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Retail

Thai e-commerce firm JD Central to ramp up seller support amid pandemic

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s JD Central plans to expand infrastructure and technology to support sellers after the coronavirus pandemic has boosted sales at the e-commerce platform, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: A sign of China's e-commerce company JD.com is seen at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2016 in Shanghai, China, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

JD Central, a venture between China’s JD.com Inc and Thai retailer Central Group, said consumer behaviour changed rapidly, but sellers including brands and retailers had not been able to keep up with the digital transformation.

“You need to build the warehouse, logistics, a huge system of solutions to help,” Vincent Yang said in an interview.

JD Central will launch an app later this year to help sellers take their businesses online, he said.

Sellers can use the app for back-end solutions, to integrate with their offline operations and sell on the JD Central marketplace or other platforms, like social media.

The app could also contribute to JD Central’s revenue.

“In the future, JD Central could make money from technologies, not just e-commerce,” he said.

Thailand is well-known for online shoppers buying directly from merchants through social media platforms like Instagram.

JD Central competes with Alibaba’s Lazada and Sea Ltd’s Shopee in Thailand.

Currently, half of the company’s revenue came from its own merchandising and the remainder from a marketplace for brands and retailers.

JD Central saw a 500% year-on-year jump in sales in the first half of the year, driven by sales of consumer electronics and home appliances.

Growth were partially driven by coronavirus-related lockdowns in March and Thai consumers turning more towards e-commerce.

Rather than focus on marketing to drive traffic, the company was developing technologies to support revenue growth, he said.

“Traffic is not high, but real sales are high,” he said, adding that the average basket size was 2,500 baht ($80) and the platform had a repeat customer rate of 70%.

In June, it rolled out another app that allows customers to share products offerings with friends and earn a commission if a referral led to a sale.

($1 = 31.3600 baht)

Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Ed Davies

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