Shopee, founded in 2015 by Singaporean SEA Group (formerly known as Garena), is an E-commerce platform specializes in the Southeast Asian market. With just four years in operation, Shopee has become the top E-commerce platform in the region with more than 8000 employees across 8 countries in SEA, Taiwan, and Brazil.

According to a report by iPrice and SimilarWeb, until the third quarter of 2019, Shopee is still the most visited site and the application with the most active users across Southeast Asia. So how did a late-comer like Shopee be able to take over the market in such a short time span? Here are our findings.

->> Read more: E-commerce platforms that are dominating Southeast Asia

1. Mobile-first Initiative

As Shopee’s chief commercial officer Zhou Junjie shared in a recent interview with the Post, being late to the industry is not a disadvantage after all. Shopee founders were able to observe the market carefully to detect ongoing trends, or areas that they can do differently and better.

“Back in early 2015, we were looking at E-commerce as an industry and while there were players who had been there, we saw that there was a lot of (potential) growth and many areas that weren’t being addressed well by existing players.”, he claimed. 

Mobile shopping was on the rise back then but hadn’t reached its mature point in order to gain attention from major players. Despite the high mobile penetration rate of 32% (according to we are social), most existing E-commerce sites focused on their main platform – website. Shopee decided to take the opposite route and launch Shopee application first, reaching the untapped mobile users market. 

As M-commerce is booming in the region, Shopee was on the top of the wave with more than 90% of transactions conducted on the app. With the user-oriented design with clean interface, easy navigation and quick links, Shopee made mobile shopping an easy habit for its customers. Furthermore, Shopee was also one of the first to integrate live-streaming and shoppertainment elements like games, lucky draws, red packets into the app for increasing customer engagement.

->> Read more: E-commerce: now the largest Internet economy sector in Southeast Asia

2. Localization

Mr. Zhou Junjie also revealed another key strategy to Shopee’s success: localization. Shopee has stand-alone applications for all 7 countries they are operating in, allowing them to create market-specific features that appeal to the customers of each market.

Despite being in one big region, every Southeast Asian country is different in its own way – from language, currency, culture, to customer behavior and spending power. For example, for the Indonesian market where the majority of the population is Muslim, Shopee has a specific section with Islamic products catered to the customers. On the other hand, with markets where celebrities have a big effect on customers’ purchasing decisions like Vietnam and Thailand, Shopee launched multiple campaigns featuring celebs as brand ambassadors.

By understanding thoroughly about each market, Shopee was able to specialize its offerings and attract potential customers on a nationwide scale.

->> Read more: Shopee trumped Lazada in Southeast Asia E-commerce market: A lesson of localization

3. Heavy promotions and value-added services

Being a latecomer to the E-commerce battlefield, Shopee must send out a message captivating enough to lure customers who are using competitors’ service or aren’t aware of online shopping. By implementing huge promotions for both ends: sellers and customers like free shipping, discount vouchers, flash sales all year round, Shopee was able to capture users to try out the system. On the other hand, they also signed with global icons such as professional football player Cristiano Ronaldo and Korean girl group Black Pink as brand ambassadors to boost awareness.

After the trial process, it’s important that customers realize the values offered by the platform and make repeated actions. Shopee recognized this by creating many value-added services to enrich the buying/selling process for its users.

  • Shopee Feed: Personalized favorite product lists for customers
  • Shopee Live Chat: Built-in messaging tool.
  • Shopee Live: Livestream feature that allows sellers and buyers to engage directly.
  • Shopee Mall: Exclusive marketplace for official brands and top sellers.
  • Shopee University: Provide courses and tutorials for sellers to improve sales.

Shopee is doing well on its own for a four-year-old E-commerce startup. As the Southeast Asia market is growing bigger day by day, new strategies and campaigns are on its way to compete with local and international competitors.

BoxMe is the premier cross-border e-Commerce fulfillment network in South East Asia, enabling world-wide merchants to sell online into this region without needing to establish local presence. We are able to deliver our services by aggregating and operating an one-stop value chain of logistic professions including: International shipping, customs clearance, warehousing, connection to local marketplaces, pick and pack, last mile delivery, local payment collection and oversea remittance.

If you have any question about Boxme Asia or how we can support your business, please contact us directly by referring to our hotline. We are glad to be of service!

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