Unpacking Cross-Border E-Commerce in Asia

Apr 29, 2022

While customers’ purchasing habits have been shifting away from physical retail for quite some time, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated this movement. Even as lockdowns lift and brick-and-mortar stores reopen, the added convenience of e-commerce has led to many consumers still turning to online marketplaces to satisfy their shopping needs. As with every other region, Asia has seen a tremendous increase in online shopping in recent years, particularly from foreign retailers.

As mentioned in our recent article, cross-border e-commerce in Asia has been strong and will continue to be so, as more and more people in the region gain access to the Internet and subsequently discover the benefits of borderless shopping. While there is no doubt about that, questions still remain: What are the best strategies for D2C e-commerce businesses looking to expand in Asian markets? How can they reach out to customers in this region most effectively? In our recent episode of “Unpacking E-Commerce Logistics” series, we sat down with Lui Tong, Vice President of Hong Kong Federation of E-Commerce to discuss all these questions and more.

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Key highlights of this episode:

  • Lui Tong’s background and her career path

  • Overview of D2C strategy: definition, reasons for its popularity and examples 

  • Factors contributing to a successful strategy for cross-border e-commerce

  • Potential challenges for D2C businesses in cross-border e-commerce

  • E-Commerce growth forecast in the coming years

After a brief introduction to her experience in the e-commerce sector, Lui Tong discusses the term “D2C”, or Direct-to-Customer. Under the D2C model, businesses have to handle their own operations as there are no middlemen to help sell their products. In other words, companies can directly collect data and analytics, which not only saves time but also allows them to better understand their customers. Understanding customer preferences is vital when deciding on a suitable strategy to maximize sales and revenue in any business. Lui Tong gave a testimonial of this strategy – Nike. By collecting customers’ information in store, just in a short time, Nike doubled their global sales, from 16% to 35% and in 2025, this D2C business is expected to reach 50%. 

Moreover, Lui Tong shared with us her in-depth knowledge of cross-border e-commerce strategies. According to her, localization is one of the most crucial determinants of success. The company should first understand the targeted market and customers before delivering local content marketing. To outperform competitors in such a crowded market, a company must not only care about the customer satisfaction (eg. affordable shipping, timely delivery), but also deliver a sustainable operation, understand what it can offer, and optimize it.

For the full discussion, check out the video below. You wouldn’t want to miss it!

About Lui Tong

Lui Tong is a strategic entrepreneur with great passion for helping businesses achieve success through innovation, technology enablement, change and growth management. As the current Director of Direct to Consumer at Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong, Lui Tong is responsible for “leading the world’s number one brand to connect directly with consumers” and to “evolve with the new & sustainable economy.” Prior to this, she also served as the Chief Operating Officer at the leading beauty online marketplace Strawberrynet, where she established an impressive cross-border e-commerce network. Lui Tong’s natural entrepreneurial instincts, combined with her extensive corporate and startup backgrounds, have earned her the “Top 50 Innovative Retail Leaders in Hong Kong” title back in 2017.

About Unpacking E-Commerce Logistics Series

Unpacking E-Commerce Logistics brings together some of the best experts in the e-commerce logistics and supply chain space to unpack key concepts from a variety of trending topics, ranging from the use of Artificial Intelligence in the industry to embracing hyperlocal delivery in the e-commerce world. An integral part of this series are our 30-minute long Fireside Chats where we ask our thought leaders questions about not just the topic at hand, but also their career paths, challenges they have faced, and even their future plans.

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