Shopee, Singapore’s very own e-commerce site, has grown into the most visited website in Southeast Asia since it came about 6 years ago. Its mobile app has also ranked first place when it comes to number of downloads and activity by users in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
When being late worked out
Ironically, Shopee’s commercial director Zhou Junjie attributes its success to the business being “late” to the industry.
According to Zhou, back in 2015, Shopee took a step back to observe existing players in the e-commerce industry and what they were not doing well in. The startup did not rush into the industry without much foresight.
Back then, most e-commerce businesses relied on websites for their transactions. From the start, Shopee took up the opposite strategy of starting as a mobile app, in line with the high rate of mobile phone usage in the region.
Zhou aptly explains, “This is one of the advantages of being late (for the industry), because you can see what’s going on outside, what the trend is, and see what you can do differently or better.”
Catering to local tastes and preferences
It was crucial that Shopee viewed Southeast Asia not as a single market but as a group of different markets. Each market had differing features and obstacles, while consumer demands varied across geography. The firm was highly adaptive, going “hyper-local” to specifically tweak its services to cater to the needs of local businesses and consumers.
Shopee puts in a lot of effort to understand each market and the behavior of its users. It takes care to have offices in each of the countries that it operates. The types of products sold in each market is also varied based on tastes and preferences. For example, Shopee Barokah was started in Indonesia so that Muslim consumers could purchase products that followed the regulations of the Shariah law, particularly during the period of fasting.
Shopee also has Chinese New Year or Mid-autumn specials to cater to the demands of consumers from different cultures. Besides, the firm makes available a wide range of payment options so everyone can purchase what they want effortlessly.
A personalised experience that transcends shopping
Shopee effectively utilises data and AI to discern buyer trends and preferences, while using state-of-the-art technology to provide unique shopping experiences for consumers. Merchants are able to gain by keeping customers and creating brand loyalty through the experience.
From the very start, Shopee added a social element to its shopping experience. Innovative features such as Shopee Live, Shopee Games, Shopee Feed and Shopee Live Chat have helped the e-commerce startup succeed in building a close-knit community, giving buyers the chance to collaborate and connect.
Shopee also uses technology to ensure user data privacy and security. Data science has been utilised to identify products or services that could be fake or scams. It combined ShopeePay and AirPay systems to give shoppers convenient and safe payment methods.