Retweets, likes and shares: these make up the currency of the social commerce industry. Social commerce involves the selling of and promotion of products on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Whatsapp.
In other words, influence from follows, likes and shares on social platforms are leading to gross sales, signifying an emerging subset of the digital economy and e-commerce systems. An example of social commerce selling is seen in the Instagram Shop feature, where users can click on tagged products in Instagram photos by celebrities or key opinion leaders (KOL) and purchase items in a few simple steps.
A shift in online buying habits has seen consumers become more inclined to purchase products from celebrities, influencers and KOLs on their social media feeds, rather than physically going into stores or choosing products based on branding alone.
In Southeast Asia, the social commerce subset of the digital economy is booming.
Social commerce growth in Southeast Asia is driven by a number of factors, one of which is the region’s burgeoning reliance on mobile internet. According to Google Insights, of its 360 million internet users, 90% of Southeast Asian online users connect to the internet via mobile phones. Accessibility to inexpensive mobile phones by Samsung and Oppo are partly to thank for the growing internet users’ statistics.
The unexpected occurrence of a worldwide pandemic has no doubt hastened the adoption of social commerce and e-commerce trends not only in Southeast Asia, but all over the world. In response to lockdowns across the region, Southeast Asian countries have been forced to transition more to online sales and shopping. Indonesia’s news portals have reported that the number of online shoppers has ballooned to an estimated 85 million during the pandemic, compared with 75 million prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
McKinsey estimated Indonesia’s social commerce industry to have a gross merchandise value (GMV) of about $3 billion and is expected to grow to between $15 billion to $25 billion by 2022. GMV gauges the monetary value of the social commerce sales over a period of time. Reselling is a popular trend adopted among Indonesian social commerce startups, in which reseller agents are recruited onto their platforms to resell items such as household products, beauty products and even groceries.
Another emerging trend of the social commerce industry is live-selling, which involves live video broadcasts selling products on platforms like Facebook Live. In Malaysia, this trend has seen a rising demand from pre-pandemic times, which was only accelerated by movement lockdowns implemented in the state to combat COVID-19. From jewellery businesses to raw fish salesmen, business owners are taking to social media platforms to meet the changing demand of online shoppers. Malaysia has one of the highest penetration rates of smartphones in Southeast Asia as at January 2020, with 83% of the population using smartphones. The country has about 26 million internet users.
With the advent and growth of social commerce, it means that new businesses in this sector have a very low barrier-to-entry. This is where social commerce solutions provider AVANA steps in. AVANA has positioned itself as a social commerce industry leader in its own right. Acting as a disruptor to e-commerce platforms, the company aims to be a one-stop centre for social commerce needs and aims to allow businesses to seamlessly transition into an online-selling focused entity.
The company assists business owners to sell their products through Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Telegram. Having been in the industry for over four years, it is experienced to assist business owners to automate their businesses to provide customers with seamless sales and interactions.
AVANA specializes in providing reseller management tools such as affiliate and dropship capabilities. Under this feature, users will act as reseller agents and will be able to earn a commission from the resale of items through an affiliate or dropship link.
Such reselling opportunities are important for those who have lost their jobs or businesses in the wake of movement lockdowns and the economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. The reseller platform can provide a stimulus for the economy as it allows users to earn a side income from the safety of their homes.
With a presence in Malaysia and Indonesia, AVANA also provides a range of other services such as product catalogue management, product orders management and payment collection, among others. It, therefore, aims to create a comprehensive set of solutions for entrepreneurs and businesses in the social commerce field.
From marketing tools to building a webstore, AVANA’s experience in the social commerce space allows anyone to become an entrepreneur and business owner by affording them the management tools necessary to build and grow an online business. Automated replies, mass messaging tools and a seamless linking of social media platforms can ease the burden of business owners that are entering the market for the first time.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: YIENYEE SOH Yienyee Soh is the Co-Founder & COO of AVANA.
AVANA is a startup from our Facebook Accelerator Season 2 program.
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