The rush to win advertising’s untapped $100B opportunity

Cynthia Luo
Jan 19, 2022

Shopee, the leading ecommerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, announced its latest batch of Shopee Media Agency Partners (SMAP) to join its certified cohort of skilled ecommerce and advertising partners that include Omnicom Media Group and Dentsu Aegis Network. 

As ecommerce continues to grow in popularity, especially in emerging markets, more online sellers are crowding the most popular online destinations by traffic volume: the marketplaces like Shopee and Lazda. In 2021, search volumes for merchant- and seller-related queries across Southeast Asia increased by 3-18x versus only five years ago. 

Google eConomy Report 2021

The rise in ecommerce presents both an opportunity and challenge for sellers and retailers.

A challenge for sellers as large multinational corporations and SMBs struggle to stand out in a sea of similar products each cheaper than the next. An opportunity for retailers who generate more and more ad revenue as advertising directly on their platforms (aka retail media) becomes more attractive to not only measure ROAS but also capture shoppers with high intent to buy. 

Post-2020, all the top “bid & buy” marketplaces offered in-platform advertising capabilities in efforts to grab more of the $100 billion retail media opportunity as predicted by BCG in 2021. 

cr: Epsilo

This is where SMAP steps in.  

Doing ecommerce well in today’s competitive online landscape 

Uploading product photos, setting low prices, bidding on a couple of keywords and running discounts from time to time isn’t good enough anymore to compete in today’s competitive online landscape. 

Launching an online shop in the present day also means having fresh promotions every campaign, conducting engaging live-streams, shipping on time, activating in-platform chat and push notifications but most importantly, testing & bidding on hundreds if not thousands of keyword ads to ensure all of the products show up in search results seen by the right shopper. 

The problem is many ecommerce teams are already overstretched or are unfamiliar with retail media so they need to either rely on external sources such as provided by a Shopee Agency Partner or incorporate technology to their daily operations to boost productivity. 

A Google-commissioned 2021 SEA Digital Merchant survey found that over 3,000 digital merchants are likely to increase the usage of digital tools over the next five years, especially for digital marketing. 

Google eConomy Report 2021

Epsilo, leading ecommerce optimisation software provider, is part of SMAP’s 2022 cohort and a prime example of a digital tool to improve digital marketing performance. The company founded in 2019 worked with only a handful of large enterprise clients like P&G and Reckitt who were first to retail media, but in the last year, has witnessed a rise in demand for their software from SMBs and ecommerce enablers who use the company’s software to boost team productivity for clients.   

“As ecommerce becomes the norm and digital advertising costs come down, multinational companies and SMBs are on an even playing field. How a seller stands out from the crowd is based on how well they can use the tools available to them to maximize Shopee MyAds performance for example. This is why you consistently see SMBs rank at the top of search results to capture most of the share of search or digital shelf space,” says Cynthia Luo, Head of Marketing at Epsilo, ecommerce optimisation software provider. 

“2021 was a pivotal year for Epsilo as we opened our SaaS solution to SMBs due to the growing demand for automation and programmatic. We generated over $230m in GMV for our clients last year and now have users in 48 countries across four continents proving the demand for better, smarter in-platform advertising and overall ecommerce operations is not only a Southeast Asian development.”  

Image cr: Tim Gouw & Steven Lelham

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