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The future of retail marketing in APAC is full of possibilities, say experts

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By Preethi Ravi | Journalist

May 4, 2023 | 7 min read

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E-commerce, social commerce, contextual commerce – it’s all about getting consumers to buy. From loyalty programs, retargeting, social influencers and the next big thing in retail, experts from Shiseido, Zalora and Yahoo share insights and predictions to help marketers engage with APAC consumers.

Providing consistent positive experiences for customers is a key factor in building brand trust and loyalty.

Providing consistent positive experiences for customers is a key factor in building brand trust.

When it comes to tech and innovation in the retail marketing sector, the APAC region sets the trends for the rest of the world. The region, with its diverse and complex landscape, means that one size doesn’t fit all. Localization is key and success in these markets requires a deep understanding of the local nuances.

It is crucial to adapt and innovate quickly, says Achint Setia, chief revenue and marketing officer at Zalora. “It’s important to understand the local customer cohort, their preferences and their buying behavior. It’s also essential to have a deep understanding of the market dynamics, including local regulations and cultural sensitivities. This requires having a strong local team with in-depth knowledge of the market.

“From a marketing perspective, it’s crucial to have a data-driven approach, and continually test and refine strategies to ensure they resonate with the local market. Additionally, leveraging technology such as AI and chatbots can help to personalize the customer experience at scale.”

Setia was discussing emerging retail trends alongside Reta Lee, head of commerce, Yahoo Life Southeast Asia at Yahoo and Juliana Chu, vice-president of digital and e-commerce, Asia Pacific at Shiseido, during The Drum’s APAC Trends Briefing. The panel, hosted by The Drum’s APAC editor-at-large Amit Bapna, explored affiliate marketing, personalization, influencer marketing, data analytics and more. Watch the full session on The Drum TV.

For Setia, the most exciting area in the retail landscape is personalization, where traditional thinking on what customers buy meets nuanced targeting and segmentation.

Although affiliate marketing is still in its infancy stage in the region, Yahoo’s Lee expects more players to join the bandwagon. “We started affiliate marketing in late 2019 and noticed that more people are shopping online during the pandemic. So, we created a shopping channel and realized over one million unique users were reading our shopping articles.”

Another emerging trend was the use of data analytics in today’s marketing playbook. With the rise of digital marketing, it has become more important than ever to collect and analyze data to make informed decisions. Chu believes that with the shift towards omnichannel marketing, it’s important to have a robust system to help understand the evolving customer segments and their behavior across different channels. “This means that brands and marketers need to be agile and able to adapt quickly to changes in consumer behavior and market trends. In short, the playbook has become more complex, but also more powerful with the use of data and analytics.”

In these ever-changing times, gaining brand trust for marketers has become integral for a sustainable customer experience. Providing consistent positive experiences for customers is a key factor in building brand trust and loyalty. To gain brand trust and affinity, Setia suggests focusing on three key elements: inspiration, value and predictability.

“Inspiration can come from providing new and exciting ideas to customers that they may not have thought of before,” he says. “Value is important in all markets, as customers are very conscious of pricing and will compare across platforms to find the best deal. And predictability is crucial, ensuring that shipping times and return policies are consistent and clear.”

Offering occasional promotions or incentives in retail marketing is seen as a good way to drive sales and reward loyal customers -but finding the right balance and maintaining a consistent brand image and customer experience has been a challenge. “Continuous sales and discounts can create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to make purchases, but it can also lead to a feeling of discount fatigue and a perception that products are not worth buying at full price,” says Lee.

“It's important to find a balance between offering promotions and maintaining brand value and pricing integrity,” she adds. “Collaborating with brands to understand their goals and finding creative ways to drive sales without relying solely on discounts can help create a more sustainable approach to marketing and customer engagement.”

To learn more about strategies for retail media success in APAC, check out the full session on The Drum TV.

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