Aemi alleviates the challenges of social trade in Vietnam – MovieUpdates

Aemi founders Hieu Nguyen and Kim Vu

Aemi founders Hieu Nguyen and Kim Vu

Social commerce sellers can be as small as one person selling products to their followers on social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. Many do not have an online store and instead rely on private messages to take orders and payments. This may not seem like enough to move significant amounts of product, but in many Southeast Asian markets, social commerce sellers are an increasingly large part of e-commerce. In fact, according to a recent Bain report, social trade accounted for 65% of Vietnam’s $22 billion online retail economy last year.

Despite their combined selling power, many social commerce sellers are unable to buy directly in bulk from brands. Instead, they rely on wholesale aggregators, but that means they may not be able to trace the origin of their products, said Aemi co-founder and CEO Kim Vu.

Aemi was co-founded with CTO Hieu Nguyen to help solve supply chain problems for social commerce merchants. By partnering with hundreds of social commerce merchants, it can buy directly from brands. Because Aemi works with hundreds of sellers, it has the purchasing power to negotiate lower wholesale prices than individual sellers, while also guaranteeing the provenance of products.

Currently focused on beauty and wellness, the ultimate goal of the startup is to expand into more industries and create a suite of backend software that helps merchants manage inventory, order, and pay.

The startup has raised $2 million in funding from Alpha JWC Ventures and January Capital, with participation from Venturra Discovery, FEBE Ventures and angel investors. Funding is used for hiring staff, especially for product engineers to build software for Aemi’s micro-merchants.

The social commerce merchants Aemi works with are typically micro-influencers, with followers numbers ranging from around 10,000 to 30,000. Vu told MovieUpdates that one of the reasons she wanted to start Aemi was because she is a social commerce enthusiast.

“I like buying on social commerce, Facebook stores, Instagram stores and the like because I trust the person, so I trust they did a really good job of analyzing the products and reviews from a content perspective,” said Vu. . At the same time, she found that when she had questions about the authenticity and provenance of a product, many sellers could not guarantee that the products were genuine because they did not have the sales volume to build a close relationship with brands and instead relied on wholesale aggregators.

“I see huge demand from a consumer point of view, but also from a supply perspective,” says Vu. “Not too much effort has gone into increasing supply chain support for this sector.”

Before founding Aemi, Vu spent six years as a management consultant for Bain, specializing in retail. This included working with global brands to increase their distribution in emerging markets. She found that they approached branding and distribution in a very traditional way, missing the growing dominance of social commerce.

“A lot of effort is put into high visibility, such as brick and mortar stores, but people have a growing affinity for buying social commerce, buying items online, and having them delivered to their homes,” says Vu. “From a supply chain perspective, not too much is built in.”

As a result, many social commerce sellers not only have unreliable supply chains, but also lack the software and marketing support they need to build their business.

Aemi also provides marketing support, which involves helping sellers create memorable content. Many have created a niche for themselves by recommending certain types of products, such as skin care or beauty products, but do not have the social networking power to form brand partnerships. Aemi helps by providing professional product photos, product descriptions and information to sellers. It also plans to build software, such as drag-and-drop storefronts, that will allow merchants to manage sales and inventory across multiple social media platforms.

“The people we target are classified as long-tail distribution by brands,” Vu said, “but they make up the bulk of the volume on social trading” in Vietnam.

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