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Guest View: Converting eCommerce challenges into business differentiators

Lee Field, Head of IT Consulting, Asia-Pacific, Verizon Terremark | April 7, 2014
How to deliver positive customer experiences quickly and across geographic boundaries to tap into 453 million digital buyers and US$1.2 trillion in eCommerce sales in Asia-Pacific.

One of the main advantages of eCommerce is that it frees merchants of physical and geographical limitations. Removing the need for a physical location translates to significant savings on overhead, maintenance, and labor costs.

Moving to an eCommerce platform allows businesses to easily track inventory, automate administrative processes, and access customers' interests and habits, making it quicker and more efficient to address any specific demands. From a customer perspective, eCommerce multiplies the opportunities to access products and services. It is quicker and easier for the buyer to browse, compare, and purchase any given product, regardless of vendor location.

A recent Transport Intelligence industry report[8] points out that the sheer size and fragmentation of the Asia Pacific eCommerce sector can hinder online merchants' ambitions. From economic disparities and divergent policy frameworks to a deep digital divide affecting Internet penetration rates, electronic payment methods, and mobile device usages, there are many daunting challenges for sellers operating in the region.

Online merchants can nevertheless turn regional expansion challenges into advantageous opportunities:

  • Transaction security and reliability are a top-of-mind concern for customers. According to Verizon's 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report[9], 99% of attacks on Retail were financially motivated. While attackers go after all kinds of valuable data - intellectual property, market intelligence, financial records, and more - in retail, 74% of breaches compromised payment data. The crux is to employ a solution that ticks all the security boxes across all covered territories without over-complicating the buying experience for customers, regardless of country of purchase.
  • According to McKinsey & Company[10], using insights and analytics on customer habits, consumer preferences, and product trends allows businesses to make timely and informed decisions that have a positive impact on the bottom line. Implementing a solution that gives reliable and easy-to-use data allows businesses to remain responsive while providing the insights needed to capitalize on smart moves.

With proper tools at their disposal, online merchants can adjust the shopping experience - from product delivery and payment methods to customer service and transaction security - fitting the demands and needs of any local population, regardless of the market's level of technological maturity or type of regulatory framework.

eCommerce organizations in Asia-Pacific have innumerate opportunities to turn today's pain points into differentiators by finding the right set of integrated tools to help manage, mine, protect, and draw insights from consumer behavior and buyer data.

[1] http://www.emarketer.com/Article/B2C-Ecommerce-Climbs-Worldwide-Emerging-Markets-Drive-Sales-Higher/1010004

[2] http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Hitting_the_sweet_spot/$FILE/Hitting_the_sweet_spot.pdf

[3] http://www.mastercard.com/us/company/en/insights/pdfs/2008/Asia_Pacific_Online_Shop.pdf

[4] http://jp.en.acnielsen.com/site/documents/DecodingtheAsianmobileconsumer-Sep2013.pdf

[5] http://www.sys-con.com/node/2373425

[6] http://publications.apec.org/publication-detail.php?pub_id=1228

[7] http://www.amdocs.com/News/Pages/TimetoMarketSurvey-2011.aspx

[8] http://www.logisticsmatter.com/2013/04/23/logistics-barriers-impede-growth-of-asia-pacifics-e-commerce-market-says-new-report

[9] http://www.verizonenterprise.com/DBIR/2013/industries/

 

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