Selling Online Requires Patience

Hendrik Tio
Founder and CEO of Bhinneka

Entrepreneurs who want to sell their products online (e-commerce), need to be patient in waiting for the readiness of the Indonesian people for online shopping. Most of the people tend to do purchases by trying the product before hand, and paying cash immediately if they are interested on the product.

Founder and CEO of e-commerce sites for electronic products, Hendrik Tio, said that online salesmen in Indonesia had to be patient. Bhinneka itself opened its stores in several shopping centers in Jakarta, and at that time, they have not fully rely on selling online yet.

Every day, there are approximately 600 transaction in Bhinneka. Tio admitted that 50 percent of the total transactions are still done offline.

"This number has grown compared to previous years. In the last 2 years, online transaction is increasing," said Tio.

According to him, the people of Indonesia have complete confidence in the method of payment by credit card. In 2011, transactions using credit cards in Bhinneka were only a mere 20 percent. Most transactions are still carried out by the method of paying cash, debit, bank transfer and internet banking.

However, Tio is optimistic with the progress of the e-commerce industry in Indonesia. "I predict that in a few years, e-commerce will become a boom again, and the people of Indonesia will be ready with e-commerce," continued Tio.

Established in 1993, Bhinneka started as a supplier of printers and computers. But four years later, the financial crisis hit the country hard and forced his business along with many others into survival mode.

Bhinneka's success as a e-commerce website and a benchmark to prices of electronic products, has come from years of experience factor, where it was a pioneer without no competitors at that time. Bhinneka is arguably Indonesia’s biggest online store for computers. It is 100 percent locally owned and has been profitable since the first year. While Bhinneka has established its spot as the number one online store for computers in Indonesia for quite some time, the company recently rolled out 13 new product categories including home appliances, musical instruments, and toys.

"It's part of our commitment to e-commerce business. We continue to build trust, complementary collection of products, innovate, and frequently updating contents," said Tio.

He argues, the element of trust so vital element in e-commerce business. Confidence in e-commerce could be the friendliness and speed of service, and warranty an e-commerce company can give.

With an awakened faith, his company innovates by adding unique features to increase interactivity with customers on the site.

The company has consistently made its presence felt among the country's top online shop players and it is natural for people to wonder what lies ahead. Tio believes that he can turn his online business into a success story, where entrepreneur will give a one-word answer: passion. "You have to love it. Don’t just think of it as a money machine. Because if you do, and if it doesn’t work, you will just stop there," said Hendrik.

With online shopping becoming increasingly popular and with the prevalence of social networking sites, Tio predicts that industry will grow at 20 to 30 percent a year in the future.

"People don't look things up in the books anymore, they go straight to Google. The same thing happens when they want to go shopping, people now look at the internet first," said Tio as the reason why he felt so optimistic about online businesses.