Research: Omnichannel among top priorities for ASEAN businesses

04 January 2022 3 min. read

A new survey conducted by TMX has found that omnichannel and supply chain diversification are among the primary current concerns for Southeast Asian businesses.

Business leaders in Southeast Asia are intending to build resilience post-pandemic through an omnichannel approach, according to a new report from Asia Pacific business transformation consultancy TMX, with 40 percent of those surveyed having already made investments. Almost two thirds also reported that fulfilling customer orders remained a key challenge, likewise placing supply chain diversification high on the agenda.

To compile the follow-up to its first state of industry report from last year (conducted in the thick of the Covid-19 crisis), TMX canvassed 250 decision-makers and senior executives across five of the largest ASEAN economies – Singapore, Mvalaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam – and found a general sentiment of renewed optimism.

What are the key business priorities for the next 3-5 years

Those surveyed represented the fast moving consumer goods, logistics, ecommerce, retail, and manufacturing sectors. All in all, over 45 percent of respondents stated that their key business priorities for the next three to five years would include adopting an omnichannel approach, with close to 70 percent also intending to increase their ecommerce and online presence.

Further digitalising supply chains was also another significant goal, cited by over two thirds of the business leaders as an evident reaction to the widespread disruptions brought about by the global pandemic.

Further reading: Digital maturity of global supply chains still lagging

When quizzed on what they were doing right now in immediate response (last year’s TMX survey found that a whopping 97 percent of regional businesses had been negatively impacted by Covid-19, one third of those significantly), 40 percent of the survey participants revealed they were already in the process of implementing a multichannel strategy, while the majority were also busy diversifying supplier bases and digitising aspects of their supply chains.

Southeast Asia business responses to Covid-19

“It is no longer news that the pandemic has brought about seismic shifts to the industry. Across the region we have seen supply chains being pushed to new limits amidst a backdrop of fast-changing consumer demands and behaviours,” said TMX Asia president James Christopher, adding, however, that; “Business leaders have been able to identify the areas in which improvements and investments are needed for their businesses and supply chains to become more resilient.”

As to omnichannel, TMX notes that the prevailing view is that, despite ecommerce’s ever-growing share of the retail market, consumers will also want to return to the bricks-and-mortar experience once public health restrictions ease, driven by a desire to “reconnect face-to-face, spend more time outdoors, and revisit previous routines”. Thus, ensuring a seamless multichannel offering is seen as a way to better future-proof businesses.

“Compared to last year when the pandemic first hit, a dramatic mindset shift has taken place within the industry,” the report authors conclude. “A key learning that industry leaders have come to recognise and appreciate is that an attitude of flexibility and nimbleness is needed to keep the business moving in challenging times such as this – the standard operating procedure that everyone is used to following will not be enough.”