In a session on day three of Spikes Asia 2015 moderated by Adrian Peter Tse, journalist, Campaign Asia-Pacific, Ganesh Kashyap, director, China eCommerce, Mondelez International and Andrea Baronchelli, CMO, Lazada Singapore, discussed the future of e-commerce.
The duo first painted the current picture. Kashyap said, "e-commerce is rapidly growing globally. By 2020 we expect 3 to 10 per cent of FMCG goods to be sold online. And more so in Asia. Mobile penetration is increasing. It's at 50 per cent in South Korea and 40 per cent in China currently. Work hours are increasing too, which is in turn reducing shopping trips. Asia also has two-thirds of the world's middle class. There's disposable income available. And finally, there's a growing awareness in these markets too about health and wellness and people are looking towards e-commerce for safer and higher quality."
Baronchelli echoed Kashyap's sentiments and said he believes in the same reasons for the e-commerce scene exploding.
The moderator then asked what implications with e-commerce have on businesses like Mondelez.
Kashyap responded, "By 2020, we are targeting to build the business to a billion dollars. If you take a trend that we're seeing – when people go online, they expect a different, personalised experience and when they are online they are looking at slightly higher value products. In developed markets outside Asia, e-commerce stores are mostly extensions of places like super markets. In Asia, we've leapfrogged that stage. There are options like Flipkart and BigBasket (in India), AliBaba etc. So, we have to look at building relations with them too. Also, we don't really have the ability to have personal relations with shoppers in traditional retail outlets, but we can thanks to data on e-commerce."
Lazada's Baronchelli predicted his outlook for the future: "In the future we see social commerce. Facebook is already testing this. Such commerce will connect very well and help with impulse purchases. Now, you can't only share on these networks, you can also buy stuff here."
Kashyap added to Baronchelli's point and underlined: "I think this (social commerce) can be the single largest impulse purchase point."
He cited how supermarkets position chewing gum and candy options at checkouts, and added, "In China, and in most parts around the world we look to drive impulse purchases by offering delivery free over a certain amount."
The next topic for discussion was talent.
Baronchelli said, "e-commerce is a newly born industry and so talent is extremely limited as there aren't enough skilled people. We look to hire people from traditional businesses and then train them across different fields. We have to offer something that other industries cannot. There are people who have begun taking courses for e-commerce as well in schools in Singapore."
Kashyap added. "This is a challenge and an opportunity. We have to look for people with start-up skills, but they have to then fit in to a multinational set up. It's about attracting talent and integrating it."