shopping apps

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How will shopping apps capture SEA customers in 2022?

Shopping apps continue to be the top e-Commerce apps around the world. Be it shopping apps by a particular brand or e-Commerce shopping apps platforms like Lazada, Shopee, and others that host a variety of merchants, customers have a myriad of choices they can choose to shop on today.

With so many shopping apps available, merchants and platforms now find themselves in a fiercer competition than before. Before the pandemic, most brands were slowly building their online stores. However, when the pandemic enforced global lockdowns, the demand for such apps increased so much in recent times.

In fact, Google’s SEA e-conomy report in 2021 stated that 8 out of 10 of SEA’s internet users are digital consumers. The report also indicates that 90% of Thai, 81% of Malaysian, and 71% of Vietnamese internet users have had an experience of shopping online. As online shopping becomes the norm, the market itself is predicted to reach between US$ 700 billion and US$ 1 trillion by 2030.

Today, shopping apps sell almost anything. From clothing to services to even cars. But the demand from consumers is not just for more products but for a better and seamless experience when using shopping apps and platforms.

This includes the entire experience on the app from product details to the payment checkouts. Integration is key in almost all apps today, especially when it comes to payment systems. The more options and simplicity an app offers to customers, the likelier they are to return for more purchases in the future.

Innovating the perfect shopping app experience

Paul Harapin, Stripe APAC Revenue Growth Lead

According to Paul Harapin, APAC Revenue Growth Lead at Stripe, brand loyalty is heavily practiced in the region. When customers go online, the engagement shopping apps give them needs to be fluent and seamless.

“25% of customers abandon their sales at checkout because organizations don’t focus enough on customer experience at the point of their excitement to purchase something. If there are hurdles on shopping apps, like too many questions, navigation issues, they will move away. We are helping our clients improve their customer experience especially when it comes to the checkout experience,” said Paul.

He added that organizations are adopting technology much faster now. Most companies have accelerated dramatically by bringing on a decade’s worth of transfor

mation with 12 months. He also pointed out that some companies posted an increase of over 47% in revenues this year by improving their customer and digital experience on their shopping apps.

Customers want more payment options

At the same time, the delivery of new payment methods is becoming crucial for shopping apps. Today, shoppers want to make payments beyond the traditional credit or debit card and online banking methods. Digital payment methods like e-Wallets and buy now pay later (BNPL) transactions are becoming increasingly popular among certain customer demographics on shopping apps.

“Customers want choice. We worked with various e-Wallets and BNPL players in Southeast Asia. Merchants report that BNPL customers are not only bringing in larger sales but also sales in larger basket sizes. The advent of BNPL in Stripe has enabled retailers to not just sell more, but also bigger payments,” explained Paul.

Interestingly, CNBC recently reported that Stripe also isn’t ruling out accepting crypto currency as a method of payment in the future. For now, the market for crypto payments is still in its infancy stage but Paul believes that this can change soon, given the growing interest in crypto payments. And Stripe is also no stranger to accepting crypto payments as they had previously offered bitcoin payments but ended the support in 2018.

The future of shopping apps is all about the experience

(Photo by Matthew Hatcher / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

“In 2022, the customer experience will be the center of focus for most e-Commerce providers. Shopping apps will want to capture customers the moment they start the app. Because if they can’t capture the customer at that moment, it is only going to be harder,” Paul highlighted.

He also pointed out that innovative organizations may try new methods. This includes engaging the creator economy which will become great access to market for retail environments. The creators can leverage their brand and make content that only drives revenue for themselves but also other retailers.

“Over the next 12 to 24 months, you will see more merchants looking to access different ways to connect to their customers and different advertising brand awareness methods like via social media or shoppertainment, to access the audience that they want to sell to. The great thing about the online market is that you can be very targeted to a specific segment. Our customers want to know how they can expand their business rapidly without having to spend months accessing local regulations and understanding requirements of each country, especially with regulations.”

And this is where e-Commerce players want to have as little complexity as they can and focus more on their customers. Paul added that they will want to focus on their customers and let tech providers like Stripe worry about the back end for them, especially as they look to capture global markets at a lower cost footprint.

For example, Stripe recently announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Recko, a leading provider of payments reconciliation software for internet businesses. Payments reconciliation is an accounting process that compares two or more sets of records—for example, a company’s internal sales log and their external bank statement—to confirm accuracy.

Finance teams perform reconciliation to uncover discrepancies, avoid incorrect accounting, and understand a company’s financial health at a point in time.

With that, the market and opportunities for shopping apps and e-Commerce players in the region are only going to get bigger and more competitive in the future. For now, businesses want to be able to retain their customers, keep them satisfied and provide them a seamless experience. Simply put, they’ll focus on their customers and leave the backend issues to service providers like Stripe.