Weekly Focus APAC: Flipkart Introduces 'Ideas' to Enrich Shopper Experience

In this edition of Weekly Focus APAC: Flipkart Introduces ‘Ideas’ to Enrich Shopper Experience; Alibaba Clocks 44% Increase in Commerce Revenue; JD.com 2Q Revenue Climbs to £17.56bn; RedDoorz Secures £57m in Series C; and Carousell Unveils Rebrand With New Logo.

Flipkart Introduces ‘Ideas’ to Enrich Shopper Experience

The Indian e-commerce operator now offers a curated selection of content on its platform that it says will guide consumers through their online purchase journey.

Called Flipkart Ideas, the new service was designed to help consumers discover new products and brands through “credible information”, offering ideas to aid in their purchase decision.

“This launch plays a crucial role in bringing the next 200 million consumers online who are primarily from tier-II and tier-III cities, enabling them to narrow down specific products suitable for their needs,” the company said.

The curated content is parked under 14 interest areas including gadgets, food and nutrition, fashion, and home and living, and encompasses various media forms including videos, images, stories, as well as polls and quizzes to engage consumers.

Alibaba Clocks 44% Increase in Commerce Revenue

The Chinese e-commerce giant has reported a 44% year-on-year climb in revenue for its core commerce business, hitting ¥99.5bn (£11.62bn) for the June quarter.

Online marketplace Tmall clocked a 34% increase in paid physical goods GMV (gross merchandise volume), according to Alibaba. It added 20 million new annual active consumers on its domestic online marketplaces to 674 million, with 70% of the newcomers hailing from China’s less developed territories. Mobile monthly active users totalled 755 million, up by 34 million from March 2019.

Alibaba attributed its user growth to user acquisition initiatives it rolled out to reach consumers in less developed areas.

Revenue from its logistics arm Cainiao grew 50% year-on-year to ¥5bn (£584.07m), fuelled by a higher volume of orders fulfilled. Its import fulfilment tools processed more than 97% of TMall Global packages in June.

Alibaba’s executive chairman Joe Tsai said the company was well positioned to continue its growth trajectory amidst challenges in the broader economy, due primarily to China’s growing middle-class demographics and rapid pace of digitisation.

He noted that the USD$5.5tn (£4.53tn) local consumption market was driven by the emergence of more than 300 million in China’s middle-class population who lived in large cities. Almost double the entire US population, Tsai said this middle-class consumer segment had consumption needs and desires that were approaching the levels of developed markets.

Their appetite for quality products, specifically brands and imported products, already had helped drive demand on Tmall, he said.

He added that the rise of urbanisation across China’s third-, fourth-, and fifth-tier cities would bring more consumers into the fold. Outside of major metropolitan areas such as Shanghai and Shenzhen, he noted that China had more than 150 cities with a population of more than 1 million.

JD.com 2Q Revenue Climbs to £17.56bn

Meanwhile, Alibaba’s local rival JD.com also saw its net revenue for the June quarter climb 22.9% year-on-year to ¥150.3bn (£17.56bn).

Revenue from its products grew 20.8% while services revenue increased 42% for the quarter.

JD.com’s chairman and CEO Richard Liu said the company remained focus on tapping technology and innovation to improve its offerings and efficiencies, as well as on delivering robust shopping experience for its consumers.

According to the online retailer, it operated some 600 warehouses spanning an aggregate gross floor area of more than 15 million square meters, including 2.5 million square meters that were managed under the JD Logistics Open Warehouse Platform.

There currently are more than 220,000 merchants on JD.com’s online marketplace.

RedDoorz Secures £57m in Series C

The Singapore-based hotel booking site has snagged USD$70m (£57.6m) in its Series C round, which was led by local private equity firm Asia Partners and included investors such as Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten.

The announcement followed its recent Series B round that chalked up USD$45m (£37.03m) in funds and was led by China’s Qiming Venture Partners.

The latest funds would support the startup’s plans to launch in new markets, roll out customer experience projects, and scale its technology. The monies also would go towards marketing as well as its workforce, RedDoorz said in a statement.

In addition, it added that a “significant” slice of the funds would be used to build a second engineering hub in Vietnam. This new facility would complement the startup’s existing hub in India.

RedDoorz also would be beefing up its hotel staff and quality training programmes across its properties in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The startup provides training services as well service management for small hotel operators.

It currently supports 1,400 hotels on its platform and aims to grow this figure to 2,000 by end-2019, and 15,000 hotels by 2022 across Southeast Asia.

Carousell Unveils Rebrand With New Logo

The Singapore-based consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce site has unveiled a rebranding initiative that includes a new brand logo and revamped mobile app.

Established seven years ago, Carousell said the move marked its growth from an online platform to help people trade textbooks and clothes, to its current marketplace that featured more than 250 million listings. The e-commerce site also has expanded to now cover seven markets including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Carousell said its new app design aimed to further simplify how users traded on its platform, making it “cleaner to snap, list, chat, and buy”. It also hoped to enrich the buying and selling experience through the “visual treatment of overlapping shapes, illustrations, and colours”.

Caousell said it would focus on driving advertising dollars this year, with direct media and programmatic advertising to be scaled up as a revenue stream. According to a The Business Times report, Quek said the app’s high stickiness amongst users meant it was a premium publisher. He said its Singapore users spent on average 13 minutes a day on Carousell.