The ecommerce industry’s meteoric growth in Southeast Asia has been plain for all to see in recent years. For Vietnam in particular, the sector’s projected valuation of US$52 billion by 2025 presents an unbridled opportunity for ecommerce sellers in the country.
However, capitalizing on this opportunity is another matter, says Nguyen Huu Son, co-founder of BCA Solutions, a platform that provides solutions for ecommerce sellers.
For one, sellers have to market their products effectively and provide buyers with the information they’re looking for. Merchants who are unable to do this can experience a loss in sales, as customers would not trust them and, in turn, not purchase anything from their stores.
According to a report by Shotfarm, up to 87% of potential buyers are lost due to incorrect information. Items such as cosmetics are highly prone to misinformation, as they can be complicated and need to be highly personalized, Son points out.
However, learning about online marketing can be technical at times, making it difficult for merchants to attain the relevant skills on their own, he explains. For example, coding or video editing skills could be needed for such efforts.
Apart from this, individual sellers often face risks when looking for suppliers – the goods they source from a supplier may turn out to be counterfeit or low quality, for example – as merchants might not have the time and money to conduct thorough research on their own. Such fake or low-quality products would also be a massive turn-off for buyers.
To solve these problems, Son and his founding team founded BCA Solutions in 2018 to support the marketing efforts of ecommerce entrepreneurs and to close the gap between suppliers and sellers.
Inspired by helping others
Son had previously spent four years in marketing roles for companies in areas such as insurance, finance, and real estate, allowing him to pick up valuable sales and consulting skills. In 2016, he put his newfound skills to the test by helping his friend craft an online marketing campaign for a new English tuition center.
The campaign’s success led him to realize that he was able to bring his skills to a wider market. “My best skills are sales and consulting, and [I knew that] the internet could bring me [better] prospects,” he says. Son’s research into the ecommerce industry led him to discover that his skills could help sellers overcome the challenges they faced.
After he established BCA Solutions in 2018, however, he came across two main issues.
According to the co-founder, his startup’s business model was still relatively new at the time, which meant that there was no clear regulatory framework for the company to operate in. To overcome this, he built a regulatory team within the company dedicated to figuring out how BCA Solutions could work within the existing regulations in Vietnam.
Additionally, pioneering a new business model also meant that there weren’t many examples that Son could refer to on how to build up BCA Solutions successfully.
To help him learn and grow his startup, the Vietnamese entrepreneur actively engages with sellers to find out their needs and to glean ideas for potential new systems that he could implement to further improve business operations.
Keeping sellers’ eyes on the prize: their buyers
With the groundwork for BCA Solutions firmly established, the company’s current operations include training and support for the marketing and sales operations of its sellers. Apart from this, it also manages the supply chain for sellers by helping them look for trusted suppliers.
“My idea is that the seller should be able to pay 100% of their attention to the buyer and take care of their customers,” Son explains.
With this, sellers have taken to the company’s platform in droves. According to the startup, it saw a 50% increase in the number of new users registered on the platform over the first half of 2020, with the current figure standing at over 20,000 sellers.
BCA Solutions’ users have also experienced strong growth since being onboarded to the platform. Son brought up an example of a company from Malaysia that tried to sell medical products in Vietnam. However, its US$150 price tag was on the expensive end for the Vietnamese market, and the company’s lack of marketing capabilities meant that it could not push its products effectively.
The company then turned to BCA Solutions for help in providing marketing training and support. According to Son, the Malaysia-based firm is now bringing revenues of nearly US$1 million per month.
Self-improvement for global ambitions
With its business model intact, BCA Solutions is now looking to improve and grow its operational capabilities. It is actively recruiting developers to support its rapid growth and to work on improving certain solutions, such as its data center system.
At present, this system is used to distribute buy orders to BCA Solutions’ sellers, and Son says that it is important to make this more efficient and effective to improve how quickly sellers can fulfill an order.
The company is also planning to expand into countries such as Thailand and Japan to support its existing base of sellers from these markets.
“We want to make [an ecommerce] business something that everyone can take part in. In the future, we want to create a situation where people can ask both: ‘What is your job?’ and ‘What is your business?’,” says Son.
BCA Solutions is an online platform that provides a comprehensive ecosystem for ecommerce entrepreneurs, including a product chain management system, marketing solutions, and training resources, helping them conduct their businesses more easily and effectively.