In our expert interview series, marketing professionals from different industry sectors and regions share their thoughts and insights on digital marketing and ecommerce.
In this release, Gedeminas Dijokas from iPrice, talks about changes in online shopper behavior, tips for online retailers to increase performance and where he thinks the ecommerce is heading. Read on to find out what the VP of Southeast Asia's price comparison site has to say!
"More than 70% of the traffic on iPrice is on mobile"
Can you introduce iPrice using some interesting figures?
- Over 1100 ecommerce merchants in Southeast Asia are represented on iPrice.
- Combined, they account for more than 250 million SKUs being aggregated every 24h on the platform.
- 100,000 people come online every day.
- Our conversion rate depends on merchant and category, but ranges between 2%-12%.
- We grew by more than 300% YOY from Q1 2017 to 2018.
What are the key developments you’ve identified in shopper behavior?
We've seen a massive shift towards mobile: More than 70% of the traffic on iPrice (more than 80% in Indonesia) is on mobile. This will eventually make Southeast Asia not mobile-first but a near mobile-only market.
What was the most popular item currently being researched in iPrice?
Smartphones have been and still are the most searched and compared items on iPrice.
What product or product category had the biggest sales growth rate recently?
Over the last 6 months, we have seen a huge surge in popularity of Korean beauty products in emerging markets like the Philippines and Indonesia.
What is the biggest reason for shoppers not converting?
Apart from payment and delivery options, it’s often incomplete information: How long will it take for the item to be shipped, what’s my return and warranty policy etc. These trust points are essential, especially if you want to convert customers on a mobile phone.
"We see the best conversions happen to merchants who are diligent about their feed and add as many attributes as possible."
What is your advice for merchants selling on iPrice to drive traffic and conversions?
Invest in a good product feed. We are by now large enough to support everything, from a CSV uploaded into dropbox, to a full-blown API integration, but we see the best conversions happen to merchants who are diligent about their feed and add as many attributes as possible. This includes delivery time, store ratings but also “rich” attributes like specifications for memory or resolution on phones or fashion season for clothing.
Make sure that you categorize your products well, and know your margins across your different categories. We support any commission model from CPC, to CPS or CPO but often we see merchants who apply a one-size-fits-all approach. We are convinced that we are the most effective marketing channel when it comes to ROI, and want our partners to make full use of it.
How many merchants that you integrate into your system provide “high quality data”?
Unfortunately, still very few. That’s why our data scientists enrich the data that merchants send to us – we have machine learning algorithms, adding thousands of additional attributes to the feed. Obviously it’s always better to get something in stellar condition and with as much data as possible directly from the source, but the value that iPrice provides lies in aggregation and enrichment of data.
How long do you spend transforming their data?
We go live minimum every 24h, so for 250 million SKUs we have built processes that apply thousands of rules within hours.
What was your biggest surprise in 2017 - what didn't you see coming?
The overall growth in the market surprised us: While we are strong believers in Southeast Asia, the speed of growth within the market is just amazing. This is the most dynamic internet region in the world.
What developments in both ecommerce and digital marketing are you most excited about?
We see a lot of competition in Southeast Asia right now and someamazing innovation in the logistics sector: As tracking and delivery times improve, even to remote areas, we see consumer confidence in ecommerce rise.
Regarding digital marketing, our partners are getting smarter about attribution models: It really matters where you attribute your marketing dollars (top of the funnel vs. bottom of the funnel) and where you set your strategy. Luckily we are seeing ecommerce players getting smarter about this and understanding click-chains much better.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for ecommerce marketers today?
Properly tracking unit economics and ensuring that they keep a positive contribution margin after marketing expenses. While there is a general sentiment of “invest to grow”, we believe it’s important to thing about building a sustainable business early on and want to support our merchants in this.
"If you don’t have billions to spend, make sure that you can clearly track performance impact."
What in your opinion is the best tactic to reach or convert shoppers today?
We believe in choosing marketing solutions that scale and are performance-based. If you don’t have billions to spend, make sure that you can clearly track performance impact. At iPrice, we send millions of clicks to our partners, and only get paid if we are able to drive performance for them. That’s a fair model, and a very scalable one. For some of our stores, iPrice contributes to 40% of their traffic.
Name 3 predictions for ecommerce in Southeast Asia 2018
- Mobile will continue to scale and we’ll see +90% share in markets like Indonesia
- As consumer adaption increases, niche ecommerce stores will turn more and more profitable
- iPrice will reach more than 20 million customers per month
Where is online shopping heading to in 5 years’ time?
Obviously with the advent of Alexa and Google Home, voice-enabled shopping is getting bigger and this trend will also reach markets like Southeast Asia. We also expect a consolidation of payment options in the region, making user experience more and more frictionless.
"As consumer adaption increases, niche ecommerce stores will turn more and more profitable"
What is your advice for online retailers to stay relevant?
Focus on your strengths: Not everyone needs to be the next Amazon. There is good business to be made even in niche markets, as long as you know your exact market size and cater for it correctly.
What you didn't know about Gediminas
Can you name a recent ingenious marketing campaign that really stuck out to you?
I wouldn’t call it a campaign but the biggest impression for me was Linkedin's growth hacking. They've taken scientific approach to grow their product usage. And you see the results: They grew from 100 MM members in 2011 to 380 MM members in 2015!
What are your favorite industry news publications?
What is on your reading list?
Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, by Duncan Clark
Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I have a medal in table tennis that I got when I was small boy. 😊
About iPrice Group
iPrice Group is a meta-search website where online consumers can easily compare prices, specs and discover products with hundreds of local and regional merchants. iPrice’s price aggregator platform is available in six other countries across Southeast Asia namely in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, The Philippines, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Currently, iPrice partners with thousands of merchants to compare and catalogue more than 250 million products and receives more than six million sessions per-month across the region. iPrice currently operates three business lines: price comparison for electronics and health & beauty; product discovery for fashion and home & living; and coupons across all verticals.