My experience with eCommerce equals the experience I had at Multiply.com. Exposures to projects of strategic partnership, managing merchants and categorisation of merchants and also Counterfeit Project.
Let’s talk about multiply.com first shall we.
Multiply.com was built as a social network very popular in Indonesia. Multiply Inc. was launched in 2004 by Peter Pezaris, Michael Gersh dan David Hersh.
Those who start blogging uses multiply.com as platform to learn and gain network. The ability and functions on multiply gave the users to expand their sharing. Multiply.com was known to be very secured among other social network at that time like mIRC, friendster and hi5. Multiply facilitate users to access storage for limitless photos, videos and also voice recording. Multiply.com was quite similar like facebook however the difference in starting point was that the activation did not started from the coolest youth community like Harvard. But multiply.com was built first then offered to the general audience. Makes a huge difference ya.
In terms of content sharing at Multiply, the users connect with each other by sharing via Blog of many kinds of interest through photos, videos and also reviews. This is also the distinction that multiply has that the engagement was built upon comment threads on each of their blog accounts just about anything!
Activities of engagement grew and level up into buying and selling amongst the multiply community. It was found that in Indonesian users there are around 2 million active users, 40.000 were becoming sellers, grew each month of 2000 sellers and impacted 7 million unique visitors to the multiply site each month. Another country among the SEA region has the same similarity behavior is the Philippines and even much bigger market.
So in that situation, 20 September 2010, a group of investors named Nasper Limited started investing on multiply, building the commerce end to end features and then offered to buy multiply.com from the original founders. They wanted to change it to entirely an e-commerce site. At that time, Multiply already had 100.000 sellers and more than 20 million visitors each month.
PT Multiply Indonesia was established on 15 December 2010. The goal was to build a social commerce in Indonesia, giving the social shopping experience and to support entrepreneurship.
So what are we looking at ?
One, A social network of digital communities that uses blogging platform in multiply.
Two, an organic growth of Indonesian SMEs community all in one platform.
Three, a need to transition from social network to e-commerce.
Four, the goal is social shopping experience.
My time at multiply was only one and a half year as I was offered an exciting challenge that I cannot resist at Putera Sampoerna Foundation. One journey I have shared through #TyasDigitalProject.
But the learning at multiply.com was considerably quite substantial for me personally. And I truly feel for everyone who has join with Multiply Indonesia. It was quite a vigorous group of people. Not long after I left multiply.com, around 6 months after, Multiply Indonesia got cut and shut down. The investors had another investment to compare and multiply.com was competing head to head. Multiply at that time did not gave the performance as expected based on the time frame that was aimed. This is my point of view.
Strategic Partnership and Categorisation
The goal of strategic partnership was based on the business objective in creating an e-commerce experience and educate the market in the process. Using Key Opinion Leaders that is familiar to public in general hence generate new audience towards the new multiply. Categories of Key Opinion Leaders are famous people from any type of industry from musicians, writers, designers, cooks, photographers, community leaders from any type of focus-hobby to social organisations.
With my background in advertising I had many practice in translating different brands objective to marketing communication activities that leads into sales. Plus, my experience in developing my first personal brand was consider a success hence established my network to the entertainment industry.
The progress of business development also aims partnerships with publishing companies and Indonesian music industry from music labels, international and local including indie labels, clothing and merchandising labels, media platforms also music promoters. Books and music at that time was two industries that was perceived late for transformation in digital. Our objective was to established both market onto multiply e-commerce market category.
On each partnership we aim to have a yearly partnership deals. But we start with trial activities that could potentially become best practices on each category of the market. So it was developed and customised based on how the behaviour of each their audience, each calendar agenda and how do they do business. The activities were of course supported with other functions within Multiply.com.
Besides that, I had also given the opportunity to manage two other categories that are already established at multiply, which are babies’ category and kids’ category. The goal was store conversion. They started as bloggers or users of the platform. Most of the them become sellers by hobbies or started just because of the possibility in adding pocket money to their household. So the objective was getting the existing stores convert into the new e-commerce system of multiply. It was an amazing experience from getting to know them closer, learning how they do business, the process of educating to the new system, and so on.
One day, mas Daniel Tumiwa, the Country Head of Multiply Indonesia briefed me a project that I thought was amazing. Leading the counterfeit project for multiply.com. Multiply was becoming a market place, where multiply was also joining in on the buying and selling process. How to do it, where to start, what to do, became my responsibility as the Project Manager. There is a need to be able to place myself on each stakeholder’s position. A need to understand each point of view and to gathered each other concern and also insights. Meeting all in the middle and moving forward for the best interest of the stakeholders. I was given the opportunity to build the future blue print for multiply.com policy.
Initially, online selling and buying at multiply started off a social relation amongst the community. Based on a trusting a friend. The community grew organically without having any rules or regulations, just like any other community based group the law was built upon a strong sense of togetherness. Any problem or restrictions has a consensual agreement discussed together. Just on that understanding alone, I believe whatever actions we execute later must have a community management approach and influence, whenever that happens.
Counterfeiting is an intentional and calculated reproduction of genuine money or trademark for the purpose of misleading or buyer into believing in receiving or buying the genuine goods itself. So where do I start. Research on counterfeits learnings, study cases was mostly based on China market are the biggest counterfeit market but also the US market since we are an ecommerce company, I wanted to search similar business model so I turn to e-bay as a starting point as well. The US also initiated the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition.
I begin searching for main aspects that we can learn based on counterfeit as a problem. And I identified some main activities that all have sample of study case and learnings.
- marketplace clean up
- counterfeit laws
- counterfeit guidelines
- counterfeit penalty
- monitoring with regular updates
- educating the market
- partnership program
Based all those learnings to take any actions or communication from any counterfeit issues we must see from two sensitive background, first legal wise (ethically and morally) and second, through a business angle.
So the next was started to break down the objectives to encounter the issue. Which main activities should we choose to start with. And then discussed amongst the project member on what actions we can do on each objective. This means I shared actual problem founded and list up some ideas as advice to start the discussion. And of course time frame.
There would be time on some updates I share to central management team, Claudio would give ideas on how we could implement based on his experience looking over many digital and social media platforms throughout the years. Claudio Pinkus was the Chief Strategic Officer hired by Naspers for Multiply.com. Good guy 🙂
After all inputs have been gathered, the next stage on the planning was to choose alternative action plans. Legal was an integral part on the counterfeit project that is why the preparation needed different perspective on 3 alternatives plan,
- Proactive Action, driven by Multiply
- Reactive Action, driven by Users
- Proactive and Reactive action, driven by both multiply and user moderation.
On each plan not only need to show how the implementation but all the negative and positive impacts that might happen as we integrate towards the multiply system. To get the same vision with each functions of the project we discuss the work flow and the steps on each alternative plans. Functions here means, organisation for example stores categorisation, customer service, sales, marketing and so on.
Continue, Interview with Abang Edwin, the internet world.