At Anchanto, we don't fear the jump, however wide the gap is. The reason is the confidence we have in our products and teams of course, but also because we always act with the same mindset: be humble, and learn from every mistake.
Early on, we realized that opening an office and executing operations in a new country can be complex and layered. From understanding cultural differences to investing in local setup costs, hiring the right talent to finding a suitable office space, right to knowing local HR and tax rules when you sign your first customers, a large number of factors contribute to your success (or failure).
You may ask, then, is it worth it for a start-up to open new markets before owning another one?
From my experience - it sure is!
But before you go for it, which you totally should, I shall present some key steps that I have learned along the way, illustrate them with examples of establishing operations in Malaysia.
Every market is unique, has its own set of challenges and opportunities.
Observing the market is the first step to establishing a strong presence there. But, that’s easier said than done, as it is important to figure out what this study actually means - and it cannot be desktop research based on some Google queries and blogs (like this one), but has to be on the ground and by sweating it out - sometimes that also means genuinely going door to door.
You must make sure you understand the laws and regulations, cultural and community differences, and analyze the business environment before you choose a market for expansion.
Being aware of the local market and cultural norms, especially in a diverse country like Malaysia with at least a trio of core cultures, it’s a challenge to relish. It helped us establish our presence in the country faster. And the only way to do it was to travel regularly and spend time meeting prospects, associations, and sometimes even competitors.
Choosing when to enter a market contributes to your success or failure remarkably.
The right time to enter a new market depends on factors like the demand for your product, the readiness of the brands to adopt the right solution, and the environment in which your business is likely to operate.
Back in 2018, primarily due to Government initiatives and active steps taken by marketplaces, Malaysia was already abuzz with eCommerce. Major investments from Alibaba and other telecom companies led to a growing enthusiasm of brands, retailers, and distributors.
The timing thus felt right for the management to give me the responsibility to analyze Malaysia as a prospective market. I worked to understand our product proposition and the market needs before jumping in.
The demand for eCommerce technology was present, and Malaysian brands were waiting for the right solution to be offered. The competition did exist, but wasn’t known to handle large volume or work with non-Malaysian marketplaces. In fact, it stayed away from integrating with webstores (Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, etc.).
In summary, we were competing with many other products, which acted as singular plugins, whilst we provided a comprehensive solution to most of the pain points in eCommerce enablement and fulfillment, thus making it the perfect time for us to enter this market.
Interestingly, this situation is still the same, and we have progressed quite ahead while our competitors still lag behind.
When examining a new business environment, it is all about asking the right questions. And the right question is one that always raises another one.
If you are a company that offers technology solutions, like us, you need to analyze the challenge from a singular focus on ‘customer experience’. (In our case, this experience is throughout: pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase) This would involve preparing a list of questions to determine the best way to approach the new market - but all pointing to the ever-elusive and moving goal of ‘customer needs and wants’.
For us, some of these questions were:
The best way to find answers to such questions is to interact with your existing customers or key individuals with ample local experience. In-depth local knowledge is critical to prepare yourself for all the situations that will eventually arise.
It is crucial to know the problems prevalent in the market, and how your offerings solve them. And if they do, think about what is the perceived value of this solution. SaaS cannot work on bottom-up pricing, it has to be top-down.
For us, the challenge was a lack of awareness regarding technology tools. Let me explain before you jump out shouting.
Back in 2018, Malaysian eCommerce actors faced operational issues like order processing, inventory management, multichannel selling, etc., that were similar to enterprises in other countries. However, many used the wrong tool for the wrong solution - using an accounting tool to measure inventory, or using a neanderthal aged ERP system to do eCommerce Warehousing.
There was little awareness in the market about technology tools that could assist businesses in managing their end-to-end eCommerce operations - with the ‘right mapping for pain points and value-add’.
This was a huge opportunity for us, as our platforms facilitated seamless eCommerce solutions and it was all about positioning. It wasn’t about merely saving time and money, but it was more about ‘saving time and money smartly’. And such positioning required case-studies and our first bunch of customers.
