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E-commerce marketing in Asia: 10 examples to inspire your strategy

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Whether you’re an e-commerce brand or in e-commerce marketing, this space provides a lot of opportunities that you shouldn’t miss out on. E-commerce purchases are increasing, more online acquisition channels are becoming available, and the world is becoming increasingly digital.

In 2012, the world was caught by surprise when a company called DollarShaveClub.com started offering high quality razors for $1 per month (subscription) delivered to the customer’s doorstep. Upon release, this video advertisement went viral, and now has over 26M views.

Fast forward to today, it is possible to buy almost anything online and have items delivered to our homes via the well-developed e-commerce infrastructure. And the space is also becoming increasingly competitive. Everyone is vying for attention from your target audience.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce is getting even more attention and traction. According to this Facebook report, 70% of consumers in Southeast Asia will go digital this year.

Ecommerce conversation clusters

Leading conversations related to COVID-19 in Southeast Asia. Source: Southeast Asia COVID-19 Industry Report.

While there may be no magic formula for immediate success in e-commerce, these are tried and tested e-commerce strategies from 10+ brands to inspire your next promotion and the overall e-commerce strategy for your business.

1. Discounts

To capture or recapture prospective buyers, one common promotion strategy is through discounts, coupon codes or deals. However, these could be tricky as they could easily dilute your brand if overused. Here are some common ways you can use discounts:

ZALORA offers discount code for first-time purchase

Oftentimes, your prospective buyer might be thinking twice about making that first purchase on your platform, simply because they are not yet familiar with the post-purchase experience. By offering a discount for the first purchase, Asia e-retailer ZALORA is effectively lowering the barrier to entry for the customer.

ZALORA discount example.

ZALORA discount example.

2. Free gifts or samples

Everyone loves gifts and freebies. This is just another common promotion strategy that allows you to nudge a prospective buyer to make a purchase without necessarily cutting the price. These gifts/samples could then be offered to encourage a minimum purchase.

Estée Lauder offers free samples and a pouch

Giving free gifts and samples for every purchase is a good way to increase the value of your product or service in the eyes of your customer, without having to worry about diluting your image. Here’s an example from luxury brand Estée Lauder, promoting several freebies to customers who are spending above the minimum amount that they originally specified.

Estée Lauder Instagram PH Story “Gift time”

Estée Lauder Instagram PH Story “Gift time”

Dyson offers free gifts for every purchase, exclusively for Harvey Norman customers

Forging partnerships with adjacent players, such as payment providers or distributors that are already attracting the buyers you want to attract, allows you to expand your reach significantly. Australian brand Harvey Norman is popular for being a one-stop shop (offline & online) for almost anything and everything you need for the house -- from appliances to furnitures, electronics, and more. Someone who is looking for a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer could easily go to Harvey Norman to search for one. By providing a gift with the purchase, Dyson hair dryer shoppers get more value out of their spend, and they’ll be more likely to buy from Harvey Norman instead of other stores.

 Dyson x Harvey Norman.

Dyson x Harvey Norman.

3. Shopping events

From Black Friday to 11.11 Singles Day, shopping events are becoming more popular, particularly across Southeast Asia. According to this website, there are nine major shopping events in Singapore and 10 in Thailand.

The concept behind shopping events is that consumers expect massive deals and discounts for the duration of the event (usually 1 day to 1 week), thus they are more willing to spend. Likewise, participating brands should approach such events with a strong strategy that is not simply focused on undercutting price, but more about driving traffic to their online stores and putting the right offers/triggers to convert these to purchases.

Lazada hosts 9.9 sales every year

On September 9, 2018, e-commerce company Lazada launched its virtual mall called LazMall and at the same time, kicked off its ‘9.9 Sale’ event. Every year, there’s a specific theme for the 9.9 Sale. Here’s an infographic of how the latest 9.9 Sale went.

Lazada 9.9

Lazada 9.9 Sale in 2019. 

4. Retargeting

One of the advantages of having a digital storefront is having access to data that allows brands to launch retargeting ads to remind prospective buyers, who’ve already shown interest by visiting your online store, to come back and seal the deal. Definitely a good way to stay top of mind.

Agoda retargeting ads offering more savings

Oftentimes, searching for flights or hotels includes previewing several options to find the best deal. It is a hyper-competitive space with many players, so consumers know to expect discounts. In this space, one great example of a promotion strategy is how travel booking platform Agoda uses retargeting ads that are personalized to the prospective customer (i.e., ad will show the route/place that you searched) as well as show urgency in the offer to encourage the customer to book sooner rather than later.

Agoda offer

Agoda offer

5. Personalization

When it comes to e-commerce, personalization is all about being able to show individualized offers, product recommendations, and content that is hyper-relevant to your target audience based on their previous actions or demographics. The more personalized the experience is, the more likely it is that you can connect better with your audience and drive conversions.

