Asia is the best region to innovate in e-commerce

The next generation of global leaders in innovative e-commerce are set to come from Asia, according to Simon Eaves, senior managing director for products and digital customer lead at Accenture Consulting.

Speaking exclusively to Campaign Asia-Pacific at the M2020 conference in Singapore, Eaves said the gulf between APAC consumers and Western markets regarding e-commerce was the starting point.

“They are almost mobile by definition, which opens up a wealth of opportunity,” he said, “and it’s the intensity with which they are open to online relationships. It is extremely socially and digitally savvy as a region, far more so than Western markets.”

As such, Eaves said he believes this digital sophistication would naturally drive the growth of what he called “experience-based e-commerce”.

“We’re a big believer in experience-based commerce as the future of e-commerce—the richness and immersive nature of the whole consumer journey,” he said. “I think a lot of the leaders associated with that are going to come from Asian markets.

“Certainly what we see from those brands that go for deep, immersive e-commerce experiences, their conversion rates are very strong in Asia, because actually the propensity to buy in comfort online is also higher in Asia. They’re absolutely used to it.”

Eaves pointed to Indonesian startup Snapcart as a testament to the e-commerce expertise that is growing in APAC. Snapcart won the most innovative startup award at M2020 last year, out of roughly 170 entries globally.

Eaves added that the move into experience-based e-commerce is part of a wealth of changes that marketers need to make to keep up with the fluid nature of today’s millennial consumer. “The expectations are always moving and they’re driven from the consumer into the brand,” he said. “They want to have a level of personalisation that, as an expectation, becomes the norm. “That creates a lot of challenges that organisations have to work through. It’s about intimacy to the consumer in a real way, for which depth of understanding of a consumer becomes fundamental.” As such, brands will need to innovate and become providers of what Eaves calls “living marketing”, providing a consumer with an experience that is perfect for any given context.

This is easier said than done, with the classic marketing models many brands continue to stick with, albeit with varying degrees of digital capabilities added on. “Think of the challenge,” he said. “[Brands have] got to understand you in a deep way, and then think about propagating content to you that’s relevant to whatever context you are in at that time. That’s living content and living creative.

“Putting those together means having a level of technological sophistication, and if you think about that model and that capability, versus where traditional marketing departments are, you can see the journey. There’s a big gap at the moment.”
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