Shopee to focus on demographics via app

This strategy will not only support sellers, but also help build purchasing habits in the future, says head of seller management


Li adds that what sets Shopee apart from other players is its Shopee guarantee feature

AS THE landscape of e-commerce grows and expands every day, industry players are becoming increasingly creative in setting up new, exciting deals and innovations to continue attracting buyers to the many available online platforms.

Malaysia’s e-commerce industry reportedly has tripled in size since 2015, exceeding RM12 billion in 2019, according to a report by Google LLC, Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd and Bain & Company.

This year, leading e-commerce platform, Shopee Malaysia, has decided that one of its long-term strategies is to target different segments of the population in the country via its app.

Shopee head of seller management Zed Li said this strategy will not only support sellers, but also help build purchasing habits in the future.

“For instance, in February 2020, Shopee launched a Men’s Sale option, with many featured brands and special deals for the likes of sporting, outdoor activities and gym equipment,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an interview recently.

Li said the platform identifies the differences in the way women and men shop, pointing to the mentality mainly.

“Women shop as a form of entertainment, whereas men can be more conventional, while being more focused on higher ticket items. There’s been a steady increase of male buyers making purchases of laptops, phones and appliances,” he said.

According to Li, another added segment is the Mum’s Club, a segment aimed at special perks and education for new and old mothers, and is proven to be quite popular.

Engaging Features

“To leverage the entertainment part of online shopping, we launched something called Shopee Live, a live streaming option that allows sellers to advertise their products in an engaging, fun manner, while buyers are able to communicate with sellers and purchase items,” he said.

Li said in big markets like China, this feature is well received since its inception, likening it to live demonstrations in supermarkets.

“There was a cross-border seller, JVJ Online, who joined Shopee less than eight months ago. They utilised Shopee Live to grow the business and Shopee redirected traffic to their store which contributed to 95% of its total orders,” he said.

Another example of this growing trend is entrepreneur Tyra Kamaruzzaman’s Beautyra lipsticks, which sold out in minutes while Shopee Live was on, recording over 2,000 orders.

Other features include a beauty camera, introduced by Lóreal Malaysia Sdn Bhd, where a buyer can use a selfie to test out make-up products best suited for the skin colour before purchasing.

“This has been an entertaining feature, because you can see what the colour of lipstick will look on you before committing to buy,” Li said.

Li added that what sets Shopee apart from other players is its Shopee guarantee feature.

“Shopee has always had this guarantee from the start; the money is only released to the seller once the buyer has received the item(s). An email is sent out and the buyer has until a particular date to respond.

“This also ties in with Shopee Mall. Part of the mall experience is the guarantee that all products are original and authentic, whether it is health and beauty, food, right up to cars. That one is a little different as it involves a booking fee before the buyer goes down to the car showroom,” Li explained.

The Shopee app identifies the differences in the way women and men shop, pointing to the mentality mainly, Li says – pic credit:

F&B, Health and Services

Meanwhile, Shopee will venture aggressively into the food and beverage (F&B) offerings this year, particularly using online-to-offline marketing techniques.

Li said the platform has observed consumers buying food vouchers online regularly and wanted to create an integrated system where a voucher could be bought and used in a physical store.

“Diving into the F&B offerings has always been something we wanted to do, and since Malaysians love food so much, we thought why not? We have well over 100 outlets that have partnered Shopee today,” he said.

Some of the notable F&B outlets currently on Shopee include Pizza Hut, Burger King, Tony Roma’s, Häagen-Dazs, Old Town and many more.

“Health and services are also going to be a big thing this year, as offline-to-online marketing becomes blurred. There will be options for car servicing, where a mechanic will come directly to your house, making it seamless and convenient,” he said.

Li said as a platform, Shopee has paid more attention to the individual profiles of buyers in order to stay relevant.

“If you look at the market, everyone has more or less of the same features. We want to be different as we know buyers gravitate towards different things in both qualitative and quantitative ways,” he said.

The company’s future plans involve growing the platform and focusing on the services launched this year.

“We want to ensure the investment we’ve put into Shopee Live continues to take off and we see a bigger payoff. We will have more brands coming on as online shopping behaviours become more entrenched in everyday routines.

“A separate key focus is also on buyers in East Malaysia, where there has been some difficulty in terms of shipping costs and time frames. So what we’ve done is that we set up a store called S-Mart Sabah,” Li said.

The store is typically like a supermarket, however, buyers will only need to wait for shipments between one and three days, instead of five to seven days.