The e-commerce industry has been developing rapidly globally. In 2017, retail sales made online amounted to 2.3 trillion US dollars worldwide and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 4.88 trillion US dollars in 2021!
Even though Hong Kong is a huge metropolis, development of e-commerce here is lagging behind the rest of the world. Fortunately, there is great growth potential for us, thanks to the large amount of Hong Kongers using the internet (80% of us have a PC with internet access at home), a developed delivery system (trading and logistics is the largest industry in Hong Kong), and a growing trend of mobile payments (mobile wallet users have increased by 30% this year alone). The future is not bleak for us - this industry is expected to expand continuously in the near future.
Apart from a good career prospect in a rapidly growing industry, working in e-commerce equips people with a variety of valuable hard and soft skills that you can't get as quickly elsewhere.
E-Commerce teaches you to think like a manager
Are you thinking about doing a management trainee programme to accelerate your career? If so, stepping into the e-commerce industry might be an even better idea. People working in this industry develop fundamental skills essential for business, from product marketing to supply chain, learning about pricing, customer acquisition, cross-selling, upselling, and customer service, just to name a few. Whilst people may catch just a glimpse of one or two pieces of the puzzle working in other sectors, they seldom see the big picture like those who are involved in the online retail business.
E-Commerce teaches you to think in the customer’s shoes
E-Commerce places a strong emphasis on brand and customer experience, making people who work in this field a very convincing storyteller. The customers' social and shopping behavior data that is gathered helps one understand what customers SAY they'll do compared with what they ACTUALLY do. Working in e-commerce helps you better understand customers and think from their perspective – whether you work with professional clients or even just interacting with colleagues, being able to understand situations from another persons’ shoes is an invaluable skill for your career development.
E-Commerce accelerates your learning curve
You will have the chance to learn very quickly in e-commerce through deep immersion of real time result data. In the online business world, where everything can be done instantly, the work you’ll do is fast-paced and paired with a lot of controlled testing and learning. This is unlike most other industries, where time is taken to gather data, which is then thoroughly analysed to create a strategy and action plan. In the online world, you can make changes in real time and see the results shortly after. This quick action-result loop can accelerate your learning curve a great deal.
E-Commerce Opportunities in Hong Kong – what should you look for?
E-Commerce will surely change Hong Kong's retail landscape, so if you want to be part of this changing world, what should you look for in a company?
Go for companies that are expanding
Companies that are expanding tend to grow quicker than they can find people to fill the roles. Their employees are expected to wear multiple hats, which brings exposure to a variety of different sectors. You can expect to gain hands-on experience working on a range of projects and with people from diverse backgrounds.
A.S. Watson Group are one of the large corporations in Hong Kong who are expanding to develop their digital business. In 2015 they launched a centralised in-house team called eLab to offer global support to the whole group’s e-commerce business.
Go for multinational companies that will give you more exposure
Working in a new department under a multinational company (MNC) allows you to get the best of both worlds. You can enjoy the structure and resources available of a MNC, but get the excitement and innovative atmosphere of a new company or start-up.
With 12 brands in 24 markets and over 130 million loyalty programme members, the A.S. Watson Group is the world's largest health and beauty retailer. Working in e-commerce for these brands will expose you to a substantial customer base and behavior data across different regions, as well as each of their brands' unique marketing and sales strategies.
Prioritise company working culture
A great work culture means a positive and healthy environment where employees want to be at work and are happy to work for their company. Tangible assets include office layout, office design, and good benefits outside of salary. The intangible, but equally important factors include a broad range of training and development opportunities for you to grow both personally and professionally, but also a relationship with colleagues and managers where communication is open and transparent. It’s this type of environment which will nurture you to shine.
Andrew Ma, the Technology Director at eLab, says that to boost employees' creativity, they have adopted an open office plan and stylish design, to free their employees' mind from the traditional stiff corporate culture. "People dress casually here, our working culture gives us the room to be creative and innovative, and encourage us not to be bounded by any rigid thinking. This is how new ideas can come up.”
Do you want to learn more about what it's like to work for eLab at A.S. Watson? Would you like to be a part of their innovative team? Then apply to one of their many jobs today! You can check out their culture, office layout, interview tips and employee testimonials on A.S Watson’s Vanna profile, right alongside with their current job openings.