Mobile Commerce Set To Skyrocket In South East Asia

My previous article mentioned China’s ecommerce and mobile commerce spending power which they showcase to the world come every November 11th during Singles Day making more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

South East Asia Is The Next BIG Mobile Commerce Powerhouse

Not far behind with tremendous huge growth and development status would be South East Asia (SEA) which is made up of 11 countries (Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).

SEA have a total population of 648 million (and growing fast!).

The top countries in this region that is leading the way in massive digital ecommerce spending would be Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Here’s a glimpse of their digital population. If taken as a single bloc, SEA’s large population of digital users can stand in comparison with leading global markets like US, Europe and China for all digital activities (internet, social media, mobile and mobile social) :

According to eMarketer, digital ad-spending for these 6 countries will increase by double digits in 2017 and 2018 while mobile ad spending will more than double during the forecast period surpassing $2.20 billion and accounting for nearly 69% of digital ad expenditures by the year 2021.

Heavy Smartphone Adoption Spurs Mobile Commerce Growth

Thanks to heavy smartphone adoption, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam will see the strongest growth in mobile ad spending among SEA.

Why are companies willing to invest so much moolah into mobile ad spending in SEA? Because the region has such a HIGH volume of mobile users which presents a HUGE opportunity for mobile commerce, hence the massive amount allocated for mobile ad spending.

Mobile commerce is skyrocketing in South East Asia as more consumers there are getting more familiar to spending online with their mobile devices.

It’s no wonder that Alibaba bought over Lazada (SEA’s largest ecommerce marketplace) for $1 billion. And not to be left out from a piece of the SEA ecommerce pie, Amazon recently launched in Singapore.

With such tremendous ecommerce growth opportunities, many online businesses have been scrambling to improve their mobile site experience and to ensure that their business is omni-channel to cater to the growing consumer segment from developing countries.

Omni What?

Omni-channel. It means having a multi-channel sales approach providing consumers with a smooth integrated shopping experience.

The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device where they can easily locate the product from your site or social media with the ability to make payment seamlessly.

With omni-channel, your online business is available and integrated with your brick and mortar (if you have one) where customers can call in to place an order with the phone or complete the checkout process via social media like FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

The omni-channel sales experience is crucial to ensure that your customers have a good buying experience be it in person, mobile, desktop and social media.

What Do Businesses Need To Do?

For a start, make sure your online business have a mobile friendly and responsive site so consumers can have a good mobile shopping experience with your site.

Ensure that your business is found on social media like Facebook where visitors can complete their purchase directly in FB without being bounced all over in the checkout process.

If you’re selling items that are :

Fashion related stuff : clothing, accessories, sport wear, eye wear, watches, jewelry, etc
Beauty : skin care, cosmetics
Food & drinks
Baby products
Pet products
Consumer electronics
Auto accessories
(I may have missed out some other categories as these are the main ones)

Please have an Instagram and Pinterest account to upload images of your product being worn and used in every day life scenarios to make it easily shareable.


The new generation of mobile shoppers rely on image heavy social media recommendations from friends.

And they love to share and communicate via mobile.

We have a WhatsApp share feature where visitors can easily share your site and product page to their friends on WhatsApp which is great tool for product recommendations.

If you need help getting your online business to be mobile friendly, omni-channel with a good marketing strategy, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help.

From the team at InstanteStore to you, Happy Selling as you prepare for the holiday shopping crowd.

What Is The Best Channel For Transactional Communication

When I say transactional communication, the first thing that pops out is email. And why shouldn’t it? More than 90% of businesses use email as their defacto channel of communication. Be it sending shipping alerts, order status or just newsletters – Email works just fine. Though, what is unusual is that even heavily engaged mobile app users get emails.

Doesn’t sound like the best of the experiences.

Email is important and I am not trying to kill it here but not every single detail needs to be sent via Email. Product Managers are increasingly exploring better methods of communication. The underlying communication principle remains the same. As McKinsey consultants say:

MECE – Mutually Exclusive. Collectively Exhaustive.

Simply put, transactional communication takes place between a seller and a consumer. It occurs in commercial websites that offer users an opportunity to buy. The messages trigger to the targeted audience, who have taken an interest in a product or service and purchased it.

Now that technology is leaving footprints everywhere, one can book cabs, order food and groceries in just a couple of clicks. But without proper communication, it all falls apart. It’s annoying to make multiple calls or keep visiting a website just to know where you cab is or by when your food will be delivered. Constant real time status updates play an important role in these kind of situations.

Imagine your tummy is grumbling, and you are not sure when the food is going to arrive at your doorsteps. So you wonder if you should get a small snack to calm your stomach, or if you should keep waiting for the order to arrive. Updates like ‘Your food is being prepared, will be ready in a jiffy’ followed with ‘Your order is ready and out for delivery within 15 mins’, gives you assurance that food is on the way.

Post transaction communication is critical for any business. Users demand instant gratification and want to know everything about their purchase & shipment. Businesses today not only track, but also share every single piece of information about the transaction with the user.

