Post-Pandemic E-commerce Trends in Southeast Asia

To sustain e-commerce market growth in 2023, industry players will need to leverage emerging trends like guaranteed delivery dates and cross-border trade.

November 2022 , by Noah Imson

As the World Economic Forum reported in August 2022, e-commerce revenues contracted by -2.5%, marking the first instance ever in the industry’s young existence. Although the e-commerce industry will inevitably make up for the loss, many retailers in the sector positioned themselves to expect only growth. 

This 2023, the e-commerce market's trajectory will be shaped by businesses wanting to rebound and regain momentum. More importantly, industry recovery will be dictated by emerging industry trends following the unexpected decline in revenue.

Industry-Wide Adoption of E-commerce Trends 
The e-commerce trends that are expected to emerge in 2023 can be examined from both a macro and micro-level perspective as they encompass the operations of e-commerce players on several levels– be it concerning their business and other competitors, or with customers. 

In terms of macro-level e-commerce trends, the e-commerce and retail industry will likely see an increased number of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands especially if global supply chain issues continue to persist. While independently run D2C e-commerce brands have fewer resources compared to global e-commerce firms, it offers owners the opportunity to create a personalized relationship with their consumers through strategies like high-quality marketing content, online community, providing more personal and hands-on shopping experiences, etc.

Another trend that will shape the e-commerce industry in 2023 is cross-border transactions. Although international trade has always been an integral part of e-commerce, it will undoubtedly have a larger role when stakeholders navigate industry recovery. Moreover, through cross-border trade, e-commerce players will be able to expand into previously untapped markets and explore new expansion opportunities on a global stage. 

Moreover, as retailers return to serving in-store consumers and re-establishing their offline presence, many e-commerce brands are trending towards the adoption of an omnichannel approach. This means that e-commerce businesses, many of whom previously catered to only online audiences, will also look to capture a share of the revenue generated from physical sales. In the context of an omnichannel approach in the e-commerce industry, the involved parties will aim to offer a seamless experience to their consumers, be it in regard to online or offline shopping.

How Trends Shape the E-commerce Experience
Meanwhile, for smaller e-commerce ecosystem stakeholders like micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), emerging trends will likely inform day-to-day operations. 

For instance, proper advertising and marketing of products are set to become major points of emphasis in 2023 as the e-commerce industry suffered heavily from product returns and refunds. Smaller e-commerce brands will likely invest further into current product campaigns as an accurate depiction of products may deter rising product return rates. Within this, mix-media promotion or a hybrid between static and video campaigns will likely be an area of interest for e-commerce operators.

In 2023, smaller e-commerce brands are also trending to take into consideration the relationship being built between consumer and seller. Attempting to move away from the fast and impersonal transactions of consumer goods in the e-commerce space, e-commerce sellers may attempt to personalize a buyer’s shopping experience. By restructuring the online shopping model, e-commerce enterprises will greatly improve their chances of sustaining long-term success as a more personalized online experience will help secure a solid customer base.

Although the e-commerce industry's decline in revenue may initially be concerning, it is important to consider that the sector still has room for growth, especially given that the industry is still so young. This 2023 and beyond, businesses should remain proactive in keeping updated with the latest industry trends by pursuing potential investment opportunities.

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