Saturday, December 2, 2023

Blibli Unveils Strategy for 2023, Expects to Outperform E-Commerce Sector

Jayanty Nada Shofa
February 8, 2023 | 10:06 am
A visitor makes a transaction at Blibli’s booth at the Pekan Raya Jakarta event in Kemayoran on June 14, 2022. Blibli plans to double down its omnichannel strategy in 2023. (B Universe Photo/Mohammad Defrizal)
A visitor makes a transaction at Blibli’s booth at the Pekan Raya Jakarta event in Kemayoran on June 14, 2022. Blibli plans to double down its omnichannel strategy in 2023. (B Universe Photo/Mohammad Defrizal)

Jakarta. E-commerce platform Blibli recently said that 2023 would be quite a bright year ahead for Indonesia and the company itself.

As the world braces for a recession, there is still hope for Indonesia to withstand the economic decline. According to Blibli, Indonesia will likely survive the looming global recession, among others, thanks to its commodity-oriented economy and major export destination China easing its Covid-19 curbs.

Blibli projected that Indonesia's export volume to China would return to pre-pandemic levels in Q3 or Q4-2023. The company also said that the Indonesian government had so far demonstrated fiscal prudence to fight inflation.

"The World Bank predicts our gross domestic product [GDP] will expand 5.1 percent in 2023, but I believe the growth can be higher. 2023 will be a good year for us, as long as we keep inflation in check. And so far the cabinet has proven to be truly capable of managing inflation compared to other countries," Blibli’s senior vice president and business development head Yohanes Lukiman told B Universe in a recent interview.

The National Statistics Agency (BPS) not long ago reported that Indonesia booked a $3.89 billion trade surplus, marking the 32nd month in a row that the country's trade balance was in the black. Indonesia recorded a 5.7 economic growth in the third quarter of 2022. Indonesia will also remain the center of the global stage — assuming the ASEAN chairmanship just after its G20 presidency. These back-to-back presidencies are expected to attract foreign direct investment and enhance the capital market.

But what would 2023 look like for Blibli? What is the Djarum Group-backed e-commerce’s strategy to navigate 2023? Yohanes said 2023 would be a great year for Blibli, among others, thanks to its omnichannel strategy and the market segment that the platform is focusing on. 

“Our management has this vision that we are going to outperform the sector in 2023. If we speak of the pandemic and post-Covid strategy, we put more focus on achieving a long-term outcome. We are always doubling down on the omnichannel strategy, 2023 is going to be a bright year for Blibli because we can serve our customers regardless of where they are, be it offline or online," Yohanes said.

Blibli has travel booking platform and supermarket chain Ranch Market under its umbrella. Blibli reported that it has more than 100 consumer electronics offline stores across the archipelago, and 70 Ranch Market supermarkets. Blibli is aiming for an aggressive expansion this year, particularly in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities, according to Yohanes.

But at the same time, the Djarum Group subsidiary is also taking full advantage of Indonesians' iPhone craze by becoming Apple's authorized reseller. Statista data showed that Apple's market share in Indonesia reached 9.29 percent as of Oct. 2022, up from 8.45 percent in 2021. Yohanes said Blibli has established two stores —under the name Hello— to resell Apple products. These Hello stores are expected to multiply this year. 

“We will expand our Apple reseller network, namely through Hello or our multibrand store Blibli Store, in 2023. The demand for Apple products has been very inflation-resistant. Apple always sells out its products, and it is the top-end models that get sold out. I would say this is the most strategic partnership for Apple in Indonesia,” Yohanes said.

Blibli primarily serves the mid-to-upper segment, and this can give the company an edge when navigating 2023. Yohanes said that “the mid-to-upper segment has savings and is more resistant to economic pressures.” 

"But we will still help outside our market segment through affordability programs such as buy-now-pay-later and consumer financing. We will offer affordable financing by working together with existing payment partners or those we are planning to curate in 2023.”

Yohanes also told B Universe about the company’s plans to further improve its synergy with subsidiaries and Ranch Market. Blibli revealed that the customer overlap across the three platforms is lower than 10 percent, meaning there is still a huge room for a cross-sell and upsell. 

In addition to working on the intragroup ecosystem, the company also plans to double down on business-to-business (B2B). The government predicted that Indonesia’s B2B e-commerce could top about $21.3 billion in 2023. This gives Blibli another reason to further improve SIPLah, a school procurement system that the company developed in partnership with the Education Ministry. Blibli also plans on doubling down on attracting corporate consumers to its B2B platform, namely the Blibli for Business.

“We truly believe [B2B] will become a major growth driver next year," Yohanes said.

Blibli has more than 150,000 B2B customers as of the first half of 2023. The company also reported a significant growth in its B2B performance over the past four years.

Logistics and Archipelagic Indonesia

Logistics has become one of the most pressing challenges for the e-commerce industry, especially in Indonesia — an archipelagic country that spans 1.9 million kilometers. And Blibli’s plan? Build an end-to-end logistics infrastructure. 

To date, Blibli has 14 warehouses at a size of 130,000 square meters. Blibli is currently building a new warehouse, which is in close proximity to an airport and seaport, in Marunda, North Jakarta. The company also has over 30 hubs spread across remote areas. Offering delivery fees can be incredibly costly to an e-commerce company. At the same time, Indonesians are incredibly sensitive if e-commerce ever cuts the delivery fee subsidy, according to Yohanes.

“We have to keep the delivery fee subsidy costs for Blibli as low as possible. We are aiming for internal cost leadership for logistics, so we can deliver the quality of service expected by our targeted market segment at the lowest internal cost possible. This will give us a competitive advantage over those who do not have a comprehensive, end-to-end logistics supply chain,” Yohanes said.

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