4 Reasons Why Indonesian Are Social Online Shoppers

This article originally posted @Okbaai

Indonesians digital behavior have some uniqueness that may be is totally difference with other country. One of Indonesians is hardcore fans for social online shopping. It’s seemed weird and strange in logical point of view, because of course it won’t be practical at all, both for buyer and seller. The definition of social online shopping is transaction trough social media, forums, and messenger. In Indonesia it’s very common buy fashion, furniture even Hermes bags trough Facebook, Instagram, Forum or BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). I have read the story of upper class Moms bought this Hermes bag trough BBM groups. The sellers have more than one groups, since BBM Group only for 30 peoples. Because you should do everything manually, from transfer, check the data, confirmation etc. But this is the most popular type of online transactions in Indonesia.

Source: Indonesia’s Ecommerce Landscape 2014: Insights to One of Asia’s Pacific Fastest Growing Market by Singapore Post Limited

Also Read: Why Indonesian Love Path?

There is a lot of reasons and background for these cases. I will give you the context and the reasons why Indonesians do that, and mostly segment who buy trough social platform.

Indonesian People Still in Transition from Offline to Online Customers

I have an interesting finding several years ago when I did home visit research. I asked the Moms who became our source of information, why they bought fashion trough Facebook? I asked her if she knew OLX, Zalora etc. She said she know it, even she knew that bought in conventional online store sometime cheaper, but she prefer bought trough Facebook because she can asked a lot of questions, She can knew the seller, and make a friend with them.

The point is this type of consumers still in transitions, they cannot trust seller if they don’t know with whom they do this transactions. They usually buy something, and interact with real people in offline. They still worry that it is a scam. It’s about psychological issues.

Indonesian Consumers Need Social Approval about What They Bought

One of the characteristic of Indonesian consumers is we need social approval. We are not independent consumers that buy something especially related to fashion, just because we like it. We need advice and input from others, if it’s fit on us or not. If you buy trough social media, you ask the sellers if it’s fit to him/her.

This is look so simple but this is very important, and one of the reasons why there are still a lot of people buys trough social media. We need the human touch, and the interaction with the seller. It’s the experience that you can’t get in conventional online shopping sites such as Zalora, Lazada etc.

Shopping is Part of Social Pressure, You Should Have What Your Peers Have It, and You Should Buy Something that Your Friends Sell

This behavior actually already exist long time ago offline, when you know about Arisan, that already part of Indonesian woman cultures. They will bring something to sell during Arisan sessions. The other members will buy, usually in Arisan trough installment. They will buy it because they don’t want to look poor and don’t have money, or feel guilty if they don’t buy from their friends. You buy something in their mindset means help their friends, sometimes they don’t need it. But they can’t refuse to buy, because it will hurt relationship.

This type of behavior than is transformed in digital era with sells and buys something trough groups, usually in Facebook groups or BBM groups. No wonder if you can sell Hermes easily sold out just in five minutes trough BBM groups.

Indonesian Customers Don’t Read, They Just Want Ask Question and People Serve Them

The characteristic of conventional online shopping sites may be simple and easy for you that already familiar with online shopping. You already know the logic etc. But for the majority of Indonesian customers it is a frustrating journey, they don’t familiar with step by step of shopping chart until payment. This is look so complicated. If you think, of course they just can open the FAQ or How to Shop Guide, you must understand Indonesian don’t want to read all this thingy.

They prefer ask something, and people serve them. It’s what happens when you buy trough social platform. You just asked everything, the seller was standby help you, and you just transfer the money, and sellers will send the products. It’s more humanize and easier for their mindset. I talked with a lot of people who run conventional online shopping sites, they will do phone call to abandon cart customers, and what happen mostly they are clueless what’s next to payment step. The customer care should guide them until the end of payment process trough phone call.


Tuhu Nugraha Dewanto

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Upnormals Pingfans

Penulis Buku Best Seller “WWW.HM Defining Your Digital Strategy”

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