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|Sapo is becoming one of prevalent solution providers among retailers when the market are gradually shifting to online|
Most recently, Sapo Technology JSC, which provides multichannel e-commerce management tools for online sellers, has completed its latest funding round and received seven-digit investment (in US dollars) from South Korean Smilegate Investment and Vietnamese Teko Ventures. The firm will use the funds to develop and strengthen its payment and financing services.
According to Dung Le, director of growth at Sapo, the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing have led consumers to make online purchases more frequently instead of buying in store. Vendors also had to follow government regulations and temporarily closed physical stores, as well as prepared masks and hand sanitiser for shippers, while ensuring minimum distance between customers and staff.
On the other hand, they stock on-demand products and increase selling on social media and online marketplaces. This creates additional demand for omnichannel sales management software like Sapo.
Additionally, EcomEasy, a startup providing marketing and sales solutions for e-commerce has also received funding from Viet Valley Ventures. It focuses on e-commerce and live streaming tech to help more brands increase sales through multiple e-commerce platforms and different means of shopping, from image-based advertising to keyword optimisation and then live streaming.
Nguyen Tran Bich Ngoc, CEO and co-founder of EcomEasy said that the move from offline to online goes faster than ever before. The annual growth rate of online shopping is 25 per cent, based on a Nielsen study from 2019, while in 2020 it is estimated to reach above 30 per cent. At some brand partners of EcomEasy where the online channel usually contributes 3 per cent of total retail sales, in the first quarter and in the middle of the second quarter of 2020 this figure increased to 5 per cent.
“We help brands make e-commerce easier. In particular, we help them set up their official stores on platforms like Shopee, Lazada, Tiki, or Sendo – even Alibaba. Then we help manage these stores to sell and run marketing campaigns to get new customers and get sales for brands through reasonable investment,” Ngoc explained.
Julien Brun, managing partner of CEL Consulting highlighted four critical factors for success for online distribution service providers to scale up their presence. According to him, these companies need to ensure data integrity because a system is as good as the data these companies put into it. Additionally, solution providers should provide forecasting capabilities by using historical data to foresee what could happen in the near future, which is a feature that will become more and more popular.
Furthermore, most solutions offer a lot of various modules that tend to be rather limited and sometimes unusable. Most of these companies will have to figure out what in their solution portfolio has more usage, more value add, and focus on these specific capabilities instead of trying to cover a wide amount of functions. Also, the ability to integrate to other cloud-based solutions seamlessly is necessary.
These solutions are comparable to Kiotviet's, which has been in the business for a while and has a large customer base already. Other foreign players like Odoo (more focused on enterprise resource planning with multi-channel capabilities), Atemiscloud (more focused on client relationship management) or more established ones like Oracle are also present in the market, yet no clear leader nor innovator can be identified at this stage.