Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Property developers embrace e-commerce for sales boost

Jul 08. 2019
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By Somluck Srimalee
The Nation

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Amid high competition and evolving consumer behaviour, most property companies have turned to e-commerce platforms for the launch and pre-sales of their projects, a Nation survey has found.

In a bid to spur sales as market growth declines, Ananda Development Plc has jumped on the online shopping platform Shopee to boost bookings of its condominium units. 

Pruksa Real Estate Plc has also joined up with Shopee for its residential projects while Sansiri Plc is collaborating with Lazada, another e-commerce platform, to boost sales in the rest of the year.

Homebuyer behaviour has changed, especially among Gen C consumers growing up with digital technology who tend to shop online, boosting e-commerce transactions, said Ananda Development Plc’s chief executive officer, Chanond Ruangkritya. 

“In line with market trend, we have remodelled our sales and distribution channel through the partnership with Shopee, offering homebuyers convenience in booking our condominium projects,” Chanond said.

Pruksa Real Estate Plc’s executive vice president, Angkana Likhitchanyakul, said the company had opened its Pruksa Official Shop account on the Shopee e-commerce platform as a sales channel for residential units.

“As consumers shift online for most of their purchases, we need to follow the trend to sustain growth,” she said.

Sansiri Plc has opened Sansiri Official Store, at LazMall by Lazada e-commerce platform, to boost residential sales.

Sansiri Plc’s assistant executive vice president-project manager, Piti Jarukamjorn, said this was the first time booking of the company’s products were offered on an e-commerce platform, after seeing potential homebuyers going online for information and showing interest in bookings.

“Collaboration with Lazada will expand our business in e-commerce and a new step in developing a marketing strategy ,” Piti said.

Lazada (Thailand)’s chief marketing officer, Thanida Suiwatana, said after the opening of the Sansiri Official Store at Lazada in June last year that it had recorded 4,500 visitors and 500 clicks, adding, “We believe e-commerce is the new channel for residential units.” 

The latest report by the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), under the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, showed that Thai e-commerce led growth in the Asean region last year, thanks to marked changes in consumer behaviour. The total value of e-commerce in Thailand last year was expected to reach Bt3.2 trillion. 

The number of internet users has expanded four times over the past 10 years, and many Thai international platforms have expanded to facilitate the growing number of online shoppers, along with increasing confidence in ePayment and faster logistics and delivery services, ETDA said.

Service providers have embraced Big Data to analyse the behaviour and needs of consumers, while artificial intelligence is being used to develop the quality of products and services through the use of Chatbots.

Trends show that growth will continue with the arrival of 5G, creating new innovations to further lift the quality of life for consumers.

Surangkana Wayuparp, president of ETDA, said the results of its surveys showed that the value of e-commerce in Thailand was growing consistently between 8 to10 per cent per year. 

“ETDA has been collecting these statistics since 2014. There were only 16.1 million internet users in 2008 compared to 45.2 million users in 2017. This reflects the shift in consumers’ behaviour as a result of changes in technology and communication devices, as well as the reduction in their prices and service fees, leading to online access for more people," she said. 

“Thailand is a country with considerable strength in the B2C sector and is a leader among Asean nations,” Surangkana added.

Before property firms switched to e-commerce platforms, most would open online bookings on their websites. The move was the first step for property firms to widen their distribution channels. 

Sansiri Plc began offering the online option for bookings on Lazada during pre-sales in June 2018. 

That year, the company recorded Bt2 billion in pre-sales through the online process, out of a total value of Bt48.5 billion, said the company’s chief technology officer, Tawicha Trakulyingyong.

AP (Thailand) Plc offered online bookings for five projects last year, amounting to 10 per cent of 6,422 units launched last year. All 650 units offered online were sold, racking in Bt3.15 billion through the channel. The fastest online booking of its projects was the sell-out in two minutes of the 112 units in the Life One Wireless. 

Ananda Development Plc first offered online booking for eight condominium projects in 2017-18, bringing in Bt3.58 billion in revenue with the fastest sell-out being 52 units within an hour of opening. 

“The country’s economy is geared towards speed in purchases and services. Property firms should develop a marketing process, especially a sales system, that works continuously,” Tawicha added.

According to data analytics on customer behaviours, the fastest time to book through an app or online is less than a second. But if a consumer stays on the web or app for more than five minutes, he/she is not likely to buy, Tawicha said.

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