Send Sales in Southeast Asia Soaring With These Cross-Border Growth Strategies

07 December 2022
by Liberty Sanders


The growth of eCommerce in Southeast Asia has many eCommerce brands in the UK and beyond sitting up and taking notice.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, in particular, are experiencing significant eCommerce growth and are set to become some of the fastest-growing digital markets worldwide.

If you’re looking to head east with your eCommerce offering, this is the article for you. We’ll analyse the rapid growth of eCommerce in Southeast Asia and look at the strategies you can use to see success in these markets.

The Staggering Growth of Cross-Border Commerce in Southeast Asia

Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore, are all part of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It’s a political and economic union of 10 member states across the Southeast Asian area designed to encourage cooperation and facilitate trade.

In total, the market size for ASEAN consists of 350 million digital consumers. And markets are growing fast.

Take Singapore, for instance, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.2% between 2021 and 2025. By the end of that period, the eCommerce market will be worth $10.7bn.

When you factor in the Southeast Asia region in general, that number increases to $150 billion by the end of 2025. It is easy to see why companies are scrambling to create effective cross-border eCommerce strategies in Southeast Asia.

Here are some of the cross-border strategies that are essential for the success of the ASEAN growth plan in Southeast Asia.

Use Delivery to Build Brand Loyalty

What separates Amazon, Asos and some of the biggest eCommerce retailers in the world from their competitors? The delivery experience. Customers order from these brands time and again because they know they’re going to get their items in a matter of days and that returns will be easy.

Today’s consumers, in southeast Asia and beyond, expect a seamless delivery experience. And they reward brands who provide one:

  • 89% of consumers are more likely to purchase from Amazon than other eCommerce sites
  • 88% of shoppers are more likely to purchase from stores that offer free shipping
  • 84% of shoppers will reject retailers that have a poor returns experience

If you’re establishing a cross-border presence in southeast Asia, there are three ways you can use your delivery experience to build brand loyalty.

The first is by offering fast and cost-effective delivery. Remember, you are competing against local brands that can deliver products for free in a matter of days. And while you may not be able to offer free delivery, you can make sure products arrive fast.

Second, give your new customers a way to track their delivery across the globe. Consumers take a risk when ordering a cross-border shipment from a brand in a different country. But delivery tracking provides reassurance that they made the right choice.

Third, and finally, offer shipping updates in their local language. Whether that’s Thai, Vietnamese or another local language, it’s important to localise the delivery experience as much as possible. In doing so, your delivery experience won’t just exceed that of other foreign brands, it will rival the experience of local retailers.

Offer a Wide Range of Payment Options

The geographical and socioeconomic factors across each region in Southeast Asia differ dramatically. While some areas of Singapore have the most up-to-date and modern options when it comes to shopping online, these tools are often not available in the less densely populated areas of countries like Vietnam.

Therefore, it is essential eCommerce brands offer a range of online payment options when operating in different countries across Southeast Asia.

eWallets, cards, apps, and cash-on-delivery are some of the most popular payment options that brands should offer to ensure no consumer is left out. In particular, make sure your mobile payment options are on point. Studies show that Southeast Asian countries lead the way with digital payments, and mobile usage is estimated to be near 90%.

Around half of the region already uses e-wallets, with cash-on-delivery being the most popular option in less economically developed countries like Vietnam. However, even Vietnam is expected to see significant growth via digital payments by 2025. Consumers are becoming extremely familiar with digital payments, to the point where a lack of options will result in abandoned carts.

Analyse Consumer Trends and Stay Flexible

Keeping up with market trends and adapting your eCommerce brand to meet them is crucial to meeting consumers’ needs and ensuring cross-border eCommerce remains successful.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, there has been a significant shift in consumer purchase behaviour in Southeast Asia, with more customers searching outside their region for purchases, due to a lack of supply and more free time.

The good news for foreign retailers is that, despite other aspects of consumers’ lives going back to normal, they are now much more comfortable and confident shopping cross-border. What’s more, lower socio-economical countries such as Vietnam and Thailand are the ones experiencing the fastest growing eCommerce markets, which only helps cross-border purchasing.

As consumers gain access to a wider range of products and styles, it is important for businesses to track these purchase trends and ensure their offering matches the needs of their customers.

Pro Carrier is Your Partner for Cross-Border Commerce in Asia

There has never been a better time to venture into the southeast Asian market. Shopping habits are shifting and consumers are more willing than ever to try foreign brands. As well as tracking shopping habits, give your cross-border venture the best chance of success by staying abreast of the latest trends and styles, offering the full range of payment options, and by building loyalty through an exceptional delivery experience.

For the latter, turn to Pro Carrier for help. Our cross-border delivery service has been designed to streamline international deliveries and make the process as stress-free as possible. Our global network of final-mile carriers makes it easy for brands to ship to any country in the world while managing everything from our easy-to-use dashboard.

Speak to an expert today about how we can help you ship to southeast Asia and beyond.

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