Homegrown e-commerce giant Shopee is focusing on growing its customer base in non-metropolitan cities and enhancing its platform for its customers and merchants, said Chief Operating Officer (COO) Terence Pang during its Shopee Brands Summit 2022 last Thursday (January 13).
While brands such as Samsung, Adidas and Reckitt were at the bedazzled event — the second edition of its kind — to collect their awards for a range of accomplishments achieved on the platform, Terence took the stage to share the company’s strategies and roadmap for the year ahead.
Although the company is dubbed the top e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, he still sees room for growth.
He added that e-commerce makes up nine per cent of total retail share in the region, which is a far cry from the 18 to 40 per cent in China and US.
Positive outlook for e-commerce despite Covid-19, impending GST
When I first joined e-commerce in 2012, we used a lot of Facebook and Google ads to attract consumers onto our platform and hope that they convert. Now, consumers proactively go onto the platform to search for goods.
– Terence Pang, Shopee COO
In an email response, Terence told Vulcan Post that “the pandemic cultivated more digital-first habits amongst consumers, including turning to e-commerce for necessities, which are likely to remain even as we move into the new normal.”
According to Shopee, its platform has become the first touchpoint for consumers who are looking to buy a product or get a deal, with search volume for brand names on Shopee Mall increasing two-fold between 2019 and 2020.
With this growing trend, the e-commerce platform plans to continue work with partners like Facebook and Google to “assist brands in driving traffic from multiple channels to their Shopee stores.”
This includes integrating Facebook ads on its Seller Centre, allowing merchants to purchase ads on the social media platform directly, it announced.
When asked if the impending Goods and Services Tax (GST) on imported goods and services would impact Shopee’s sales, Terence did not comment in specific but shared the company “will continue to work closely with the Singapore government to support the growth of the e-commerce landscape in Singapore.”
During Budget 2021, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat had announced that GST will be imposed on all imported goods from 2023, including low-value goods.
Aims to be “as integrated as possible” in consumers’ lifestyles
During its brand summit, Terence also announced that Shopee plans to focus its target on consumers outside of large cities.
He highlighted that Shopee Premium — a dedicated feature for premium branded items — accounted for more than half of its orders outside tier-1 metropolitan cities and saw eight times growth in traffic.
For Shopee, this group of customers outside tier-1 cities will be “crucial” in the next two to three years.
As e-commerce has become more integrated into consumer lifestyles, shoppers have also become familiar with the schedule of mega shopping events and started to look forward to shopping for the best deals during monthly double-digit campaigns such as 9.9, 11.11, 12.12. To cater to this demand, we are continually enhancing the shopper and seller experience across the board.
– Terence Pang, Shopee COO
To further engage customers, Shopee is continually enhancing its consumer and merchant experiences and has no plans to stop doing so in 2022, said Terence.
As part of its engagement, the company has announced plans to introduce a new campaign called 3.15 Consumer Day, held on March 15, which will be its first mega shopping event of the year.
He also highlighted during his keynote on Thursday that Shopeefood — its food delivery service in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand — was one of the company’s initiatives to continually engage consumers as part of their lifestyles.
“It’s not just the food delivery business that we’re interested in, but how do I engage and find more ways to feature in and be a part of my consumer’s lifestyle? That’s what we’re going after,” said Terence.
We must consider what the consumer would remember and be as integrated as possible in their lifestyle.
– Terence Pang, Shopee COO
What’s next for Shopee?
When asked about the company’s plans to extend its ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) scheme SPayLater, Terence said that they are “already offering BNPL in some of [its] markets”.
Shopee’s SPayLater is currently available in Indonesia and Thailand. In Singapore, BNPL has been poignant with companies such as hoolah and Atome. Grab also introduced its own BNPL scheme, Grab PayLater, in Singapore in 2019.
For the year ahead, Shopee plans to further enhance platform features to engage consumers, such as improving recommendations for livestream content and its AR-enabled makeup try-on tool Shopee BeautyCam.
It will also be integrating membership programmes for brands on Shopee Mall, as well as launch four new Shopee Premium campaigns for premium brands throughout the year.
Merchants will also be able to purchase display ads on Shopee’s homepage banner and will have additional access to shopper insights through its new customer intelligence dashboard.
In 2022, it also has plans to launch a new sampling channel, allowing consumers to buy samples in exchange for store vouchers on their next purchase. Shopee said brands that participated in the pilot during its 12.12 sale last year recruited up to 90 per cent of its new buyers.
Featured Image Credit: Shopee