Weekly Focus APAC: Singapore E-Commerce Site Eyes Male Shoppers in New Campaign

In this edition of Weekly Focus APAC: Singapore E-Commerce Site Eyes Male Shoppers in New Campaign; Alibaba Confiscates £411bn Worth of Fake Products; M1 Offers PayNow Option for In-Store Purchase; SingPost Slapped with Record Fine for Delivery Failures; and JD.com Goes AR with Google.

Singapore E-Commerce Site Eyes Male Shoppers in New Campaign

Male consumers in Singapore increasingly are going online to satisfy their shopping needs, with half doing so at least once a week and 70% shopping more online than they did last year.

Four-in-five men also enjoy browsing on e-commerce platforms and 75% did so for 10 minutes to an hour per session, according to a survey conducted by Singapore-based e-commerce operator Shopee. The online poll collated responses from 3,182 Singaporean male users on the Shopee platform.

Their willingness to spend time browsing indicated a shift in men’s shopping habits, where they traditionally were motivated by the need to purchase rather than a desire to shop.

The respondents pointed to convenience, increase in product variety, more affordable prices, and increased online safety as reasons for going online.

The survey also found that men preferred to shop online late at night, with midnight on Sunday and Monday the most active period for male purchases. In addition, these shoppers were price-sensitive, as 60% would always compare prices between shopping sites before making an online purchase.

Armed with these findings, Shopee said it was launching a Shopee Men Sale in Singapore, touting it as a one-stop collection that would feature a curated list of top brands, products, and deals tailored specifically for male shoppers. The section would be accessible via a dedicated homepage button and feature updated content each week, with the campaign commencing on 2 April and ending 10 April.

To further tap male shoppers’ browsing habits, Shopee said the campaign would showcase themed days such as Gaming Sale and Men’s Fashion Sale, which would feature bestselling male brands and products daily.

And with 93% of Singaporean men revealing that they viewed in-app games as a way to earn rewards and incentives, the campaign also would include various game elements designed to enhance the shopping experience such as Shopee Quiz, $1 Game, and Choose The Winner.

Shopee’s chief commercial officer Zhou Junjie said: “With a strong contingent of our users being male, the needs and preferences of men need to be considered in everything from product innovation to marketing efforts.

“Having a dedicated collection targeting male shoppers allows them to save time by bringing together a curation of brands and products they know and love, resulting in a more tailored and seamless shopping experience”, Zhou said.

Alibaba Confiscates £411bn Worth of Fake Products

The Chinese e-commerce giant last year seized counterfeit products worth ¥3.6bn (£411.25m) that it said it was able to identify through technology and data.

The Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance/ (AACA) said it led criminal investigations that resulted in 1,277 arrests and the closure of 524 manufacturing and distribution locations. The group was launched in January 2017 to drive efforts in the protection of intellectual property and, since then, had expanded to encompass 132 brand owners across 12 vertical sectors. These included Samsung, Mars, and Louis Vuitton, as well as foreign brands such as Fossil, Dyson, and Coach, which accounted for 70% of alliance members.

Alibaba’s senior vice president Michael Yao, who oversees the company’s intellectual property protection efforts, said: “Over the past two years, we have used our technology and data to strengthen the fight against counterfeits. […] We are all part of the solution; and collaboration among industry leaders is the only way to effectively combat this problem.”

According to the online retailer, 97% of takedown requests last year were processed within a business day.

Alongside the alliance’s member brands, Alibaba said they used the “latest anti-counterfeiting technology” to safeguard intellectual property on its online platforms, including product authentication, offline enforcement, and law enforcement exchanges.

It further noted that AACA’s advisory board members offered feedback on related issues such as intellectual property rights enforcement strategy, policies, and emerging e-commerce platform practices.

This year, Yao said, the alliance would strive to grow its membership and drive engagement with current members to boost their participation in the group’s initiatives.

MCM’s Asia-Paific brand-protection director and legal counsel Miller Wang said: “In the past, it was difficult to find the source of counterfeiting networks. After joining AACA, we have worked closely with Alibaba and achieved great results on not just online initiatives, but also offline investigations.”

M1 Offers PayNow Option for In-Store Purchase

The Singapore telco has added PayNow as a payment option at all its retail outlets and a way for its customers to make their monthly bill charges.

Launched in July 2017, the e-payment mode is a local peer-to-peer funds transfer service supported by most banks in the country including Citibank Singapore, Bank of China, and Maybank.

To pay for their in-store purchase, consumers at M1 outlets will have to scan a dynamic QR code generated at the counter and use their mobile banking app to access PayNow. They also can scan the QR code on their M1 monthly bill and follow the same procedure to settle the bill using PayNow.

Customers complete the payment after confirming the transaction details such as purchase amount and recipient, which will be automatically populated.

M1 said it had brought in United Overseas Bank to process the transactions for the telco through PayNow Corporate, which allows businesses in Singapore to pay and receive funds by linking their Unique Entity Number to their local bank account.

M1’s CMO P. Subramaniam said: “Today, about 8-in-10 consumers in Singapore have adopted e-payments and PayNow is a very convenient e-payment platform that will enhance our customers’ payment experience. This new initiative is one of many, as part of our digitalisation journey to deliver a seamless digital experience for our customers.”

SingPost Slapped with Record Fine for Delivery Failures

Singapore Post (SingPost) has been slapped with a record SGD$300,000 (£169,673) fine for failing to meet postal quality of service (QoS) standards for delivery of local and international letters last year.

Under these stipulated QoS, SingPost was required to deliver 99% of local basic letters to an address within the Central Business District by the next working day, but failed to comply for four months, said industry regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

The postal service operator also failed to achieve 100% delivery of local and registered basic letters by the second working day in nine months and four months, respectively.

In its assessment of the penalties, IMDA noted that SingPost had 20 incidents of non-compliance in 2018, compared to nine in 2017. There also were repeated delivery failures, some of which involved lost letters.

IMDA said SingPost had been instructed to “take urgent steps” to improve its service standards and restore public confidence in its postal services. These had since included the hiring of more postmen and extended delivery slots for basic mail parcels.

JD.Com Goes AR with Google ARCore

JD.com is hosting an augmented reality (AR) competition in China that aims to explore the use of the technology to attract and retain online as well as offline customers.

The goal also is to enhance omnichannel marketing in different retail scenarios, according to the Chinese online retailer, which brought in ARCore by Google as the exclusive technology partner in the competition.

Open to international applicants, the contest will invite AR software developers to create AR applications and solve real-life problems posed by partner brands, including Walmart and Mead Johnson.

Top teams may receive investments in their projects by venture capitalists and membership in the JD-AR Alliance, which offers resources to drive the development of AR technology for the retail industry. These teams also may be awarded with official certification from ARCore by Google and have the opportunity for their solutions to be implemented into JD.com’s apps.

Google’s AR/VR China country lead Carrie Shiung said: “China is increasingly becoming a world leader in advanced fields such as AR; and this competition will allow us to discover new talent in the growing AR industry. This will add to the diverse offerings available on ARCore and help revolutionise the businesses of our partner brands.”

JD.com has deployed AR solutions in its online and offline environments, tapping services and solutions from ARCore by Google and its own AR Fitting Room and AR Styling Station, which lets customers virtually test makeup and other beauty products. In fact, JD.com said, 70% of consumers who purchased coloured contact lenses at its 18 June anniversary sales last year used the AR Styling Station feature before making their purchase.

The e-commerce operator added that its AR products had been used to support sales and marketing campaigns run by its network of 200 brands, driving up customer conversion rates by 9.6% and slashing product return rates by 7.5%, on average.