11 July 2024

Doing business these days may not require capital investment or inventories for some traders, just a smartphone and persuasive talking skills.

Take for example this garment trader, Wiranya Panda. She told Thai PBS that she used to buy clothes from Bangkok’s Pratunam market and sell them online to customers.

She said the business was not very good and, moreover, she had to buy new clothes all the time to meet the new fashion trends, which was a financial burden as unsold goods kept piling up.

Of late, however, she has changed her business model by using just her smartphone and visiting the Pratunam garment market, but not to buy clothes as she used to.

With permission from the store owners, with whom she is acquainted, she livestreams the clothes and offers them for sale to potential customers. Some deals are closed and money is transferred to her bank account. Then, she makes the purchases and has the goods mailed to her customers.

This method used by Wiranya, and several others like her, has sparked a fierce debate and even backlash against this new way of making money, with some store owners displaying signs warning that livestreaming for business purposes at their shops is banned and that there are fines for those who violate the condition.

The main reason for the backlash is that the other retail businesses buy from these wholesalers and the wholesale prices risk being revealed in the live videos and the margins between the wholesale and retail prices, which is already as low as 10 baht per item.

Some other shop owners think differently though, and see the benefit of the new business model in the light of the economic recession brought on by the pandemic.

A store owner, Sunipat Wongseeya, said that she allows Wiranya to do the livestreaming of her products because sales were already bad and she hopes that they will pick up with the help of Wiranya.

Another store owner, Potchana Singsiri, said he won’t allow freelance traders to livestream his products, because this will hurt his wholesale customers.