StartupOpinion

Why Educating the Market Might No Longer Be Relevant

As the e-commerce industry grow, we often see a lot of e-commerce companies trying to bring the e-commerce behavior to a new audience in the country. An emerging country like Indonesia, with all its growing economy and immature internet population is often seen as a target to market conversion.

We've seen the signs where big e-commerce players in the country pouring their best efforts to "educate" the market about the benefit of e-commerce, to browse for products, how to pay for stuff online, etc. Millions and millions of dollars are thrown via TV commercials, live TV shows, offline campaigns, etc. again to "educate" the market for the past 3 years but the results are yet to be seen.

Of course, the effort is not exactly bringing up zero results, but compared to the investments made, the growth number is very insignificant. The result of this condition? Only companies with millions of dollars in their bank accounts can make it and survive for the next few years. I mean even a company as big as Plasa is barely making it in the e-commerce scene, thanks to eBay for saving them. In this scenario, there's no chance of survival for the smaller e-commerce companies.

Maybe it's time we look at the market with a different perspective, maybe it's time we treat Indonesian market like an adult and not a baby. Maybe it's time to consider going along with the market behavior and facilitate them instead of paying tons of money into educating them with something new. Maybe it's time to accept the fact that credit card is not popular in Indonesia, so instead of trying to get Indonesian people to use credit cards, we should facilitate other forms of payments.

Of course some will debate that "educating" the market is bringing knowledge to the market and make them more mature. But you know what? It's not a privilege for everyone. Let the big boys handle the millions of dollars of investments in market education, maybe they'll take the market forward, maybe they won't. They can take the risk most companies can't.

If the students can't understand the lecture, maybe it's time to switch the teacher. Right?

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