02 March 2023

Trendsetting in Vietnam with e-commerce

Now based in Ho Chi Minh City, UniSA alumna Oanh Truong is embracing the challenges of building the fashion category for TikTok Shop Vietnam.

The TikTok Shop Vietnam team
The TikTok Shop Vietnam team

Oanh Truong

Fashion Category Management at TikTok Shop
Bachelor of Management (Honours), Marketing
Master of Business, Marketing Research

International student Oanh Truong came to UniSA in 2008 to study marketing and, while completing her Masters, worked at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute in Adelaide as a Research Associate. Her next career move was to Melbourne, where she worked in research and analytic roles for companies such as RealEstate.com.

International student Oanh Troung in Adelaide 2012
International student Oanh Troung in Adelaide 2012

In 2019 Oanh decided to return to Vietnam. Not only were her parents still there, she felt the economy was more dynamic, and there were many more opportunities to work in e-commerce.

"I'm very passionate about tech and e-commerce," says Oanh, "and, even though Australia has a lot of opportunities, in terms of start-ups and digital, Asia is a much larger market and moves really, really fast in that area."

Oanh worked for Lazada, which along with Shoppee, makes up the largest e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia, before moving to TikTok Shop in early 2022 to manage the fashion category. Fashion is the largest of the company's "clusters," which include Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Home and Baby, and Electronics.

"I'm managing the whole fashion category, taking care of the growth in terms of revenue and also market share. The model of TikTok Shop operates quite differently to traditional ecommerce where you only see people listing products to sell on the website or the app."

And this is what sets TikTok Shop apart from other platforms. "With TikTok, sellers have to make content to merchandise their product through a live stream or video.

"Sellers and brands can also sell their products through our network of creators who are KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) or KOCs (Key Opinion Consumers) and can promote their products through affiliate channels.

"We actually create a marketplace for them to create content and sell. We create guidelines as well as strategies through our education content or through our partnership with them to help increase their revenue."

The fashion cluster is huge, encompassing womenswear, menswear, luggage and bags, sports and outdoors, accessories, and shoes.

"I'm lucky enough to be in the fashion category because it really addresses the pain point of the seller and also the user. If women go to buy a dress online, they can only see the product image. It's really hard for them to imagine how it looks on a real person.”

Oanh is building the TikTok Shop market share in Vietnam
Oanh is building the TikTok Shop market share in Vietnam

With TikTok Shop, the seller or brand can share a live stream to show how a dress will fit on a particular body or what the colour and material looks like; as we remove the barriers, the buyer can see the item in a real lens.

"What I really love about my role is that it brings the seller and the bands closer to the end user."

TikTok Shop follows the model of Douyin, a content commerce app based in China where e-commerce accounts for 80 per cent of the market. "It's a seamless process from browsing the item and seeing it on a real person to making a purchase. And if you're not happy with your purchase, 50 minutes later someone comes to your house to pick it up to return it!"

While TikTok Shop operates in all Southeast Asian markets, including Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Vietnam, and the United States and United Kingdom, it's yet to come to Australia.

Oanh has her work cut out for her. With TikTok's fashion cluster only accounting for 10 to 14 per cent of the total fashion market in Vietnam. "I hope that I can work within the category and see the growth … and be a part of the changing era to tech and e-commerce."

While family and career opportunities were major factors luring Oanh back to Vietnam, she's enjoying the lifestyle and a wide range of activities, especially travel. Based in Ho Chi Minh City, she's ideally located to explore her own country and the rest of Asia.

Having become a citizen during her time in Australia, Oanh feels Australia has had a profound cultural impact on the person she is today. "It’s where I developed my working style and professionalism.

“I feel so privileged that I chose to study marketing at UniSA, and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute is very well known, even in Vietnam. It gave me a very good and profound foundation for what I’m doing now.”

For international students, Oanh recommends studying with UniSA. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – expose yourself to everything that you can, be confident and utilise everything that Australia has to offer.”

As students, Oanh and her cohort aspired to work with Google or Facebook, but today she’s happily riding the wave of the popularity of TikTok. “I think Meta will be the next big thing, but for now TikTok is quite a trend!”


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