According to the recent e-Conomy SEA 2019 research by Google and Temasek, Vietnam has the 2nd fastest growing e-Conomy (~40% YoY growth), which contributes the most to GDP (~5%) among Southeast Asia countries!
The biggest contributor to the e-Conomy of Vietnam is obviously E-commerce, with $5B GMV in 2019 and 81% CAGR from 2015 to 2019! E-commerce only accounts for around 3% of the retail value in Vietnam (compare to around 20% in China), which means there is still a huge room for growth.
While E-commerce is a more mature industry where the competition is mainly among unicorns, there is a wave of adjacent industries booming in Vietnam right now: logistics, O2O commerce, fintech… fueled by the growth of E-commerce.
The list of unicorns in SEA mainly consists of e-commerce, ride-hailing and travel startups. But in our opinion, in the next 7–10years, there will be a new wave of unicorns in O2O commerce and fintech in SEA, exactly the way it happened in China, as SEA is lagging behind China around 10 years.
Indeed, O2O commerce and fintech in Vietnam is growing super fast, radically changed consumer behavior and business landscape. But also, it's getting pretty messy.
Managing the offline store is starting to become a huge pain because there are too many things to handle for shop owners. To drive more customers and boost customer experience/engagement, offline stores often partner with many O2O and fintech solutions: GrabFood, Go-Food, Now, Meete, Momo, VNPay…
The problem is, each of these solutions is treated in silos in terms of data and workflow, resulting in a huge amount of manual work and reducing the effectiveness of these solutions.
Also, many offline stores are still using pen and paper to manage their business, while others are using outdated POS systems that are messy, costly and not connected to the cloud.
That's where LOOP Smart POS — a new-generation POS system with a heavy focus on integrations with O2O and fintech solutions — comes in.
LOOP puts a huge focus on improving the user experience for the POS system. With the well-designed, intuitive, cloud-connected POS software, LOOP is able to convert many merchants using market-leader POS systems and growing rapidly. With the rise of O2O and fintech, the integration of these solutions on a single platform becomes critical for offline stores, and that's exactly what LOOP is doing: a POS platform, instead of just a standalone POS solution.
We talked to Alvin Koh, founder of LOOP Smart POS last year when he was still working on Peko Rewards Wallet, which is later pivoted to LOOP. We are impressed by his hustle and patience with the retail market in Vietnam. Alvin is a Singaporean entrepreneur who came to Vietnam to do business a few years ago (he is learning Vietnamese!). He is also a Startup Mentor at TRIVE Ventures and Alibaba eFounders Fellow.
LOOP team consists of people with strong complementary expertise. The team is very young and understand the retail market and young consumer behavior very well. They also have very strong expertise in product/design/marketing & sales, which is critical for a solution that initially focuses on SMEs like LOOP, where adoption will be bottom-up.
I catch up with Alvin this year and talked with him about the pivot to LOOP and was really into with the vision of a central hub for the future of retail that Alvin and his team are building. LOOP will become the one-stop platform for offline store management that will impact tens of thousands of offline stores in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Now we are excited to announce our investment in LOOP Smart POS and super proud to support the team. And I am personally thrilled to become a part of the journey to transform the future of the retail market.