Singapore is a unique event, exclusively tailored for C-Levels and key decision-makers, where you can get real face time and build valuable relationships.
The exciting world of eCommerce
eCommerce represents both an invigorating and purposeful career path to me. Through my experience, I’ve worked with many brands to connect them with millions of customers across different markets, and I believe these opportunities empower businesses and unlock their true potential.
eCommerce is a fast-paced industry that is always adapting to new consumer trends and technological advancements. This means there are constantly new and exciting developments to be a part of, along with a variety of projects that push the limits of what’s possible.
There is always a new challenge to tackle, and it is possible to create innovative solutions that have a significant impact. One of the best things about working in eCommerce is being able to see the results of your work and how it affects the business. Overall, a career in eCommerce offers a challenging and exciting environment, with the potential to make a significant impact on people’s lives.
Strategies for achieving eCommerce success through marketplaces
There are several significant opportunities for businesses in Singapore to achieve eCommerce success, especially through marketplaces.
Harnessing the power of social media is an essential part of eCommerce success, and businesses can use social media platforms to connect with customers, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to their stores. Live streaming has become very popular, especially on platforms like Lazada and Shopee. Businesses can engage with consumers by organising live sessions to launch new products and promote their best-selling stock-keeping units (SKUs) with the help of key opinion leaders (KOLs), which can build user confidence. These engagement activities can help businesses improve their visibility and conversion rates on the platforms.
Getting comfortable with data is extremely important for businesses to understand key data points and optimise their prices and assortment on the platform. Marketplaces provide different tools and services that help businesses understand which SKUs attract more traffic and drive conversion. Hence, understanding the consumer journey and trends through data points can help drive more business.
Design a diligent campaign strategy. Frequent campaigns across marketplaces have become a ubiquitous norm, and whenever consumers open an app, they usually see on average 2-3 ongoing campaigns. However, this is also putting increasing pressure on businesses to provide frequent discounts on products, which can erode their brand value in the future. Therefore, it is essential for brands to devise a goal-driven campaign strategy. For example, participating in weekly campaigns can provide better visibility on the platform, and participating in mega campaigns through better deals and promotions can provide a jump in sales.
Efficient store management for your marketplace is a crucial aspect. The merchandise strategy at the online store should principally mimic that of the offline store. Creating a positive customer experience and building trust can be achieved by effectively using banners, promotions, and highlighting popular products in the stores. Moreover, adhering to the marketplace’s seller compliance policies can result in better visibility for businesses on the platform.
Becoming an eCommerce expert and understanding the value chain
As a part of the cross-border eCommerce ecosystem, I have gained a deep understanding of the entire value chain involved in eCommerce, from the initial order generation in the sourcing country to the final delivery to the customer in a different country.
Through my experience, I successfully developed India as a sourcing country for Nepal and Sri Lanka, which allowed me to connect with thousands of sellers in India and explore export opportunities for them. This, in turn, gave them access to millions of customers shopping in different countries. Additionally, I had to develop expertise in supply chain management by partnering with different third-party logistics (3PLs) and external agents to build an end-to-end logistics network. These experiences have allowed me to gain a better understanding of the eCommerce industry and solve the challenges that limit the growth potential for sellers and businesses.
Cross-border eCommerce opportunities for businesses in Singapore
For Singaporean businesses, Singapore’s strategic location and status as a regional hub make it an ideal place for businesses to tap into the potential of cross-border eCommerce. By selling their products to customers in neighbouring countries, businesses can significantly increase their customer base and revenue. Businesses that successfully tap into the cross-border eCommerce market can gain a competitive advantage over those that don’t by being able to offer unique products or services to customers in different regions.
Why C-Level executives should focus on cross-border eCommerce
The cross-border channel has the potential to add significant value to a platform’s customers, giving it a competitive edge in the increasingly crowded eCommerce space where companies are vying for market share. By offering products that are not available locally and introducing new brands into the market, cross-border marketplaces can expand their reach and appeal to a wider customer base. As a result, cross-border eCommerce represents a significant growth opportunity for both businesses and marketplaces. Therefore, C-level executives should prioritise the development of a sustainable and profitable cross-border channel.
A successful cross-border eCommerce case study
I can share a case study about a successful brand launch from India to Nepal. The brand was a small seller of sarees in India that them helped expand into the Nepalese market. The Nepalese people showed a great interest in the seller’s products, as Indian sarees are very popular in Nepal. Through our meticulous strategy to grow the seller on the platform, we witnessed a significant increase in sales. In fact, the seller became the top seller of sarees on the platform in Nepal and drove an organic search trend. The seller’s popularity in Nepal grew so much that they were approached by several distributors in the country to sell their products. Overall, we were able to unlock the seller’s sales potential, generating a new revenue stream for them from a different country.
Emerging technologies in eCommerce
There are several emerging technologies that are being used in eCommerce and transforming the future of the industry.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI is being used to enhance the customer experience by providing personalised recommendations, chatbots for customer service, and fraud detection.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): AR and VR technologies are being used to enhance the product experience for customers. Customers can see how products look and feel before making a purchase, which can increase conversion rates.
Buy now pay later (BNPL): This trend has become increasingly popular, as it provides customers with more flexibility in how they pay for their purchases, and can also increase sales for eCommerce retailers. By offering BNPL options, retailers can attract customers who may not have had the funds to make a purchase upfront, or who prefer to spread out their payments over time. An additional benefit of providing BNPL is that it can enhance the platform’s conversion rates. It is noteworthy that businesses that provide BNPL options witness an average boost of 20-30% in their conversion rates.
The value of in-person events for C-level executives
In my opinion, events like the Retail Executive Summit Singapore can provide insights into industry trends, offer fresh ideas and inspiration, and help you learn how other companies are addressing challenges in the field of eCommerce. They also offer valuable networking opportunities with other business leaders and potential partners, which can be crucial for both personal and professional growth, both on an individual and organisational level.