The e-commerce sector is booming in Southeast Asia. With around 150 million active e-commerce users across the region, major players like Lazada and Shopee have proven time and time again that they have the attention and wallets of their customers.
Having said that, fintechs may not be the same breed of marketplaces, but similar to e-commerce, they sell products and services to customers online. The fields of banking, insurance, and investments can be complex and transactional in nature, so fintechs like Singlife are looking to inject new life into the industry by taking a page out of the e-commerce playbook. Not everything e-commerce does will apply to fintechs and their platforms, but the following are some lessons fintechs can use to create an engaging online experience for customers in a mobile-first age.
1: Build the right team
First things first, hire the right team. While it makes sense for a bank to hire bankers and a traditional insurance company to hire people who know insurance, a fintech will need the added expertise of specialists in digital innovation. Fintechs need people who can discern the nuances from consumer data, and from there, create a purchasing journey that is accessible, enjoyable, and worthwhile for new and existing customers. Understanding customer behaviour is key to continually enhancing the purchasing experience and developing new ways to offer customers more value before, during, and after the purchase.
2: Create seamless experiences across devices
It’s crucial to know when a customer is window shopping, making a price comparison, and when they are ready to buy. For certain products, the entire fulfilment experience may span across both mobile and desktop devices. Hence while it’s ideal for the mobile online stop front to be ready for customer acquisition, don’t neglect the desktop experience either. Today’s businesses have prepared on all digital fronts while prioritising the mobile-first strategy.
3: Make your product accessible through APIs
Fintechs need to develop a flexible and open set of APIs that will allow them to integrate their purchase points within other online platforms. Having a ready suite of protocols will pave the way for partnerships with other platforms, tapping into a wider audience of consumers. For example, some of Singlife’s products are available on PolicyPal’s website and app, creating more opportunities and avenues for customers to select our product offering beyond our own platform. Consumers shopping online for an insurance policy can easily sign up to one on PolicyPal. Likewise, fintechs should be as nimble when making their products and services accessible to partners and consumers.
E-commerce players know that it is not enough to replicate physical shopping on an online platform. They are continually setting the benchmark and improving the end-to-end shopping experience with digital innovations.
It is now on the shoulders of fintech companies to emulate these strategies and develop an engaging relationship with customers who used to rely on traditional institutions for banking, insurance, and investments. There’s a wealth of knowledge fintechs can glean from the rise of e-commerce, and those who recognize this will fine-tune their strengths and pull ahead in the race to the top.
Liam McCance is the chief marketing officer of Singlife.