The Founder and Managing Partner of Qualgro Asean Fund will appear in a Fireside Chat at Echelon Thailand 2015 on November 26-27
“They are getting smarter,” he says. “Thanks to social networks, they now have greater access to information and opinion about brands, products, and services.”
The greater access to information has made Southeast Asian consumers more picky about products and services. On the other hand, Chhor admits they are still into discounts.
“Basically they are looking [for] more value [for] the money they spend,” he explains.
Here he gives advice on how to build a successful startup – starting with how you can attract investors into funding your business.
Sustainable customer loyalty is paramount
There are several key points that founders need to keep in mind when trying to build a successful business. In the context of e-commerce, it is strongly related to what consumers can get when they are browsing your site.
“When people are doing online shopping, they do not just look for information. Shopping online itself is also seen as an experience,” Chhor says. “It adds value beyond the product itself.”
Another important point to note is related to consumer sustainability — basically what investors are looking at in the companies they want to invest in.
“It’s no longer sufficient to rely on the number of downloads of your apps. You really need to create transactions on your site in order to be attractive to your investors,” he says.
He adds that there is a new meaning to consumer loyalty, which is having consumers spending regularly on your website. A startup’s understanding of the reasons why consumers are transacting on its site is the key to sustainable consumer loyalty.
“[Growing] scale is very important, though without profitability, after year four or five in a startup’s journey it will not be enough,” he warns. “Also be very careful with marketing cost, as it relates to the company’s cash flow.”
When asked what is urgently needed in the region at the moment, Chhor’s answer is firm: Southeast Asia needs more technology-based innovation.
“Not just a localised version of existing models in the US or Europe, which is good enough, but we need to do better,” he explains.
In order to achieve that, there are several steps that both founders and investors need to take.
Apart from continuing to nurture real technical skills, Chhor also believes that there should be a stronger connection between startups and universities or research centres with support from the government.
“Startups need more than just their founding team capabilities. They also need to utilise years of research,” he says in conclusion.
Image Credit: Heang Chhor
Want to hear more from Heang Chhor? He will be speaking at Echelon Thailand this November 26 – 27. Join us as we connect the Mekong region through Bangkok, Thailand in two action-packed days. Learn more about Echelon Thailand here.
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