Online marketplace ‘Blee’ for local products

MDEC approached MyBazar in October last year to construct such a programme for SMEs

By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By TMR

New online platform “Blee” aims to promote products made by Malaysian sellers as part of an initiative by Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) in collaboration with e-commerce marketplace MyBazar Malaysia.

“Blee” which stands for “Barangan Luarbiasa Eksklusif eUsahawan” will promote and offer local businessmen and women the opportunity to market their products on the digital space.

MDEC approached MyBazar in October last year to construct such a programme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

MyBazar CEO Fazil Irwan Som said this is a critical period as e-commerce has vastly increased pressure on local micro-entrepreneurs to compete.

“The e-commerce penetration in the country is now 5% of overall retail sales. This means the larger group is not ready or willing to engage on digital platforms. We need to help the local sellers realise their own potential or the local economy will suffer. As we can already see, the income gap is continuously widening,” he said to reporters at the sidelines of the programme launch in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

MDEC has pumped RM1 million into this programme to help micro-entrepreneurs with various stages of their products including branding, packaging and shipping.

The “Blee” programme has attracted some 500 local sellers offering more than 2,000 products ranging from food items, handicrafts, skincare, fashion and home décor.

Blee targets to have 1,500 sellers by this year as it has been well received so far.

MyBazar marketing director Aaliyah Soraya Darus expects an increase in number of visitors and buyers on the site over the Hari Raya period in June.

“Right now, it is below 10,000 visits, but we expect to see six figures in about two months. We are targeting about 100,000 visitors over the Hari Raya period — that will be the peak for us,” she said.

“Local sellers don’t realise it, but smartphone penetration is very high in rural areas — they only need more training and knowledge in how to use these to their benefit.

“For instance, using the camera to take photos and upload online. There are also logistics issues of the post office being too far to drop off parcels, so these things we are looking at for now,” Aaliyah Soraya said.

The online marketplace also aims to expand its footprint into South-East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.