With this Fusion partnership, OMD Hong Kong clients such as McDonald's, Hasbro, PepsiCo, Wyeth Nutrition and MTR get exclusive access to Fusion's e-tailing technologies. These include online booking systems, electronic voucher redemptions, membership enrolment and delivery arrangement.
OMD, meanwhile, is meant to educate Fusion on the broader advertising ecosystem, marketers' needs, customer profiling, and retargeting in exchange for Fusion's retail capabilities. As part of the agreement, Fusion will not sign partnership deals with another advertising agency in Hong Kong, though they can engage with brands directly.
"Our goal is to encourage and enable more Hong Kong advertisers to adopt e-business," said Deric Wong, CEO of OMD Hong Kong. To Wong, Hong Kong is only in the stage of 'Digital 2.0', which does not comprise a strong e-commerce mix ('3.0') as yet.
"If Hong Kong starts incorporating data and content-driven marketing into the e-commerce mix, then we could be upgraded to '4.0'," he said.
"As a media agency we are good with helping clients with buying media, but can we help them buy business growth?" OMD's Wong asked. "I used to spend half my time in China, which is a more advanced ecommerce market than Hong Kong. Last year during September, he returned to Hong Kong to concentrate on running OMD's office there, after spending two and a half years in a dual-market leadership role covering both Omnicom Media Group Hong Kong (OMD and PHD) and OMD China.
Revealing an additional sentimental reason behind pursuing the partnership with Fusion, he told Campaign China: "Raising the digital readiness of Hong Kong is an area that I am passionate about. As a nation, we need to up our game in embracing and enhancing digital transformation. This alliance is an effort in that direction. Every little step counts. If we keep doing the same thing, we might as well change industries," he shared, alluding to how Hong Kong is a laggard in digital and ecommerce behind the mainland.
Fusion's co-founder and chief commercial officer, Wally Wong, also sits down with the Hong Kong government regularly, being a member of the Expert Group on E-commerce (EGE) under the Working Group on Manufacturing Industries, Innovative Technology, and Cultural and Creative Industries of the Economic Development Commission of HKSAR.
Nielsen has found that online shopping only accounts for less than 5 percent of total retail sales in Hong Kong. Compared to their counterparts across the border, shoppers in Hong Kong
have been less keen to go online to buy what they want, according to a KPMG outlook report.
In a media roundtable held earlier this week, Michael Cheng, PwC Asia Pacific and Hong Kong/China retail & consumer leader said Hong Kong retailers have to focus more on e-commerce development instead of still relying heavily on physical retail.
If Hong Kong retailers want to grow, they need to leave their comfort zone and, among other recommendations like investing in China, go into e-commerce, Cheng advised.
Why is Hong Kong so slow in ecommerce development? A recent KPMG survey also highlighted how Hong Kong shoppers (47 percent) worry about the security of online payments—the second main worry after potential discrepancy of product sizes and colours. Fusion's Wong said the main difficulty is in integrating the various payment solutions in Hong Kong. Working with e-payment providers that are not PCI-certified has also impeded the progress of the market. In his observations, MNC clients sometimes take more than one year, almost two, to get their ecommerce strategies up and running, because of internal barriers arising from IT, finance, risk departments from clients' headquarters.
Fusion claims to be able to provide Hong Kong merchants with multiple payment options ranging from credit cards, PayPal, WeChat Pay, Alipay, Octopus, and even loyalty points of airlines. "When we enable Apple Pay online in Q3 2017, the check-out time for an online purchase can be shortened to 10 seconds," said Wong, stressing the fact that his firm is a PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) Level 1 service provider, which is the same level as PayPal.
"Being compliant with PCI DSS means that we can reduce risk of being affected by payment fraud. What’s more, it means that we can collaborate with banks and credit card companies in a very deep level and improve the customer experience with our products," added Wong.