Coca-Cola ‘Share A Coke’ campaign calls people by their name

Building on the successful ‘Share a Coke’ campaign where Coca-Cola released Coke bottles that feature hundreds of names and surnames, the F&B giant launched an e-commerce site in Australia to take this even further. The site allows customers to personalize their own limited-edition glass Coke bottle as a potential Christmas gift.

“The e-commerce store is one of the keys to ensuring many more Aussies have the chance to get a personalized bottle of Coke this summer regardless of how unusual their name is. So if they can’t find it in-store they can have one specially made for them,” said Lucie Austin, marketing Director of Coca-Cola South Pacific | Source: inside FMCG

6. Influencer collaboration

It’s no secret that one of the main reasons brands are working with influencers is because of their reach. Influencers have a strong base of followers on social media, which would be the same audience certain brands want to reach. Brand and influencer collaborations can take many forms from sponsored posts (like endorsements) to working together on new product lines such as the following example:

Superga partners with Drea Chong

Singapore-based influencer Drea Chong partners with shoe brand Superga for this essential shoe line #SupergaxDreaChong. The new product line was launched virtually, with a series of content published on both social media channels of the brand and influencer.

First Look: #SupergaXDreachong Exploring Essentials, the collection introduces 2 new styles – the Slingback and Ballerina in 4 fresh colourways. Here @Dreachong styles the 8 pairs with 8 different outfits! Be the first to know → https://bit.ly/3gY0OBu

Posted by Superga on Monday, July 13, 2020

Get the ultimate list of Instagram influencers in Singapore

7. Storytelling

The power of content is something that cannot be underestimated, particularly when it comes to boosting your e-commerce performance. By nature, the audience that you are targeting is online and that means your content should reach them.

However, you must remember that your prospective customers are already seeing a lot of similar content, so make sure that you are telling a story that resonates with them, and one that is memorable.

Showpo’s showcases clothing collection in Valentine’s Day campaign

Australia-based online fashion brand Showpo published a series of posts on its Instagram account showcasing Showpo outfits in a ‘couple dates’ scenario, allowing the audience to use these images as inspiration for their own dates. Though none of the clothing items were supposedly new, the brand curated these pieces to tailor the outfits for Valentine's Day.

 Showpo Instagram.

Showpo Instagram. Source: Skedsocial.

8. Shoppable posts

With 60% of Instagram users saying they discover new products on Instagram, it’s no surprise that the platform eventually introduced Shoppable posts “to create a “seamless experience” from post to purchase.” The added functionality simplifies the purchasing steps into a few clicks, removing barriers from when people had to switch between apps or websites to confirm a sale. With a streamlined buyer’s journey, brands can have an easier way to measure the ROI of their social media efforts, particularly ones that are advertising on Instagram.

Global retailers like Timberland and UNIQLO have enabled their local IG shop

American brand Timberland uses shoppable posts for their Singapore Instagram account, while UNIQLO offers them on their Australia Instagram page. The functionalities seem to be available on mobile at the moment.

Timberland IG store in SG

Timberland Instagram shop in Singapore



UNIQLO Instagram shop in Australia

9. Next level experience with AR

Augmented Reality (AR) in e-commerce makes it possible for customers to preview products virtually before buying. Thus, increasing the chance that the customer gets the right product the first time. Here’s an example from eyewear shop Lenskart in Singapore that allows 3D try on via its website.

Lenskart SG

Lenskart 3D try on.

Love Bonito launches a new store that shows the future

One of the fastest growing online retailers in Singapore, Love Bonito, launched its newest store that’s been dubbed as potentially the ‘future of retail’. The store doesn’t just look futuristic from a design perspective, but it incorporates digitized solutions such as screens that allow people to browse its online store (like an extension of the physical store) as well as visualize outfits in an AR walkway.

Love Bonito AR walkway QR code

Love Bonito AR walkway QR code.

10. Rewards for your loyal customers

No matter what your strategy is, remember that creating the best possible customer experience for your customers is one of the most important goals you need to set. It is, afterall, a proven method to boost customer loyalty and ultimately, brand love.

Online platforms Chope and Grab provide bigger rewards to most loyal customers

Restaurant reservation platform Chope and ride booking app Grab both follow tiered customer loyalty programs, giving the biggest rewards/offers to the biggest users. The result being that the most loyal customers earn the most points, which entitles them to more perks!

Chope loyalty program.

Chope loyalty program.


Grab loyalty program.

Grab loyalty program.


Hopefully, the examples above gave you ideas and inspiration for your own e-commerce marketing strategy. Regardless of which strategies you choose for your business, remember the following:

  • Know your audience. Listen to trends, analyze the data that you already have. For instance, it’s good to know what trends they care about but it is equally important to know what your customers are actually buying.
  • Create a customer-centric shopping experience. If the online space is new to you, make sure to examine all aspects of the online shopping experience so that you create one that is streamlined.
  • Be there till the end (post sales support). A digital store may not have as many ways of engaging customers as an offline store, but it’s important to make sure that your customers are able to reach you when they need to. 


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