In short, our offering was just what the Malaysian market needed at that time but the positioning was the key.
The next step is to have a strategy in place to battle the potential objections.
The more you are prepared, the easier it will be to navigate the market challenges you are likely to face at various different stages. Having an in-depth understanding of the issues will help you develop a comprehensive strategy, which will help you shape your market approach.
In Malaysia, our focus was to have a clear plan of action in place. This led to an approach that acted as the foundation for our future interactions with customers and changed how our platforms were perceived by them. For us, the strategy focused on:
A. Raising Awareness by interacting with eCommerce associations and government bodies
B. Individual Proposition for each Product, introduced through our first set of customers
C. Addressing the Requirement, and specially attending to customization requests
D. Offering Technology Solutions, with a positioning around OMS (Order Management System) and Warehouse Management System (WMS)
The obvious addition here are the components of strategy, your product positioning being the most crucial of the lot.
Once we knew that the customer did have a pain point, having the right marketing message delivered to the right target was crucial. We decided to not overly localize because that would have given the customer the impression that our product would be available in local languages with local-language support. We are there now, but that wasn’t the case when we launched.
Our product positioning of being end-to-end - right from cataloging, to managing orders to fulfilling them - worked wonders. The very fact that we were able to get acknowledgments from our customers that their time-to-market significantly reduced said a lot about us delivering what we promised.
Once you establish a strong strategy, with the right tactics planned out, you need to now have infantry and cavalry - Now it's time to have an on-ground team and open a local office.
Prepared with a market study and proper insights, the next step is establish an office and set up operations.
Having a local presence is helpful for a growing business as it allows your clients to have easy access to your teams and vice versa. Not just that, you can choose to be located with the big leagues and grow through this proximity. This is very important especially in eCommerce, as it's a very niche world. Here, the word of good service and humility always spreads quickly.
Accordingly, we made sure of it and found a space that was located near the offices of close partners, like the marketplaces Lazada or Shopee, and other actors, to fuel our growth.
Co-working spaces made sense, and they still do as we would rather focus on finding and anchanting our next customer rather than worry over soon-to-finish copier paper. Such an arrangement also helped us build the network and we got some of the best customers through our interactions within the office spaces.
While coming to a new country with your existing team members to ensure coherency is great, hiring local team members is essential to find your feet and establish your presence.
Offering regional support from team members who are aware of the nuances and requirements of the market can help you simplify your operations and establish trust with your customers Nothing beats trust - not even a 100% discount.
Earlier (before building local presence), all our operations were done remotely every time we had a new client on board. This was a little complicated. When clients interact with domestic team members, they instantly feel more comfortable. Not just that, it also helps ease operational challenges and reduces the chances of miscommunication. Hence, we realized the need of having a local team in place.
Recruiting was an issue in our first year. We struggled to find the right resources as Malaysia did not represent a mature eCommerce market back then and roles were not very well defined. Also, we were a startup based out of Singapore, and with a fairly new presence in Malaysia. So, we sought help from hiring agencies and sometimes even asked our customers to help us out.
In addition to it, we went back to basics and spread the word across every platform we could get our hands-on. And, the existing team members made sure to talk about the company on every occasion. The trick is to keep trying - Not all platforms worked for us, some did and we kept adapting our marketing and event strategy accordingly.
After the first year, once we had esteemed brands as our customers and established our presence, attracting the right talent became easier.
Today, we have a sizable number of demanding customers and for them, we have a local team overseeing operations. When a new client comes on board now, everything is managed and done locally, with support from the remote teams across 7 other countries.
We are glad to be working with industry leaders in Malaysia
Throughout our experience, our major learning was: once you set things in motion, new learnings will follow. And once you adapt to these new learnings, it starts feeling like home.
Establishing a global presence is rewarding as well as challenging at the same time. However, if you prepare the right way, have an open mind, keep adapting to local requirements, set realistic goals, and prepare for scenarios of Plan B, you will have all the tools to be successful in the new market. And all of it, the start of the journey and the proverbial hockey stick will be an achievement in itself.
