Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Why are Time, Place and Occasion the 3 New Pillars for Total Product Offering in Online to Offline Commerce?

It’s all about context (museums provide perspectives to context to the past as well as the future and so I used the image of the museum for this post) today when consumers are inundated with a myriad of products and services, when merchants struggle to match their product offerings to the tastes and preferences of consumers.

With mobile technologies, our daily lifestyles are both helped by and yet at times crippled by the lack of recommendations for products which are relevant at certain times of the day or week, around certain places we are located or preparing for certain special occasions like birthdays or end of year get-together with family and friends. Search on PC and Mobile helps with the first layer guide and then we, as consumers have to sieve through the second layer of pages of content from wikis, blog sites or lifestyle guides. Alternatively, we could draw inspirations from either mobile food and lifestyle apps or from our circle of friends from our Facebook or Instagram communities. Practically though, when it comes down to the decision point, you may end up asking your spouse or close friends (WOM, word-of-mouth) due to the urgency of the moment or lack of relevancy in the content you read to your context, tastes and preferences.

To get to the context for today’s mobile lifestyle consumers, merchants have to match the time, place and occasion parameters of the consumers with product offerings relevant to consumers’ tastes and preferences. And this will be an iterative testing, gathering and learning process.

With regards to time, merchants could think about the time of the day (breakfast, lunch, tea-time, dinner, supper?) or time in the week (weekdays, weekends?) or time in the year (school time, family holiday time?) and customize their product offerings in their communications to the right target segments.

With regards to place, merchants could think about the differences between customizing and offering their products in the central business districts, offices, industrial parks vis-à-vis the suburban residential neighbourhoods.

With regards to occasion, merchants could think about the nuances in product offerings to different cultures, festivals, or special moments for families and friends.

Again these are nothing new. Many merchants are trying to reach out to consumers from their brick and mortar stores or online presence and both traditional and digital marketing. However to capture today’s time-starved consumers’ mindshare, a merchant’s total product experience will need to go from today’s noisy practices of mass-communicating their product offerings and drive to more effective and targeted capture of consumers’ mindshare, by appealing to their lifestyle daily habits through testing constantly and providing hybrid curation of content and recommendations which strikes a chord with the consumers’ context in time, place, occasion.

What are your perspectives in the use of time, place and occasion to target today's and tomorrow's consumers?

Talk more in 2015. Happy new year!

Nelson Wee sending greetings from Singapore

Photo credit: wallyg / iWoman / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: h.koppdelaney / Foter / CC BY-ND

Photo credit: James Jardine / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Graceful Cake Creations / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Thursday, December 4, 2014

5 things you may not know about food in Singapore

Local food cultures all over the world have been very much a part of our lives, nurturing the daily habits of our individual lifestyles. One of the favourite National past-times in Singapore incidentally (or unsurprisingly so?) is finding good food from the huge varieties of cuisines from Chinese, Malay, Indian, Peranakan, European, Japanese, Korean, American and so on.

Here are 5 things you may not know about food in Singapore.

(1) Singaporeans are amongst the top spenders in Asia Pacific for dining

  • According to a MasterCard survey, in 2013, Singapore consumers spent an average of US$198 (S$248) a month dining out, less than the US$262 average spend in 2012 but still more than the Asia Pacific average spend of US$140

(2) "World Cup" standard cuisines can be found here in Singapore

(3) "Chope" means reserve a seat

(4) Hawker centres house the heart and soul of Singapore local food

(5) 8 types of diners in Singapore ;-)

Did you know any of these fun facts about the Singapore food scene? The food culture here is a melting pot and ever evolving with the times - keeping the old recipes alive by passing on to the next generations, remaking the old with a modern twist or inviting talents from overseas to set up shop here to cater to the eager taste buds in Singapore - one of the world's densest countries.

I look forward to hear from you fun facts of food in your countries.

till the next time,

Nelson Wee
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Photo credit: Daran Kandasamy / Foter / CC BY-ND

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Top 5 Reasons why Grab Easy Uber Hailo Taxi bookings are picking up in Singapore

Take a look at the above slideshare for the top 30 online cab aggregators around the world according to Valoriser Consultants, online mobile taxi booking apps have taken the world by storm by solving a basic demand and supply problem between passengers and taxis. Indeed, of late, since late last year (2013), regional and global 3rd party taxi booking mobile O2O apps (GrabTaxi, EasyTaxi, UberTaxi and soon Hailo) have been jostling amongst the incumbent taxi providers' booking services (e.g. ComfortDelgro, SMRT) and been the rage in the Singapore taxi booking scene. It's not that taxi booking through phone calls to the call centres of the incumbent taxi service providers or via their respective apps have not been available. It's just that the supply, availability and fulfilment of booking jobs have not met with the growing demand.

