With a fervent passion to keep the retail sector abreast of the constantly evolving world of technology, Ken Ip is currently chairman of The Asia MarTech Society (AMS) for its 2021-22 session on a 2-year term.
AAs an award-winning marketing and brand communications strategist, Ip has worked in a number of senior roles, from corporate consulting to public affairs advisory for leading multinationals and conglomerates. He is currently Assistant General Manager and Group Head of Marketing at B.S.C. Group, overseeing the marketing of their engineering, design, construction, wholesale and retail business, with a portfolio of over 200 lifestyle brands.
Ip is also an active public speaker, columnist, and contributor on the subject of Marketing Technology (MarTech) and e-Commerce. To share the knowledge of MarTech, he is also an associate professor and the author of two best-selling titles, “Life Hacks” and “Growth Hacks”.
“MarTech is an excellent tool to attract and engage with customers, thereby retaining their loyalty,” Ip notes. “However, it has often escaped the lime light in Hong Kong.”
For those unfamiliar with the subject, Ip explains, “In a nutshell, MarTech is the sequel of digital marketing. Evolving from digital marketing where businesses are merely being put online on a webpage, MarTech shapes the landscape of marketing by working alongside artificial intelligence, block chain, cloud computing and data, together with various means such as online to offline (O2O), virtual shop, and Omni-Channel, to facilitate the betterment and convenience of conventional marketing processes amidst the current era of big data.”
With over 20 years of experiences under his belt, Ip has undertaken a host of remarkable projects throughout his journey with MarTech. “One of them is my latest work on transforming the conventional business model of the group’s retail business into a virtual shop in the short space of 30 days,” he recalls. “It makes shopping possible amidst the pandemic lockdown. The virtual shop offers a unique shopping sensation for customers as they visit each floor of the retail store at their fingertips, and shop for any number of avant-garde and design-oriented products as they wish.”
“The biggest challenge of this project was to race against time,” he notes. “With the shops being either closed or devoid of customers during the early stages of the pandemic, I had to set up an online platform for our brand in the shortest possible time to resuscitate the business. The next step was to integrate it with e-commerce.”
While the current pandemic impacts shopping frequency, Ip believes MarTech is the solution enabling customers to shop anytime, anywhere. “In spite of the social lockdown, life goes on, albeit in modified forms,” Ip observes. “This is where MarTech comes in, helping businesses, big or small, cope with the new reality of customers dining in and shopping online.”
Going online means that retail businesses will no longer have to worry about exorbitant rents, limited space at shops, not being able to open 24/7, and cross-boundary sales. “If shops fail to go with the flow and go digitalized amidst the pandemic, it will be even harder for them to catch up in the post-pandemic era,” Ip stresses.
“Digitalization does not mean sacrificing the engagement and interaction between customers and shop staff, because with chatbox and AI, customers can easily obtain the information they are searching for and engage with the shop in a seamless fashion.”
As Chairman of AMS and the Group Head of Marketing at B.S.C. Group, Ip is dedicated to fostering learning, sharing and knowledge exchange among the AMS community, and bringing the new MarTech insights back to his workplace and help keep the B.S.C. Group at the forefront of the digital market trend.