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Ahead of the Digital Marketing Leaders Summit Singapore 2019, we spoke to Ashutosh Kaushik from SP eCommerce. Ashutosh has over 7 years of Sales & Marketing experience in FMCG and E-Commerce industries across both India & South East Asia geographies. Having worked for companies like P&G, Paytm, Abbott & Lazada (Alibaba Group) during his career journey, Ashutosh has extensive experience across both established Brands and Start-up ecosystems. His experience has covered domains like FMCG Sales & Marketing, E-Commerce Category Management, E-Commerce Channel Strategy, Brand Partnerships, Digital Marketing. He is currently working as Vice President – Digital Services at SP eCommerce, a subsidiary of the Singapore Post Group of companies, enabling Global & Regional brands to weave success stories on their E-Commerce journey in the Asia Pacific region.
Tell us a bit more about yourself and your role in SP eCommerce at Singapore Post

I hail from the “Pink City” of India – Jaipur and was born and brought up there. I am a Gold Medalist in Mechanical Engineering (Bachelor of Technology) from National Institute of Technology, Jaipur and an MBA in Marketing & Operations from FMS Delhi (among top 5 Business Schools in India). I started my career with P&G India as a Key Account Manager, managing offline sales across both Metro and upcountry locations in India. I entered the eCommerce journey in 2014 with Paytm, one of the leading Indian start-ups and Alibaba’s strategic partner in India where I did Category Management for FMCG. I also had the opportunity to work closely with the likes of Amazon, Flipkart, Firstcry, Snapdeal in my next stint with Abbott Nutrition, where I joined as the National E-Commerce Manager, India. I moved to Singapore in 2017, when I joined Lazada as the Regional Head of Brand Partnerships for Toys, Mother & Babies Category. 
Currently, as Vice President of Digital Services at SP eCommerce in Singapore Post, I oversee the various digital service functions that enable the eCommerce businesses of our partner brands. These services include website operations, marketplace management, online merchandising, digital marketing and analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), graphic design and photography. As a business partner, we work closely with our client brands to drive business growth through demand generation and customer retention activities, thereby increasing traffic and purchases through the client’s branded dot.com or webstores on marketplaces.  

Have you noticed any key differences between eCommerce marketing strategies in India and Singapore?

My observation is that eCommerce marketing strategy is usually developed based on the type of channels and eCommerce players that dominate in a given market.  Let me explain by sharing examples from India and Singapore (South East Asia). 

Example 1 - In India, one of the leading eCommerce players is Amazon. One of the key marketing strategies for brands to be successful on Amazon is to activate “Sponsored Ads”. Hence as a part of Marketing plans for Brands, “Sponsored Ads” will be a key component with respect to budget investment planning and “ROAS” will be one of the main KPIs. 

Example 2 - For Singapore and South East Asia in general, Lazada is among the key eCommerce players. Since flagship stores are a critical element to a brand's success on Lazada, its imperative for brands to invest in offsite marketing like Google/Facebook Ads, with a clear strategy to drive more and more traffic to the brand's flagship stores on Lazada. Hence “Brand driven Traffic” is a key component with respect to budget investment planning and “Flagship Store Visits” will be one of the main KPIs.

What role is SP eCommerce playing in eCommerce and especially in Digital Marketing? 

Headquartered in Singapore, SP eCommerce is a leading eCommerce enabler in the Asia Pacific region providing end to end services that includes webstore design, digital marketing and marketplace management services as well as cross-border, omnichannel order management software and flexible fulfillment solutions. We enable our partner brands to sell online through their branded dot.coms that we help to develop and/or their webstores on marketplaces such as Lazada, Shopee, Qoo10 etc. Our business solutions are modular and brands can pick and choose the exact services required, depending on their resources, budgets and business needs. What really sets us apart from the competition is our legacy and talents: 

I.    Legacy: Being part of Singapore Post, a 160 year old institution, gives us a strong advantage in terms of stability, structure and operational processes. Established in 2012, SP eCommerce is one of the first eCommerce enablers in region and we had the enviable legacy of partnering with global powerhouse sports, apparel, footwear, beauty and electronics brands in enabling their eCommerce journey in the Asia Pacific region. 

