Social eCommerce, where goods are sold through social media networks, is well established in the United States, China, United Kingdom, and on the rise in Thailand. New social trends are emerging, and social e-commerce looms large, without a doubt, social networks exist virtually everywhere.
Thailand's migration from offline to the online economy surpassed their initial estimates and took off at an accelerated pace.
The growth erupts all across southeast Asian regions, where the live eCommerce model allows top-tier influencers to sell immense quantities of fashion items to their social media followers. Additionally, group buying has untapped consumer markets and delivers endless benefits to budget-conscious Southeast Asian customers.
Without a doubt, these models have shown incredible financial results. Throughout Southeast Asia, consumers' affection for haggling and interacting with businesses fuels a boom in the social commerce industry.
Social Commerce Platform In Thailand
Unlike other countries, where consumers prefer online platforms for shopping, Southeast Asia shoppers prefer social media and chat rooms on WhatsApp, Line, and Facebook. Moreover, the ability of consumers to build personal relationships and conversations has absolutely driven social commerce's popularity. According to Bain & Co., social commerce accounted for 44% of Southeast Asia's 109 billion USD eCommerce market.
Indeed, Southeast Asian consumers have shifted towards online shopping, around 30 million population become digital shoppers. Southeast Asia's digital consumer population will be about 380 million by 2026. Consumers in this region now buy 60% higher than last year. Moreover, they shop across a variety of online websites and platforms.
Additionally, Thailand is home to roughly 70 million people having a total GDP of US $407 billion. The e-commerce business sector in Thailand has been growing steadily since 2017 where according to a JP Morgan report, it is worth over $27 billion.
Moreover, the country currently has more than 36 million online shoppers, with relatively low online marketing expenditure compared to other mediums. Learning how to monetize an eCommerce store separates online store owners who make six or even seven figures from those struggling to make any money online.
The rapid adoption of commerce through social media across the Thailand region offers valuable lessons to new merchants planning to enter the social commerce market. Moreover, social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and messenger applications like WhatsApp and Line disrupt the traditional form of digital commerce.
The good news is that Thailand-based eCommerce businesses are just discovering the power of social commerce. So, if you play your cards right, you can be a social commerce trailblazer in your industry.
How To Use Social Platforms For Expansion Of Business In Thailand
The Thailand economy clearly reveals that since the pandemic, many have forgone their offline shopping habits and made digital eCommerce platforms the new norm for shopping, earning money, paying bills, and connecting with the world.
When eCommerce platforms combine with social media channels, businesses have a better chance of succeeding. Businesses and marketers can build lasting customer relationships, enhance community engagements and solidify their brand reputation using the tools and technologies made available freely by these social platforms.
Moreover, leveraging these personal and professional networks is key to welcoming social commerce. We suggest you start with the following platforms:
Create A Facebook Business Profile
Facebook is a great connector and a significant driver of traffic to websites. On a global scale, an average person spends around 2 hours daily on social media channels such as Facebook. But in Thailand, consumers are more active on social media, spending up to 10 hours per day on this platform.
Businesses can use Facebook to engage with their target consumers and create a competitive edge by being front and center on their social feeds. Additionally, people all over the world, including Thailand, are building online communities, actively participating with businesses, and promoting the brand through engaging visuals.
Roughly 50 million people between the age of 18 and 34 years use Facebook in Thailand. This is nearly 75% of the total population here, making this the only platform you'll need to simultaneously reach a large audience or multiple audiences.
Social commerce is a very profitable proposition that offers better ROI than other eCommerce marketplaces, to the point that Facebook has become tantamount with the Internet at large. Moreover, according to FacebookIQ, 80% of consumers in Thailand are interested in new ways of online shopping outside the traditional eCommerce platforms.
According to McKinsey & Company's report, 40% of the total sales were through social commerce channels like Facebook. The three top consumer buying product categories include:
- Health and beauty
Integrate Chatbot Capabilities Into Marketing Plan
In Thailand, the environment for the Internet and infrastructure for eCommerce logistics are improving rapidly.
Chat commerce has become a mainstream online shopping platform, meeting the market demand of consumers. It offers businesses an opportunity to conduct business and build personal relationships.
According to Statista, in 2021, the smartphone penetration rate accounted for 77% and is expected to grow to 84% by 2026, amounting to roughly 60 million smartphones users in Thailand. Besides this, the social network site (SNS) usage recorded at 69% and definitely topped the list penetration in the world. Additionally, out of these 69 million Thais, 50 million population are heavy users of Chat platforms.
Chat commerce has definitely become a disruptor. Numerous small-sized and medium-sized enterprises conduct their business on chat messenger applications like WhatsApp and Line. Indeed, the above numbers clearly indicate that individualized services and customer support on Line are here to stay.
In a nutshell, Line lets businesses:
- Offer personalized services
- Advertise products at lower cost and even without developing a website
- Build customer connections and offer after-sale support service
- Appeal to your prospects along with current customers
- Allows customers to directly purchase hence, increases sales
- Easy sharing of product photos, videos, and other relevant materials
Since the introduction of live streaming in 2016, it has made a place for itself in the habits of millennials among the Thai population. Riding on the trend, Alibaba used live shopping to stellar results.
The Covid-19 pandemic gave a major boost to this trend, and businesses that previously had little reason to sell online, are now reaping the benefits.
Undeniably, the live shopping experience is beneficial for businesses as it allows them to:
- Showcase their products via video
- Answer customer's questions in real-time
- Carry out promotional offers
- Encouraging customers to buy products
- Offer remote brand experience
- Reassuring consumers about the quality and authenticity of products
In Thailand, Lazada is the platform that offers live shopping experience.
You can even use Facebook Live to get the same results if you don't want to experiment with different tools. In fact, according to a report by Facebook, 25% of consumers have tried live shopping at least once in their life.
Retailers can use live videos to offer discounts, interaction, entertainment, and value to consumers for a higher chance of increasing their profit margins. In a nutshell, live shopping resembles an in-person shopping experience, but it's done through an application or a website.
Word Of Mouth
Historically, friends, colleagues, and family have been some of the most trusted sources for product recommendations. In fact, 77% of millennials have been influenced by peer suggestions, especially when deciding what to buy.
This number has grown as people come together on social platforms to share their views and reviews about products and businesses. This is more than just about family, friends, and colleagues now. There's a complete network of bloggers and influencers who only talk about the products and services available in their niche.
Businesses can easily create partnerships with bloggers and influencers to witness an upsurge in their product sales, brand reputation, and customer base. When you collaborate with them to reach a broader audience, it's called influencer marketing. It is one of the most effective marketing strategies for acquiring new customers.
The influencers and bloggers already have an enormous following and customer base that implicitly trusts them, and your businesses can use this trust to build a reputation. The influencers or content creators present the product to the audience, not the marketer or advertising platforms, hence, instantly building trust towards the brand.
As the social commerce space matures, more and more brands will be investing and actively running these communities and keeping themselves one step ahead of competitors.
As Thailand becomes the new e-commerce powerhouse, businesses and merchants need to adapt their strategies in order to continue winning digital consumers. With the above statistics, it's evident that Thailand is all set to become the fastest-growing digital economy.
The most successful brand and eCommerce owners, along with newer emerging social platforms, need to implement focus-driven and customer-centric strategies. Merchants can capitalize on the digital boom and insulate businesses with digital disruptions.
Zaapi can help merchants and businesses to maximize their brand success. Rewrite your digitalization strategies, rewire business models, reimagine customer engagement, refresh product offering and re-envision social commerce platforms to take advantage of the consumer shift towards online shopping.