Retail in Asia

In Shops

3 ways US brands can sell more effectively in Asia


In 2015, ecommerce sales reached $835bn in Asia – a total increase of 32% from the prior year.

Since Asia’s market is rapidly growing and filled with new opportunities, many U.S. brands are now looking for ways to sell directly to local customers online.

What many brands fail to see is that the Asian markets are very different from their Western counterparts, so fail to adapt their strategies for the specific nuances of each.

Here are three points companies should care about to enter Asia’s burgeoning market:

1. Learn how consumers differ across each country

Consumers in Asia are very nuanced; each respective country has it own set of particular attributes and shopping habits.

Unfortunately, many U.S. brands use blanket pricing for customers all across Asia. This is an unfortunate misstep, as price sensitivity across the region varies dramatically.

What may be considered cheap in a developed country such as South Korea can be considered expensive in a neighboring country such as Vietnam.

SEE ALSO: 12 tips for foreign retailers looking to enter China

2. Leverage the local platform of choice

Each and every country in Asia has a distinct ecommerce platform through which the majority of its online transactions occur.

In the same way that Amazon is the dominant ecommerce platform in the U.S., Flipkart is the platform of choice in India, Tmall in China and Coupang in Malaysia.

Setting up an individual ecommerce site and translating it to adapt to a local country is not enough for brands to enter individual markets in Asia. It is absolutely critical that U.S. brands establish a presence on local platforms, which often serve as the entry point for foreign brands.

3. Look to local brands for inspiration and insight

Some brands will always be successful regardless of their geographic location because of their brand equity and legacy (such as Nike or Apple) but for the mass majority of brands, simply being “American” is not enough.

In most developed countries, there’s already a number of successful local brands that do quite well and pose formidable threats to any new entrants.

Instead of getting discouraged, brands must look at dominant competitors to help gain a better understanding of which products sell well in each country, what marketing tactics work best and even which ecommerce design styles/layouts local consumers prefer.

(Source: E Consultancy)