Customer loyalty in the new normal? Learn from the Big Leap roadshow

The Asia Pacific region is home to a bustling business landscape. They say that a rising tide lifts all ships; However, due to the vibrant ecosystem and strong pool of diverse and competitive companies, it can be difficult for startups from the region to stay relevant amid cutthroat competition.

This challenge is even more relevant for the emerging e-commerce industry. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce engagement has increased dramatically around the world. However, there is a catch. Due to the success of the industry, the number of competitors has also increased drastically. As of 2022, there are reportedly 51,300 e-commerce sites in Vietnam, 41,200 in Malaysia and 29,500 in Singapore – an all-time high.

With such a saturated market, customer retention becomes more critical than ever to business survival and scalability. But how do companies stand out in a cutthroat environment where thousands of salespeople compete for customers’ attention?

One company that has pioneered increasing customer retention among Southeast Asian startups is CleverTap, a customer engagement and retention platform that offers the functionality to integrate app analytics and marketing. CleverTap is running a six-month roadshow in partnership with e27 titled “The Big Leap”. For the Singapore leg of the roadshow, the partnership brought together a group of industry leaders to discuss Retention Playbook: Bringing Retention Best Practices via SEA, where they explored the importance of monetization for startups and opportunities to do so by leveraging opportunities in the post to reach. Pandemic digital environment with a strong focus on customer retention.

CleverTap has six regional offices around the globe and a solid presence in APAC. The company helps create amazing user experiences for the world’s leading digital-first brands with its intelligent all-in-one platform that combines the best analytics, segmentation and engagement tools, so companies can create valuable, long-term build relationships with their customers. This makes CleverTap the perfect institution to pioneer work geared towards helping businesses retain customers.

Also Read: Success is a Moving Target: CleverTap Co-Founder Anand Jain

How CleverTap makes the difference

With the volatile situation of the pandemic, the global economy is not entirely crisis-free. The future looks uncertain and risky due to disrupted supply chains due to wars, political unrest in various nations, trade tensions, inflation and an impending recession. As such, global funding has declined dramatically, reaching $74.5 billion in the third quarter of 2022, hitting a nine-quarter low. To survive such economic setbacks, companies must find creative ways to not only attract customers’ attention, but also to keep them.

That is the mission behind The Big Leap’s Singapore leg: helping digital-first brands in the region differentiate, capture, engage and retain customers. Trusted by more than 10,000 wireless companies, CleverTap has proven to be the global leader in helping businesses acquire and retain customers.

Panelists included key stakeholders from various industries: Achint Setia, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer at Zalora; Igor Mostovoy, VP of Product at 99.co; Sistla Sumanth, Director of Digital Technology APAC at RBI; David Setiawan, Head of Marketing at JobStreet; Baptiste Le Gal, CRO APAC at Vestiaire Collective; and Avantika Jain, general manager at Fave.

Through the event, CleverTap managed to bring together over 100 growth leaders in Southeast Asia to create a platform for sharing insights on how to build engaging experiences to increase customer retention, increase customer lifetime value and drive massive scalable growth toast with customers at the top.

Apply the lessons learned during the pandemic for a better future

One of the key lessons learned from the recent pandemic is how businesses need to focus on executing strategic plans for a more resilient future.

Also read: Reflecting on 2022: A year of digitization, adaptability and collaboration through the lens of the innovation team

Jain kicked off the panel by sharing how Fave, a rewards app that relied heavily on redemptions in physical stores, has been hit hard by the pandemic. “The offline aspect has almost disappeared and we were forced to go online. Interestingly, we are seeing consumers not returning to physical stores even after the pandemic has seemed to be over. If anything, online behavior is increasing,” she shared.

Fave plans to capitalize on this trend and this development is so crucial to the rewards app that they are currently planning to launch a cashback program in partnership with online retailers as part of their business model. Things looked a little different for Vestiaire Collective when COVID hit. As a mobile-first platform, they saw a lot of users coming in. On the other hand, Baptiste shared that when many users come in, it becomes a chore to keep them busy.

JobStreet’s Setiawan shared that they experienced a slowdown in the first year of the pandemic but experienced a jump in the second year. “We launched a major campaign back then to tap into the growing talent pool, especially with a view to working from home. We’ve published many articles trying to educate users on how to interview in this new candidate-first landscape, and it worked for us,” he added.

Sumanth spoke about the importance of collaborations, highlighting how RBI’s partnerships with AliPay and Grab have helped the company survive when F&B was probably one of the hardest hit sectors.

For 99.co, the struggle has been online traffic remaining high due to the real estate boom due to factors such as rising rental prices and people looking for bigger homes as work from home becomes prevalent. However, inquiries were halted because people were unable to view the actual properties. To meet this challenge, 99.co’s groundbreaking solution was to revolutionize the customer experience by replicating their services in a digitized environment, conducting their open houses online and training their agents to work through their digital platform.

Also Read: Big Leap Roadshow kicks off in Jakarta with panel on Gen Z market

Making the big leap to customer retention could boost your startup amidst market woes

“Go where your customers are,” said RBI’s Sumanth. The first step in retaining customers is to be present on a platform of their choice. One of the emerging trends in 2022 is the dramatic shift to mobile, which is expected to increase in 2023 and beyond. In 2022 there will be 326.3 million smartphone users in Southeast Asia, led by Indonesia and Vietnam. These users will account for 88.0 percent of the region’s internet users.

“It’s been proven that people are moving more towards mobile devices,” Setiawan shared. “We pay close attention to the lifetime value of our customers and run many loyalty campaigns. In fact, we’ve tripled our retention budget since the pandemic,” Setiawan added.

Customer retention is more expensive than customer acquisition. Sumanth shared that while running campaigns is crucial, tracking the success of those campaigns is even more important. “What works, what leads to more conversions: It’s a must to look at the results and make quick adjustments based on the feedback from those campaigns,” he said.

Mostovoy also explained that if you’re dying to see results next year, you should have started your customer retention campaigns last year! “To inject information into your apps, you need to run campaigns that are relevant to users and focus on getting them coming back,” he added, emphasizing the importance of competitive analysis and its innovation and momentum to stay ahead stay.

For more insights and to connect with industry leaders from your country, register here and find out about upcoming The Big Leap events. You can also visit to learn more about how CleverTap customers like Gojek, ShopX, Canon, Electronic Arts, TED, English Premier League, TD Bank, AirAsia, Papa John’s, Tesco Kotak Mahindra Bank, SonyLiv, Swiggy, PharmEasy and Dream11 helps retain customers.

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