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How Astro is thinking about profitability in a post-Covid era

Published on April 18, 2023

In a recent MindShare episode of Indonesia Digital Deconstructed hosted by Leighton Cosseboom of AC Ventures, an expert panel discussed the history and evolution of online retail in Indonesia, the largest and most important retail market in Southeast Asia. The episode featured two veterans, Jacopo Mor, former COO of Lazada Indonesia, and Vincent Tjendra, co-founder and CEO of Astro, Indonesia’s top quick commerce startup for grocery delivery.

In recent years, e-commerce in Indonesia has grown rapidly, with companies like Lazada, Tokopedia, and Shopee paving the way for new players like Astro. Despite limited internet penetration and low consumer trust a decade ago, the market is now vibrant with projected revenue of US$52 billion in 2023 and US$77 billion by 2027. Vincent and Jacopo discuss the trends and challenges in the industry and how their companies are addressing them in a post-Covid era.

Jacopo highlights the importance of considering the long-term impact of today’s decisions on the future landscape of the market. He notes that this is the mindset of Lazada’s parent company, Alibaba Group, in China. In comparing the two markets, he also points out that price sensitivity and the cost of shipping are two of the biggest challenges in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Vincent talks about Astro’s focus on providing a one-stop solution for customers’ grocery needs within a 15-minute delivery window. He also shares the startup’s approach to achieving profitability through efficient growth and optimizing its promotion spending.

The group also discussed the importance of understanding user needs and evaluating customer feedback effectively. They also touched on the unique challenges faced by startups in the industry, such as false promises from the market about certain business models and the need to stay focused on profit.

Jacopo and Vincent shared their personal stories and experiences in the game, providing key insights into the evolution and potential of e-commerce in Indonesia. With the market expected to continue growing rapidly in the coming years, it will be interesting to see how companies like Lazada, Tokopedia, Shopee, and Astro continue to innovate and adapt to changing trends and customer demands.

Get the full episode for free on Spotify, Apple, and Google.

See also: How Astro’s dark stores unlock various pockets of Jakarta
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