Convergence between marketplaces and social media will continue in the e-commerce sector, according to Southeast Asia e-commerce services firm Intrepid Group Asia CEO Jasper Knoben.
“Marketplaces adopt more live streaming, gamification, and other engagement propositions, while social media are offering more e-commerce functionalities,” he told TechNode Global. “Brands will need to continuously adjust and shape their marketing and e-commerce strategy to reflect the changing roles of these different platforms in the lives and behaviors of their consumers.”
In Asia Pacific, Knoben said key trends like social- or conversational commerce, quick commerce, alternative payment methods like Buy Now Pay Later, and live streaming are all on the rise and will continue to win consumer’s hearts and further shape and fuel market growth, driving innovation in the e-commerce segment.
“E-commerce is a rapidly growing and evolving industry. In the face of fierce competition, e-commerce platforms are constantly evolving to meet new demands, to identify new solutions to promote brands and keep consumers engaged,” he added.
Founded in 2017 in Vietnam, Singapore-headquartered Intrepid said it is a one-stop-shop partner for brands to seize the full potential of e-commerce, offering end-to-end omnichannel e-commerce management, digital marketing, as well as insights and analytics, all enabled by advanced inhouse technology and with offices across Southeast Asia in Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.
The company is a winner for Startup Awards – E-commerce category at the ORIGIN Innovation Awards 2021.
In the interview, Knoben also shared what are the challenges faced by startups or innovators in this post-pandemic environment and Intrepid’s strategies to address these challenges.
Below is the edited excerpt of the interview:
What are the trends driving innovation in the e-commerce industry today, particularly in the Asia Pacific region?
E-commerce is a rapidly growing and evolving industry. In the face of fierce competition, e-commerce platforms are constantly evolving to meet new demands, to identify new solutions to promote brands and keep consumers engaged.
Key trends like social- or conversational commerce, quick commerce (Grab etc), alternative payment methods like Buy Now Pay Later, and live streaming are all on the rise and will continue to win consumer hearts and further shape and fuel market growth.
What are three key challenges that startups or innovators face in this post-pandemic environment?
- Technology and continuous innovation to harness a fragmented and rapidly evolving ecosystem
- Data to facilitate data-driven decision making (and data security is key)
- Talent to deliver a best in class proposition to clients
What are your company’s strategies in addressing such challenges?
Our mission is to maximize the e-commerce potential for our brand partners across Southeast Asia. We believe that our proprietary in-house technology stack is instrumental in simplifying brands’ go-to-market, successfully navigating and managing a continuously evolving omnichannel landscape. We therefore continue to invest aggressively in our technology.
From our solutions for Omni-Channel store management, OMS (Order Management System), chat tools, marketing tech, our ability to integrate brands enterprise resource planning (ERP) or warehouse management system (WMS) with the online landscape across Southeast Asia and Data and intelligence solutions, we lead in innovation and provide a wide range of platforms and channels across Southeast Asia in a consistent setup. This is what empowers us to keep delivering the growth that our brand partners are looking for.
As e-commerce continues to grow and is becoming a larger share of brands’ businesses, the importance of granular data and insights to make data-driven decisions is growing and it is imperative to gain an edge in this competitive market.
Intrepid provides market intelligence solutions to help brands and retailers to gain comprehensive, customized insights into their performance and positioning in the region’s marketplaces. With more data comes greater responsibility from a data security perspective, and we take this seriously.
Internally, we utilize an internal browser with a secure login-management platform and we are in the progress of obtaining ISO 27001 certification.
Across our business areas E-commerce, Marketing and Insights, we are an instrumental part of the E-commerce go-to- market for our brands, and we acknowledge the fact that it is a big responsibility to reward the trust of our clients who entrust us with the care for their most fast-growing and strategic sales and marketing channel.
We also believe that having the best team and talent is key in achieving success for our clients. We, therefore, focused on talent acquisition, hiring strong talents and industry experts who can deliver impactful results, and at the same time are passionate and innovative individuals who align with our company values and culture to ensure a harmonious and effective collaboration, internally and externally.
What will be the next big thing in e-commerce?
We expect that the convergence between marketplaces and social media will continue. Marketplaces adopt more live streaming, gamification and other engagement propositions, while social media are offering more e-commerce functionalities. Brands will need to continuously adjust and shape their marketing and e-commerce strategy to reflect the changing roles of these different platforms in the lives and behaviors of their consumers.
At Intrepid, we offer Social Commerce as part of our omnichannel offering and we are continuously developing marketing capabilities to drive growth for brands along the full funnel across all platforms.
Can you share some interesting data or case studies that are a good example of how technology can bring about impactful change amid today’s business environment?
According to Google, Bain & Temasek, the pandemic caused a surge in digital services such as e-commerce. More than 60 million people in the region used digital services for the first time due to Covid-19 — and 20 million of them did so in the first half of 2021.
As offline sales plunged due to lockdowns, many brands were scrambling to scale up their online sales. Intrepid’s scalable tech infrastructure allowed our clients to achieve this without friction.
To support brands in managing the influx of orders and consumer queries, especially during peak sale periods, we’ve built in-house solutions to streamline store operations, chat operations and empower omnichannel e-commerce with unified inventory and stock sync across all channels under one platform to ensure consistency and efficiency.
Increased sales ambitions typically require an increase in marketing investment as well, and our automated marketing tech allows our team to drive this ramp up in a scalable way.
And as the market continues to grow rapidly and gets more competitive, our insights solution provides our partners with a better understanding of their performance and positioning on leading marketplaces to help them optimize their strategy to achieve ambitious goals.
Featured image credit: Intrepid