All great businesses begin with a problem that won’t go away. A problem often so deeply ingrained in a system that no one wins but everyone just accepts it. So it was with the retail industry in Indonesia. A US$300bn market that has just recently begun to bounce back since the arrival of Covid19.
Offline, retail was broken. Products traveled through 5 layers of middle men before finally reaching the customer. The supplier and resellers have their margins sliced with around 50% of the price lost by the time the goods reach the market & the customer is paying higher prices for a smaller range of products. With this being the case, ecommerce was bound to thrive & we have seen the rise & rise of giants like Shopee, Tokopedia, Bukalapak, & Lazada. As of 2020, ecommerce now accounts for 20% of retail sales, up from just 2% in 2016. (Blooming ecommerce in Indonesia — Momentum Works).
But whilst ecommerce in Indonesia has thrived, in itself it has not been a panacea. There are still profound problems with both supply & demand. Local suppliers now enjoy a burgeoning reseller base but margins are squeezed by international manufacturers. Industrious resellers have a simple way to earn some extra cash but rising to the top & gaining exposure is an expensive business. Even the customers, especially those in lower tier cities, are losing out because they struggle to find products they can trust to be Sharia- compliant.
It was clear to the founding team at Evermos that there was a gap in the market for an ecommerce brand that could thread the needle. A brand that could make ecommerce work for every Indonesian. Local brands, local resellers & local buyers. The clue to their challenge, & their point of difference, is in the name ‘Everyday needs for everyday Moslems’. Evermos.
But they had to start somewhere….
…so they started in the middle.
They had to get their reseller strategy right. The resellers, & their success, would be the heart & soul of the Evermos proposition.
The team set themselves an audacious goal. To create a community of one million entrepreneurs. Students, housewives & anyone else looking to make some extra money & gain a little independence. In the wake of Covid19, with so many people struggling to build back their income, this goal is more important than ever. When people are searching for ways to support themselves & their families, a platform like Evermos provides a vital life line.
Evermos works because it keeps life simple for the reseller. They do not have to navigate a complex new website & deal with unfamiliar, perhaps untrustworthy suppliers. Instead they choose products from Evermos’ carefully curated catalogue of Sharia-compliant products & sell through their own social media & WhatsApp networks.
Critically, Evermos have never left their community of resellers to their own devices. Instead they developed an ecosystem of learning modules that help resellers master their craft. To be smart in how they source, market & sell their products to get the greatest return.
What can we learn from Evermos?
No category is beyond repair. The biggest opportunities are often hidden behind the toughest problems.
The ambition to create one million entrepreneurs provides a critical north star. Will they get there? Who knows. But if they did that would be many more than a million lives transformed.
Onboarding was only step one. Evermos had to invest in upskilling each & every customer to ensure they stay active & make the best use of the platform.
Evermos has been successful because it is a brand with a conscience in a category that lacks one. A human-centric idea in a category that saw no role for community in commerce.
The Evermos journey has been an exciting & heartwarming one. We have seen the team go from strength to strength without ever compromising the simplicity of their value proposition. In so doing they have gone one step beyond ‘Social Commerce’ & built a business that could perhaps most accurately be described as ‘Community Commerce’.