By Gilang Al Farisi
The Lippo Group’s e-commerce initiative, MatahariMall.com, continues to expand, based on a synthesis of bricks-and-mortar Matahari retail stores and the current phenomenal growth of online retailing.
Marking its first anniversary in business, MatahariMall.com is entering the second phase of its growth as an e-commerce platform, securing an equity round of $100 million. The funding round was led by one of the largest general trading companies in Japan, Mitsui & Co, solidifying the company’s position as one of the most valuable technology companies in Indonesia.
The investment will consist of several tranches over a 12-month period. “This is a strong validation of our vision and we look forward to delivering on our next phase of growth,” Hadi Wenas, MatahariMall.com chief executive, said in a statement.
The Japanese investor was equally upbeat. “We are confident about Indonesia, and especially e-commerce in Indonesia. We have closely followed MatahariMall’s robust growth since its inception, and we are extremely excited to be investing in this company,” said Nobuaki Kitamori, chief operating officer for internet and telecommunications at Mitsui & Co. “Mitsui is committed to the long-term vision of the business and we look forward to empowering the team.”
The funding is part of wider cooperation between Mitsui and Lippo Group, whose partnership is concentrated in the Indonesian technology and media space. MatahariMall.com previously received $500 million from controlling investor Lippo Group.
Business leaders lauded the transaction, saying it is another milestone for the country’s e-commerce space. “We are firm believers in supporting national champions and companies like MatahariMall.com are best positioned to benefit from this digital revolution. Congratulations,” commented Rudiantara, the Communication and Information Minister.
The chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), Rosan Roeslani, echoed the minister’s sentiments, saying the transaction is very positive and strategic. “Mitsui has a proven track record of investments in Indonesia. They know the market well and think very long-term,” he said.
“Southeast Asia’s most populous country is increasingly active online and there is significant momentum across Indonesia’s e-commerce landscape,” said Chris Gammons, head of Southeast Asia investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Gammons said Indonesia’s e-commerce scene is being driven by the three powerful trends of strong economic growth, growing urbanization and rapid technology adoption. “With an established track record of building successful businesses in the country, and with the key elements for an e-commerce platform already in place, Lippo Group is well positioned to be at the forefront of this compelling sectoral dynamic,” he said.
Digital growth curve
MatahariMall.com is optimistic about its business because of the rapid growth in Indonesia’s e-commerce market. Hadi cited Google and Temasek’s report, “E-Conomy SEA: Unlocking the $200 billion digital opportunity in Southeast Asia,” which states that the new product e-commerce market is expected to amount to $88 billion by 2025. “In 10 years, we expect to be the number-one e-commerce company in Indonesia with at least 35% market share,” Hadi said.
MatahariMall.com records an average of 52 million site visits per month, with 60% of them using mobile devices. Unlike other e-commerce platforms, MatahariMall.com is presented as a virtual mall composed of 11 “floors.” Customers not only browse categories but also view the categories placed on different floors. The first floor, called “gallery,” is equivalent to a shopping mall’s lobby, where only premium goods and special exhibitions are displayed.
The company sells products ranging from fashion to electronics and automotives. “We are currently cooperating with Lippo Homes to also sell houses and apartments,” Hadi said.
MatahariMall.com currently has around 5 million users, with 80% of them below 35 years old. Customers aged 25-34 reportedly have the strongest brand attachment. According to a MatahariMall.com report, most buyers of non-electronic products are female, at 63%. And, added Hadi, female customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, especially for clothing.
One of MatahariMall.com’s marketing strategies is to provide different facilities for customers depending on where they live. The company provides e-lockers in metropolitan areas such as Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Makassar and Medan, where customers can collect their orders.
The service is aimed at providing more sophisticated customers with a convenient, flexible shopping method that also requires less human interaction. In non-metropolitan areas, MatahariMall.com has set up collection and payment points for customers who value trust and human interaction to assist them in making their purchases.
The company also cooperates with the Indonesian Post Office in collection points, enabling customers to collect their orders at post offices. In the future, the company will also arrange for post offices to receive orders that are being returned. Other plans involve cooperation with digital payment-solution company OFO, a sister company.
“MatahariMall.com has predicted the trend correctly and today, despite its young age, it has become one of the most trusted brands in Indonesia.”
-- Hadi Wenas, MatahariMall.com chief executive
Hadi earlier mapped out MatahariMall.com’s growth strategy. To a large degree, he said, it will benefit in direct correlation to the growth of e-commerce as a whole. Indonesia’s demography is dominated by youth, paired with steady growth of smartphones and high-speed internet access. These conditions are fertile ground for the digital market to grow. “MatahariMall.com has predicted the trend correctly and today, despite its young age, it has become one of the most trusted brands in Indonesia.”
The company has also provided a platform for small businesses to sell their products and reach a diverse range of potential consumers. The program, “Just Sell Online” (JOA), has been developed specifically to encourage growth of small businesses through e-commerce. It has currently been applied in 13 out of 20 targeted cities.
Another strategy used by the company to thrive in the digital market is to strengthen the synergy between the company and its parent group, Lippo. Together they strengthen their position in the digital marketplace, and cement their brands. Recently MatahariMall.com received an award for best marketing campaign in 2016 by Marketing Award 2016. This recognition has prompted the company to continue to strive to be more innovative.
Sales figures for the third quarter of 2016 have shown a positive trend, said Hadi. “We don’t have the figures yet but for sure growth is double digit,” he said.