Getting 11:11 Right

By June Ramli

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 7: The 11.11 (November 11) Mega Sale has proven to be one of the biggest sales events for many regions across the world and Malaysia is no exception.
Also known as Singles Day, this shopping phenomenon has overshadowed Black Friday and produced record-breaking sales year after year.
In Malaysia, 11.11 has become a highly anticipated day with campaigns starting as early as October.
The sales for this year are expected to be huge as Malaysia has earned a spot as one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Southeast Asia over the past year.
In the last quarter alone, the country’s e-commerce income grew 23.3 per cent compared to the past year resulting in sales up to RM267.6 million.
To put it into perspective, Malaysia has witnessed a massive spike in new retailers and sales on its platform compared to pre-pandemic levels.
One key reason that saw sellers scale up their businesses on the e-commerce platform is the significant shift in consumers’ consumption habits with greater diversification between online and offline purchases.
As the country moves towards its goal to fully vaccinated citizens before the end of this year, industry experts have predicted that the upward trend of interest in digitalisation to continue even in a post-pandemic era because online shopping has become a part of the Malaysian’s lifestyle.
To help brands make the best of the shopping season, Anchanto with its proprietary SaaS products – SelluSeller, an online multi-channel selling software specialising in cross border sales and Wareo, a platform that transforms existing warehouses into distribution and fulfilment centres for B2B and B2C commerce – have supported brands, retailers, online sellers in maximising their growth through seamless integration with over 43 plus online marketplaces across Southeast Asia.
Anchanto’s services and strategies could be very much applicable to enhancing brands performance during the upcoming “mega online sales campaigns” whilst minimising costly mistakes.
We recently interviewed Anchanto founder and CEO Vaibhav Dabhade to understand what is currently happening in the e-commerce and SaaS world in Malaysia and this is what we found out.
Read the full interview below.

Vaibhav Dabhade, Founder and CEO of Anchanto
Vaibhav Dabhade, Founder and CEO of Anchanto. Image Supplied.

Tell us about Anchanto and how the company is enabling the e-commerce industries to strive in Malaysia?

We are a global B2B SaaS technology company enabling eCommerce businesses like brands, retailers, distributors, eCommerce enablers, service providers, and 3PLS to help then build and scale their digital commerce and logistics operations.
Our first product – Anchanto OMS (SelluSeller) helps businesses to simplify and automate their eCommerce backend operations such as inventory, orders, pricing, promotions, sales data, reports, catalogues, digital assets, and much more across multiple channels on a single platform.
Integrated with 150 plus eCommerce marketplaces, webstores, accounting tools, last mile carriers, and ERPs such as SAP, Anchanto OMS helps businesses to implement their eCommerce strategies.
The second product – Anchanto WMS (Wareo) is a full-suite Warehouse Management System for actors that manage or operate warehouses for eCommerce (B2C) or retail businesses (B2B).
Given that Anchanto WMS (Wareo) comes pre-integrated with Anchanto OMS, actors using the OMS are able to receive, process, and fulfil orders across channels directly from their warehouses.
Powered with the technology we bring, Malaysian businesses can not only conquer the digital sphere locally, but also scale their presence across the globe.
Our platforms fulfil the digital infrastructure requirements of our customers to help them implement their winning eCommerce strategies.
Not being limited to multichannel eCommerce, businesses can go omnichannel with capabilities like ‘try-and-buy’ or ‘click-and-collect’, or also go ‘Direct-toConsumer’ with Anchanto.
We understand that every business has its own set of challenges, especially enterprises looking to implement their customised strategies.
We follow a proven process to create a ‘Solution Blueprint’ for such customers.
Our product consultants and experts work with all relevant stakeholders to create an innovative solution specific to that business. Once we create the blueprint, we conduct a fit-gap analysis and then deliver a holistic implementation and training so that our customers achieve their desired success.

What sort of items (e.g. electronics, clothes) sell the most during the 11.11 mega sale trends in Malaysia?

The final quarter of the year is extremely important for eCommerce actors in Southeast Asia.
Last year, Southeast Asia saw increases in all product categories, with apparels and accessories up the most at 325 per cent, followed by arts and entertainment at 258 per cent.
These figures indicated how in 2020, self-indulgence was encouraged.
This year, based on the trends observed during the 9/9 and 10/10 sales days and following multiple other sources, the following items and categories may sell the most are electronics, and specifically smartphones and laptop, fashion and apparel, specifically handbags, accessories and shapewear, all types of footwear and beauty and cosmetics products.
Apart from these, there are some new trends that can be observed this year.
One such trend is seen in the increased shopping for gardening supplies. There are also various other art supplies that are in demand.

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What are the past mega sales stats and trends and lessons for retailers in Malaysia?