For instance, Amazon offers the option to get updates every time their shipment moves. Result – users get dozens of notifications about where their order is, and when they can expect delivery.

Here are some basic check points for product managers to tick as they decided what channel to use for communication (related to transactions)

  1. Swift Delivery Preferably to Device over Inbox: Always remember that you are interacting with people and not inboxes. This is why SMS works better compared to Email – because it is swift.

    But, again, lot of users find sharing mobile numbers intrusive. App Push Notifications and web notifications come in handy for such scenarios. They help you communicate easily with the user (device) without being intrusive.

  2. Easy Discovery List over search – One of the biggest challenges with email is that we receive 100’s of emails everyday. Email is overwhelming, compared to SMS or push notifications, which can be neatly stacked into a tab, simplifying the process of discovery for the user.
  3. Quickly Actionable Tap over Reply – Replying to an email or clicking a button. Which would you prefer to give your feedback? That pretty much answers the question.
  4. Accessibility Offline over Online – Order details are often handy, especially when it comes to tracking the status of your order. It helps in scheduling your day. You need not be online on the website or the app to keep a track of your order.
  5. Feedback Conversation over Communication – In some scenarios it is better to know exactly what the users liked or didn’t like, so you can work on it. Here is where email flourishes. But usually the users don’t have the time to write a full response. In these cases, other channels have a upper hand.

Show of hands: people who have had overwhelming anxiety while performing an online transaction. I am pretty sure half the people reading this have their hands held up high. Even though the digital age was embraced with open arms, users have always had panic attacks while buying things online.

In the beginning, people were hesitant and frightened to buy anything digitally. But now, users have evolved along with the whole online concept. Despite that, one skips a beat when one has no idea what is going on with the transaction.

It happens more than often that your internet dies or your screen just freezes mid payment. You don’t know if the payment has been made, if the order is placed or if you have to go through the procedures all over again. Who tells you that? Waiting for seconds seem life eternity in situations like these. Some sort of communication is necessary to avoid frustrated customers.

A clear mode of communication is necessary for effective communication. Lack of proper communication creates perplexed and unsatisfied customers.

percent of users who abandoned transactions due to poor service

Transactional communication comes in handy in numerous situation. Let’s say you have to buy new sunglasses, so you spend some time choosing the best (considering that you are choosy). Then you proceed with the payment. You are almost on your feet jumping for joy, but the ‘payment successful’ page doesn’t appear. You fall into a dilemma, wondering if your payment went through.

There are scenarios when you need to order something, and just finished the transaction. The payment has been deducted from your account, but it has not redirected to the main page and the error page appears.

Due to an absence of communication (or misleading communication) announcing if the order has been placed or not, you buy it again, ending up with double transactions sometimes. Though the money is refunded in a few days, the situation is disturbing.

Now that you agree that a mode of communication is necessary to keep things intact (yes, even your heart), let’s see which transaction communication channel you should be looking at.

Brad Tuttle quote about quality customer service

Email and SMS is what most product managers depend on while communicating with end users. While these channels have existed for a while-given the options we have-the current user experience is limiting. Though they have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, let’s evaluate how the SMS, Web Push, Email and App push notifications fair on the identified metrics and how best the user experience can be improved.

Delivery report and CTR

Mobile device receiving push notification

Delivery reports are essential for you to know that users receive the information. Transactional communication plays a critical role for the consumer. Hence the delivery report is necessary to run things smoothly. Click through Rate (CTR) shows if the user has interacted with your message.

SMS – In SMS, one can check if the message has reached the users. The delivery report assures that the information reaches the user. As far as CTR’s are concerned, it is a cumbersome process to check whether the user has opened the message and if the they clicked a CTA.

Web Push – One can check the delivery report and the CTRs with ease by checking out the dashboard to see if the user clicked the messages. The open rates can also be tracked.

Email – It is possible to know if the email has landed in the inbox. There are many extensions out in the market (free ones too), to check if users have opened your mail or in other words, you can know who has read your email.

App Push Notification – App push stands with a 6 – 15% CTR. As for delivery reports, the apps need to turn to another software. Its double the effort to find out if your notification is delivered. So, you can’t be sure if the user really received your information.

Shelf life

Hourglass on red background

Some information needs to be accessed even after you are done with your payment. Let’s say you have made a purchase and your order details are sent to you. In that moment it might not make sense to track your order delivery, but you will need to in a few days. Here is where you need a medium with good shelf life, so that you can refer to it when the situation demands.

SMS – With amazing shelf life capability, SMS makes it easier for users to go back and check the details of the purchase. If some problem occurs you can always refer to the order number and place a complaint.

Web push – As web push is a quick way to inform users, it projects the needed information, and stays till you dismiss it. Let’s get this straight, it is not feasible to store web push notifications for future access.

