Forty per cent of Cotton On’s Australian ecommerce sales now come through buy, now, pay later channels like Afterpay. While in Malaysia the preferred payment method is cash on delivery, which accounts for 40 per cent of Cotton On payments.

The difference in payment preferences in Asia Pacific is just one factor retailers need to navigate when looking for opportunities in the fastest growing ecommerce market in the world.

Speaking at the Salesforce Connection event in Chicago today, Brendan Sweeney, General Manager – eCommerce, Cotton On Group, shared key data points which illustrated the different strategies required to tackle different markets in Asia Pacific.

“In places like China you’ve got WeChat and Alipay but in a lot of the markets people either don’t trust online payments or they don’t have credit cards. So being able to access that has been really important to us,” Sweeney said.

“Last month we also added cash on delivery and that’s now about 20 per cent of our payment types.”

While in Australia, the buy now, pay later channels are booming.

“What we are seeing in the more developed markets in Australia and New Zealand is huge growth in buy now, pay later… 40 per cent of our payments in Australia are on buy now, pay later,” Sweeney said.

The Australian fast fashion retailer and has expanded globally over the last decade. Within APAC Cotton On now has 10 different localised ecommerce sites across the region, as well as a store footprint.

Cotton On has rolled out an online store stock checker and click and collect to link its digital and physical channels.

“In Singapore 52 per cent of our online orders last week were click and collect. It’s absolutely massive in the environment where stores will open up at 10pm at night and a lot of people live in apartments. It’s a hugely important way to drive footfall.”

According to Sweeney half of those customers are brand new to online shopping and one in three buy something else when they go in store to collect an order.

Across the region, consumer expectations around mobile experience are high. Cotton On re-platformed to mobile last year, and it now accounts for 70 per cent of traffic and mobile sales are in the mid-60s “and continue to grow.”

“It’s critical to get that right and now we are in a world where our mobile conversion is the same as our desktop conversion,” Sweeney said.

A tale of many markets

During the presentation James Johnson, Director Industry Strategy, Retail & Consumer Goods, Salesforce shared data from eMarketer which

“APAC is a tale of very many markets, with a population of 4.5 billion consumers, varying levels of market maturity and technological maturity, but a lot of growth happening,” Johnson said.

The region is significant due to its size and growth, the largest retail market in the world, and growing at double to rate of North American retail sales, drawing on eMarketer data.

“From an ecommerce perspective the majority of growth is going to happen in China and India for the next three years – the Indian ecommerce market is going to double in size by 2022,” Johnson said.

In the South East Asian countries, Johnson noted Indonesia is coming online very rapidly, experiencing 45 per cent year-on-year growth in some of their sectors.

Although there are big distinctions across each APAC geography, consumers are very comfortable using mobile devices for browsing and buying.

According to Johnson, the majority of consumer interactions in APAC will be mobile-first or mobile only.

66 per cent of traffic to ecommerce sites are from mobiles, according to Salesforce data, versus 62 per cent globally. And 52 per cent of transactions are mobile.

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