Nearly half of the e-commerce in south-east Asian countries such as Thailand takes place via social media or chat rooms on Facebook, WhatsApp, or the social media app of the Softbank Group Line Corp. Social trade accounted for about 44 percent of the $109 billion e-commerce market in Southeast Asia last year, according to Bain & Co.

Consumer concerns about Social Media

Consumer concerns about human trafficking and business interactions fuel a social trade boom in Southeast Asia, in contrast to the United States or even China’s neighbors, where most internet shopping is done through established platforms run by companies such as InC. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

In Southeast Asia, consumer concern for trafficking and business interaction fuel a social trade boom, which is quite different from the US or even China’s neighbours, in which the internet shopping of most consumers is done via established platforms run by companies such as InC. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

In social trade, customers can talk directly to store staff or owners about prices and sales, and relationships created through personal conversations have helped to boost their popularity.

On a weekend night, Proyrungtong, the co-owner of Vivin social Grocery, received a message from one of its clients via the store’s official messages asking whether their double-douche sandwich was available. The owner reportedly confirmed the availability of the duck, quickly completed the sale, confirmed payment receipt with a bank transfer and arranged for the collection at the store, all through messages.

“We have seen the need to shift social online and have a competitive platform that people can easily purchase,” she added, she said, adding that customer management can be challenging.

“You need somebody to accommodate your customers and know your product,” said Proyrungtong. “Therefore, it’s not just channeled to sell but people to take care of them as well.”

“Chat trade has become a social disruptive business,” he said. “Not only do SMEs conduct chat business online, but also global and local corporate brands.”

Social Media Marketplace

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