We went to Taipei to join the first-ever Shopify Meetup in Taiwan. With more than 100 merchants, partners and Shopify enthusiasts joining in, the event covered merchant success stories, payment, and logistics challenges, as gave insights into the evolving Shopify Partner ecosystem.
Main takeaways: Merchants in Taiwan are focused on growth
- Taiwan traditionally has a very export-oriented economy (think of hardware brands like Acer, Asus, BenQ, D-Link, CyberLink, Realtek, etc.) and businesses are very familiar with the opportunities stemming from international trade.
- Domestic eCommerce is very developed with local 91app company offering hyper-integrated solutions for large retailers and HK-based Shopline offering a DIY solution for online merchants.
- Everyone is familiar with the various processes involved in eCommerce: marketing, payment, warehousing, logistics.
- Merchants at the event were small businesses seeking very practical, specific advice to improve their cross-border business. Already familiar with FBA, they sought advice on which Shopify Apps and services they should use to improve their marketing and run their stores better.
But here’s an in-depth look into what was discussed at the Shopify event in Taiwan.
Discussions to grow Shopify stores
Namra Deka, Shopify’s APAC partner manager, kicked off the meetup by sharing Shopify’s vision and data for the region – showing the enormous potential that using Shopify has in the region.
Ray Kung, Co-Founder, and CEO of Akohub explained the benefits of Shopify’s partner ecosystem. An app developer himself, he shared his story with Akohub – a Facebook retargeting app that can be set up within 2 minutes – from Shopify’s Unite Conference in SF 2017 until now.
Joseph Liao, TapPay’s VP of Business announced the soon-to-come integration of TapPay and Shopify to make domestic payments much more simple. His presentation showed the status quo of Taiwanese payment gateways for Shopify and the improvements that TapPay will bring.
Burt Kuo from Kerry TJ Logistics pointed out how cross-borders logistics work with Shopify (and brought a special deal for the audience).
Andrew Chen from Guerrilla-Group shared his entrepreneurial story and how he found success with his creative team and cross-border commerce via Shopify.
Jin Hsueh, CEO of Crescendo Lab, pitched the company’s automation cloud for LINE Messenger – the dominant chat app in Taiwan and other APAC countries – including messaging analytics and bot manager.
Status Quo Taiwan
BuiltWith lists 158 Shopify stores in Taiwan as of now and we’re sure the number is only going to increase. There are 29 stores from Taiwan though that have installed PushOwl to use web push notifications as an added marketing channel to increase their revenue (But that’s not implying only a 20% market penetration – most Taiwanese businesses operate outside their own country).
Cross-border commerce is big because of the traditionally export-oriented economy.
Domestic Shopify stores currently rely on solutions like 2Checkout (high transaction fees and redirects that cause a high drop off conversion rate), HiTrust (payment gateway that partners with Taiwanese banks if you have a local company) or Paypal for processing payments.
That’s why TapPay (see topics) is moving forward with integration to make the local eCommerce buyers’ life easier.
The market is definitely a frontier market – another signal for this is that there has never been an expert directory created for the country.
Major eCommerce players in the Taiwanese market are Shopline and 91app. But the general perception around them is that while very simple, they are not customizable. If merchants want to add app-like features to their stores with the aforementioned apps, they need to write code themselves.
It is very hard to get a PayPal account as a merchant and potential buyers think that a PayPal account is required to make a purchase.
The way ahead – What’s next for the Shopify family in Taiwan
Shopify will focus on local knowledge sharing
The meetup organizers were surprised about the number of active merchants that are only dealing with international customers.
Shopify – as a solution to power cross-border commerce – is just starting to get traction in Taiwan. Which only goes to say how they will now be focusing on knowledge sharing to enable Taiwanese entrepreneurs to be successful in foreign markets.
In fact, some more Shopify meetups are already being planned.
Seamless payment and shipping solutions for Shopify merchants with a domestic client base
Domestic merchants will be waiting for payment integrations that are meeting their potential customers’ requirements.
And there is more to figure out: Shipping solutions need to be able to compete with a 7-Eleven delivery pick-up to be relevant in the competitive domestic eCommerce market.
While there are very few Shopify developers around in the ecosystem, we only know of Akohub. So far they have been the only app developer from Taiwan to be featured in the app store.
Many developers at the meetup were working on solutions for domestic and international marketing, expecting to benefit from the Shopify app store and its international exposure. They are also relying on Shopify’s expansion in Taiwan with the local knowledge at the event.
About the meetup organizer
Crescendo Lab develops messaging analytics & automation cloud solutions for the LINE Messenger, famous especially in Taiwan, Japan, and Thailand.
Crescendo’s chatbot brings visitors back to your store, analyses their on-site behavior and is able to follow them up with product recommendations later, increasing the store’s sales. Check them out here.
Oh, and here’s a picture of us with Jin, the CEO of Crescendo Lab.
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