New norm in online shopping, even for Shopee

by LYDIA NATHAN/ pic credit: Shopee

THE Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) which is expected to end on June 9, as an extension to the MCO that began on March 18, is really changing the lives of Malaysian dramatically, particularly the way they acquire all their daily essentials.

More and more people are turning to online shopping for almost everything these days, which is considered the new norm that is expected to stay for a very long time.

E-commerce platform Shopee Malaysia regional MD Ian Ho (picture) said this new norm has also brought about fresh starts in the world of retailing.

He said the pandemic has drastically changed the way people live, work and buy necessities, resulting in major changes for businesses that now look at e-commerce as a viable trade channel.

“As such, brands and sellers across the region are stepping up their digitalisation efforts, especially now, as e-commerce has taken on a greater role in people’s lives seeing more consumers going online to fulfil their everyday needs,” Ho said in a recent statement.

He added that the current situation has prompted businesses to explore new strategies and this has led to a strong e-commerce adoption particularly for small and medium enterprises.

“We are seeing so much new potential out there, for instance in the sales of fresh produce like chicken, fish and even fruits like durian on our platform.

“In April alone, about 1,000 fresh food sellers including farmers and fishermen began selling on Shopee, where sellers now offer more than 20 types of products in the store with monthly sales of up to RM100,000,” said Ho.

Additionally, in an attempt to have a more personalised interaction amid social distancing, he said the platform also noticed that the number of Shopee Live Streams increased by 70 times.

“A good example is a new seller, Deep Sea Fishery Kingdom, who sold seafood worth RM1,200 within minutes of its first-ever live stream channel. So, we do expect this trend to gain greater popularity,” he said.

Shopee also takes into account the thousands of micro traders who may have lost income due to the cancellation of Ramadhan bazaars, a highlight every year before Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Ho said to help sustain income and livelihoods, some state governments like Selangor and Perak commissioned Shopee to bring these sellers online to market products.

“Shopee has several dedicated microsites to market items like Raya cookies and snacks, baju raya and home decoration items,” he said.

He added that Shopee will continue to organise campaigns like “Raya Bersama Shopee” to the benefit of both sellers and consumers alike, while he hopes sellers will continue to be agile and quick to diversify trade channels.

Meanwhile, some of the trends the platform noticed in buyers included a shift in preferences as e-commerce becomes increasingly important in everyday lives.

“Consumers are spending an average of 20% more time on Shopee a week, reflecting an increasing reliance on e-commerce, because of its one-stop access to everything including groceries and pets, gaming consoles, as well as home appliances,” he said.

Ho said another increase in demand was for instant food and baking supplies, with a record of 60 more times in orders compared to the same period last year.

Malaysians also have been shopping more on Mondays and Tuesdays compared to the rest of the week, showing a desire to sort out necessities earlier.

“Data in recent months showed buyers making purchases in the first couple of days of the week. Shopee has also seen an increase in social interactions on its platform with over three million messages sent daily on average as consumers interact directly with brands and sellers to check on prices, stocks, delivery speed and more,” he added.

Ho said e-commerce has definitely taken a greater role in people’s lives and Shopee will continue to push boundaries and accelerate its digital presence.