Email – The inbox stores emails and stays there till the user deletes it. One can find the email that you had sent, by just searching your company’s name. The only problem here is, you might have sent it to the user, but what if your email lands in their junk mail?

App Push Notification – The notification prompts the user and gets stacked in the notification tray. App push is best to keep users informed about every minute detail about the transaction. If the user mistakenly dismisses everything in the notification tray, your information goes for a toss.

User experience

User receiving too many notifications depicting bad experience

A user should have a good experience shopping with you, so that they would opt you again. Cramming their phones with numerous updates makes it exasperating for the users.

SMS – SMS lands direct to your inbox and stays there until the user deletes it. Filling their inbox is not a good thing. It so happens that sometimes new messages do not get delivered due to insufficient space on the phone.

Web Push – Web push doesn’t take any space of the user’s phone. It updates and just stays in the notification tray (until dismissed). Hence, providing more breathing space.

Email – Once the inbox is full, it would stop accepting new emails. Here the feud between your email and space arises. But if the user has sufficient space in the inbox (might be risky to assume), every new email sent by you as a continuation to the previous mail does not cram the inbox and confuse the user.

App Push Notification – Just like web push, it doesn’t consume any space. It can be dismissed easily. It gives a crisp information. One doesn’t have to read a large amount of text, just to get order confirmation.

Multi channel

Selling on multiple channels

Imagine you are buying something on your laptop. You cant keep checking your phone just to get updates. For example, you have kept your phone for charge, and are making a purchase on your desktop. You need to go all the way to the phone to check if you have any transaction messages. This becomes inconvenient after a while.

SMS – It is typically a mobile centric channel. One needs to be on the mobile to keep checking for updates.

Web push – It functions across mobile, tablet, and desktop, making it easier for users to track no matter the medium. The need to hop from device to device does not occur.

You might be booking a movie ticket from a tablet and can receive a notification on the tab itself. Hence the users receive notifications on desktop, mobile and tab, reaching them wherever, whenever.

Email – Email can be accessed from desktop, mobile and tablet. There is no way that one can lose information because they were using particular device.

If the users have set an alert for all the emails that they receive, they will be prompted. If not, no matter what device they are using, your email will only flash when the user opens the inbox.

App Push Notification – As its name suggests, it is only possible to send notifications when the user has the app on the device, which excludes desktop from the list. The user can stay informed on their phone and tab.


Getting charged all over the place

Finally it is all about the money. You need to analyse and prioritise where your spend money. There may be many outlets from which you are already draining your budget. Though it might seem meagre, it amounts to a large sum in the years to come. The idea is to spend less and get more.

SMS – An sms can be sent for transactional communication to convey critical information. But it becomes costly when it comes to keeping users updated (with food delivery updates like I mentioned earlier). Consider minimum of 4 messages per person and then multiply it with total number to users per day. Yes, now you know.

Web push – You can send unlimited notifications for free. You can notify users of every minute update or change that takes place, so that they are in the loop, invoking a feeling that you care about them.

This freedom sometimes leads to liberation and often marketers send many notification to users, which after some point might seem annoying.

Email – As of today, email costs up to 50 ps to 1 Rs. It is not cost effective. The number of emails that you need to send to keep the users informed, and the money you spend in the long run might make it seem as if some updates are unnecessary.

App Push Notification – There are no charges to send out app push notifications. It is cost effective. You can send out many notifications to numerous people.

Let me draw out a comparison table to make things clear:

Infographic about different communication channels

The channels have their own ups and downs. SMS is pesky, space consuming and irritating. Let’s be honest here, it’s old. If you want to make your mark in the present, then you need to move along (or ahead, as a matter of fact) to rise to your true potential. Almost everyone sends emails these days and it has become so ‘yesterday’. It’s time to pack your bags and move ahead of email. As far as web push and app push notification are concerned, there is no way that you can retrieve old notifications. Once you dismiss a message, it is gone forever.

All said and done, each channel plays a role to notify users. It up to you to fish out the advantages and choose which channel works best for you. Maybe you could get the best of some channels.

For example, you could send out major updates as emails and send constant updates as a web push message. You could mix and match, experiment and see what gives you better response, but keep an eye on your pocket as well.

91% of dissatisfied customers will not do business with you again. Therefore, transactional communication should take place with utmost caution.

The whole point of terrific communication is informing users before they even have time to ponder about it (more like a reflex action). When communication is seamless, giving users disruptive information, the user leaves happy. And we all know how happy customers can be good for you. Choosing the right mode of communication would make all the difference.

I don’t know about other channels, but if you want to try out web push notifications, we are right here 🙂 Log on to to start pushing out notifications for free!

Author Bio

Pravya author picture

Pravya is a Product Marketer at iZooto. In love with animals more than humans, obsessed with amazing hair and educating the world about digital marketing. She secretly is mastering the art of stone balancing. Amidst all of this, she also squeezes out time to paint on canvas. Her dream is to go on a bike trip to the highest motorable road. She writes often on the iZooto blog.

Twitter handle – @pavipravin