The social commerce market is already worth more than $13 billion in Southeast Asia, but the checkout process is filled with friction. Many sellers don’t have online storefronts and instead use social media and messaging apps, which means payment is made by switching to banking apps or wallets.
This means low conversion rates, say the founders of Beam. The Thailand-based startup created a one-click payment solution for social commerce sellers and has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Sequoia Capital India and Southeast Asia’s Surge, with participation from Partech Partners.
Beam was founded in 2019 by Nattapat Chaimanowong, Mike Chinakrit Piamchon and Win Vareekasem. The trio were frustrated by the process of filling out information repeatedly for things like memberships, credit cards and visas and began working on a business idea to streamline form filling, which turned into Beam.
Vareekasem told TechCrunch that after building multiple MVPs, the team found that one of the largest groups dealing with the problem were retailers. “Form filling alone could not solve sales conversions, so payments had to be integrated too, ultimately realizing a much larger, burning problem we are going after.”
Many social commerce sellers ask for peer-to-peer mobile banking apps, which means they accept payment by sharing account numbers. This can result in poor conversions because of limited payment options and a lot of work to manage payments.
Beam says its checkout process takes just 20 seconds. It accepts all major payment service providers in each market, like BNPL leaders Atome and Pace, and claims sellers using their payment solution have increased checkout success by up to 30%. Sellers also save money by paying lower transaction fees, since they don’t have to pay the subscription and platform fees charged by e-commerce marketplaces.
Beam monetizes by charging a flat percentage for each transaction based on the payment method. For example, it charges 2.95% for credit card transactions. Its typical client are medium-sized businesses that process a few hundred orders daily, and sell 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 removing friction from social commerce, like Opaper, Vareekasem said Beam differentiates by focusing on end-to-end user checkout experiences for both shoppers and merchants, making sure that the former can check out in just one click when they shop online.