기존 멀티채널 판매, 소매 또는 전자상거래 서비스 비즈니스 변화에 관심이 있습니까? 지금 전문가와 상담하십시오.
Integrate your online channels in few steps, and try out all features of the SelluSeller
Receive the latest insights, reports, research papers, news bytes, and important announcements from Anchanto.
8 Valuable Principles of Establishing Project Management Processes
For businesses that wish to scale while maintaining quality work and standardized operations, Pro...Learn more
Why Should Brands Adopt Omnichannel Retail?
For brands, omnichannel retail holds endless opportunities and benefits. With a key strategy in p...Learn more
5 Metrics to Strengthen your Multichannel Sales Strategy
To be successful in Multichannel Sales, you must analyse your existing channel operations closely...Learn more
How eCommerce Marketplaces Can Help You Setup Offline Presence in a New Market
To establish an offline presence in a new market, brands can begin by selling through eCommerce m...Learn more
Meet Bhushan, Product Consultant at Anchanto
Freshly out of college, Bhushan joined Anchanto’s rapidly growing team three years back. His jour...Learn more
Anchanto facilitated successful year-end eCommerce sales of Filipino local businesses amidst Covid-19
Anchanto helped Filipino businesses navigate challenges & scale operations online during COVI...Learn more
7 Key Steps to Set up Operations in a New Market
Establishing offices and operations in a new country requires detailed market study, proper strat...Learn more
Top tips to boost your social media and social commerce strategy
Your social followers can gradually convert to your shoppers. Here are few ways on how you can ma...Learn more
Electronics Conglomerate Panasonic announces eCommerce expansion across Asia-Pacific in partnership with Anchanto
Panasonic, a global electronics conglomerate announces partnership with Anchanto to streamline it...Learn more
Starting a New Job from Home: 7 Anchanto Stories
Listen to the stories of Anchanters who joined the company during a global crisis and how they na...Learn more
Social Commerce: The Winning Combination of Social Media and eCommerce
Social commerce is an upcoming trend and takes the best of eCommerce and social media to help you...Learn more
6 Useful Practical Insights to Manage Cross-border eCommerce
Understand the challenges of cross border eCommerce and how to tackle them through intuitive tech...Learn more
Preparing your logistics business for special sale seasons
Plan ahead for sales season this year with these recommendations for warehouse management system ...Learn more
How to Leverage YouTube for Retail Businesses
YouTube can work wonders for retail businesses. From having access to a large number of customers...Learn more
8 eCommerce Mistakes to Avoid this Holiday Season
Some businesses struggle to convert their holiday website traffic into sales. If you face this ch...Learn more
Top Multichannel Inventory Challenges and Solutions
Shifting to multichannel sales, you are likely to encounter commonly faced inventory challenges a...Learn more
Content Asset Management: A key to multichannel eCommerce success
Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Product Information Management (PIM) are two systems help that...Learn more
Retail distribution giant Valiram selects Anchanto to accelerate its global eCommerce transformation
Valiram, South-east Asia’s leading retail specialist, announces partnership with Anchanto to soli...Learn more
How to achieve control over your online retail business and improve its visibility
Understand how technology and software solutions can help eCommerce businesses to improve control...Learn more
Analysing The New Normal for Fashion eCommerce
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way in which shoppers use eCommerce, especially when fashio...Learn more
Using my past entrepreneurial experience to solve eCommerce Challenges for Enterprises
My experience as an entrepreneur helped me solve the challenges faced by eCommerce enterprises as...Learn more
Practical insights to implement a robust Omnichannel strategy for your retail business.
A few years back, ‘Omni-channel’ was merely a buzzword, a theoretical concept that was just discu...Learn more
How we conceptualised and launched our latest innovation in just 3 months
When it comes to innovation, we are always on the lookout for newer ways to make our customers’ e...Learn more
Scaling your logistics and fulfillment business with the right technology.
