Big C leads the charge into cyber commerce
The French-owned Big C Supercenter Plc recently announced it would be launching an e-commerce website to take advantage of the growing popularity of online shopping in Thailand and the ASEAN region.
Big C, which operates a bracket of malls and smaller mini-marts across Thailand, has spent 110 million baht on their new e-commerce website, which has been put together by Cdiscount, an e-commerce operator based in France.
Cdiscount is a subsidiary of the Casino Group, a French hypermarket chain which also owns Big C Supercenter Plc. The French giant is also the operator of Casino Vietnam, another supermarket chain in the ASEAN-member nation.
The e-commerce website will be launched both in Thailand and Vietnam simultaneously under the Cdiscount brand.
Casino Group created Cdiscount just over a decade ago and so its managerial and marketing experience in the ever-growing e-commerce market will be invaluable to both Casino Group in Vietnam and Big C in Thailand.
Currently, e-commerce in Thailand is growing, but is still only estimated to be turning over 130 billion baht per annum. This is expected to rise exponentially in the next few years as more and more locals start to see the benefits and advantages of shopping online.
Presently the numbers of Thai-run or Thai-based businesses engaged in serious e-commerce activity is quite limited, but this will undoubtedly change, especially as the bigger and better-known operators set up websites to tap into the market.
With the advent of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015, cross-border shopping online could well prove a bonus for all those companies prepared to establish strong e-commerce positions in the region.
E-commerce for many Thai householders is still seen as something to be wary of, with concerns about paying for products online that may not be delivered. These fears will be easily allayed by having such a well-known and respected brand such as Big C entering the online marketing world.
Big C management said they will be offering an assortment of low-priced products to help kick-start their e-commerce retailing. By making prices accessible this should help to entice even the most wary of purchasers, and by delivering on what they promise this will help to encourage further expansion in terms of consumer purchasing online. Big C’s website will no doubt be allied to its extensive, nationwide network of physical stores, and as long as disputes or problems are resolved in similar fashion to those it experiences in its main street outlets then Big C should be able to attract a significant slice of the e-commerce market.