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Leading the online marketplace

Released at: 10:11, 10/11/2018

Leading the online marketplace

Photo: Cho Tot

Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Hai Duong, the new CEO of Cho Tot, tells VET about the application of new technology and differentiation from its competitors.

by Minh Do

How would you comment on Vietnam’s e-commerce market in the years to come?

We have seen some new trends in marketplaces around the world recently, using new technology such as integrating AI with a site’s chatbot to address customer needs and problems in a fun and lighthearted manner, enabling quick and easy searching with voice, using AI/ML for recommendations or personalization learning from users’ activities, or even adopting blockchain for user verification. With the rapid pace of Vietnam’s e-commerce markets, I believe local marketplaces will soon pick up and integrate these trends into their sites.

According to a report from We Are Social, as at January 2018, Vietnam’s population was 96.02 million, with a total of 64 million internet users, or 67 per cent of the population, up 13.05 million people and about 27.5 per cent compared to January 2017. This figure is higher than the world average of 46.64 per cent. Vietnam has the 12th-highest internet penetration rate in the world and is sixth among 35 countries and regions in Asia. In addition, nearly 60 per cent of internet users in Vietnam own smartphones.

The e-commerce market in Southeast Asia reached $11 billion in 2017, an increase of 41 per cent compared to 2015, according to the latest report from Google and Temasek. Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Southeast Asia, reaching 33 per cent. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the country’s e-commerce revenue will hit $10 billion in 2020, accounting for 5 per cent of total retail sales in Vietnam. All of these positive numbers promise a blossoming e-commerce market with rocketing adoption rates of online shopping in Vietnam in the near future.

We also see positive growth in online transactions. Our site has been growing steadily in the first six months of 2018, with increases of 13 per cent in visitors and 14 per cent in successful transactions compared to the same period last year. This shows that demand for selling and buying second-hand items online continues to grow.

As a new CEO, what are your plans?

FRUIT culture (Family, Result-oriented, User-focused, InnovaTive) has been a signature element that empowers the company to achieve important milestones. As a new CEO, I will continue to foster this culture to strengthen a healthy working environment that promotes teamwork, innovation, ownership and efficiency.

Another critical mission is working together with the Cho Tot team to forecast new technology trends, successfully implement our business roadmap, and champion product innovation to further strengthen our leading position in Vietnam’s marketplaces.

What is your plan for Cho Tot to differentiate itself from the competition?

The “C2C” (private sellers) factor is always at the core of business development for Cho Tot to provide an effective platform for users to sell and buy directly from each other. We aim to provide a one-stop platform that serves all needs of users, from low to high-value items, with good deals and variety from user-generated content. Apart from items that fulfil daily needs of users (fashion, home appliances, moms and kids items), it also offers high-value items such as vehicles, real estate, and specialized items (pets and jobs), which makes us stand out in the market.

Moving forward, we plan to strengthen user trust via seller profiles, reviews and ratings, and partnerships with third parties for quality review services. The quality of ads is still the top priority of the company. Therefore, we have invested resources and AI technology in an ad review system and the ad review team has been trained to increase the accuracy of ads.

In 2019 we plan to harness the power of data and AI to provide a seamless experience in selling and buying, such as enriching social features to make buying and selling more socialized and engaged, adopting image and voice recognition for a seamless ad insertion process, and experimenting with machine learning to suggest prices for sellers and buyers, etc.

What are your ambitions for Cho Tot in the future?

With our devoted and strong team, we aim to reach all internet users in Vietnam in the next few years and become a one-stop platform for all wants and needs through all stages of life for all Vietnamese, like a student looking for a room for rent or a part-time job or someone looking to upgrade their motorbike, buy a dog, purchase a new house or apartment and furniture, or find items for a newborn baby. When they no longer need these items or want to upgrade, the company is an effective platform for them to find new owners.

We believe that we can achieve this with our current business results. Launched in 2012, six years on Cho Tot is now the leading online classifieds marketplace in Vietnam, with over 1.3 million visitors each day and 1.2 billion page views per month.

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