Indonesian online marketplace Elevenia plans a series of expansions this year following an additional capital injection from its investors, the company's executive told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday (28/04). (The Peak Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)

Online Shopping Still a Work in Progress

MARCH 31, 2015

In many parts of the world, all you could ever want or imagine is obtainable through a single click on your computer or smartphone. Yet most urban Indonesians still spend their days of driving all the way to the shopping mall just to buy a few groceries, withstanding the crowds and long lines.

According to 2013 data from the Indonesia E-Commerce Association (idEA), e-commerce transactions in Indonesia that year topped $8 billion. By 2016, that figure is expected to reach $24 billion.

Around 74 million Indonesians use the Internet regularly, or 30 percent of the country’s population.

Yet kinks in connecting banks with payment platforms, as well as logistics difficulties and security holes have hampered the market from achieving its full potential. Still, some are betting the farm on homegrown online retail platforms, giving rise to a marketplace of rather uneven quality and reliability.

New online based services and stores launch regularly.

One of them is

The online marketplace is a joint-venture between Indonesia’s mobile provider, XL Axiata, and South Korea’s Internet-based open marketplace, SK Planet.

The website, a marketplace platform analogous to Alibaba, was established last March and has since achieved modest success so in attracting retailers to hawk their goods, as well as gain brand recognition in the general population.

Elevenia’s chief executive, James Lee, was excited at last week’s celebration of the marketplace’s first anniversary in Jakarta.

“I’m so happy to celebrate the first year anniversary of Elevenia,” Lee said.

“Since we launched it last year, we’ve made a very good progress.”

In March last year Elevenia started with around 500,000 products and 6,000 sellers.

By last month, that number more than quadrupled to 2 million products and 20,000 sellers.

Last month, over 5 million individuals visited the website. Together, they made around Rp 60 billion ($4.5 million) in purchases.

“This year, as a leading e-commerce in this market, we’ll keep trying to provide more value to our customers and develop the e-commerce industry in Indonesia,” Lee said.

Elevenia offers eight categories of products, including fashion for adults and children, health and beauty, and house and gardenware.

But gadgets and electronics are among the most popular products.

The second most sought-after product category is fashion.

“Fashion products are not very expensive, and we have many different varieties for every market segment,” chief financial officer Lila Nirmandari said.

“That’s why the amount of their transactions is among the highest.”

Elevenia is currently preparing to beef up its fashion catalog.

“We’re currently preparing a number of marketing strategies to improve the sales of our fashion products,” Lila said.

“One of our strategies might involve working with local fashion designers.”

Food and related products are also available for purchase in the marketplace — including customer favorite, Kraukk Durian Pancakes by Yudhi Dwinanto.

“When Elevenia approached me in June last year, I actually hesitated,” said Yudhi, who already has his own online store,

“I thought the process would be complicated. But then, I decided to join anyway, because there is no joining fee for sellers.”

Yudhi says he was delighted to learn Elevenia’s staff assisted with the process at every step, from uploading products to the website to marketing.

“On my own online store, I usually get between four and five orders per day, while on Elevenia, on certain occasions, I may get up to 100 orders per day,” Yudhi said.

“And the nice thing is I don’t have to do anything [to promote] my products,” he added.

“They do all the promotion, billing and complaint handling so that I can really focus on my products.”

Elevenia encourages sellers, both individuals and owners of online shops, to join the marketplace.

“It’s easy to set up your own online store, but it’s difficult to get it visited,” said Lila. “If you join us, we’ll do all the marketing activities and bring visitors to your [online] store.”

Elevenia takes between 5 percent and to 10 percent on sales made through the marketplace.

Elevenia notifies sellers “as soon as possible” after orders are placed. The sellers then prepare merchandise for shipping to customers — effectively acting as an escrow service.

“We’ll hold the payment from the customers until the sellers show us the airway bill [with which they send the product],” said Lila.

“The longer they take to send their products to the customers, the longer they will get their payment.”

If the sellers haven’t sent their products to the customers in four days, the order will be canceled and the money will be return in full to the customers.

“It’s better this way than letting the customers wait in uncertainty,” Lila said.

Elevenia works together with logistics company JNE to deliver some of its merchandise.

Agus Hartono Wijaya, JNE’s chief of sales and marketing, attended Elevenia’s first anniversary celebration and congratulated the marketplace.

“These guys know what they’re doing,” said Agus. “Their growth is tremendous. They’re among the top five [online marketplaces] in terms of shipment [with JNE].”

From March to December 2014, JNE has delivered more than 400,000 packages for Elevenia.

Elevenia promises to better its products and services in the following years.

“We’ll continue to offer interesting discounts and promos to our customers,” Lila said.

The Peak