Social commerce new key to survival
E-commerce is not an alternative, but a survival tactic for small businesses affected by the crisis, with social commerce accounting for 40% of total online transactions, says an e-commerce executive.
Social commerce has been gaining popularity because it facilitates a direct interaction between buyers and sellers, said Thanawat Malabuppha, president of the Thai e-Commerce Association.
Social commerce is a subset of e-commerce that involves social media, supporting social interaction and user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services.
According to Priceza, a shopping search engine and price comparison platform, the country's e-commerce sales transactions jumped 80% in March.
The sales value for Lazada Thailand jumped 130% from early February to early April as consumers spent more time online while staying or working from home.
E-marketplaces are a secondary platform for e-commerce that are seeing more transactions because of attractive promotions.
Online sales via business owners' websites or platforms are another channel where e-commerce takes place, said Mr Thanawat.
Some Thai consumers, however, are still in the habit of offline shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, therefore business owners may have to consider setting up storefronts for credibility, he said.
Some 80-90% of customers browsing e-commerce platforms are using them as channels to look up product information to decide whether to buy these products online or offline, said Mr Thanawat.
Pawarin Ramanwong, founder and admin of Maha Wittayalai Thammasat Lae Karn Fak Rarn, a private e-marketplace Facebook group, said the group was founded as demand for goods still exists during the pandemic.
Members are screened to prevent fraud and illegal product sales.
Panaphon Juntarasugree, founder and admin of Chula Marketplace, another private e-marketplace Facebook group, said e-marketplace sales values for the group has reached levels similar to offline sales after being active for a month, with around 230,000 members.