BANGKOK: Consumer goods firms are tapping into the online data being gathered by e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia to better understand consumers and to increase their reach.

“Data from Lazada has been used to position certain products where consumer preferences are different,” Ambrose Chan, CEO of DSG International, a Thai diaper business, told Reuters.

“For example, Thai customers like to buy diapers in special cartons, while Malaysians prefer multiple packs.”

Certain online behaviours tend to be common, however, and this can be factored into promotional activity. “From (Lazada) data, we know mothers sometimes browse at night, so we can offer flash sales when we know customers are browsing,” Chan added.

Meanwhile Saha Group, a leading Thai consumer goods manufacturer, claimed that online sales of some of its brands have risen tenfold since it began a partnership with Lazada in June, thanks to an ability to make real-time offerings rather than relying on seasonal promotions.

“Traditional retailers will struggle to see customer behaviour,” said Alessandro Piscini, Lazada Thailand’s CEO, as he outlined how the business intends to use data science to help its merchants customize offers for specific customer groups based on age, gender and other preferences. It is also addressing logistics issues to enable them to reach consumers in more remote areas.  

Earlier this year Lazada teamed up with Unilever to build an “end-to-end alliance” across Southeast Asia, with the two working closely on category development, supply chain and fulfilment, data and marketing, social commerce and talent development.

The region, with 600m consumers, has emerged as a battleground between two of the biggest e-commerce businesses in the world.

In recent months Amazon has launched its Prime Now service in Singapore as a precursor to a wider rollout across Southeast Asia, while Alibaba has increased its stake in Lazada to 83% as it sees huge potential in a part of the world where only 3% of retail sales currently take place online.

Sourced from Reuters; additional content by WARC staff