Shopee: New normal in world of retailing here to stay

The virus has brought about a new normal even in the world of retailing that according to Shopee is here to stay. With consumers fully embracing e-commerce, businesses across industries are seen to be pushing boundaries and accelerating their digital presence.

KUALA LUMPUR: Over 32 million Malaysians are affected by the movement control order (MCO) introduced on March 18 to control the spread of Covid-19.

This directive has brought about a new normal even in the world of retailing that according to Shopee is here to stay. With consumers fully embracing e-commerce, businesses across industries are seen to be pushing boundaries and accelerating their digital presence.

Shopee observed new shopping preferences among Malaysian consumers as e-commerce became more important in their everyday lives. Consumers are spending an average of 20% more time on Shopee a week, reflecting an increasing reliance on e-commerce, which provides users one-stop access to everything, including entertainment.

Groceries, pets, gaming and consoles, and home appliances are highly sought after by consumers as they search for daily essentials, household necessities and games for the family to enjoy together at home.

Brands and sellers have benefited from this increased demand, with those offering instant food and baking supplies recording 60 times more orders than the same period last year.

In recent months, shopping activities on Mondays and Tuesdays have increased – showcasing the preference among Malaysians to shop earlier in 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.

“2020 has changed the way we live, work, and shop online. 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 as more consumers are going online to fulfil their everyday needs.

“This has resulted in changes in the way businesses view and approach e-commerce as a viable trade channel, ” said Shopee regional managing director Ian Ho.

The current situation has also compelled businesses to explore new strategies to engage with consumers and continue facilitating trade. This has not only led to strong e-commerce adoption amongst local SMEs but has also unlocked new market segments for the ecommerce industry.

New potential: For instance, selling and buying fresh produce such as fish, chicken, beef and even durians on ecommerce platforms was almost non-existent just as recent as last year.

However, in April alone, some 1,000 fresh and frozen sellers, including farmers and fishermen, started selling on Shopee. Shopee found that many of the sellers that offer a strong enough assortment of more than 20 types of products in their stores could generate monthly sales of up to RM100,000.

Personalising virtual connection: Shopee has also observed that the number of Shopee live streams from brands and sellers have increased by 70 times since the virus outbreak as they look for a more personal approach to connect to consumers virtually. A new-to-Shopee seller, Deep Sea Fishery Kingdom sold RM1,200 worth of seafood in minutes during its first-ever live stream. Shopee expects the trend to sell and buy via live streaming will gain greater popularity as witnessed in countries like China.

Digital bazaars: The cancellation of Ramadan bazaars have affected the income of thousands of micro traders who depend on these bazaars to make a living. To help them sustain their incomes and livelihoods, several state governments such as Selangor and Perak have commissioned Shopee to bring these sellers online to market products including Raya cookies and snacks, baju Raya and home decoration items via dedicated microsites. These initiatives include the Selangor E-Bazar Raya and Raya bersama PKNS, as well as the S.M.A.R.T Niaga@Perak.

Seizing opportunities: Additionally, the RM15mil Shopee Seller Support Package that provides support in funding, subsidies, education and marketing to boost sales, reduce operational costs and facilitate sustainable growth have seen to greatly benefit the business community.

The package has attracted the participation of more than 70,000 local businesses from micro, small, and medium to even large enterprises and corporations be it from the fast-moving consumer goods sector to fashion and apparel, electronics and more. This signals the swift response by the seller community to the available options that would help sustain their businesses. Contrary to the belief that all is bleak, these businesses are seen to be enjoying an uplift to their store’s performance even during the MCO.

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