Though we might not know, the retail marketing scene is extremely competitive with brands looking to gain mindshare in any way. This often means top-of-mind recall or strong branding is reserved for those with the deepest pockets.
Where does this leave the local SME brands that also need help, but often lack the budgets to compete with the McDonald’s of the world. Well, that’s where Techsun believe they have the solution.
This Chinese brand has entered the Southeast Asian market with a bang and launched a brand new product aimed at SMEs in the region. Called Social Hub, this SaaS product aims to even the playing field for SMEs by providing them with the same tools that larger retail brands have like Salesforce, which is often out of reach (budget-wise) for a smaller enterprise.
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Techsun has emerged a successful brand from the hyper competitive Chinese market and boasts brands like McDonalds, Adidas, Haagen-Dazs, Swatch, and Olay in their portfolio. They now want to bring their expertise outside of China and targeting the large SME market in the region.
We spoke to Ivan Zhou, who is the General Manager (APAC) of Techsun. He is overseeing the Chinese martech company’s regional expansion to Southeast Asia and has a lot of experience and expertise in ecommerce and marketing. Prior to joining Techsun, Ivan was the Solutions Director of JD.com’s Retail Cloud and worked at Sociomantic Labs.
Ivan was kind enough to discuss the reasons behind their launch and what it will mean for the SMEs in the region.
Could you explain how SMEs in Southeast Asia would use Social Hub?
Without a doubt, SMEs are the backbone of Southeast Asia’s economy. They have been undermined and overlooked by legacy players for a long time. Technology is a key competitive advantage for brands, especially in the new retail era, and Techsun wants to democratise access to the same cutting-edge solutions that big brands have been using for SMEs so that they can equalise the playing field. We recognise that SMEs are more price-sensitive but they are nimbler than MNCs in pursuing transformational change. Social Hub for SMEs was created to help address any digital transformation friction experienced by retail SMEs affordably, Techsun continues to roll out new products and solutions constantly improving Social Hub’s customer experience- with one goal in mind – to help businesses of all sizes to grow their businesses and stay competitive without worrying about the price point in mind.
With Social Hub SaaS platform built on sophisticated technology, SMEs for example, are able to manage the customers’ membership details, and also being able to send and monitor marketing campaigns via omnichannel platforms such as SMS, Apps and social media.
What types of SMEs should be using Social Hub and why?
Traditionally, the retail or FMCG industry drives the fastest adoption of MarTech technology globally, and this is true for CRM adoption too. Technologies are helping companies to obtain a significant foothold in the existing industries which is essential for generating new business models and services. We want to make sure SMEs do not miss out on this with Social Hub SaaS. With Techsun’s comprehensive R&D and proven customer engagement model that focus on the very heart of the business. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, we empower customer-facing brands through a discovery phase, which is then followed by an easy to use trial which demonstrates the value of its technology with a defined return on investment.
How has your experience in China’s competitive market primed you for the rest of APAC?
China is a competitive and giant market. With our 14 years of innovation in the CRM space and vast experience in China, Techsun’s mission is to provide the right technology fast, right, and for the future for all customer-facing brands.
We have managed complex CRM pain points from fast-food chains to global sporting houses. We helped these companies to deliver a better customer experience, accelerate revenues and improve margins while also increasing their monthly active users (MAU). With our platform, businesses can rapidly build marketing campaigns that are scalable, manage customer loyalty and real-time data monitoring – applications can be scaled to meet the changing needs of the business. We are very excited about what is to come in the APAC region
Why did you choose Singapore as your base for expansion into the region? What were the reasons?
Singapore’s businesses are transforming themselves to become a connected digital ecosystem of people, processes, and systems supported with AI technology. Whilst we see many opportunities for growth, we are accelerating the development and building of strategic partnerships with businesses, institutions, and associations. At the end of the day, we hope to do our part to enable Singapore companies to be part of the digital transformation and I truly see that Singapore businesses have the skills and tools to be part of the journey.
Which markets in the region do you think has the most potential?
In the past 12-18 months, we are noticing more businesses in Indonesia, and Malaysia turning towards faster adoption of the Customer Data Platforms (CDP) to keep up with their digital transformational goals. Benefits of CDP include faster app development about customer experience, business analytics, eCommerce, and lastly to scale their advantage over their competitors.
What’s next for Techsun?
Now that we’ve just launched the Social Hub SaaS version during the post-pandemic era transition, we are seeing a surge in SMEs across the verticals adopting and reinventing their martech tools. To support this, Techsun will continue to support our customers, potential customers looking to embark on their digital transformation journey, as well as the local community. Equipped with Social Hub, we are here to empower Southeast Asian companies for the long haul.