The eCommerce 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, writes Carlos Matriano, Head of Innovation & eCommerce at PHD Singapore, for WARC.
Matriano notes how changed consumer behaviour and infrastructure enhancement has thrown up new opportunities, particularly in eCommerce, which has become a primary space for engaging with consumers. Current trends show that even as markets come out of strict lockdowns, eCommerce will continue to be an essential space to build and maintain relationships with consumers. “Digital availability” should be a priority in any marketing strategy for any brand.
One of the strangest phenomena that has manifested from this pandemic was the mass rush for and hoarding of toilet paper. It can be explained somewhat by people’s need to satiate their desires to feel like they’ve taken steps to protect themselves.
The psychology behind it included an element of not only value but also “immediacy” which was something that we saw across not just toilet rolls but with a lot of products and services in general.
“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.
Grab 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.
Brands like Grab that can complement the behavioural and structural changes that have come with the pandemic and resulting lockdowns and improve their “Digital Availability” by being visible and easily transactable will be the ones that benefit the most.