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K-pop megastars ‘bedazzle’ mega-sales, attract shoppers

E-commerce giants are increasing audience engagement during mega-sales like 11.11 by bringing in big names from the entertainment world to “bedazzle” their events, according to media intelligence firm Meltwater.

“Shoppertainment” or partnering with K-pop stars like Mamamoo, BTS, Twice, and Treasure has been an effective strategy, resulting in nearly 1 in every 5 online conversations about mega-sales revolving around these South Korean bands.

“Online shopping has become a natural way of life for Southeast Asian consumers now,” said Mimrah Mahmood, senior director and partner at Meltwater Asia Pacific, in a statement. “But fatigue from the pandemic is causing them to seek out more engagement and novelty in their purchase journey.”

According to a new guidebook by Meltwater aimed at retailers, “consumers today are not only driven by prices and discounts, they are also seeking deeper, more real-time engagement in their online shopping journey — and they’re being vocal about this.”

Titled Unlocking E-Commerce Success in Southeast Asia, the guidebook studied trends based on online conversations across the region.

Retailers were also advised to explore livestream shopping, with influencers producing over 1.4 million conversations about the products they promote as of October.

Supporting these findings is Shopee’s 2020 data, which showed a 2.5-time increase in annual livestream viewership on its platform.

The report concluded that the post-pandemic e-commerce surge is real, with brands needing to adapt and keep up with shifts in shopper preferences to remain relevant.

Mega-sale events like 11.11 are as popular as ever among consumers in Southeast Asia. Meltwater found that, as of October 2021, the topic of mega-sales garnered over half a million conversations online, mostly taking place on Twitter and peaking right before a sale.

Citing Facebook and Bain’s SYNC Southeast Asia report, the Meltwater guidebook said the 70 million new people that began online shopping since the start of the pandemic have allowed e-commerce to “establish its dominance in the world shopping order.”

It then posited that an immersive and interactive shopping experience has become necessary to win consumers’ attention, shown in the 213% jump in social media conversations about livestreaming this year.

“This presents both an opportunity and a challenge for retailers — and the key to success is to stay ahead of these trends to continue engaging and attracting shoppers,” Mr. Mahmood said.

Meltwater’s study tracked mentions of e-commerce-related topics from millions of posts across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tiktok, Reddit, blogs, forums, and online news sites between January 1 and October 14 using their media intelligence platform. — Bronte H. Lacsamana

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