Companies should take advantage of Vietnamese’s growing tendency to shop on mobile

July 1, 2016 | 09:52 am GMT+7

Mobile e-commerce (m-commerce) is set to boom in Vietnam in the upcoming years and companies need to forge plans to cash in on the growing popularity of this retail channel.


Data presented at the Vietnam Mobile Day 2016 event held in Hanoi last Saturday showed that m-commerce is on a steady trend of growth in Vietnam.
According to Google’s statistics, the percentage of Vietnamese using their smart phones to search for information has surpassed the percentage of people using their laptops to do so. In 2016, searches on fashion, accessories, books, and household electronic appliances on mobile have surpassed those from laptops. 
In addition, market research company Nielsen’s data showed that smartphone users accounted for 70 per cent of the urban population and 40 per cent of the rural population of Vietnam, and the percentage of those using their phones to shop surpassed 20 per cent in 2015. 
Data from the Vietnam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency (VECITA), working under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), showed that during the last Online Friday, the annual online shopping event held by the MoIT, 40 per cent of the orders were placed through mobile phones. 
The agency expects the percentage to continue growing and m-commerce to contribute a bigger portion of the country’s e-commerce revenue, as the price of devices is decreasing, 3G and 4G is more widely available, and technologies that serve m-commerce, from payment to logistics, are developing. 
Experts at the event therefore advised companies not to miss out on the opportunities brought about by this retail channel, by making their websites more mobile-accessible, enabling easier payment options for mobile phone users, and using mobile marketing to their advantage.
“Companies cannot ignore mobile e-commerce as a retail channel,” said Dang Thuy Ha, director of Consumer Insights at Nielsen.
“Besides creating trust in your customers by selling exactly what you advertise, you have to understand customers and their behaviour. What products do they need? And through what channels do they approach you?” 
“Nielsen’s data shows that customers are more likely to search for brands instead of product types. Some goods are more likely to be bought on mobile than on laptop, such as food.
Moreover, two things that customers really care about are special offers (discounts and coupons) and best-selling items. Thus, companies should promote their brand and know what information to prioritise on their sites,” she said.
Nguyen Huu Tuan, head of the office of e-commerce management at the VECITA, said compliance with regulations in the field makes companies more prestigious to customers.
“As of now, according to Circular 59/2015/TT-BCT managing e-commerce on mobile devices, companies have to register their products and services.
When companies register their products and services, if there is dispute with customers we have a basis to help protect customers’ rights,” he said.
He added that to support the development of m-commerce, the VECITA was compiling a plan to grow e-commerce in the 2016-2020 period. Based on this plan, each locality is going to have specific support programmes for companies.
“There will be training and information sessions on e-commerce and support for companies to build their websites,” he said.
Vietnam Mobile Day 2016, the sixth instalment of the biggest annual event on mobile technology in Vietnam, included presentations from CEOs and founders of numerous mobile technology companies about their experience in investment, developing their products and services as well as marketing.
Furthermore, seminars were held by regulatory bodies on government policies regarding mobile technology. This year the focus was on m-commerce. 
The event saw the participation of about 5,000 people working in mobile technology, students, and investors in its two completed legs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The third leg is going to be held in Danang on July 2.