How To Expand Your eCommerce Business Into South East Asia (and Beyond!)

Southeast Asia is increasingly becoming the most attractive eCommerce market globally, as the fastest growing consumer markets in the world. The consumers in this region are a growing tech-savvy population with a huge shopping-culture, helping your business to thrive. Given that, how can you expand your eCommerce business in Southeast Asia and beyond?

Research infographic courtesy of the Singapore Post eCommerce division

Go Responsive

Failing to engage with mobile and desktop shoppers in Southeast Asia is a major mistake. The region has some of the highest rates of Smartphone penetration globally, which mandates that your website be responsive, i.e. mobile optimized. Over 70% of the traffic in Southeast Asia comes from mobile devices, as compared to about 40–45% mobile traffic on average in European countries. As well as that, Indonesia and Malaysia have a complete generation of mobile-first consumers, so it is important to consider their shopping strategy if you want to stay ahead of the eCommerce game.

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The shopping cart is a pivotal moment of purchase.

Localize Your Products and Services

The tendency to consider the region collectively as a single market would be a grave mistake. Each market is unique, diverse, and as a result has different needs when it comes to online shopping. Like any new venture, it pays to do your homework. You should take time to learn about your customers: how they shop and what they buy. Examine your own data to see from which country people are already buying your products or services. In other words, create precise marketing strategies designed specifically for the regions that your eCommerce business wants to capture.

It would only be wise to have your eCommerce marketing campaign put together in a language that respects the culture and traditions of the region or the country you target. Website translations are made easy with services such as Localize, as we assist businesses in offering multiple languages for your website, allowing you to appeal to different cultures. This way, your eCommerce marketing campaign can offer a local feel and give consumers a sense of security and trust when making purchases on your website.

Get Involved In Online Communities and Social Media

Social media and online communities are massive selling tools in Southeast Asia. Amazingly, over 35% of eCommerce sales have occurred through social media and online communities. As a result, getting involved in such platforms can increase the traffic of your eCommerce business substantially. Remember, people value the opinions of their peers and are most intrigued by something if a friend shares or references a link.

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They actually prefer WeChat and Sina Weibo, though.

Develop a Detailed Regional Rollout Plan

The regional launches should be done under a repeatable approach that easily adapts to each market. Create and test a comprehensive plan that can bring a local sales presence, making it unique enough to apply to each region targeted for expansion. The plan must lay out the ways you can form local partnerships and provide guidance to local teams who will work with you. Remember to also identify the consumer preferences and market characteristics for each region you intend to expand to.

Can you name each country?

Multi-Language Functionality and Unique Domains

Whether it is a unique campaign that is drawing new visitors to your eCommerce website, or SEO and inbound marketing campaigns, you must ensure that your website has the ability to convert into different languages in Southeast Asia for effective communication with your prospects and customers. Allowing them to easily navigate and understand your products or services is even more significant. Localize provides skilled human translators to ensure that your product pages are consistent across multiple languages. Providing proper translations for multiple languages will engage your audience in each region and subsequently boost your conversion rate.

Pro tip: Use unique domains!

Stay On Top of SEO

Focus on generating unique and keyword-rich descriptions, optimizing products and service images, as well as using exceptional, descriptive sales copy that your prospects and customers can easily relate to.

Learn Everyday

Never stop learning. Trends, technology and customer tastes are ever changing, so you must learn if you want to succeed in any variable market, such as Southeast Asia. Overall, you should take your time to research and understand each market of Southeast Asia and beyond prior to launching if you want to successfully expand your eCommerce business. Although expanding a business is not easy, knowing what your prospects and customers in a particular location want will make it easier to thrive.

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