This pandemic has been both an eye-opener and an inflexion point for the world of business as a whole. On the one hand, this health crisis unravelled the importance of modernising any business model through digital transformation. And, on the other hand, it has caused a seismic shift in how companies big and small conduct their business, with an emphasis on going online.
This shift is greatly reflected in the unprecedented growth of e-commerce, whose market volume in different Southeast Asian countries, in particular, grew exponentially year-on-year from 2020 to 2021—Indonesia’s, for instance, rose from USD $35 billion in 2020 to USD $53 billion in 2021; Vietnam’s, from USD $8 billion to USD $13 billion; and Malaysia’s, from USD $8 billion to USD $14 billion. Greater growth is anticipated in this online sphere, what with the number of digital consumers in Southeast Asia alone forecast to rise to 350 million to start 2022 from 310 million at the end of 2020.
Digital spending per person, already 60% higher in 2021 as compared to 2020, is also predicted to increase in the years ahead as more and more consumers are using online as their primary purchase channel. Many more are now willing to try new online stores as well, and just as many are buying different products online, with digital consumers buying an average of 8.1 product categories in 2021 as opposed to just 5.1 in 2020.
The takeaway in all this is: Businesses, especially brick-and-mortar stores, will have to keep up with the times and use the online sphere to their advantage.
Digitalisation Is Challenging and Businesses Need Help
Going digital is beneficial but it is not that easy—not with the many challenges that accompany this shift to online. Developing and maintaining an online presence, for instance, can be very difficult, as is staying connected with customers. Other challenges include initial apprehensions about trying new business models, lack of technological know-how and fear of failure.
These challenges, though, can be overcome, especially when business owners are able to get the right partner—specifically, a solutions provider that can bridge the business from the old guard to the new, digital one. One such partner is SKALE, which now counts over a thousand clients in just a little over three years of operations. And it is helping businesses across various industries, from food and beverage to health and beauty to fashion and apparel, with Skechers, Crocs and The Face Shop being three of SKALE’s most notable users.
Yuet Whey Siah, Founder of and CEO at SKALE, describes SKALE as “an all-in-one marketing platform” that specialises in working with brick-and-mortar businesses, or businesses with physical stores.
“We give them [brick-and-mortar stores] a whole slate of digital solutions that are very much designed to help them drive in-store success,” said Yuet in an exclusive virtual interview with Disruptive Tech Asian. “One of the key challenges brick-and-mortar owners faced was being able to tap into different digital solutions that didn’t just work for e-commerce but would do the same for their brick-and-mortar business. That inspired us to develop a simple to use but powerful marketing platform that is specifically designed to solve the pain points in the brick-and-mortar space.”
The Pandemic Effect
Incidentally, the pandemic—at its worse, in particular—provided a most unwelcome pain point for physical stores: All of a sudden, customers could not freely visit their favourite brick-and-mortar shops to buy things because of government-mandated restrictions on travel, mobility and economic activity, as well as safety and health concerns. In response, owners of brick-and-mortar stores began to proactively seek ways to digitise the way they were doing business.
“These businesses were looking for new channels, new ways to reach new customers and be able to sell on these new channels when their stores could not operate [at the height of the health crisis],” observed Yuet. “One of the biggest trends we observed is that brick-and-mortar businesses are really getting online and listing their products in marketplaces because it is one of the easiest ways to start selling online. We saw midsized SMEs pursue different types of digitalisation, including creating their own e-commerce platform that allowed them to be more creative with the way they were selling online. These trends didn’t stop even when they could start operating their physical stores again.”
Incidentally, what store owners were looking for, SKALE was offering, and this intersection of demand and supply made the latter an ideal partner for the former.
Navigating a Digitally Transforming World
The question now is: How is SKALE helping businesses to scale?
One way is by creating highly customised and targeted ads that are more likely to connect to a store’s actual target market—the people within the vicinity who might actually be interested in buying something from the store. Another is by launching creative promotions—something that e-commerce platforms do exceptionally well—that would motivate customers to take action. SKALE’s Digital Vouchers, for instance, are personalised and exclusive only to customers of a particular store.
SKALE, according to Yuet, also enables brick-and-mortar owners to borrow best practices being implemented by successful e-commerce platforms. One of these is the ability to reach out and re-target all the people who added to the cart but did not convert [buy]. “SKALE allows you to do the same in the brick-and-mortar space,” explained Yuet, “so you are able to re-target and reach out directly to the people who downloaded vouchers but have not used them in a physical store.”
Crucially, SKALE works hand-in-hand with its clients to find the right digital strategies to grow the latter’s business. Some of these other strategies include using SKALE Pixels for customer data tracking, unifying communications and marketing across the physical and online stores, offering retail gamification experiences and SKALE Smart rewards and launching personalised email and SMS campaigns.
If you are a brick-and-mortar store owner and are looking to drive sales, there is no better platform than SKALE because our entire solution is designed to drive lots of success in-store, regardless of the size of the business,” said Yuet when asked why physical store owners should leverage SKALE. “The SKALE platform is very much designed to grow with you and give you additional capabilities.”
These are big promises by the SKALE CEO. But in a post-pandemic world that is transforming digitally by the day, trying out SKALE might just be worth the shot.