aCommerce, Southeast Asia’s leading ecommerce service provider, has launched SmartShip, a multi-shipping platform that enables Thai SMEs to scale their ecommerce operations while saving valuable time and money.
Ecommerce is booming in Thailand and is estimated to reach $51 billion by 2025, up from today’s $1 billion. A huge driver of this ecommerce growth in Thailand are entrepreneurial SMEs who sell on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LINE as well as marketplaces like Lazada. According to estimates, one-third to half of Thailand’s ecommerce GMV is happening on Facebook, Instagram and LINE combined.
Despite this massive opportunity, SMEs are still relying on manual and cumbersome processes to operate their ecommerce businesses. Once orders are received (often through Facebook Messenger or LINE) and picked and packed in their living rooms, merchants have to go visit the local post office to ship the package.
Figure 1. Social commerce drives Thailand ecommerce but processes are still manual -- SmartShip helps automate and scale delivery for SME merchants (Source: ecommerceIQ)
Orders are paid for mainly through bank transfer which can take days to process and therefore delaying the entire cycle. Not to mention the fact that over 75% of ecommerce payments in Thailand are through COD which means merchants are leaving money on the table by foregoing those customers who cannot pay through bank transfer, either due to trust issues or simply not having a bank account.
Figure 2. Over 75% of Thailand ecommerce transactions are paid through Cash-on-Delivery. SmartShip enables merchants to tap into COD beyond just bank transfer payments (Source: ecommerceIQ)
SmartShip addresses these challenges by offering a single dashboard to manage 3PLs, hundreds of drop-off locations nationwide for easy access, COD payment processing, as well as shipping insurance.
“SMEs who couldn’t offer cash-on-delivery can now do so through SmartShip’s exclusive partnerships. This is vital to the growth of their customer base as less than 10% of the country owns a credit card. SmartShip will also speed up the logistics process for small businesses in a competitive market where 51% of Thai shoppers buy through social media channels. We’re excited to help C2C merchants work more efficiently and effectively with 3PLs to drive the ecommerce ecosystem forward in Southeast Asia,” said Phensiri Sathianvongnusar, aCommerce Thailand COO.
SmartShip’s beta program launched in August this year. Thai Post, Thailand’s national postal service, was one of the first 3PLs working with SmartShip. Page365, a popular platform for Facebook Page merchants to monitor customer activity, also signed up for SmartShip to offer their users exclusive package drop off and pick up at any Thai Post branch in the greater Bangkok area. Since then, SmartShip has added new 3PL partners such as Kerry Logistics, DHL, CJ Korea Express, as well as drop-off partners such as Airpay and Skybox. SmartShip’s next phase will include expansion to Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.
“SmartShip’s open, platform-approach towards logistics has already been proven successful in China with Alibaba’s Cainiao. Like China, Southeast Asia has an equally fragmented logistics ecosystem and payment challenges. This is why we believe SmartShip can help take ecommerce in Southeast Asia to the next level,” said Akintayo Kayode, General Manager, SmartShip at aCommerce.
In addition to the technology platform SmartShip, other services at aCommerce being developed to help merchants selling on social platforms include the pickup service where aCommmerce will pick up packages from seller locations, buying boxes & package materials, marketing services though the recent LINE@ partnership and training & workshops via aCommerce Academy program.