Across Asia, a mobile-first mindset has not just transformed consumer culture — it has turned retail therapy into e-tail therapy. “Mobile is a growing focus for brands, particularly in Southeast Asia, where a number of consumers are bypassing the traditional desktop route and going straight into mobile internet,” says Chia Fang Kuo of Verizon Media.
And it is even more pertinent around the holidays when sales skyrocket.
In a recent study conducted by Verizon Media, 73% of the respondents said they used their mobile devices for holiday shopping, and 41% said mobile was their ‘go-to’ source.
With the holiday shopping season in Asia running all the way from Singles’ Day in November (11/11) through the Lunar New Year in February, knowing how to enrich the online shopping experience for Asia’s massive numbers of mobile consumers is imperative for brand marketers.
Content is still king, but experience matters, too
Kuo believes the key to engaging Asia’s uber-connected shoppers lies in content. “54% of holiday shoppers’ purchase decisions are influenced by content,” she says, from custom videos and editorials to mobile tools. But that means more than just sharing stories with consumers.
“We found that 75% of consumers expect retailers to offer an AR (augmented reality) experience, and this is more so over the holiday period,” she says. What’s more, Kuo says that 37% of consumers will pay more for a product or service on mobile if they can get a superior shopping experience.
“It’s about giving consumers the utility they’ve come to expect, whether it’s through augmented experiences that help them visualise products in their own home or things like mobile coupons that make shopping easier.”
Consider Lazada’s 2018 holiday efforts. Eunice Yue Pei Shan, group head of business development, marketing and user growth at Lazada, noticed increased engagement in shopping via livestreaming, key opinion leaders (KOLs) and games. And so, for Singles’ Day (11/11), Lazada worked with 1,111 celebrities and influencers across Southeast Asia to form a “mega online shopping community” connected by livestreaming sessions and Facebook and Instagram posts.
More than 400,000 sellers and brands participated — nearly triple the number from 2017 — offering 50 million deals.
“We also introduced games such as Shake it, Slash it and Wonderland for shoppers to have some fun while browsing, buying and getting discounts, and they are loving it,” she says. The e-commerce giant even launched its own playlist on Spotify, offering curated music for mobile shopping.
Brand loyalty through hyper-personalised content
According to Spencer Lee, CEO of AirAsia’s BIG Loyalty programme — which offers more than 20 million members point redemptions for flights and more — 89% of travellers hit the road with friends or family over the holidays, a statistic that illuminates lifestyle behaviour over the same period. “They travel to explore culture, sights, and food, with some retail therapy as well.”
"Part of our strategy is for BIG members to go beyond the redemption of AirAsia flights with their BIG Points. As the first step, we've added more features to our mobile app — members can now book flights, hotels and activities, shop for duty free and other everyday lifestyle deals via the BIG app. This is the first step in unlocking more value for our members."
With that knowledge, AirAsia is working to transform BIG into a comprehensive travel and lifestyle platform that offers personalised travel and lifestyle experiences to every member — what they want, when they want it. “We’re investing in AI and machine learning to better understand consumer preferences so we can recommend the right product to the right consumer at the right time,” he says. “Hyper-personalisation to keep consumers engaged throughout the purchase funnel.”
For its part, Verizon Media has added new e-commerce ad formats Countdown and Mobile Wallet to some of its most popular ad specs, such as AR, 3D, Tiles and Mobile Moments, to help brands such as AirAsia and Lazada reach tech-savvy consumers. These work in tandem with the recently launched Oath Ad Platforms, a suite that merges ad quality, performance and insights into user-friendly workflows for advertisers and publishers worldwide.
Together, this enhanced product suite provides personalised solutions for new mobile-specific ad formats — no small thing for brands in this rapidly evolving mobile marketplace.