The e-commerce landscape across Southeast Asia has had to adapt rapidly to the impact of COVID-19 and “digital availability” will be essential to future marketing strategies, an agency expert believes.

Writing for WARC, Carlos Matriano, Head of Innovation & E-commerce, PHD Singapore, notes how changed consumer behaviour and infrastructure enhancement has thrown up new opportunities.

He explains that e-commerce has now become a primary space for engaging with consumers and that “digital availability” should be a priority in any marketing strategy.

The psychology behind the rush to stock up on toilet paper during lockdown is instructive, he suggests – people felt they were taking steps to protect themselves and gained a sense of both value and “immediacy”.

“Brands that take advantage of this behaviour are the ones that are positioning themselves to win in the long run,” Matriano says, offering the example of Grab, the local tech company that offers ride-hailing transport services, food delivery and payment solutions.

It was quick to adapt and pivot with addition of new services and a focus on same-day delivery of essential goods, he observes: GrabMart, which started as an on-demand daily essentials delivery service to support consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic, scaled from two to eight Southeast Asian countries in three months and is now live in 50 cities across Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar and Cambodia and partnering with over 3,000 stores in the region.

And there are other benefits to Grab from this speed to market, Matriano adds.

“This recognition of the consumer’s need for instant gratification led Grab to bypassing a plethora of communications that would normally be required such as rationalising their new service offerings, allowing them to instantly compete in the grocery space without much heritage or adspend.”

For more details, read Carlos Matriano’s article in full: Adaptability and digital availability are key to winning Southeast Asia’s e-commerce race.

Sourced from WARC