Shopify Meetup Hong Kong: Growing Your Ecommerce Business in 2018

Insights from Shopify merchants in Hong Kong and the latest ecommerce trends in Asia at the Shopify Meetup Hong Kong co-hosted by Shopify, TradeGecko, and Wave Commerce.

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As Shopify’s ecommerce platform continues to grow in popularity in Hong Kong, we decided it would be valuable to co-host an event with Shopify and TradeGecko to bring together Shopify merchants and partners in Hong Kong to share tips, experience and insights on how to grow an ecommerce business. The event as was hosted this past Tuesday at WeWork Tower.

*Special thanks to Chris Wong from The Brand Photo – Professional Product Photography for Ecommerce, for capturing the header image used for this blog post. The Brand Photo is a listed Shopify Expert in Hong Kong.

For those of you that may have wanted to attend, but couldn’t, below is a recap of the event’s highlights.

Tradegecko flown in from Singapore to co-host this Shopify Meetup. Photo by Athena Lam

Akul, from TradeGecko, kicked off the meetup as the evening’s MC with a few engaging questions and prizes offered to the audience to get the event started.

Identify the Right Strategy and Channel Mix for Your Product

The evening’s first keynote speaker, Alex from Wave Commerce shared how brands can approach various digital marketing channels, covering approaches such as search engine marketing (SEM), display advertising and retargeting, social media marketing, and websites that can help brands improve conversion rates.

Alex from Wave Commerce shares various digital marketing channels for Hong Kong, including Google Shopping Ads. Photo by Athena Lam

An interesting digital marketing channel that Alex dived into in his presentation was the use of Google Shopping Ads, which has become a popular ad format within the Google ecosystem in markets like the US and which is beginning to see more adoption in Hong Kong. These image-based ads on Google Search make products more discoverable for consumers and is gaining momentum in Asia. Alex deep dived into comparing shopping ads to search ads, optimizing the ad listing, and introduced features such as ratings and special offers that can help boost sales.

However, Alex stressed that brands needs to identify the right channel mix for their products and put together a digital marketing strategy to test each ad channel for a data-driven sales optimization funnel.

3 Ecommerce Trends that can Help Drive Business Growth in Asia

akul Tradegecko shopify meetup hong kong Akul from Tradegecko shares three ecommerce trends merchants should watch out for. Photo by Athena Lam

Next, Akul from TradeGecko, a cloud-based inventory and order management software, shared case studies to show how merchants were using technology to grow in a shifting retail landscape. The three main trends Akul highlighted were:

  1. Online to offline convergence for consumer shopping experiences
  2. B2B ecommerce is being disrupted
  3. Amazon entering Asia cannot be ignored

Online to offline convergence highlights how online retailers can go offline to build their brand. For example, online merchants can give consumers product experiences with pop-up stores, placing items with partner stockists. Shopify has a free app called Shopcodes that allows customers to scan codes and buy products directly from their smartphones. Shopify merchants who have stockists already can consider the Shopify Wholesale platform to grow their sales, as Akul highlighted that B2B ecommerce is 320% larger than B2C ecommerce.

Technologies are Enabling Personalization at Scale

Greg Karpinski, COO Isabella Wren Greg from Isabella Wren shares how tech-enabled clothing customization can disrupt the fashion industry. Photo by Athena Lam

Greg Karpinski, COO Isabella Wren and a Shopify merchant share his company’s unique product: tech-enabled custom clothing. Greg illustrates how technologies like algorithmic modelling allow shoppes to upload images, get 3D renders of their measurements, and customize every aspect of their dresses. Technology is improving customer experience, eliminating lead times, removing the inventory risk from mass production, and lowering the chances of inventory returns.

Owning Your Customer Data is Essential for Growth

Justin Tan, Id Hike That Tenex Marketing Justin from Tenex Marketing shares why merchants need to choose platforms that give access to customer data. Photo by Athena Lam

The last keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur Justin Tan, founder of Altanx, I’d Hike That and Tenex Marketing, shares his experience as an entrepreneur who began by selling on Teespring, a marketplace for t-shirt designers to sell their products. Justin shared how selling on marketplaces like Teespring meant that he could not build his own brand, control the customer experience, or learn more about his customers to grow. Justin built the brand “I’d Hike That” selling t-shirts, and migrated his ecommerce business to Shopify so that he could deliver a branded storefront and customer experience to his shoppers.

Final Shopify Merchant Insights

Austin Li GALE Poleware Shopify panel Asia Shopify merchants share candid final tips in a panel discussion. Photo by Athena Lam

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session. Austin Li from GALE Polewear advised merchants to find their own niche and delight customers, even the challenging ones, to build a strong customer base. Greg advised entrepreneurs to be prepared to invest in ecommerce to build a good online store, find a good developer who can customize Shopify to the business needs, do documentation for processes learnings to not reinvent the wheel. Justin also urged founders to make mistakes to find a good product-founder fit. Rolland from Wave Commerce similarly urged brands to get to market early in order to iterate quickly.

Finally, Louis Li from Shopify took questions from the audience regarding the Shopify platform and talked about growing the Shopify community in Hong Kong and Asia in 2018.

A full house at WeWork with many attendees already using Shopify. Photo by Athena Lam
Shopify merchants, ecommerce veterans, established brands gathered at the Shopify Meetup Hong Kong 2018 to share experiences with each other. Photo by Athena Lam

After the panel discussion, many attendees stayed to chat and share their Shopify experiences into the evening. As the Shopify community grows in Hong Kong, merchants can help each other succeed online by sharing learnings and tips with each other. Look out for more events like this in the near future!

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss ecommerce growth opportunities for your brand.

Wave Commerce is a Shopify and BigCommerce partner and may receive affiliate revenue from merchant subscriptions to these platforms.