Fashion e-commerce is quite a big part of the market and has an even bigger space to grow in Indonesia. And today, online shopping is as interesting as other online activities among the local market, especially to the young population. There are at least a dozen of fashion e-commerce brands present in the Indonesian market, such as Zalora, BerryBenka, HijUp, Cotton Ink, Fimela Shop, Local Brand, and BelowCepek. Of course, this number is expected to contonue to grow.
Based on data from the Boston Consulting Group, Indonesia has around 60 million middle-class consumers with an average income of 4 million IDR per month. It is not surprising that as a result, fashion business players consider Indonesia a business field that is promising. But, will they all survive the tight competition? Let’s see..
How they create a specific target market
Online shoppers have options, which means there is a vast selection of online companies competing for their attention and purchase. Therefore, if a fashion e-commerce wants to succeed, they need to determine a specific target market in which they should focus on and reach to and develop strategies to attract the attention of their potential customers.
HijUp, for example, successfully became Indonesia’s first modest fashion e-commerce business when it was launched in 2011. Their site mainly sells Islamic fashion items for women in Indonesia. By 2015, HijUp won its first round of funding from international investors, Fenox and Skystar Capital. Since then, they have a monthly page view of 1.3 up to 2.7 million.
As a fashion e-commerce brand and platform that specializes in selling Muslim clothes, HijUp is certainly superior and unique compared to the other players in the online shopping landscape. Considering that Islam is the religion of the majority of Indonesians, it makes sense that HijUp to grow rapidly. Of course, their focused and segmented approach helps.
How much do they understand the character of Indonesian online shoppers?
In terms of winning over the market, each fashion e-commerce requires further customization based on the characteristics of the local consumer. In fact, most of the online shoppers in this country like to purchase the newest and trending products. Indonesian consumers tend to purchase the clothes worn or suggested by celebrities and social media influencers. Of course, it would be better if every fashion e-commerce collaborates with such influential people in their marketing efforts. Another important characteristic to note, is that Indonesian consumers are very social, they still somehow need that communication between them and sales people, and they still like tangible proof of their purchase beforehand. So, the trick is here is find that balance between social and automated, which is why you don’t just need SEO strategies, but you will still need social media.
That is what Cotton Ink is implementing. Considered as one of the first fashion e-commerce platform in Indonesia, they take advantage of all the social media channels used by their target market. Cotton Ink not only shares pictures of their products and celebrities wearing the clothing or accessories sold on their site via Instagram, but also uses Facebook and Twitter to share new product releases and to announce upcoming events. Indonesia has a wide market coverage, complete with a unique range of customer preferences. So, it is not easy for each and every e-commerce brand, especially those in the fashion industry to survive in the middle of the fierce competition. Marketing strategies would have to be adjusted to the field conditions in order to keep the business running.
Social Media & Influencer Marketing is ALWAYS needed.
So, even though your business is already on digital platforms such as websites or applications, don’t shy away from other online channels, such as social media, because Indonesia has one of largest amount of social media users, and truthfully, are still utilizing social media and instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp and Line to do most of their online shopping since they still value direct communication. Sometimes, in some countries, a click of a button to a virtual shopping bag is not enough for customers. Also, influence is key, find influential people on these social media channels to help you attract more potential customers, since fashion revolves around trends, and who better to promote the newest trends than social media Influencers.
Another prime example is; Zalora. Now, Zalora’s review rates may vary from positive and negative at times, but what they are doing right is focusing on social media marketing and Influencer marketing on Instagram, though their customer service through Twitter still has room for improvement, but the way they are running their Instagram account is very social and relatable, two fundamental aspects of social media. They utilize the Instagram Story feature with mostly relatable updates such as Zalora Unboxing, reposting their customer’s unboxing experience and posts wearing products sold on their site. Another great point to their social media marketing, is their Influencer support, they often create exclusive events or social media content featuring key influencers in fashion which creates the buzz they need to reel in interest to how these influencers achieve their fashion and lifestyle. Altough, most fashion e-commerce brand do this, Zalora seem the most dedicated in involving Influencers.
Now, Marketing is a must. However, it is also important to keep a balance of Influencer marketing and just plain customer service, especially when goods are sold online. So, it is vital to keep an active social or digital channels for customer inquiries, complaints and other services needed for customers to reach your customer service admins or executives and receive replies promptly, since it is statistically proven that customers often expect replies from brands within the first 4 hours. This is the basic that most e-commerce brands have to be careful to not neglect. And, in terms of the channels used for customer services, it is important to have a variety, since most online shopping and viewing happens on mobile nowadays.