Here are my view of the 5 reasons why Grab Easy Uber Hailo Taxis are trending in the busy and sleepless Singapore city.

1. Singapore is a regional hub in Southeast Asia

2. Viable Market with an active daily 1,000,000 taxi riderships base
  • Anecdotally about 15% are through bookings today.
  • Singapore consumers are used to mobile commerce - more than 15% of ecommerce (think Groupon like daily deals) are purchased via the mobile smartphones with credit card payment.

3. Inconvenient payment - non-acceptance of Visa credit cards

4. Underserved taxi booking

5. Disgruntled supply base about 30,000 taxis and more than 40,000 drivers
  • A growing number of taxi drivers here are exploring alternatives, i.e. more than 1 3rd party taxi booking app these days - disintermediation and choice.
  • Taxi drivers are looking for easy non-fuss solutions which benefit their livelihood - bigger app screens, intuitive user experience, quicker acknowledgment of bookings, convenient payment and acknowledgement receipts, choice of solutions and so on.
  • Just hop into a taxi and start a conversation with your friendly taxi driver, and you will learn lots!

So, here are my top 5 reasons why Grab Easy Uber Hailo (virtual fleet) Taxis are picking up in Singapore. The market is really heating up in the taxi booking scene - first with GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi earlier this year and now with UberTaxi since June '14 and Hailo soon to join in the fray. To add, there is also a fifth local player, MoobiTaxi who works with ComfortDelgro and SMRT taxis.
  • What will the future hold for taxi booking market space?
  • Will we see another taxi service provider to increase the current 30,000 physical taxi fleet?
  • Will another international player like GetTaxi enter the Singapore market?

Let's look forward to better user experiences for both the taxi drivers and taxi passengers which I am sure we will see lots more innovation in this daily consumer lifestyle habit.

Can you connect with the above reasons from your experiences in Singapore on the taxi booking scene? Love to hear from you ...

Nelson Wee

Friday, July 4, 2014

5 ways to enjoy World Cup 2014 in Singapore | Nelson Wee | Singapore

The #WorldCup2014 is well underway, and drawing a fanatical following as viewership numbers show. No surprises there - I wrote previously on 3 reasons why the World Cup is a social magic magnet.

In this post, I would like to bring to you 5 Ways to enjoy World Cup 2014 in Singapore.

(1) 5 Places for World Cup Screening
Are you in the look out for excellent views and bustling atmosphere to revel in the last stages of the World Cup 2014? Fret no more ... 

Go on to read more on where to go:

(2) 5 Foods from #WorldCup Hot Favourites
While you are basking in the World Cup revelry, why not explore the rich variety of tastes in the cuisines from the countries of the World Cup hot favourite teams? (disclaimer: this post was done earlier and one of the countries is already out - alas!) 

Go on to read more on where to go:

(3) 5 Popular #WorldCup Cuisines
In Singapore, the following cuisines in this post are pretty popular. You probably can't go wrong in Singapore who is ranked #2 in Asia in terms of spending in dining out!

Go on to read more on where to go:

(4) 5 Yum Cha Places While Your Other Half Is Watching #Worldcup
If you are not really into the World Cup, hey not to worry too. Here's a post offering 5 places in Singapore to choose from to have yum cha with your friends while your other half is engrossed into the World Cup.

Go on to read more on where to go:

(5) 5 Places Where Chefs from #WorldCup Countries Eat
If you have ever wondered where do chefs like to eat, well here's a post which brings you 5 places where chefs hailing from countries participating in the World Cup like to eat at in Singapore - a culinary paradise in Southeast Asia~

Go on to read more on where to go:

Well there you go, a quick listing of 5 ways (of 5 places each *wink*) on how you could enjoy the world cup in Singapore. A disclaimer here as well - I currently work in SK planet and my team has been working on bringing PickatSG food recommendations and O2O (online to offline commerce)  coupons app to the market. All the food places above have been curated and recommended by the PickatSG team. 

If you like to read more about PickatSG food app and how location-based services and online to offline commerce could impact our daily habits, here are 4 more posts to learn more:

(1) Welcome to a brand new PickatSG

(2) Get Great Deals with PickatSG’s Coupons!

(3) How can location-based social networks impact #dailyhabits and drive O2O commerce?

(4) How has location-based services (LBS) evolved into the #dailyhabits of consumers and business models for businesses?

Hope you have enjoyed this post and I (we) certainly hope to hear from you!

Talk soon~
Nelson Wee
Profile: Nelson Wee, Singapore

Twitter: @nelsonwee

PickatSG Food O2O App:

Photo credit: Digo_Souza / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

How can location-based social networks impact #dailyhabits and drive O2O commerce?

