Online store platform Shopify today launched in Jakarta for the Indonesian market, in collaboration with Singapore mobile company SingTel and Indonesian e-commerce agency Ideoworks. As a regional partner, SingTel brings Shopify to the region having also launched in India, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Shopify allows individuals to actually set up their own shops using their own domain in ways that are “as easy as setting up a blog”, according to head of Ideoworks Andi S. Boediman. Would-be store owners can choose between four monthly plans that cover a range of services costing from roughly USD 20 up to USD 220. If the default services are not sufficient, there’s the Shopify App Store which enables store owners to add components to their stores according to their needs.
Ideoworks was selected as the Indonesian partner due to Boediman’s extensive network and experience in the local e-commerce landscape. Previously he was involved in Plasa.com/Mojopia which is now partly owned by ebay and he currently oversees a number of e-commerce companies and other tech startups through his separate venture capital firm Ideosource.
Indonesia was selected as one of the early countries for Shopify in Asia due to its size and potential in becoming a significant online commerce market. With more than 19 million online transactions just this year totaling $478 million in value (and it’s not even the fourth quarter yet), the figure nearly doubles last year’s total of $266 million, the company said in a statement. In terms of market size, Indonesia currently has over 70 million people online, projected to reach up to 150 million by 2015.
The significant number of individual online stores set up by Indonesians on places like Facebook, Instagram, BlackBerry Messenger and other social networks, show that there is a strong desire by Indonesian entrepreneurs to sell items online and set up shops in the least amount of effort possible. Boediman acknowledges these individual sellers and told DailySocial that, “this is clear proof that Indonesians want to be able to sell online easily”.
The nature of the market allows individuals to run their stores in multiple instances or locations and this is something that Boediman encourages. “Sellers must have their own stores because that’s the only way they can own their customer’s data, but it doesn’t mean they can’t have a presence elsewhere. You can sell your products on classified sites, be part of a larger marketplace, and still have your own self-branded stores. After all, your products come from the same source anyway, right?”
During his presentation at the launch, Boediman highlighted the fact that Tesla Motors, Wikipedia, and Bon Jovi all set up their stores using Shopify. He notes that the platform is not just for small time sellers but also easily used by major corporations. Ideoworks will be running workshops to assist Indonesian sellers in adopting online commerce as one of their trading channels.
Shopify’s platform allows shop owners to manage their stores from desktop and portable computers through the traditional web interface or using their mobile devices through Shopify’s mobile app for iPhone. Currently there doesn’t seem to be a plan for Android nor Windows Phone apps, the two major platforms currently dominating the Indonesian smartphone landscape.