A Vietnam technology firm, which was incorporated in the United States and headquartered in Singapore, plans to expand in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries to change the way cash discounts, rewards, and loyalty points are managed.
Society Pass, which recently raised $28 million from its initial public offering on Nasdaq, expects to launch Society Points product in the first quarter of 2022. “We see Society Points replace cash discounting in SEA. Post-launch, SMEs will issue Society Points as a means of discounting their products and services and thus create permanent loyalty with their customers,” Society Pass founder, chairman and chief executive Dennis Nguyen says in an e-mail.
Nguyen says consumers are constantly overwhelmed with a multitude of different ordering, delivery, and loyalty applications for every type of service, which makes it a hassle as consumers have to access separate apps for different needs and at each stage of the buying process.
“Society Pass’s consumer-facing business aims to integrate everything the consumer needs into one ecosystem: consumers can easily search and order anything they want or need through the company’s various interconnected mobile and web platforms. Society Pass’s strategic alliances, delivery arrangements, and payment processing are also done within the platform, reducing the inconvenience of checkout for consumers,” he explains.
Nguyen says that since its launch in 2019, Society Pass has amassed over 1.5 million registered users and over 3,500 registered merchants and brands through its technology solutions, by providing deep insights into customer behaviors and personalized marketing tools, including loyalty app, customer relationship management and point-of-sales software, with more than 100,000 consumers having made transactions on the platform.
Society Pass issues Society Points which consumers can redeem at any merchant registered on the Society Pass ecosystem in any country.
SoPa thus operates a dual-facing business model serving both consumers and merchants through seven interconnected and synergy-driven platforms, he says.
Aside from serving as a cash discount platform, SoPa seeks to transform e-commerce in Southeast Asia through acquisition and partnership. Funding from the recent IPO will be used to expand beyond Vietnam to other parts of Southeast Asia, particularly the VIP countries—Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Unlike developed countries which have reached maturity in their digital economies, developing countries are only now experiencing a surge in digital adoption, with large potentials for future growth, he says.
On why it is particularly interested in the Philippine market, Nguyen says it is one of the most dynamic economies in the region. “With increasing urbanization, a growing middle class and a large and young population, the Philippines’ economic dynamism is rooted in strong consumer demand supported by a vibrant labor market and robust remittances. The size of the Philippines’ Internet economy is expected to increase 24 percent from $17 billion in 2021 to $40 billion in 2025,” he says.Roderick T. dela Cruz
E-commerce contributed 3.4 percent or $12 billion to the GDP in 2020 and is targeted to grow by 22 percent to $26 billion. In 2020, the Philippines’ mobile internet user penetration was nearly 72.1 percent, and was forecasted to reach 77.1 percent by 2025, he says.
“Rising consumer spending coupled with high mobile penetration rate is very conducive for e-commerce companies to thrive,” he says.
SoPA aims to offer unique value for both consumers and merchants, along with the infrastructure supporting that exchange in the Philippines. “We want to replicate our success in our target markets through our ongoing aggressive M&A initiatives in the pipeline. We are in discussion with a number of potential acquisition targets in the e-commerce space,” says Nguyen.
“We are particularly interested in the F&B, beauty, travel and lifestyle verticals. However, our ultimate goal will be the rollout of our Society Points system in the Philippine market,” he says.