e-commerce giants battle to become dominant players in the local market
Local and global e-commerce giants plan to penetrate the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia, including Thailand.
Weloveshoping.com, one of Thailand’s leading online-shopping portals, will refresh its brand and shift into forward gear for the Southeast Asian market with the aim of capturing the rapid growth of e-commerce in Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia and become the leader in the e-marketplace industry.
Sunsern Samaisut, chief commercial officer for e-business, said last week that the company decided to change its business model from charging rent from its online stores to charging a transaction fee ranging from 2.9-13 per cent.
“This year, we’ll strengthen our position in Thailand with the new business model. Early next year, we plan to expand to Southeast Asia through two possible models – joining hands with local partners and taking over local companies,” he said.
The e-commerce market in Thailand and Southeast Asia is not yet dominated by any player, so the company is confident in becoming the leader in these markets.
The company is set to invest Bt300 million this year on building infrastructure to support the new e-marketplace concept and on marketing to promote the platform and its merchants.
Under the new concept, Weloveshopping will offer a new merchant-management system aimed at providing an easy shopping experience covering a wide variety of products from verified merchants.
“Weloveshopping’s new image will aim primarily at achieving shoppers’ confidence and satisfaction, by offering a wide variety of products and a new system of verified merchants,” he said.
Under the new merchant-management concept called Westore, WeLoveShopping.com will select high quality merchants and provide them with a “seller business consultant” to assist in boosting their sales, which will raise the company’s revenue.
The company is shooting for 10,000 quality merchants this year, generating Bt2 billion in transactions.
Weloveshopping has appointed dedicated teams to provide content for its merchants that will make their websites more attractive to shoppers and to help merchants reach their target customers and achieve more sales.
Other teams will offer close support on ways to grab customers’ attention, such as shop design and decoration and product photos.
The company, in collaboration with TrueMoney, has adopted a new concept in the e-commerce business called the WeTrust Guarantee. The service employs an escrow system similar to that used by global e-commerce websites to manage the flow of money between merchants and shoppers.
The firm will hold onto the money paid by a shopper until it receives confirmation that the merchant’s merchandise has been delivered, then it will transfer the money to the merchant.
Using Weloveshopping’s revamped service, customers can easily track shipments and, once the ordered products have been received, they can award a “feedback score” on the merchant’s service. The scores are expected to build confidence in shopping at Weloveshopping.com, as well as to create value for merchants.
Alibaba.com enters Thailand’s
Chinese online marketplace Alibaba.com has partnered with local online service provider ReadyPlanet to start up its e-marketplace business in Thailand.
Thomas Ho, country manager of Alibaba.com, said Thailand is the third country in Southeast Asia to get an authorised reseller, following Malaysia and Vietnam, which have had resellers for over five years.
Alibaba.com provides an e-commerce platform for businesses to do business. To be members, users – both buyers and sellers – need to register.
Alibaba has about 36 million registered users, of which 90 per cent are buyers and 10 per cent are sellers. The large buyers are from markets outside China like the United States, United Kingdom, Middle East and Asean, while most of the sellers are from China and Asean.
As of March, registered users in Thailand had increased 42 per cent to 570,000, mostly buyers, from the previous year. This was natural growth without a local reseller, so more growth could possibly be expected here this year.
Alibaba’s objectives in coming here are to build brand awareness and to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) get the most out of e-commerce, as the crucial channel to reach out to the global market.
One mission of this partnership is to increase sellers from Thailand, but he declined to disclose the target figure.
Besides the B2B e-commerce platform, the company’s other businesses such as AliExpress and AliPay might be brought to the Thai market in the future, but it does not have a plan in the short term to do that.
At Alibaba.com, there are more than 40 product categories. For Thailand, the potential product categories are food and beverage, agricultural products, apparel and beauty products.
Users can access Alibaba’s services through alibaba.readyplanet.com and can get information about all services at thai.alibaba.com.
Thailand is “a significant
market for eBay”
eBay is paying more attention to the Thai e-commerce market, as the potential for growth is high while competition is heavy.
Ekachai Rukachantarakul, head of eBay in Southeast Asia, said Thailand is a significant market for eBay, which has been formally present here since 2009.
Ten Thai businesses have reaped over US$1 million per year by selling stuff on eBay.
The company now is focusing on encouraging Thai businesses, especially SMEs, to do e-commerce on eBay. To start, they should have at least 100 stock-keeping units of products, then they can open an online shop and list their products
The company provides them with technical and marketing customer support.
Thailand has more sellers and trading on eBay than five other countries in Asean -Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The top five markets for Thai sellers are the US, Australia, UK, Canada and Russia. The top three product categories of Thai sellers are jewellery and gemstones, auto parts and fashion, including apparel, footwear and accessories.
eBay has 25 million active sellers worldwide, of which 40 per cent are from the US.
Gross merchant volume over eBay’s platform globally in the first quarter of this year was US$20 billion (Bt674 billion).
This year, eBay will launch many more programmes to encourage SMEs to get on eBay’s platform to expand their business to the global market, he added.