Fulfillment service aids online businesses to expand reach awareness across nation – Science & Tech
Several clicks (or taps) and a brief wait, and your package is waiting for you at your doorstep.
Online shopping has become increasingly common in the last couple of years, and perhaps de rigueur in a time where staying home is the new going out.
Certainly, it is no surprise that the year 2020 saw a huge boom in e-commerce activities, which was a boon for both sellers and buyers. One of Indonesia’s domestic e-commerce platforms Tokopedia recorded an increase of more than 10 million monthly active users, with nearly 3 million new sellers listed on its platform since January 2020.
While more customers are busily scrolling and adding to their virtual shopping carts, what can a seller do to reach even more?
Beyond customer-oriented programs like cashbacks and free delivery, some e-commerce platforms are also actively encouraging sellers to grow alongside their customer base.
Tokopedia comes to mind naturally. The homegrown e-commerce giant’s fulfillment service, TokoCabang, enables sellers to improve efficiency by having more storage through smart warehouses across the country, while simultaneously expanding its capabilities to reach out to more customers in new locations.
The benefits are abundant, of course. Just ask Thomas Thaslim of Jakarta-based ST-Toms.
Cofounded with his brother Steven, ST-Toms began its journey in 2013, at a time when online selling was mostly relegated to online forums and messenger groups.
In an interview with The Jakarta Post, Thomas said the brothers had started by selling powerbanks, before approaching a brand and stocking its audio equipment. Now, the store stocks a wide range of electronics, from CCTV cameras to high-end audiophile headphones.
“In the forum days, buyers often doubted the usual payment methods of the era, which mostly comprised third-party services. Over time, we felt it was rather cumbersome and didn’t allow us to grow,” he recalled.
It was at that time that the brothers decided to join the e-commerce game, and in 2014 comfortably made their home on Tokopedia.
Their store grew along with Tokopedia, Thomas says, and the platform’s latest innovation TokoCabang is a blessing for ST-Toms.
“TokoCabang helps forward our products from one city to a wider audience. […] At first it was more of a side project, but as the data was positive, we began increasing the number of products in other locations.”
Aside from its home base of Jakarta, ST-Toms has since expanded its presence in other cities across Indonesia through TokoCabang, including Medan, North Sumatra; Makassar, South Sulawesi; Palembang, South Sumatra; and Bandung, West Java.
Thomas noted several attractive offers from TokoCabang when they first joined, like cashback programs and the waiving of inbound and storage fees, which he said was enticing for sellers to add more products through the service.
“From my perspective, there have been several significant changes since we joined TokoCabang. Firstly, we’ve become better known in other cities. […] In terms of branding, our presence became known in other cities like Medan or Surabaya, and we could also process same-day orders just like those in Jakarta,” he said.
Efficiency has also increased, as TokoCabang can also process orders at all times, which Thomas said was very helpful for sellers who opted to take a break at weekends.
Also a feature for sellers in TokoCabang is the ability to let the TokoCabang team handle product discussions, though Thomas said that ST-Toms’s in-house team usually handled them due to the products’ technical details.
“According to the year-end data for 2020, our sales are nearing an even 50-50 split for in-house and TokoCabang orders, which is mainly because some of our products are larger than the maximum dimensions allowed in TokoCabang,” Thomas explained, adding that ST-Toms’s products in TokoCabang locations were mainly fast-moving products in numerous quantities.
As for his favorite feature, Thomas said that when a customer input their default delivery address, Tokopedia would automatically show the nearest TokoCabang location.
“So if you are based in Jakarta, you will see the Jakarta-based ST-Toms, but if you move to an address in Bandung, you will see the Bandung-based store. This is very convenient for buyers who want to shop directly.”
TokoCabang also alleviated some of his worries about cash-on-delivery and fictitious orders.
“We were quite worried whether the products would be returned or not, as we could see that the address wasn’t valid. As time went on, we asked TokoCabang to trace the transaction, and it displayed comprehensive data that calmed our nerves.”
Overall, ST-Toms’s sales have been boosted through TokoCabang, helping it to handle more than 50 percent of its orders and it has now managed to generate a nearly 100 percent turnover increase compared with last year, which has in turn also been helped by the rise in e-commerce transactions throughout 2020.
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