E-commerce in Asia has bright prospects, and competition is making things interesting. Source: Shutterstock

E-commerce in Asia has bright prospects, and competition is making things interesting. Source: Shutterstock

100 developers are helping Pomelo thrive in Asia’s e-commerce space

TRANSACTIONS in the e-commerce space has been growing in value and volume over the past decade — with experts believing that 2020 will bring more growth than ever before.

For e-commerce companies, however, the reality is that growth opportunities in the space have attracted new players, intensifying competition like never before.

As a result, those that want to survive and thrive in the e-commerce industry, especially in Asia’s competitive and demanding ecosystem, must find ways to leverage technology and innovate.

Tech Wire Asia spoke to Pomelo’s newly appointed Chief Retail Officer Anders Heikenfeldt to gain a better understanding of the e-commerce landscape in the region and how the brand plans to protect its margins and delight customers in the coming months.

“Asian markets are driving e-commerce growth on an international scale. Latest trends indicate that the region will continue to enjoy double-digit growth in e-commerce spend, well into the next decade, fuelled by the increasing number of internet users, greater familiarity with online shopping, and improved consumer spending power.”

However, Heikenfeldt believes that those that want to succeed must remember that there are a number of local nuances and challenges that influence the evolution of e-commerce in this region. Two, the Chief Retail Officer explains, are more pressing than others.

Firstly, cash is still king in Southeast Asia. Less than half the number of internet users in Southeast Asia have adopted digital payment options. As a result, cashless payment options are not always the best way forward and e-commerce companies need to find alternatives.

Secondly, online shoppers are increasingly concerned about their privacy, particularly about data collection or tracking by online services, as well as the lack of control over personal data. This lack of trust in data privacy and security could deter e-commerce activities.

“E-commerce companies need to take proactive steps to allay consumers’ fears and strengthen their cybersecurity environment,” advised Heikenfeldt.

That being said, things are definitely improving quickly in the region, and changes are favoring not only e-commerce but the region’s digital economy overall.

Winning at e-commerce using technology

Tech-savvy e-commerce platforms in China are constantly innovating, using technologies such as augmented reality (AR) shopping, 360-degree virtual reality (VR) panoramas, live shopping, and more.

Obviously, this has triggered a demand for cutting-edge technology on e-commerce platforms outside China as well.

“Businesses in the region have swiftly adapted to the rising expectations of Asia’s growing segment of mobile-first consumers and an increasingly competitive marketplace.

“Additionally, the higher degree of personalization in Asian online retail is leading to more personalized customer journeys, as well as better omnichannel shopper experiences.”

To deliver on customer expectations, Pomelo leverages its team of nearly 100 developers to incorporate the latest in machine learning, big data, and automation, to create seamless shopping experiences.

Pomelo has developed an in-house automation platform, Henry, which connects the various facets of its supply chain together – from design and trend inspiration, rapid prototyping, demand forecasting, to vendor management. In 2020, the company plans to further enhance Henry’s capabilities.

“Tracking the entirety of our supply chain in real-time, Henry is able to provide data-driven insights and analytics on customers’ purchase behaviors, which in turn simplifies the design and purchasing teams’ buying decisions. This translates to more cost savings for both Pomelo and our customers.”

Can Pomelo bring e-commerce to life in 2020?

“With Pomelo’s philosophy of being on-trend, online, and on-the-go, we’re always committed to looking for new and innovative ways to transform our business via technology.”

As a result, Heikenfeldt is keen on using technology to bring about an overall better customer shopping experience from online to offline.

Its customers can ow select apparel from online channels and conveniently head to their stores to try them before deciding to purchase.

“Self-service kiosks are also available to enable our customers to save time – they can skip the queue for a range of activities, from picking up their online purchases to booking a fitting room in advance.”

In the near future, Pomelo hopes to further scales up its regional footprint, and look to leverage and expand its partner networks effectively.

“Ultimately, Pomelo is dedicated to developing and improving our in-house technology as it will serve as a key differentiator for the company, and we hope to set the standard for how an omnichannel fashion brand anchored in today’s digital world should be managed,” concluded Heikenfeldt, confident that the company’s use of technology will help make a dent in the industry in coming months.