In recent months, Thailand-headquartered ecommerce platform builder aCommerce brought a number of brands online – not only in the domestic market, but in Indonesia and Singapore as well. Ramping up its presence in Asia, it has now expanded into the Philippines.
Launched last year, aCommerce offers an end-to-end solution for merchants who want to bring their products online. Not limited to building a website for brands and retailers, the startup likewise assists with the entire supply chain, managing the merchants’ orders and directly delivering them to customers.
Increasing sales through added channels
It takes along the same goal in its expansion in the Philippines – generating sales through online platforms and aiding merchants from ordering until delivery. aCommerce Philippines CEO Ray Alimurung explains:
All these folks need to go online. They may not know it yet, they may not feel the threat yet, but they have to go online at some point.
The reason why it’s taken a while for brick and mortar stores to go online, is because it’s a less certain part of business where they have never seen volume before. It’s challenging. If you want to do it yourself, you tend to outsource parts of it. And to do that mixing and matching of services is very expensive.
aCommerce comes in to try and solve this dilemma. Like its entry in other markets, Alimurung says its service will be beneficial for merchants who want to go online but don’t know how. Apart from website optimization, it will help brands bring their products to different channels such as mobile messaging apps, daily deals sites, and other ecommerce marketplaces. In Thailand, aCommerce was able to bring online sales to big brands such as Maybelline through flash sales on messaging app Line.
Convenience through cash on delivery
To help to improve merchants’ sales, aCommerce aims to remove the barriers for merchants to enter the ecommerce space. One of the most crucial barriers in the Philippines, along with other emerging Asian markets, is access to payment.
Low credit card penetration is still an issue in the region. For aCommerce, cash on delivery (COD) fills this gap. Alimurung explains further:
COD payment may sound like a crude developing market solution, but it’s more elegant than over-the-counter payment. With over-the-counter payment, you’re asking the customer to buy the merchandise twice. You make a purchase decision and finally add it to the cart, then after you check out you’ll realize you haven’t bought it yet. You still have to go out and pay. That is very inconvenient. With COD, the next thing that happens is the guy is at your door with your item.
In Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, aCommerce has built its own delivery fleet that brings orders and collects payment from the customer.
In the Philippines, the company will begin by outsourcing delivery services until its customer base is large enough to justify building its own fleet. Alimurung underscores that ecommerce is still in its nascent stage, only comprising around one to two percent of the Philippines’ entire retail industry. However, by helping brands and retailers bring their products online, he believes this will improve product selection for the customers.
Currently, aCommerce’s Philippines warehouse is open and ready for business. Its plan this year is to begin bringing merchants on board and grow its team within the country.Editing by J.T. Quigley