[Event Recap] Insights and Learnings from eTail Asia 2019, Singapore

March 8, 2019
Akash Jain
Written by:
Akash Jain
eTail Asia 2019

Vinculum attended eTail Asia 2019, an Asian eCommerce and digital marketing conference, as an associate sponsor.

Date: 05-07 March 2019
Venue: Sheraton Towers, Singapore

The event saw a huge footfall of 400+ brands, retailers, online pure plays and technology vendors. The conference was highly insightful with 100+ thought leading speaker sessions and 45+ peer-to-peer discussions.

Vinculum’s agenda at the event was to help brands succeed at cross-border e-commerce. To achieve this agenda, Vinculum conducted a cross-border masterclass/workshop that provided the participants with deep insights on opportunities, challenges and strategies to win at cross-border e-commerce.

Workshop Title: Scaling Brands Globally Through Online Marketplaces – Challenges & Opportunities

Cross-Border Workshop

Customers today are shopping across multiple sales channels and devices. Many nimble brands are using powerful digital marketing and collaboration with online channels to make a name for themselves. Some of the brands are also successfully tapping into selling cross-border.

This has presented larger brands with a challenge of retaining customer loyalty while countering increased competition and price/profitability pressures.

The situation presents a fantastic opportunity for some of the brands to be present where customers shop, use modern tools and technologies to increase their customer base, engage better and to dominate the omnichannel market.

eTail Asia Insights

Through this workshop, Abhishek Mitra, Global Business Head – Cross-Border, Vinculum Group and Suhrid Devsharma, Fashion Industry Expert and Mentor discussed the following points on cross-border e-commerce:

  • Industry Overview
  • Opportunities
  • Challenges & Enablers
  • Winning Strategy

Now, let us quickly take you through key takeaways for each discussion point.

Industry Overview

  • E-Commerce growth is outstripping traditional retail and is poised to own a much larger share of wallet. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 20.6%
  • E-commerce share of global retail business will increase by over 7 percentage points within a span of four years
  • While China, USA and Western Europe still dominate the market, the increasing number of users in Asia give hope for brands keen on expanding to this region
  • Asian, African and South American countries are showing strong growth, propelled by large populations, increasing aspirations and easy access to mobile technology
  • The fastest growing regions are Asia-Pacific & India, Latin America, Middle East & Africa. Mature markets like North America and Western Europe are still growing in value terms, but plateauing in number of users


  • Major growth drivers in cross-border e-commerce are:
    • Global rise in internet connectivity
    • Rising cross-border internet traffic
    • Increase in online sales channels
    • Widening range of digitally tradeable products
    • Technological advancements aiding in trade of goods
  • Categories that will benefit most from cross-border e-commerce should have:
    • Low entry barriers
    • Competitive advantage
    • Ease in handling & transportation
    • Fitment with the local market
  • Research shows that over half the buyers shop for clothes and shoes, followed closely by electronics, books & entertainment, beauty products and fashion accessories
  • Country-wise major marketplaces to target in cross-border e-commerce are:
    • North AmericaAmazon, eBay, Etsy, Wish, New Egg, Linio, Mercado
    • South America – Amazon, Americanas, Mercado, Linio, Extra, Submarino
    • Europe – Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Zalando, Otto, Bol, Rakuten
    • UAE – Souq, Noon, Namshi, Wadi, Avok
    • India – Amazon, Flipkart, ShopClues, Nykaa, Myntra, Snapdeal
    • North Asia – AliExpress, JingDong (JD), Taobao, Tmall Global, XiaoHongShu, Amazon Japan, Rakuten, Ebay Korea
    • Southeast AsiaLazada, Shopee, Zalora, Qoo10, 11street, eBay
    • Australia & New Zealand – Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Trade Me, Graysonline, Catch, Asos

Challenges and Enablers

  • Important considerations while going cross-border are:
    • Selecting the right markets and channels to target
    • What and how to sell in a foreign country
    • Language and cultural considerations
  • Major challenges while going cross-border are:
    • Market entry barrier
    • Technology enablement
    • Logistics concerns and returns handling
    • Local & legal compliances
    • Receiving payments
  • Key enablers of cross-border e-commerce are:
    • Localized content and marketing
    • Choice of partners
    • Technology enablement

Winning strategy

There are different business models used by progressive brands to win at cross-border commerce. Some of these include:

  • Working with local manufacturers and suppliers for procurement
  • Outsourcing overseas operations to partners
  • Using logistics platforms offered by marketplaces to enable brands and retailers to manage the supply chain overseas
  • Using specialized marketplaces overseas to reach targeted customers faster
  • Working with specialized brand distributors who represent the brands for all online and offline channels and offer complete localized services for a share of the revenue

To get deep insights on how you can tap into the huge potential of cross-border e-commerce, download Vinculum and eTail Asia’s co-branded report “Winning at Cross-Border eCommerce – Growth, Trends, Opportunities and Strategy in 2019”.

The boom in e-commerce has spurred the emergence and growth of cross-border e-commerce, and more brands are now selling products across borders through online or offline channels. See how Vinculum can help you uncover business opportunities in cross-border e-commerce.

Author Bio:
An MBA marketing graduate from IIM, Akash Jain works at Vinculum group, where he manages product marketing, content and social media marketing. An ardent learner of new things, he is passionate about scaling up marketing operations, implementing new-age marketing automation and customer psyche.

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