SalesTechStar Interview with Karam Malhotra, Partner and Global Vice-President at SHAREit Group

As mobile commerce trends evolve, how will it create disruptions across eCommerce and online shopping? Karam Malhotra, Partner and Global Vice-President at SHAREit Group weighs in with some thoughts:

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Hi Karam, welcome to this SalesTechStar chat, tell us more about your journey through the years and more about your role at SHAREit?

I started with a corporate gig at McKinsey London after graduating from Kellogg School of Management, and later went on to co-create two video-on-demand  businesses – FastFilmz, a mobile entertainment platform and  Greatest Common Factor, an ed-tech company. In 2018, I joined the SHAREit team after they acquired the OTT platform FastFilmz. Since then, I have been steering SHAREit’s global growth and expansion, while leading the global sales strategy. My focus has been on building a SHAREit ecosystem that includes sticky users and app brands that are looking to grow.

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How have you been seeing in-app purchases grow over the recent months / years and what trends have you been observing here?

In the beginning of 2020, in-app purchases were expected to rise as mobile and internet picked up. The pandemic accelerated some of the megatrends and mobile adoption and usage as well as e-commerce grew by leaps and bounds. In-app purchases have been on the rise in Southeast Asia in 2021 as consumers spend more online, be it in the confines of their homes or wherever they are. The region has experienced a 240% increase in spending.

This was anticipated since due to social distancing measures and lockdowns globally, most people had to turn to digital channels to access goods and services.

Mobile banking and contactless payments have thus emerged as key trends in the region. Considering there is a large unbanked population in the Southeast Asia region, governments have been seen backing e-wallets which is why their acceptance has risen in the region, a trend that will continue.

Why in your view should B2B marketers and sales teams be paying more attention to this channel for promotions and marketing modes of various kinds? 

We think of SHAREit as an ecosystem for app brands to engage with. We work around what we call the Flywheel model which provides support to app brands in 3 key areas – user growth, app monetization, and the ability to accept and distribute payments beyond your app.

In the latest AppsFlyer report, SHAREit, has been ranked third in Southeast Asia for driving the largest volumes of in-app purchases amongst Android users for companies in the finance and ecommerce industries. This is right after Google and Facebook, the biggest platforms for marketers. For marketers, SHAREit has over time become a growth partner owing to its sticky user base which leads to better conversions for them. SHAREit’s massive reach within the mass markets in Southeast Asia offers app brands opportunities to engage those who are not perhaps on Facebook or for whom Google is not a critical part of their lives.

We specialise in performance marketing solutions and have been helping brands in various industries drive user growth. From an advertising standpoint, there are different ad units and ad formats that SHAREit makes use of including banner ads/ gifs, splash ads, Pop Up ads etc. SHAREit’s Hot Apps functionality is the ad solution that helps drive app installs by high-intent users. It allows users to download and share apps with zero data triggering a ripple effect which can lead each app to be shared upto 16 times.

How are you seeing the boom in mobile commerce impact business growth and sales outcomes today?

We now live in a mobile-first world, where the penetration of smartphones and extensive use of mobile applications is on the rise. Having added over 70 million new online shoppers since the onset of the pandemic, Southeast Asia has emerged as the home of the digital shopper.

Businesses are meeting their consumers where they are, as mobile commerce gains traction – click-and-mortar over brick-and-mortar models have become a necessity, brands are building custom mobile experiences, and listening to consumers more closely than ever to know what they are feeling. Mobile is now at the heart of business strategies for consumer brands, which helps them reach more potential  buyers, and conversions. This is a preferred route for users globally right now as it provides a convenient channel to shop whenever and wherever.

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As eCommerce and mobile commerce trends evolve, what are some top predictions you’d like to share for 2022 and beyond?

 It is a well-known fact now that e-commerce sales have been on the rise due to the pandemic and is now at its next brink of evolution. With increased trust in fintech, the logistics industry opening up, and online product costs coming down, it is inevitable that this economic sweet spot of e-commerce will only continue to grow in 2022, especially so in the Southeast Asia region as consumers demand more convenience and speed.

In addition, retention has become the top priority. With increased digital competition, customer acquisition costs have risen across channels. Which is why brands are experimenting with new channels as digital advertising output’s uncertainty rises. Brands are investing in richer and personalized experiences, in order to humanise and retain customers, especially as user expectation grows.

Some last thoughts and takeaways before we wrap up?

At SHAREit, we believe that the only way forward from here is together. We are a consumer app, and have adopted an open platform strategy to allow for other app brands to grow. We help them get noticed by, and engage the belly of the population pyramid. The app is like the plumbing for the digital infrastructure helping brands onboard users not on the typical platforms like Facebook and instagram. SHAREit enjoys immense trust amongst its users many of whom download apps, games or content through word of mouth.

SHAREit Group is a global internet technology company that has built a diversified suite of applications installed by nearly 2.4 billion users worldwide, including the core app SHAREit. SHAREit, a file sharing, content streaming and gaming app, and growth partner for Shopee, Tokopedia and Lazada, has  ranked #4 globally after Google, Facebook and TikTok for driving large volumes of non gaming in-app purchases. Headquartered in Singapore, SHAREit Group’s business network reaches over 150 countries in 45 different languages. SHAREit aims to help brands achieve their business goals and users to access seamless digital content of the highest possible quality.

Karam Malhotra is the Partner, Global VP at the SHAREit Group, a global internet technology company with the vision to ‘make digital content equally accessible by everyone’. It’s diversified suite of applications, including the hero app SHAREit, a file sharing, gaming and content streaming platform, has been installed by nearly 2.4 billion users worldwide. Based in Singapore, he helms the global sales team, formulates strategy, and builds the business ecosystem for SHAREit across the globe.

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