It’s almost impossible to think of a product or service that you can’t find online these days. From toys and food products to big ticket items, like cars and properties, everything is just a click away. In the past 10 years, Malaysia has shown an upward trend in adapting to online shopping. With the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, this has steeply accelerated the growth of e-commerce in the country with a forecast to reach over 11 billion USD by 2025.
Not only are more customers gravitating toward online shopping, but several businesses are pivoting online to ensure business sustainability and to make the most of Malaysia’s digital economy. To that extent, the country’s most popular shopping platform, Lazada, reported its biggest growth in registering new retailers, onboarding close to 120,000 vendors over the last 18 months.
While the e-commerce sector in Malaysia continues to be lucrative, over the past years, this sector has also become one of the most competitive. Gone are the days when setting up an online store and running a couple of ads would bring sufficient traffic and sales to your site. What business owners need to realise is that the pandemic has not only impacted their business models but also the way consumers behave, interact and shop.
In the post pandemic era, consumers have different touch points for brand conversion. Motivation, sustainability, logistics, moments, convenience and spend, all form a major part of the consumer decision making process, as their online buying habits undergo rapid transformation.
Altered consumer behaviour and an increasing lag time for businesses to respond to these changes is forcing more and more Malaysians to shop from overseas markets. According to a report on e-commerce payment trends by JP Morgan, 44% of overall e-commerce sales in Malaysia are from cross-border spending. Consumers cite that they encounter more engaging shopping experiences when purchasing items from overseas marketplaces with China, Singapore and Japan, being the top 3 alternatives.
This draws attention to the increasing importance that consumers place on engagement and interaction in retail today that can ultimately underpin business success.
Shopping + Entertainment is the ‘combo’ you need to order this sales season
The popularity that Amazon’s Twitch and Alibaba’s Taobao Live have attained by creating live shoppable experiences is testament to the increasing preferences for interactive online shopping that consumers have. This integration of entertainment, engagement and shopping, otherwise known as ‘shoppertainment,’ will play a key role in retail when it comes to giving consumers a memorable shopping experience.
Shoppertainment enables businesses to strengthen their relationship with their consumers through virtual experiences such as live streaming, AR/VR, and gamification. Done right, this increasingly popular phenomenon can enable businesses to create experiences that are highly personalised and immersive.
For example, Google’s Umami Land allows users to explore their favourite Japanese restaurants via a virtual theme park or LazLive that encourages consumers to shop for products through in-app live streaming. Creating such experiences that get consumers to watch, play and stay breaks the monotony of catalogue shopping.
For businesses in Malaysia that are heading into a heavy sales season with 11.11, 12.12, Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year, leveraging shoppertainment could eventually drive more conversions and sales.
With that said, let the games begin
The world of shoppertainment presents businesses with multiple opportunities to interact with consumers with no ‘one strategy’ that fits them all. For the unordained, this can also be an intimidating experience as you try to figure out what works best for your business and audience.
If you are just getting started in providing your consumers with real-time interaction, here are some commonly used tactics for you to keep in mind:
What started in China as a novel shopping experience has now become a global trend. Live streaming allows you to directly interact with your audience through a broadcast channel, giving them a chance to visualise how the product fits their lifestyle, helping them to make a better purchase decision. This popular form of shopping generated over USD6 billion in sales during Taobao’s annual Single’s Day Shopping Festival and has grabbed the attention of global brands including Amazon, Walmart and luxury brands like Cartier.
The rise of VR, especially within mobile shopping is soon going to transform the way we shop. Not only does the inclusion of VR elements to shopping platforms entice gamers, but it also provides a diversion from regular online shopping, attracting more consumers to come out, shop and play. With its steady growing popularity, brands like McDonald’s and IKEA are also not shying away from providing consumers with VR experiences. IKEA’S Immerse app is an example of VR in shopping, allowing users to create their own designs in a virtual setting.
Considering how the pandemic has changed the way influencer marketing worked in Malaysia, this is a great opportunity for brands to move away from conventional ‘promote product’ strategies and leverage KOLs to engage more with their consumers. Run contests, put together watch parties, collaborate with KOLs to run livestreams for your popular products to provide your audiences with unique influencer content that prioritises education and entertainment.
For today’s savvy user, authenticity matters. How well you respond to your customer’s needs builds trust in a brand like never, whether it is implementing shoppertainment strategies or providing more payment options. As e-commerce in Malaysia continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, brands that prioritise this, adapt, and respond to changes in consumer behaviour will see growth, both in terms of overall business and customer satisfaction.
Related: 4 types of commerce customers and how to appeal to them.