How are location-based social networks impacting on the mobile internet users' daily habits today and drive O2O commerce? Different LBS players are positioning themselves to ingrain their users' interactions as daily habits, and to influence and facilitate online to offline (O2O) commerce. Flooded with choices of LBS services, consumers will connect and share location-based information if they make sense. Then we come back to basics when voice meets location-based tagged information.

In my last post "How has LBS evolved into the daily habits of consumers and business models for businesses", I compared how 3 leading LBS players in Southeast Asia, Singapore markets - Hungrygowhere, Burpple, Yelp have been positioning themselves in terms of social and commerce value propositions. Not surprisingly so, food appears to be the common thread amongst these 3 players' focus, given the vibrant dining out scene in Asia. The question "Is there a Yelp for Asia?" also brings up a slew of similar players focusing on the food market in Asia.

Take a look at the above table, if we were to take a step back and review how some of these LBS players play in engaging with consumers, and driving Online to Offline or O2O commerce.

(1) Drive Awareness

(2) Search, Compare, Transact
  • Given the vibrant food scene (eating out) mentioned earlier, online and mobile restaurant reservation booking appears to be garnering momentum, as restaurant businesses are realising that consumers are seeking convenience, flexibility and immediacy to gratify their food experiences.
  • Besides Hungrygowhere who provide restaurant booking for consumers online or via mobile, Chope is another leading restaurant reservation booking player in Singapore (and also in Hong Kong), facilitating online booking to offline dining (i.e. O2O commerce).

(3) Loyalty

Coming back to the consumers and their needs, my feeling is that consumers would only look towards having location-based information and connections if these make sense to them in the context of their life's moments. For instance,
  • In Foursquare, these days for me, it is the gamification element in the social leaderboard with friends or the discovery where your friends are which attract. 
  • In the LBS app harpoen, it is the serendipity on what others who have explored an area in your vicinity which attracts.

Finally, we go back to basics and come back to how good old voice is being featured in LBS services. Hearing a voice has been the most personal form of remote mobile communication. And so, no surprise that there are now many mobile social messaging apps having short audio files of chats transmitted walkie-talkie style. Location data is also now tagged onto the voice files to add more contextual relevance to the communication messages. Here are some real-life examples:
  • With Talkbits, a MIM app, it is the voices left behind in a select city which provides local insights and knowledge to people who would like to know more about a neighbourhood or even learn the language as his aspiration is to get to that place one day.
  • With Jabberly, people use their mobile to ask questions about a particular location and get answers quickly from those with boots on the ground.

Globally and perhaps particularly now in Asia, a number of location-based apps, communities and social networks are sprouting in the food scene - food being the typical question for the day and so very much a part in the daily habits of Asia's mobile internet users. From driving awareness to search, comparison, transactions and loyalty, a number of leading LBS players are positioning their offerings to provide value and entrench themselves into the decision-making processes of consumers - driving consumer traffic from online to offline businesses. And finally, it appears that good old voice could well provide opportunities in bridging users from mobile and online content to offline experiences.

Love to hear your thoughts on how location-based social networks impact on the daily habits of the mobile internet users.

Talk soon~
Nelson Wee
Profile: Nelson Wee, Singapore
Twitter: @nelsonwee

PickatSG Food App:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

How has location-based services evolved into the #dailyhabits of consumers and business models for businesses?

For more than a decade, LBS or location-based services had become gradually ingrained into the daily habits of online mobile Internet consumers, going from the usage in just vehicles of a select number to these days en-masse to the PC Web, Mobile Web and Apps. The growth to mobile for the increasingly on-the-go consumers is undeniably relentless. The opportunities in location-based services are garnering momentum in a number of ways in the markets.

With the growth and penetration of smart devices globally (especially lower cost smartphones, tablets), not only are LBS apps being constantly developed, piloted and experimented in more and more markets by startups, established Internet brands and companies have also been moving in to invest into LBS companies – for their assets in contextual data (user profile, content browsing, content generation in tips and reviews and transactional behaviour for deals and coupons tagged to location).

The question that comes "What do users want in a location-based app?" - click on the link and you will find a good Quora discussion with leading bogglers and tech evangelists like Robert Scoble providing his views on this topic.

From my market observations and following discussions in Quora, I believe LBS in the market are being driven by the following drivers:

(1) Emotional/Informational needs drivers (refer to above diagram; on the left):
  • Gamification, social leaderboards are used to engage consumers (more often than not, peer to peer friendly competition for bragging rights)
  • Time capsule/journal: into your own life/newsfeed on where you have been, passed by/through alone/with friends; time-based contextual/mood based markings aka bread crumbs
  • Bookmarking future intent, to-do list
  • Connecting with people, new friends - explore and find people in vicinity with similar interests, profile
  • Trend setter - leaving tips behind.