According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the logistics market in APAC is set to grow at a CA...Learn more
Overcoming challenges of cross-border eCommerce
Over the last few decades, selling has seen a logical progression. Earlier, the brick-and-mortar ...Learn more
Utilizing Cutting-edge Technology to Overcome the Challenges of Channel Management
Distributors have long played an important role in streamlining the operational lines between man...Learn more
Onboarding customers remotely: how the pandemic helped us learn & innovate processes
Aligned with our deeply ingrained objectives of delivering anchanting experiences to our customer...Learn more
How to Use Partnerships & Tools for Shorter Time-to-market?
As a retail brand or distributor, time is of the essence, especially when you want to expand your...Learn more
Can sticking to a marketplace harm your online trade?
There’s no doubt that eCommerce has given businesses a new lease of life. Much of the overhead th...Learn more
How brands overcame the channel conflict dilemma
Earlier, businesses had to establish their dealer and retailer networks in all geographies, putti...Learn more
Anchanto achieves profitability and receives S$16.6 million in ongoing Series C-funding round for market expansion & product development
Anchanto’s SaaS offerings receive a vote of confidence from globalcompanies due to steady profita...Learn more
How can distributors keep both brands and buyers happy?
As the world shifts to the new normalcy and adopts online shopping, your distribution responsibil...Learn more
Australia: How Anchanto is ramping up growth in the region
After entering the Australian market in late 2019, we are well underway to serving as a bridge fo...Learn more
Creating a Successful Cross-border eCommerce Strategy for Your Business
Cross Border eCommerce strategy is one of the major factors associated with the future of eCommer...Learn more
Should you outsource eCommerce operations or manage them in-house for your brand?
It is no secret that the global retail economy is changing fast and eCommerce has a significant p...Learn more
Execute Seamless eCommerce operations on-the-go with the all new SelluSeller App!
The world, as we knew it, has completely changed over the past few months. A remarkable shift can...Learn more
The Power to manage business ‘on-the-go’ for eCommerce leaders.
Living through a pandemic has altered the way people across the world shop, leading to a remarkab...Learn more
SelluSeller Now in Your Palm- An eCommerce Management Revolution
Aligned with our vision of making multichannel selling & eCommerce logistics simple for every...Learn more
Enhancing eCommerce Logistics Operations with Cutting-edge Technology
The eCommerce wagon runs on the tracks of resourceful supply and excellent connectivity. As onlin...Learn more
2018’s Top Ecommerce Trends That Will Shape Online Selling in Southeast Asia
As online selling is a fairly new retail method, ‘change’ is a common expectation for almost all ...Learn more
The Influence of COVID 19 on Fashion eCommerce
Understand the existence of consumer trends for fashion industry during the lockdown period and h...Learn more
What does the current pandemic mean for brand marketing agencies?
The Covid-19 pandemic has shut offices and significantly affected our world, but it has also resu...Learn more
Exploring the Future of Australian Businesses in Asia - I
Covid-19 has become a force that has changed the way in which businesses operate, strategize and ...Learn more
Exploring the Future of Australian Businesses in Asia - II
In order to grow and thrive in a post-pandemic era, Australian businesses must analyse the risks ...Learn more
How to avoid human mistakes in eCommerce with Automation?
eCommerce businesses in Southeast Asia have struggled for a long time dealing with manu...Learn more
How Should I Structure my Warehouse?
The efficiency of an eCommerce business depends heavily on how well its warehouse is op...Learn more
How to Improve User Ratings on Seller Centre
As an online seller, you must be well aware of the importance of the ratings that you get on your...Learn more
How to Structure Fulfillment Operations for Your Selling Business?
Fulfillment operations primarily refer to the process of getting a product delivered to the right...Learn more
What is the difference between B2C & B2B Fulfillment?
With the rapid expansion in the Korea digital economy and online purchasing decisions, ...Learn more
How to Avoid Overselling?
Inventory and stock management are one of the biggest challenges faced by enterprise eCommerce bu...Learn more
What is the Difference between WMS and eWMS?
