E-commerce in Southeast Asia continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The region’s e-commerce industry is expected to reach $89.67 billion in 2022, an increase of $15.31 billion from last year’s $74.36 billion.
Only four countries are expected to grow faster than Southeast Asia’s combined figures in 2022, and two of them — The Philippines and Indonesia — belong to the region. It is this growth that e-commerce aggregator Society Pass Inc. (NASDAQ: SOPA) plans to capitalize on, and both the aforementioned countries are already part of Society Pass’s business plan.
Benzinga recently talked with Chief Marketing Officer Rokas Sidlauskas to discuss the company’s business, its target market and more.
Society Pass’s Vision And Sidlauska’s Perspective About The Company
Society Pass, also known as SoPa, is an acquisition-focused e-commerce holding company that is looking to become the goliath of e-commerce in Southeast Asia. The company operates in six verticals: loyalty, lifestyle, food and beverage, telecom, digital media and travel.
SoPa is building what it says is a next-generation loyalty program across multiple verticals — a platform where users are rewarded for their daily and ordinary activities such as ordering food, purchasing clothes and buying travel tickets.
Sidlauska, who just joined the team at SoPa on the 1st of September, was attracted to the company because of the loyalty program project, CEO Dennis Nguyen’s drive to see it come to fruition and the opportunity to work with talented people to create a product that rewards customers.
The company operates in Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. SoPa looks to expand into other markets in Southeast Asia. Demographically, SoPa’s target market is 15- to 50-year-old tech-savvy individuals predominantly living in urban areas where the company operates.
“There are around 575 million people who live in the markets that we operate in now. This market is rapidly growing economically, is young and technically engaged, which just highlights how promising of an environment this is for SoPa to be building our operations in,” Sidlauska said.
According to Sidlauska, the challenge with loyalty programs is that they are company-centric or vertical-centric. Being company-centric in nature means you can only redeem points through a specific shop while vertical-centric implies they can only be used in a certain industry.
Other challenges include difficulty in redeeming points, ensuring their validity and transferring them from one person to another. Sidlauska believes that what SoPa is building will resolve these challenges and allow customers to use their points across different verticals.
The Problem SoPa Is Looking To Tackle
SoPa is looking to create a win-win environment whereby customers are rewarded for their loyalty to certain brands and services on a daily basis while an opportunity is created for brands to connect with this loyal customer base and increase their revenue.
The company’s unique selling point is the reward they offer for all transactions in the SoPa loyalty program. For instance, customers can buy a ticket via a travel agent and then redeem those points in their local market by ordering food.
SoPa’s management team includes the CEO, who has over 25 years of experience in the business and finance world. Some of the company’s ventures are run by original founders, such as Leflair Group CEO Loïc Gautier and Johanes Chang who runs NusaTrip Indonesia and has over 20 years of experience in the travel and leisure industry.
Commenting on the challenges they are overcoming in the next 12-18 months Sidlauska said, “There are a number of challenges of various levels of complexity. Tokenomics or the point system is something that requires a lot of effort to ensure that economically it makes sense for all ventures and companies that will take part in this loyalty program. Additionally, there are some technological challenges such as making sure that all companies connect to this system and communicate flawlessly.
“There is a lot of work to be done, but we are very happy to be on this journey and look forward to delivering a world-class product to the market in Q1 of 2023.”
About The CMO
Sidlauskas joined SoPa in September after spending several years working in different managerial positions in the digital health space. He has spent the last 11 years in Asia, working in various management roles mostly in e-commerce and digital business.
After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in European studies and politics at the University of West of England in 2008, Sidlauskas started his career as a regional sales executive at Ulysses Systems before joining ding.com, formerly known as Ezetop, in 2010 as a business development manager.
He has also worked as a business development manager for The Legal 500, vice president of sales for Ensogo, vice president of international business development for Passport Asia, director/venture lead for CMG.ASIA. Sidlauskas’s most recent role before joining SoPa was as head of product development solutions at Hello Health Group, one of the leading digital health companies in Southeast Asia.
As a loyalty and data marketing ecosystem, Society Pass operates multiple e-commerce platforms across its key markets in SEA. Its business model focuses on analysing user data through the expected launch of its Society Pass loyalty platform and circulation of its universal loyalty points, which seamlessly connects consumers and merchants across multiple product and service categories to foster organic loyalty. Since its inception, SoPa has amassed over 1.6 million registered consumers and over 5,500 registered merchants/brands on its platform. It has invested 2+ years building proprietary IT architecture with cutting edge components to effectively scale and support its consumers, merchants, and acquisitions. Society Pass provides merchants with #HOTTAB Biz and #HOTTAB POS – a specialized POS technology solution, a comprehensive system for payment, loyal customer management, user profile analytics, and convenient financial support packages for small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, SoPa operates Leflair.com, Vietnam’s leading lifestyle e-commerce platform, Pushkart.ph , a popular grocery delivery company in Philippines, Handycart.vn, a leading online restaurant delivery service based in Hanoi, Vietnam, and Gorilla Networks , a Singapore-based, blockchain/web3-enabled mobile virtual network operator. For more information, please check out: http://thesocietypass.com/.
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Dennis Nguyen: Founder, Chairman & CEO