Scaling an e-Commerce firm in Indonesia
Category: Column By : Anna Trybocka Read : 348 Date : Friday, June 02, 2017 - 16:42:36

Asian e-Commerce growth has been nothing short of explosive. Research firm e-commerceIQ predicts e-Commerce sales in Indonesia will keep breaking new records, hitting $157 billion by 2025. Giants such as Amazon and Alibaba are racing for a slice of the pie, and that is good news for e-tailers. Behind every winner though, is one constant: great scaling.

Leapfrog Into The Next Stage Of Growth

On a single platform with single-digit daily sales, managing everything in the backend on a simple spreadsheet is practical. However, listing your products on multiple e-commerce platforms is a quick way to boost visibility and sales. Indonesia has many marketplaces in which you need to have a presence. To start, there are general marketplaces such as MatahariMall, Lazada, Qoo10, Elevenia, Blanja and Blibli. After that, there are specialized marketplaces such as Zalora for fashion and JD for electronics. For a mobile-first market like Indonesia, mobile-only marketplaces such as Shopee and Lyke should also be considered.

Another method is to increase product offerings. Add on day-to-day management such as seasonal sale pricing changes, inventory updates, exchange rate changes and differing specifications for product data, and the time investment exponentially rises. Individually, each task may take less than a minute, but when working in the scale of thousands, seconds multiply into hours, leaving teams overwhelmed to ensure inventories are stocked and prices accurate.

For now, Indonesia enjoys lean overheads from running a digital business. Sales in USD and SGD convert favorably to rupiah. However, that advantage is easily lost if data management causes the team size to balloon. For instance, if a product sells out, all platforms need to be updated in real-time to avoid customer dissatisfaction. Managing product data manually at scale is out of the question.

Automation Is Key

When an e-commerce business takes off, the euphoria of success quickly fades with the challenge of coping with rising demand and usage—here automation can help. For the next growth stage, e-commerce business owners need to dedicate more time to strategic goals, such as expanding supplier partnerships, optimizing logistics and building a user community. Automating product feeds can cut time to add new products from over a week to under a day. Of course, people and processes must also be aligned.

People, Process And Product Alignment

Once people, process and products are aligned, the business can scale. Connecting other systems such as resource planning and digital advertising to product data management leads to even greater scalability. Successful platforms such as Mums.sg use automation to manage over 17,000 SKUs. The company had a significant growth spike within 60 days of listing across new channels including Facebook, Criteo, Lazada, Qoo10 and Google Shopping. Just as e-commerce makes retail easier, automation makes scaling easier. By planning ahead, getting the right team and investing in the right technology, managing tens of thousands of products can be a seamless process. 



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