Southeast Asia eCommerce platform iPrice Group has laid off 20% of its 250 employees. The company said in a statement that the layoffs are part of several measures to focus the business on its core mission “to help people save money” shopping online. In the retrenchment process, iPrice will follow all contractual and legal requirements and is actively helping those staff who have been let go find new opportunities. 

Paul Brown-Kenyon (pictured left), CEO of iPrice Group, said that it was a tough decision to reduce its team in line with the refocus on its core business, given that the team is a strong commodity. "With these changes, however, we are in a stronger position to deliver on our core mission to help people save money," he added.

According to iPrice, it prides itself on solving the problem of overpaying when shopping online by comparing prices, promotions and seller discounts across its vast catalogue of offers collected from thousands of sellers and marketplaces. Over the years, iPrice expanded the business from its website to offer a full-suite white-label marketplace solution for super apps, including BNPL providers. Additionally, the company offers users additional savings via the most comprehensive coupon offering in the market. It also recently started building its app to capitalise on users who visit iPrice websites every year. 

However, iPrice Group co-founder David Chmelař (pictured centre) said that while its new services resonated with online shoppers, they each require further investment with a longer-term payback. "In today’s uncertain economic environment, it’s important to be hyper-focused on the company’s core product," he added.

While iPrice will refocus on its core mission, partnerships will continue as a subscription model with a focus on providing interested players access to SEA’s best-curated product catalogue and rich data about the regional eCommerce landscape, the company said. iPrice is currently available in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

Its spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that it has paused two business lines - lending partnership and app development - as both require significant investment which the company believes is unavailable at this time. This decision has impacted most of the teams working on these projects including a number of leadership team members, the spokesperson said but did not reveal more. Its content and marketing communication/PR departments, which supports iPrice's core SEO business, are unaffected by these changes.

The layoffs come three months after the company announced a US$5 million investment from Japanese Conglomerates Itochu Corporation and KDDI Corporation. While the company was unable to reveal how much of the funding will be used in marketing, its spokesperson told  MARKETING-INTERACTIVE  then that iPrice will focus on two areas - its iPrice app and expanding its services to the lending market.

With Itochu as part of iPrice's capitalisation table, the first step in its key strategic cooperation would be adding Itochu's subsidiary, Payku, as a key lending partner in Indonesia. Aside from Payku, iPrice’s other lending partners included Home Credit (Indonesia), Julo (Indonesia), Cashalo (Philippines), Smartpay (Vietnam), and ZIP (Singapore, launching in H1 2022).

This year, iPrice will be focused on getting online shoppers onto its app and enable them to discover its value and help consumers make well-informed decisions on shopping online. Last year, more than 125 million unique users across the Southeast Asia region used iPrice platform. 

Earlier in March, the company also said that it was on the lookout for talent and senior executives in several areas, including digital marketing, content operations, account management, product management, operations, business development, product design, technology, business intelligence, and finance. 

Separately, two years ago, the  company bagged US$10 million  in funding and the funds went towards improving its current platform, raising its visibility through search engines. Its spokesperson told  MARKETING-INTERACTIVE  previously that one of iPrice's key focus areas will be on non-English markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. These countries were identified to have huge potential for growth, mainly due to the high volume of online shoppers.

Related articles:
iPrice Group wins US$5m funding, plans to grow app users
iPrice Group bags US$10m in funding, aims to become key eCommerce enabler for super apps
iPrice Group names new president and COO

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