The era of digital disruption has seen businesses adopt innovative strategies to fulfil customers’ needs – but consumer behaviour is also undergoing rapid change.
That shift inspired the launch of NocNoc, a Thai marketplace platform that collects construction materials and provides services.
Its founders aim to make it the most comprehensive market in the Kingdom for construction materials and home decorations, while also “unlocking the buyer-seller connection in the digital age”.
There are many industrial players trying to help customers get a grip on their ever-changing behaviour. But the construction industry faces a big hurdle – renovating or building a new house is hard for consumers, says Chonlak Mahasuvirachai, co-founder and CEO of BetterBe Marketplace, the developer of NocNoc.
These complexities lead to higher costs, and time wasted not only in the construction process itself, but also in the details of finding contractors, creating designs, and buying products, she explains. To solve that pain point, the firm created NocNoc, an online marketplace that enables consumers to conveniently choose products, compare prices, and try out sample products before clicking on the shopping cart under a one-stop service platform.
The company also provides contractor services and a professional shipping system, starting first with the major cities in each region and with future plans to distribute across the country.
Chonlak, who has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, says her platform differs from other platforms in eliminating the middleman and allowing sellers to offer their best products on the site, while buyers make the decision.
In addition, the NocNoc platform is designed for individuals and allows artificial intelligence-based customisation to ensure customers view more suitable products for a personalised fit, says Jeff Booth, a co-founder and the executive director of BetterBe Marketplace.
“When there is more choice [from sellers] consumers will have more power [to choose],” Booth says.
Consumers’ behaviours and the variety of their needs have increased tremendously and therefore BetterBe Marketplace sees a business opportunity in marketing construction materials that align with helping people recover their purchasing power.
According to Chonlak, the retail market trend for construction materials and furniture has grown to some Bt480 billion for the housing sector.
In parallel, consumers are also increasingly demanding an expansion of their household purchasing power for home construction and repair.
Launched last week, the company targets to have up to 500,000 users and to collect products exceeding 50,000 stock-keeping units by the end of this year, including through product category expansion and through adding more services on the platform.
The NocNoc platform offers products and services grouped into three categories – flooring, walls and furniture.
So far, it has received good feedback from sellers with more than 60 of them, including one or two of the largest firms, putting their products on the NocNoc website, Chonlak said.
“We found that both domestic and overseas manufacturers want to get access to consumers,” she says.
The firm also aims to expand the platform to serve the entire Southeast Asia region by 2025, according to Booth, who was a co-founder of BuildDirect, an online marketplace for heavyweight home-improvement products headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
Booth says NocNoc hopes to play an essential role to create the ecosystem for a construction materials industry in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.
“This will help to build a network and alliance among construction materials manufacturers, merchants, as well as construction contractors,” he says.
He notes the development will go to three main groups – buyers, who will be able to select a variety of products at reasonable prices; sellers, who could increase sales channels, expand the customer base and better understand customers’ behaviour; and service providers, who will have the opportunity to build their reputations and identities on the online platform, as well as being able to reach more customers.
Booth declined to say when the platform would be expanded to the Southeast Asia market. It needs to prove itself first in the Thai market before a decision on which countries in this region to next enter.
“It depends on the suppliers, where they want to go,” he says.
“We truly believe that in the future, NocNoc will be a platform that plays a significant driving force for the construction materials industry. We are ready to become a leader in construction materials platforms in Thailand and Southeast Asia by 2025,” says Booth.