APAC in-and-out: Ongoing trends to look out for

Victor Yap

Content Marketing Lead, APAC

With disruption still the order of the day, satisfying consumer demands has become a critical priority for businesses. In fact, this transformative trend boomed as companies accelerated their digitalization to ensure uninterrupted connectivity with customers. Additionally, new workflow capabilities were developed to ensure business-as-usual for all.

Amidst all these new developments, it became clear as day that customer preferences now revolved around when and where they wanted to be engaged – i.e. on which channels, and how they wanted to connect with brands. With daily activities – banking, grocery shopping, connecting with family, and ordering meals – now being online, it is only logical that the user experience has become a top priority for consumers.

Of course, connecting with and retaining customers is just as critical for businesses.

To achieve this, they must have communication and engagement capabilities that can create a seamless and immersive customer journey. And these capabilities can be quickly and easily deployed when working with the right technology partners.

And it’s not just businesses. Governments and key economic growth sectors have already engaged various technology players to drive their ongoing digital transformation agenda.

Ecosystem expansion

Connecting and engaging with the right partners is critical for success. For Infobip, this means developing collaborative working relationships with a broad swath of market players. More specifically, we are keen on working with solution providers that can seamlessly augment their solutions with those in our Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS).

In fact, this need was one of the core focuses in 2021 as we acquired a new company almost every quarter. These strategic acquisitions accelerated our engagement capabilities and also opened the doors for us to grow our partnerships.

The APAC region is renowned for its explosive economic growth markets and the emergence of multiple unicorns – billion-dollar valued companies – over the past few years. This region continues to set new growth benchmarks thanks to the high-performance output that the Southeast Asia (SEA) sub-region achieved last year.

According to SEA e-Conomy 2021 Report from Google, Bain, and Temasek – deal activities for APAC’s primary growth engines clocked in US$11.5 billion in the first half of 2021. This is all thanks to how digital merchants have quickly embraced end-to-end digitalization. This includes front-end digital customer engagement tools and back-end digital solutions to help enhance operations.

As CPaaS and SaaS continue to be primary focuses for businesses, Infobip’s primary focus is to help businesses with high-growth potential scale up their customer engagement capabilities. These partnerships have helped Infobip become recognized as a growth generator and leader in these sectors.

Working in such a high-growth market, optimizing onboarding processes for both existing customers and new partner engagements is critical. This ensures business continuity while all systems, human resources, and ongoing projects are seamlessly integrated.

Cohesive communications

While we continue to scale up our operations and client engagements via organic growth and strategic acquisitions, we also continue to improve our CPaaS and SaaS offerings. The current range of solutions – Moments (customer engagement solution), Conversations (contact center solution), Answers (chatbot building platform), and People CDP (customer data platform), along with an extensive list of integrated APIs and support capabilities now cover all major communication channels.

The list includes major players like WhatsApp and Instagram for Business, Line, Kakao Talk, Apple Business Chat, and country-specific leaders like Vietnam’s Zalo and China’s WeChat.

Of the four, Conversations and Answers are now operating on all social and interactive channels.

It’s not all about enabling customer support capabilities, though. Last year also saw the ongoing expansion of key customer engagement offerings.

Our customer engagement solution Moments is designed to help businesses engage with customers on their preferred channel in a personalized and omnichannel manner.

Our major clients in APAC are already using these solutions. These include Gibraltar BSN, Beam&GO, Indosat Ooredoo, King Power, Bukalapak, and Malaysia’s first tech unicorn – Carsome. They have all enhanced their customer communication and engagement capabilities. Results include growing lead conversion, deploying new monetization sources, and reducing operational costs.

Our customer data platform People CDP provides detailed customer data insights. This includes curating, tracking, and analyzing customer datasets that help businesses create personalized messaging experiences. Providing these customer-first capabilities reinforces our efforts to be the right partner for service providers and operators.

Setting industry-leading benchmarks and enhancing the customer engagement capabilities, we’re now recognized as a leader in multiple analyst reports. Among the accolades are having been ranked as a leader for CPaaS in the IDC MarketScape study and Juniper Research Competitive Leaderboard. Both reflect the fast-track we’re on to become an industry trend-maker for mobile messaging, CPaaS, and SaaS.

