Black Friday : e-commerce sales taking off in Myanmar

Myanmar Black Friday 2016

Shop.com.mm, Myanmar’s largest e-commerce platform, are providing access to substantial discounts and unmatched variety for their Black Friday Sale, November 25th-27th.

Black Friday Sales traditionally take place on the Friday after Thanksgiving (late November) in North America and have come to be one of the largest shopping days of the year. It was not uncommon for customers to camp outside major retailers, such as Walmart and Costco, to secure the best deals and complete their Christmas shopping early. Naturally, this bonanza of consumerism spread throughout Canada, Australia and Europe before also taking hold in Asia.

Although Black Friday is still a significant date for retailers, there has been a general decline in recent years due to longer sale periods and the rise of online retailers such as Amazon and Ali Baba. The online marketplace is central for a Black Friday sale in Myanmar and Shop.com.mm has the infrastructure to make shopping as trouble-free as possible, without the traffic and queues that plague retail, especially in Yangon. Last year’s sale was a resounding success and Managing Director Sumit Jasoria has pledged that this year will run much more smoothly.
Shop.com.mm is Myanmar’s largest online shopping platform. The company was launched in 2014 and is backed by Rocket Internet as part of the Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG). APACIG has a network of 14 e-commerce companies operating across 15 countries including Daraz and Kaymu which merged Myanmar operations with Shop.com.mm. The platform boasts access to over 17,000 products from across fashion, electronics, furniture and many others while providing convenient delivery and a variety of payment options. Unlike many internet companies in Myanmar,

Shop.com.mm is targeting the local market and as such must provide a safe, efficient method of cash payment on delivery which is the preferred system. Shop.com.mm have their own logistics team in Yangon as well as a broad network of partners across the country who are capable of making delivery and taking payment ideally within 3-5 business days of purchase. This means that access to the Black Friday discounts is not just confined to the urban centres of Yangon and Mandalay, but rather Myanmar’s entire population. Customers can make purchases through the website or via the mobile app that is available on both Android and IOS and uses a fifth of the data of the mobile web browser.

This year, Black Friday sales will last for 3 days, from midnight on Friday 25th till Sunday. Shop.com.mm has partnered with AGD bank who will provide customers with a free MPU-UnionPay Debit card which can be used to make purchases. Ooredoo, another major partner, provides special data packs for all mobile phones purchased on Black Friday and allows for free browsing on the Shop.com.mm website for existing customers. This year sees an influx of new, high-end products such as Apple, which is likely to be extremely popular with the growing Myanmar middle class, as well as boutique French jeweller Paris Bijoux which is choosing to enter the Myanmar market through Shop.com.mm. Other partners include Pond’s, who are offering large discounts on their latest range of innovative skin care products, and Oway Ride.

Black Friday sales will expose a large number of Myanmar citizens to online shopping for the first time, and it is the combination of unmatched variety and customer service which will keep them coming back. However, e-commerce is still a virgin industry in Myanmar and building trust is crucial for shop.com.mm going forward. Expats have already appeared to shy away from a home-grown online platform however for locals it may well be a case of “once bitten, twice shy” so for the evolution of Myanmar’s online retail I hope that it runs flawlessly.

Author: David Harrod

David has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the University of Melbourne. The above article is part of a research project on the disruption of the mobile internet on life in Yangon that David was involved in as part of his internship at Consult-Myanmar Co Ltd in Yangon.

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