Mall Group eyes return to e-commerce

Mall Group eyes return to e-commerce

Two new websites to launch next week

Ms Supaluck says the company's move towards omnichannel is part of a strategic plan to grow sustainably.
Ms Supaluck says the company's move towards omnichannel is part of a strategic plan to grow sustainably.

The Mall Group is set to return to digital commerce after 15 years by using its offline expertise to build a complete omnichannel experience under a three-year strategic roadmap.

Supaluck Umpujh, the company's chairwoman, said the digital commerce strategy, which will target Thai shoppers will resume next Wednesday after the company had put online shopping on hold for over a decade due to unfavourable infrastructure and consumer behaviour.

The company will start afresh by launching two shopping websites -- M Online and Gourmet Market Thailand -- and also approach customers on other platforms such as social commerce and online marketplaces.

"Digital transformation towards omnichannel is part of a strategic retail business development plan to grow sustainably," she said.

Despite being behind other players in digital commerce, there is still an opportunity for growth for the company as the ratio of e-commerce to retail businesses in Thailand is still small. For example, the ratio is 11% in the US, 22% in the UK, 25% in China, 22% in South Korea, 9% in Japan and just 3% in India and Thailand.

Moreover, the company has a core strength in offering a complete product portfolio to cover every customer segment from mass consumption to super luxury. It can offer a seamless online to offline experience as well as a strong loyalty programme.

"We are extremely confident that the launch of these two platforms will be a big step towards providing a complete omnichannel experience."

Voralak Tulaphorn, The Mall Group's chief marketing officer, added that a budget of more than 100 million baht had been earmarked for digital commerce development.

Following the launch of both platforms, The Mall Group will also engage in full-scale marketing campaigns -- both online and offline -- with the goal being 20 million page views on M Online's website by the first year.

To make sure M Online becomes a leading omnichannel platform, the company will use three strategies: customer-centric, partner-centric and content-centric.

After the first year, The Mall Group expects sales from digital commerce to reach 2 billion baht. This revenue will account for 15% and 25% of total physical stores in the next three years and five years, respectively.

"E-commerce in Thailand continues to grow year-on-year," said Jakkrit Keeratichokchaikun, the company's chief merchandising officer.

In 2020, the e-commerce industry was valued at 220 billion baht, a surge of 35% from 2019.

Food and non-food items are the key categories as they account for 38% of business, followed by electronic products at 31%, general merchandise and beauty and fashion at 20% and 11%, respectively.

Demand for food and non-food items rose by 161% in 2020, while demand for beauty and fashion grew 94% followed by general merchandise by 63% and electronic products by 35%, respectively.

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