With the rapid growth of the e-commerce industry, more and more businesses want a slice of the e-commerce action. But do you know the way to kick-start your e-business? In this highlight, it is our distinct pleasure to have the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Boutir, one of the pioneers of mobile commerce – Mr Eric Ng, to share with us the hottest e-commerce trend and his success story of Boutir. He is also one of our BEST Community industry fellows.
The born of Boutir
Back in 2013, Eric and his partner noticed a growing number of people starting their own businesses online, and that was the time when people started using Instagram as a platform to sell and buy. However, most people weren’t confident towards online shopping and online payments as they were uncertain about the trustworthiness and risks associated with online transactions. Eric saw the picture differently. He found that more unplanned impulse purchase was taken place online than offline, so, what shop owners had to do was to make the whole process easy, convenient and user-friendly so as to capture these impulse shoppers effectively. However, building and maintaining a comprehensive online shop with well-developed payment gateway were not easy, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Eric therefore came up with an idea – Boutir, a one-stop mobile platform that provides solutions to all the problems above.
With this idea, Eric joined various entrepreneurship competitions with his partner. Very positive feedback was received from industry experts. After two years, the Boutir app was officially launched.
Making a difference in e-commerce
What is the first thing that pops into your mind if you are asked to build a comprehensive online store with payment function? Knowledge in programming? Coding? Developing a website from scratch? Eric’s answer is “MOBILE PHONE”. His “why” of starting Boutir hasn’t changed throughout the years i.e. to allow all merchants to build and manage their online stores via a user-friendly and all-in-one mobile application so as to provide an easy and convenient starting line for all merchants. “Even if you have zero knowledge in e-commerce, you will still be able to build your very own online store, manage orders, secure payment, get analytic reports and maintain customer relationship, all in Boutir on your smart phone.” Shared by Eric.
What’s more? Boutir is now a marketing partner with Facebook. With such collaboration, Boutir is not only a gateway for merchants to manage their online stores at their fingertips, but also an instant access to Facebook network for advertisement, data analysis and insights for promotion strategy to both existing and prospective customers.
Effects of COVID-19
Without questions, COVID-19 hit the world hard but at the same time, this global pandemic has boosted the acceptance and popularity of e-commerce. Eric revealed that the monthly growth of new subscribers to Boutir has doubled since March and the traffic to the online shops on Boutir has also increased expeditiously. More merchants took the initiative to learn more about e-commerce operation and the data analytic tools. These created very positive progress to the e-commerce industry.
What’s next in the e-commerce world?
Eric shared some insights on the e-commerce trends over the next 3 years -
- Data will still play a dominant part in e-commerce. It provides a good perspective of who your niche market would include. Business should not focus on the mass market only.
- Advertisement is driven by data which helps business reach out to the target audience more precisely.
- Live streaming will become one of the major marketing strategies as it builds trust, loyalty and connections with your customers through frequent interactions.
Experience sharing with SMEs for this tough time
Facing this tough time, Eric also gave SMEs some suggestions -
- Take this time to equip yourself with various skills to cope with the changes brought by COVID-19.
- Review your business operations constantly. This could be a good time for digital transformation.
- Actively explore available online tools and resources. Make good use of them which may help you expand into new markets.
Boutir also provides the following support to SMEs -
- An enhanced feature which is connected with Facebook for advertisement management.
- Webinars which share insights and knowledge on e-commerce and e-marketing.
- Merchant Incubation Programme provides you comprehensive training on e-commerce.
- Discounted subscription plans.
Tips and advice to aspiring youths and budding entrepreneurs
If you wish to start you own business, here’re some tips from Eric to you-
“When you first start your own business, there are lots of difficulties and challenges. But you should always trust yourself and the data you have.” Eric advised. “You need to know and understand what makes your products stand out i.e. the strengths and weaknesses of your products and showcase the best to the world. In addition, data show the latest market response and needs which give you direction and insight into your product development/ alternation.”
“Grow then Build” is another key concept shared by Eric. In this inconstant world, it is hard to polish your product perfectly before launching it out. As the saying goes; Time and tide wait for no man. You should launch and grow your business and market first, then enhance the business with response from the market and build your branding. No one knows what the “Perfect Product” is, but with repeated trying, you will know.
“Think, think big. Fail, fail fast” Eric also encouraged aspiring youths to take action in realising their ideas. “There is no formula for success so do not limit yourself. By working out your idea, failing and reacting faster than others in the market, you will find your own way to succeed.”
Exclusive offer for the HKBU Community
For HKBU community members who are new to Boutir and have not subscribed to their service before:
- One-month free trial of Starter plan
- 30% off for one-year of Starter / Business / Business PLUS plan
Just send us an email (email@example.com) and we will connect you with Boutir!