Warehouses have always been an integral part of any retail chain business and proper wa...Learn more
How to Reduce Customer Complaints and Claims
When the customer is unsatisfied, investigating the way they are treated, is important.Learn more
3 Things You Need to Master To Sell More on Marketplaces
Why is it that global businesses and brands, most often, seem to be miles ahead in their approach...Learn more
How to Make an Effective Social Media Plan for Your Online Store
A Social Media Marketing Plan or social media plan is a document that details the strategies in s...Learn more
How to Use Emotional Persuasion as a Growth Tool for Online Selling
Neuromarketing or emotional persuasion in connection with sales and marketing is not a new concep...Learn more
Top Marketing Strategies for Your eCommerce Store in 2018
eCommerce is the next big thing when it comes to online web stores in KoreaLearn more
Top 5 Ways to Advertise Your Products for Free on the Internet
E-commerce is what Korea is going towards with each passing day. With the rise in the accessibili...Learn more
How Do I Sell Online in Korea For Free?
To sell online without having to spend a penny, you have several options: through social networks...Learn more
Decoding the Cross-Border eCommerce Puzzle
Technology enabled eCommerce has given an unprecedented push to cross-border trade in recent years.Learn more
Grow Your Online Business by Selling More to Current Customers
When you ask a co-seller what their goal is when they start start selling in Korea, they almost a...Learn more
How to Transform Occasional Buyers in Frequent Customers?
While online sellers and brands always seek to expand their reach to increase their sales in Kore...Learn more
Five Most Common Mistakes Made by Online Stores
Revenue in the eCommerce market of Korea amounts to US $8,591m in 2018, and it is expected to gro...Learn more
7 Tactical Ways Every Business Can Use Local Marketing to Sell More Online
Local marketing is the process of optimizing your website’s brand in a way that adapts the localLearn more
How to Choose the Perfect Theme for Your Online Store
Judging a book by its cover may not be a good way of understanding our society, but when it is aboutLearn more
Best Software and Apps to Edit Product Photos
We all know about Photoshop, one of the most common and efficient image editing software in South...Learn more
How to Describe a Product in Your Web-Store?
The content is king. A phrase conveys the importance of your titles, descriptions and other texts...Learn more
The Drop Shipping in eCommerce: Is it Possible to Sell Without Having Inventory?
The inventory is undoubtedly one of the dilemmas of any company that trades with articles of any ...Learn more
How to Choose an online marketplace to sell your products?
A data from Entrepreneur-the elite magazine says In 2017, the eCommerce market generated a revenu...Learn more
Eight Effective Ways to Promote Your Products on eCommerce Platforms
When planning to promote your products to strengthen the sale, you should not limit yourself to t...Learn more
How to Master Product Photography on a Tight Budget
If you are one of those who keeps uploading the product photos provided by your supplier,Learn more
Nine Effective Strategies to Increase Additional Sales
Selling more is something that obsesses both online and offline marketers. Hence, a seller is con...Learn more
Top 10 DIY Things to Make and Sell Online
Korea has a history of thousands of years. This means people residing here have ideas of art, cra...Learn more
Marketplace Aggregation – Why It Can Make or Break Your Online Business
Okay, so you’ve moved on—not in the distant past—from the brick and mortar model of doing busines...Learn more
Dont Just Meet Marketplace SLAs, Beat Them!
With the spurt in Korea eCommerce, sellers need to deal with a deluge of Service Level Agreements...Learn more
How to Use Discounts and Deals to Get More Customers Come and Stay Forever
Encouraging repeat sales is a crucial aspect of online selling, specially when you are an online ...Learn more
How to Maximize Selling During Peak Season
For an online business seller in Korea, holidays are golden opportunities for increasing their sa...Learn more
How to Be an Online Power Seller on Major Marketplaces in Korea
The rising popularity of Korean eCommerce marketplaces has led to increase in the direct competit...Learn more
Top Products to Sell Online in Korea
With a history of over 40,000 years, Korea is one of the 17 mega diverse countries in the world.Learn more
How to Start Selling Online in Korea
The massive shift of Korea retail towards digital has opened up a whole new world of opportunitie...Learn more