(2) Rational/Gratification targeting drivers (refer to above diagram; on the right):
  • Price comparisons through daily deals, bar-code reading of prices.
  • Get recommendations - see where friends are at; heatmap of where are the hot places to be spotted
  • Hot deals - swarmed based daily deals as a traffic driver are losing their attractiveness for sustainability of businesses; this tactic may change depending on the business maturity (loyalty play?)
  • and Businesses seeking to capitalise on targeting on-the-go consumers (either own customers through loyalty, bought customers through offers, in the longer term, earned customers through WOM and recommendations from business ambassadors)
LBS apps in the market, depending on their focus areas – whether in Location-based SNS, location-based deals to retail or simply a navigational utility, have worked their way into the daily habits of today’s mobile on-the-go consumers, bearing differing levels of frequency and retention in usage.

From these focus areas in daily habits usage, different business models are being experimented by LBS companies largely with businesses (most oft than not, consumers will download and use LBS apps for free). Who are in the LBS business? Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Foursquare, Alibaba, SingTel …

Business models follow to provide to the ancillary value for businesses, in the drive to retail O2O (online to offline) business: content (mobile) marketing of new menu items, promotional offers via coupons; loyalty points replacing current physical cards, table reservation, delivery and so on, are being piloted.

No one model is yet a proven model (none yet in the top rightmost quadrant - refer to the 2X2 matrix) as businesses need to be convinced on the opportunities for them (consumer profile understanding) and the longer term play required for returns to be seen in investing into location-based services like mobile LBS marketing, mobile coupons etc. Yet we do see encouraging signs that businesses are seeing the light and embarking on their journey into mobile apps, digital marketing and initiatives - evident in the growing share on digital advertising over traditional advertising in the US and globally too (in Singapore, 20% of advertising revenues will come from Digital by 2020, up from ~10% in 2011).

According to Convergence catalyst’s report Location Based Services: Global Market Overview, Deployment Trends and Potential in Enterprise, Government and Consumer segments, key use cases for LBS in the different regions globally are as follows:

  • In APAC - restaurant finder, no surprises, given the huge focus on food and restaurant dining in APAC
  • In EU - mapping and navigation
  • In NA - family tracker, mapping and navigation
  • In LA - friend finders
  • In MENA - navigation, safety, emergency and tracking

And so in my analysis on the positioning of LBS players in the Southeast Asia, Singapore markets, I have focused on 3 leading players (the first 2 are in the restaurant finder business):

(1) SingTel's Hungrygowhere (HGW)
(2) Burpple
(3) Yelp

On the Social/Reach vertical axis, we have 2 key players – the established player Yelp and the Singapore startup Burpple, who have positioned their focus on Social, intangible recognition and reaching out to a global audience.

On the Tangible/Richness horizontal axis, we have HGW, a Singapore startup which was acquired by SingTel, has leveraged their wealth of restaurant reviews and connections with Singapore restaurants to build up tangible business revenue streams like ads and table reservation through PC Web and Mobile App channels. 5 years or so in the market,HGW has long-standing brand recognition in the Singapore market as the incumbent for restaurant reviews. HGW has recently also launched in Malaysia on Aug ‘13.

For this analysis, I have left out Global players like Foursquare, Tripadvisor as well as regional players like OpenriceZomato in this analysis who are also building their business footprint on with social and/or tangible business axes.

Last but not least, there are also niche LBS players in the markets here like PerxHarpoenSGMallsSpawtSGSportsBar and so on, who are in the emergent and market tapping stage - building product, partnerships and social reach.

The LBS market has been around for more than a decade. And location with LBS remains a consistent theme in startups in the markets here. Earlier in 2013, I had written about how  businesses will start to look and build their loyalty programs around social, mobile and  location. And I am sure that we will start to see more of such LBS offerings taking shape into 2014 and beyond.

Do take a look at the attached slideshare deck "LBS (Location-based Services) Market Landscape | in #dailyhabits | Drive to O2O (Online to Offline)" which I have referred in this post. I look forward to hear from you on your take on the LBS market evolution.

Till the next post,

PS: here is a little background on SK planet where I am currently at.
SK planet, a subsidiary of SK Telecom and part of Korea’s 3rd largest conglomerate, SK Group, has a long-standing experience in the LBS portfolio (amongst its many other product line offerings in digital content and also eCommerce, having explored, tried and tested various LBS app concepts for more than a decade. With T-Map and OKMap, SK planet has maps and content experience in LBS. With NaviCall and Gtrac, SK planet covers the Enterprise business areas in LBS for Taxi call booking and commercial fleet management. With recently with Pickat, SK planet is leveraging its LBS experience and know-how in testing the markets in Korea and Singapore on discovery, social and curation aspects of LBS offerings with consumers and local businesses.