Data from Statista for 2020 and 2021 show huge gross merchandise value (GMV) achievements, with 2020 crossing the US$1.5 trillion mark and 2021 closing the gap to US$2 trillion. Projections up to 2024 show that it will continue to climb rapidly and will likely reach US$2.5 trillion. While the 2024 milestone is an expectation, the SEA sub-region managed to beat expectations as it recorded over US$170 billion in GMV last year and is now on track to double that by 2025. The Google e-Conomy SEA 2021 Report reinforced this point with its prediction on how the GMV for SEA will reach US$1 trillion by 2030.

Engagement empowerment

Since opening our office in Malaysia in 2010, Infobip moved to immediately connect with existing customers and secure new local and regional clientele. We quickly grew over the next decade, establishing footholds across the region, with China and Indonesia being key markets.

Our rapid scaling is apt as eCommerce – a fast-growth sector – is now a critical driver for the global economy. APAC, thanks to all the ongoing day-date sales and Singles Day event, has become – on record – the primary driver for this transformative trend.

Notably, the gains eCommerce made in the last two years have been significant. And, by the looks of it, will not decelerate any time soon. In 2021, Singles’ Day event continued to take centerstage for global eCommerce. From being a regional event 10 years ago has grown into the world’s largest offline and online sales event.

Currently called 11.11 in Asia and in every corner of the world where the Asian diaspora is present, it is now a massive sales event for various online giants in APAC. In fact, Alibaba – over the last two years –extended its campaign from a one-day shopping spree to 11 days, with 2021 generating an estimated US$85.54 billion in GMV. In comparison, Alibaba managed to generate US$74 billion in GMV for 2020 – that is an increase of 8.4%. Its closest competitor in terms of GMV performance is JD, with news reports sharing that it generated $54.7 billion in sales, up 28.6% over 2020. Year-on-year, the economic impact is huge!

China and other eCommerce driven markets in APAC, like South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam, are also setting new global trends. China popularized the livestreaming sales trend with its endless pool of influencers that has become the primary go-to for the rest of APAC. As for the SEA sub-region, cashback and ‘buy now, pay later’ trends are the main focuses for the e-commerce sector.

For any retailer, 11.11 presents a huge opportunity. Businesses with a well thought out strategy that focuses on customer engagement will be in the best position to capitalize.

Beyond the impressive sales numbers, customer engagement also received a massive boost, as consumers now have very specific demands: Creating better shopping experiences on e-commerce platforms, focusing on environmental and consumption sustainability, and reinforcing brand loyalty.

From starting with SMS, Infobip is now championing all these focuses. This is more evident in APAC than anywhere else.

In many ways, the overall user experience journey is now a critical imperative if businesses want to attract new customers while promoting customer loyalty. Where does Infobip fit in to this?

We have helped provide businesses with the capabilities they need to ensure seamless engagement with their customers by deploying solutions to the top e-commerce players. Be it social media marketing or customer support, businesses that Infobip supports across the globe are able to create interactions with their customers at all touchpoints, improving the customer experience.

Steps to consider

Consumer demands are all about the customer experience. Brands can meet these demands by connecting with customers on their preferred channels and at the right moments. Specifically, personalized and comprehensive responses – be it from chatbots or human agents– need to be provided within a short time frame.

With current and next-gen digital trends – like fintech, e-commerce, and smart homes – becoming more prevalent, businesses must be at the forefront of consumer engagement and be agile enough to leverage the latest trends. Working with the right technology partner and deploying customer-first capabilities will help businesses stay ahead of that curve.

To date, Infobip’s clients in the region have had impressive results – increasing customer satisfaction by 15% to 25%; raising message delivery rates by 5% to 10%; and improving the quality of lead conversion by 10% to 15%. All these goals were achieved because of our focus on helping businesses improve their customer engagement and ensuring they can satisfy the current and future demands of their target audiences.

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Mar 2nd, 2022
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Victor Yap

Content Marketing Lead, APAC