II.    People: Our success is dependent on the talents we hire. SP eCommerce has an experienced team of in-house specialists across different commercial, marketing, technology and operations functions, some of whom have been part of our eCommerce journey since the beginning. 

Specific to digital marketing – while we have the capability to perform basic agency functions like media buying, media management, execution of marketing strategies around SEM, SEO, Social media, customer relationship management etc, we also go deeper, offering our brand partners, support on developing a comprehensive eCommerce Marketing strategy around the entire customer funnel: Awareness – Engagement – Consideration - Purchase – Loyalty, along with a strong focus on key metrics like return on advertising spend (ROAS). Our marketplace platform expertise allows us to go beyond managing conventional modes of digital marketing like Google, FB etc to marketplace specific marketing channels such as Lazada’s Barter Programmes and Shoppertainment Mechanics, Shopee Paid Ads, Qoo10 Brand Launch Programmes etc. 
Are you currently working on any new digital services that you can tell us about?

We are witnessing a strong demand from different brand partners on eStore management for branded dot.coms and/or their marketplace flagship store and we believe that eCommerce enablement goes beyond just overseeing the day-to-day online store operations for our brand partners. 

Hence, we have created a new store management services team that works proactively with our brand partners to drive business growth on their various online channels – the team will review and make recommendations on product category best practices (e.g. including size chart for fashion brands), campaign planning and execution, ideating on next innovation to impact growth, reporting and analytics, on-site optimisations, A/B testing and pilots, marketplace flagship stores performance management, etc. Brand partners can fully leverage our expertise by signing up for our eStore management services packages.

What are the main ways in which consumer behaviour has changed in the digital age? How do you keep up with their constantly changing preferences?

Some of the key changes/evolutions seen across the globe vis-a-vis consumer behaviour, in my experience: 

I.    Mobile first behaviour – Consumers are increasingly shopping more on mobiles as compared to desktops/laptops driven by growing penetration of smart phones, improved mobile phone internet connectivity, affordability as well as technological evolutions on smart phones.

II.    Unparalleled information access impacting customer funnel – Access of super-fast internet has exposed shoppers to more information than ever before. This has enabled digital marketeers to bombard shoppers with as much information as they can and in different ways. Content consumption, KOL influence, Personalization etc are becoming more and more popular in driving purchase decisions as compared to traditional modes of marketing like TV, OOH, Print Ads etc.

III.    Omnichannel behaviour – Today’s shoppers do not follow a “one channel” approach i.e. they can look at a Billboard and still buy online or they can access information about a product from Google yet buy it from their favourite nearest mall. Gone are the days where a conventional, uniform, uni-channel shopper journey was the principle behind marketing strategies, but now marketeers have to be devise omnichannel approaches to cater to multiple permutations and combinations for shopper journeys at each stage of Customer Funnel transcending between online and offline channels. 

IV.    Minimal attention span – With a plethora of apps, unlimited information and hectic lifestyles, shoppers have very limited bandwidth to engage and develop consideration. Gamification, Shoppertainment, Social Commerce are the new evolving ways/touchpoints to capture shopper attention. 

V.    Lack of patience – With a myriad of options at their disposal, today’s shopper has lesser patience and lower tolerance for any bad customer experience which will drive them away and likely to have serious social media implications. There is absolutely zero margin for error when it comes to customer experience and brands/platforms/enablers who do not adapt to this reality are likely to perish in the near future. 

What do you hope our delegates can takeaway from your presentation?

Some of the key takeaways expected from the session:

I.    Understanding “eCommerce Shopper” behaviour – ecosystem, preferences, marketing funnel, shopper journey etc
II.    How digital marketing has evolved/is evolving to cater to the changing “eCommerce Shopper” behaviour
III.    Which digital marketing strategies can cater to different stages of customer funnel and shopper journey
IV.    Emergence of “Performance Marketing” and “Marketplace/e-Commerce Marketing” 
V.    SP eCommerce eCommerce capabilities on overall eCommerce enablement with special focus on Digital Services and Digital/performance Marketing. And how we can partner with brands to fine tune their overall Digital Marketing Strategies to hit their KPIs.
Ashutosh Kaushik will be presenting at the Digital Marketing Leaders Summit, which will take place in Singapore on September 11 & 12. Ashutosh will talk about understanding eCommerce shopper & eCommerce marketing. You can find more details here.

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