The social commerce market is already worth more than $13 billion in Southeast Asia, but the checkout process is filled with friction. Many merchants don’t have online stores and instead use social media and messaging apps, meaning payment is made by switching to banking apps or wallets.
This means low conversion rates, say the founders of Ray. The Thailand-based startup created a one-click payment solution for social trading merchants and has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Sequoia Capital India and Southeast Asia-based Surge, with the participation of Partech Partners.
Beam was founded in 2019 by Nattapat Chaimanowong, Mike Chinakrit Piamchon and Win Vareekasem. Frustrated with the process of repeatedly filling out information for things like memberships, credit cards, and visas, the trio began working on a business idea to streamline form filling, which turned into Beam.
Vareekasem told australiabusinessblog.com that after building multiple MVPs, the team found that retailers were one of the largest groups affected by the issue. “Form filling alone couldn’t solve sales conversions, so payments had to be integrated as well, which ultimately led to the realization of a much bigger, burning problem we’re dealing with.”
Many social commerce merchants are calling for peer-to-peer mobile banking apps, meaning they accept payments by sharing account numbers. This can result in poor conversions due to limited payment options and a lot of work to manage payments.
Beam says the checkout process takes just 20 seconds. It accepts all major payment service providers in every market, such as BNPL leaders Atome and Pace, and claims that merchants using their payment solution have increased checkout success by up to 30%. Merchants also save money by paying lower transaction fees because they don’t have to pay the subscription and platform fees charged by ecommerce marketplaces.
Beam makes money by charging a fixed percentage for each transaction based on the payment method. For example, it charges 2.95% for credit card transactions. Typical customers are medium-sized companies that process and sell several hundred orders per day in the fashion, beauty, home and living and electronics sectors.
Beam is currently focused on Thailand, with plans to expand into Southeast Asia. While there are other startups focused on taking the friction out of social commerce, such as Oppaper, Vareekasem said Beam sets itself apart by focusing on end-to-end checkout experiences for both customers and merchants, and making sure that the former can check out with just one click when they shop online.