By Chris Vincent | Global CEO

Chris Vincent, Practicology’s Global CEO, explains how Asia’s unique market conditions have sparked the beginning of a new social media revolution amongst retailers. 

Retail in Asia is going through an interesting time. Faced with the growing influence of online many traditional retailers are struggling to adapt in a changing world.

Customers are now able to shop globally and have their products delivered locally. Domestically, bricks and mortar is an expensive proposition to maintain in key locations but for most retailers in the region, this is all they understand. So, in a region dominated by marketplaces how can a retailer innovate and differentiate its brand online?

Asia is unique in a number of ways. It is a mobile first arena, socially driven, with high density living and there is no legacy direct-to-consumer internet offer. For me this represents the ideal conditions for social media apps, which by nature are mobile oriented and prolific in urban areas.

Socially driven sales techniques are now becoming commonplace in Asia. With strategies like group buying (where products are offered at a discount if a number of users all agree to buy the product) and multilayer marketing (where customers are incentivised to market to their network with a percentage of the sales), you now have a medium that will explode and evolve quickly.

We are already seeing some of the pioneers in this space, most notably WeChat with its WeChat store. In June this year WeChat surpassed 762 million monthly active users. This isn’t a China-only phenomenon however as 70 million active users are based outside China. According to estimates, WeChat is a direct driver of US$1.76 billion in lifestyle spending and over 200 million people have their credit cards linked to WeChat already.

Many retailers are taking advantage of the traffic on WeChat and using it for driving direct sales of products. Additionally, you can hook this into your existing marketplaces or even your direct-to-consumer channels to help drive traffic and sales to those channels. 

WeChat also allows you to drive true online-to-offline business as you can offer promotions or incentives on the app to go into store. Circulating QR codes via print and media outlets can also be used to influence user behaviour directing consumers to your website, onto social media channels and in store.

The options are endless - cue the next retail revolution: Omni-Social.

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