As digitalisation becomes popular in Myanmar, more and more people could change their shopping behaviour – from visiting traditional stores to buying things online – within a few years.
This would create massive opportunities for local e-commerce platforms including rgo47, according to Aye Chan, chief strategic officer of Royal Golden Owls Co which runs the platform.
“This [e-commerce] is a very competitive industry. If we look at the market growth forecast, we believe Myanmar is going to move in that direction and we want to be an integral part of this growth,” he said.
Aye Chan said, citing the figures released by international organisations, that Myanmar’s e-commerce market is currently less than 0.01 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). He believes the market will grow tenfold to 0.1 per cent of GDP in the next two or three years.
“The e-commerce market here is going to grow ten times, so we want to grow that much. We believe there will always be a roof at the top for those who try their very best,” he said, without giving exact figures due to business confidentiality reasons.
“We have our own internal target but it depends on the overall market’s movement. As long as we are riding along the e-commerce market move, we will still be a big player here.”
He said consumer spending on e-commerce platforms is always on the rise, as Myanmar’s economy grows and the direction moves from traditional shops to online stores. He expects that to significantly increase in the near future.
“It is not so much correlated with what type of government we are having. It is all about the transition of retail. The transition is taking place, just like in other countries. E-commerce will grow and develop, as the sizeable market is there. It is just a matter of whether people want to be inside the market or not,” he said.
Regardless of whether or not GDP will grow in the years to come, Aye Chan expects to see a much bigger e-commerce market thanks to people’s behavioural change.
The company started its commercial operations in late 2012 in cooperation with two Ministries for the nationwide yearlong promotion of the 27th Southeast Asia (SEA) Games held the following year. With the success of RGO branding, the company launched its online marketplace in April 2014 and changed its name to rgo47.
“We are very proud of our history, as the official SEA Games souvenirs sponsor and we are eager to contribute to the country’s fledging e-commerce sector,” he said.
The platform has now become the No.1 online fashion marketplace with a stellar reputation for ensuring customer satisfaction. It now has nearly 3 million followers on Facebook and thousands of users on its website and mobile application, which can be accessible via Android and iOS. The majority of its customers buy things through their Facebook page using Android phones, the executive said.
“We try to ensure that we offer attractive products at the best price. We continue to expand into other segments while maintaining our top position in the e-fashion market here,” he said.
The bestsellers on the platform are fashion wear and accessories thanks to the family’s commercial background. Household products are also popular on the website. The company sells its own products and also provides a marketplace where everybody can sell any product.
“Individual merchants do e-commerce in their own ways, and this may be expensive. If they place their products on rgo47, it would be the most cost-effective way of going into e-commerce for most of the merchants,” he said.
When asked about the most promising items in the future, Aye Chan said, “The market has still not stabilised, and is evolving. So, if merchants feel that certain products are being sold quickly, they will put more of those products onto our marketplace.”
People’s trust will mainly drive the company’s growth in the long term, as the team tries to overcome challenges from staffing to inventories every day. The company focuses on improving its competency at all times in order to catch up with the regional development.
“Marketing in general is always evolving in e-commerce. Our strategy cannot simply arouse the users’ interest only but also we must encourage the general adoption of the e-commerce platform,” he said.
Currently, the majority of the payments are on “cash on delivery” basis, though the company also accepts some digital payment systems.
The company has planned to promote its brand through the “rgo47 123” campaign for the upcoming Christmas and New Year period, where customers can get big discounts on its platform.
“It means that you will get a big discount when you buy things on our platform for the first time. You will get more discounts for your second purchase, and will get the maximum discount if you purchase for the third time. You can buy multiple times during this period to enjoy more benefits,” he said.