The showroom is quiet.
Fanie Fikri, Head of Marketing at Fabelio, one of Indonesia’s up and coming startups, isn’t worried, the usual mall traffic is out to lunch.
“Our experience centers contribute a healthy 15% of our total revenue.”
He’s referring to the number of customers who have “signed in” to any of the company’s two offline experience centers to view Fabelio’s line of Ikea-esque furniture before buying it online.
To promote a product such as furniture, it’s almost mandatory to have an offline presence and it must be working as the company has raised $3.5M in total funding and was a part of SPARK 40 2016 top individuals building the ecommerce ecosystem.
ecommerceIQ invited out Fanie for coffee to discuss how the company markets affordable coffee tables and artisanal items to the masses and the habit of purchasing furniture online.
What was buying furniture like?
“A complete mess.”
Fanie explains that his father used to find a carpenter on the streets of Jakarta, attempt to describe his coffee table vision and haggle for an agreeable price.
He would also need to return a few times in a week to check on its progress because very rarely would it be without blemishes or completed on time.
One could understand the frustrations with buying artisanal furniture in Indonesia and why it was such a big deal when Swedish furniture giant IKEA opened its first store in the archipelago three years back.
It also showed the shift in taste of Indonesians from traditional teak furniture to a more minimalistic and functional design.
Furniture is not dominated by one brand and Ikea only captures 18% market share in Indonesia so why not offer another option online?”
Startups, do your research.
If a company expects potential visitors to spend at least $250 per order on its website, it would be wise to conduct extensive market research first. Furniture is one of those items that people prefer to have home delivered, but who is the audience?
Unlike IKEA, that focuses on younger people with higher education, medium income, and are not very status conscientious, Fabelio targets new Indonesian families who have the growing luxury of decorating as the average top income earners are 30-34 year olds (Euromonitor: Income and Expenditure Indonesia).
How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?
– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability
A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.
The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.
Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.
In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.
While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.
How the Rural-Urban Divide Plays Out on Digital Platforms
It is one thing for entrepreneurs, whether urban or rural, to create and operate an online store, as some digital platforms have made it relatively easy to manage an e-store – even by using just a smartphone.
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