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Spire speaks at International Finance Corporation workshops on e-commerce trends & retail banking

13 November 2013 (E-commerce trends)
15 November 2013 (Retail Banking)

Spire speaks at International Finance Corporation workshops on e-commerce trends & retail banking

Cashless payment is gaining popularity amongst retailers in Indonesia. Recognizing the immense potential of e-commerce and e-payment, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) held several workshops to expand retailers’ access to these types of transactions. Jeffrey Bahar, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Spire Research and Consulting, was privileged to be a guest speaker at the workshops.

Held in Jakarta, Indonesia, the IFC workshops explored the potential of e-commerce globally and across Indonesia. The Asia-Pacific region is considered a key global e-commerce hub; with China leading with 220 million active digital buyers. Indonesia is not too far behind – backed by strong economic growth, its telecommunication industry boasts of more than 56 million active mobile data users, even if not all of these are currently participating in e-commerce.

In his presentation, Bahar spoke about the growing e-commerce market in Indonesia. He predicted that the customer-to-customer (C2C) category will become the most popular mode of e-commerce – consisting of classified advertisements, social networks and forums. He shared that currently, most e-commerce payments were made through bank transfers for business-to-customer (B2C) retailers. Modern gateways were overcoming the problem of fragmented payment methods by gathering various banks and credit card companies under a single platform.

He further pointed out that traditional retailers still prefer to make cash payments to suppliers, since they receive cash payments from customers in the first place. Besides, as the retailers meet up with their suppliers often, there is very limited time for them to deposit the cash into the bank – inducing them to run a cash-in-cash-out system. While calculating the cash on hand can be a time-consuming task, retailers may still find it to be manageable. Hence in pushing e-payment and e-commerce, both the demand and supply side from the retailer standpoint needed to be addressed.

In his closing remarks, Bahar predicted that many new e-commerce sites would mushroom via mobile applications for smartphones and tablets. He highlighted that a more robust government regulatory regime was necessary to help the e-commerce industry win more digital buyers in the market.

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