Waking up my neighbours.

My morning thoughts.

Digital is the way forward, especially after pandemic. E-commerce will see new growth.

I recently shopped at Lazada. Lazada has a built-in chat / messaging system, allowing sellers to provide consultation before purchase. It’s like walking into a shop, talking to a salesman, before making a purchase. That you can’t do with Amazon.

Many commerce players have woken up, realising they have missed this component. Imagine this, the first touchpoint of your online shopping experience is a real human! Mothercare implemented a service that allows customers to call for a consultation and receive product recommendations customised to their needs. I am not sure if the products were then added to their cart for checkout, but I read these orders are typically 3 times more than the regular online orders. You do trust the human, more than an online catalogue.

Mothercare’s Nursery Advisors start by asking parents key questions, rather than immediately trying to promote certain products. They are also able to curate products based on the needs and budgets of the parents while educating them on the different categories of items, fleshing out key details.

The face of new retail, SGSME.

Then compare to all the bad news. Clothing giant, Esprit has closed all its 56 stores across Asia, outside of China. 162-year old Robinsons is down to 2 left in Singapore. JCPenney and Neiman Marcus have filed for bankruptcy. British brands, Debenhams, Warehouse and Oasis have closed.

Woo-commerce (and Shopify) is one of the easiest ways to start e-commerce. Besides investing time, the real entry price to play this game? Approx Rs30K for hosting, coding and integrating with a payment gateway. The rest of the work is down to smart marketing (for example, connecting the site to a WhatsApp account for instant chatting/customer support, and be prepared for WhatsApp Commerce)

Which implies, for our new, future clients, especially those that are offering products and services — we are better off offering a very quick deployment of a go-to-market solution — a mix of the simple visual branding, but very fast and effective web+digital application. Don’t focus on a product brochure or an elaborate company profile.

The same applies to F&B. Online branding is probably more important, more than ever, as takeaways will now be the new norm.

The faster we learn how to do this, the more likely we can grab traditional branding jobs from boutique design studios. It’s sad, but traditional graphic designers can only do graphic design. We, on the contrary, must be able to put a restaurant online, with decent branding and design, plus up and running in two weeks, ready to take orders for cakes, vegan salad, and kombuchas.

Wake up.

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