As per data collected from various sources, last year the Alibaba Singles’ Day hit an all time high of US$74.1 billion.
That’s up an astonishing 85.6 per cent increase from 2019.
In fact, it’s also more than double the total sales from spanning Black Friday to Cyber Monday, which were $34.4 billion in 2020. Last year’s Single’s Day sale saw more than 250,000 brands participating, including 31,000 foreign companies.
During peak activity, brands were handling 583,000 orders per second.
Specifically for the Malaysian eCommerce ecosystem, sales in Malaysia were up 600 per cent on last year’s 11.11 versus. the average in October.
It wouldn’t be wrong to expect that for 2021, the volumes may go even higher.
In fact, during the 9.9 and 10.10 Sale seasons this year more 1.65 million and 1.43 million orders were processed via Anchanto platforms.
During 11.11, businesses experience massive order surges that present a great opportunity.
If you are a brand on the rise, 11.11 can help you make up for 25 percent of yearly sales.
But through all these years brands have collated a few learnings too.
Businesses have realised the negative impact of each cancelled order, wrong delivery or order miss their business.
Even if the average of such orders is low, it automatically translates into a larger number during the sale season.
With every negative feedback leading to revenue losses, eCommerce actors need to be wary of this challenge.
Another learning is that the actors know they shouldn’t stick to just marketplaces or web stores but should piggyback their success on marketplaces to boost sales on their own online stores.
They have also learnt that customers do not differentiate between online and offline channels and expect a unified and seamless experience across channels and touchpoints.
This shift automatically leads the actors to keep the technology at the heart of their business operations, allowing them to deliver exceptional omnichannel customer experiences and achieve growth.

What are your predictions of e-commerce trends in the year 2022?

The next few years will see the current eCommerce boom taking a new shape and businesses enhance their offerings.
In Malaysia, more e-commerce players and platforms will be implementing advanced technology to offer omnichannel experiences to shoppers by focusing on their demands and preferences.
To be precise, we believe that one of the next game changers will be for retailers to be able to build a real omnichannel offer, enabling specific capabilities like click-and-collect, or try-and-buy.
The pandemic has not only made people buy online more but has also made them miss buying offline.
So, both the channels will continue to co-exist with such capabilities taking the lead.
Next, businesses that already have a warehouse and teams doing fulfilment for their own products will start serving other eCommerce brands.
This is because a lot of brands are looking for enablers within Malaysia, and anyone having the eCommerce fulfilment know-how can monetise this knowledge to maximise revenue.
Also, companies must ensure they can be operationally agile and flexible in responding to shifting market demands borne by unforeseen crisis situations.
Leveraging the right technology platforms can enable growth while being cost-efficient and can often be tailored according to the specific needs of the e-commerce business.

Who are your competitors?

For us, before the pandemic changed the way people shop, the biggest competitors were the laxity and complacency in the local Malaysian businesses towards digitisation.
Given the apprehension around such transformation, our earlier role often involved consulting businesses on the need of digital transformation.
But, COVID-19 has changed that completely.
With more and more businesses understanding the importance of being present online, the need to go digital is now well acknowledged in the market.
However, today the challenge is that most actors map the right challenges with the wrong solutions.
It is seldom seen that many fulfilment actors rely on standalone inventory management systems to empower their warehouses, not acknowledging the need of a more comprehensive system.
At other times, they rely on custom ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions to process multi channel orders, without realising that a full-suite Warehouse Management System can enable them to manage all their end-to-end B2B and B2C logistics operations.
They keep struggling with handling online orders, managing inventory, and offering fast and error-free deliveries.

Would it be possible to share with us your market share?

We cannot share our market share. But we occupy either the top or second position in markets.

Check out our podcast interview on YouTube.

Tell us about yourself.

I always had the dream of starting something of my own, given that I grew up in a family full entrepreneurs.
I already had a keen interest in logistics by watching two generations of my family set up logistics businesses.
Back in 2011, the eCommerce scene was heating up quite significantly.
New marketplaces were coming up across the world and investments were pouring into eCommerce.
But, the eCommerce ecosystem was highly fragmented and there was hardly any technology to support the upcoming eCommerce boom.
I realised that it was a massive opportunity as businesses needed the right technology to set up and grow their eCommerce and logistics operations.
The convergence of this opportunity with my passion for logistics and technology led to the notion of Anchanto- a company enabling end-to-end eCommerce and delivering an ‘enchanting experience to its customers through its various products and services.
We started the company with some initial investments from investors but I am glad to share that most of our fundings comes from our existing customers.
Precisely, four of our investors were actually our customers before they decided to invest in us.

What is the company’s unique selling strategy?

The factor that makes us unique and makes us capable of truly helping all our customers’ businesses grow because we have literally walked in their shoes.
Before we became a pure software company, we managed eCommerce fulfilment services for multiple brands from our own warehouse in Singapore.
This extensive experience of running a warehouse and serving brands helped us understand the real pain points and develop products that could solve them, unlike other armchair pundits in the market.
Our technology can be leveraged by all businesses with eCommerce and logistics operations including Brands, Retailers, Distributors, Service Providers, Enablers, and Fulfilment Actors.
In Malaysia, we have had the chance to observe the transforming eCommerce market and adjust our offerings to best suit our customers.
This is what helps us solve various challenges for all eCommerce businesses in the region.

What are some of your expansion plans in Southeast Asia?

Currently, we are present across various key markets like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, and India.
As we continue to empower enterprises in the region to scale, we plan on expanding across new markets that we will be announcing soon.
Our mission has always been to simplify backend eCommerce operations for businesses of all sizes through our innovative and intelligent SaaS platforms.
We aim to transform the way businesses conduct eCommerce in the region, while aggressively moving towards becoming the most customer-centric company in our domain across the globe.

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