Shopee staff celebrating the platform's victory on Singles' Day. Source: Shopee/LinkedIn

Shopee staff celebrating the platform’s victory on Singles’ Day. Source: Shopee/LinkedIn

4 e-commerce success tips for online sellers from Shopee’s Regional MD

E-COMMERCE has great potential — and in the Asia Pacific (APAC), the sheer number of smartphone users has helped online marketplaces skyrocket in popularity, boosting sales and creating new opportunities.

In the past few months, the largest e-commerce platforms in the region have made significant investments in technology to keep up with demand from customers and merchants — including making improvements to their digital payment solutions, recommendation engines, and even logistics.

Results of the Singles’ Day sale, the single largest online selling event in China, proved to the world this year that e-commerce is bigger, better, and more prosperous now than ever before. Alibaba alone grossed US$38.4 billion on Singles’ Day this year — on its domestic platforms Tmall and Taobao alone.

Over the past 10 years, e-commerce platforms outside China have managed to import the enthusiasm and charisma of the Singles’ Day event, with some of the leading players reporting significant growth this year.

Shopee, one of the better-known platforms in the region, said that revenues from Singles’ Day sale grew significantly this year with 70 million items flying off the ‘online shelves’.

What’s most exciting, however, is that the sale day doesn’t just entice young buyers — Shopee’s findings reveal that customers over age 50 also made hay on sale day.

To better capture Shopee and its merchant’s experience during the Singles’ Day sale, Tech Wire Asia interviewed Shopee Regional Managing Director (MD) Ian Ho.

“This year’s 11.11 Big Sale marks our largest-ever shopping campaign. […] The overwhelming response from our users saw top-performing brands in Malaysia record an average of 5,659 times increase in visits to their official stores and 740 times growth in orders.”

An interesting observation Ho made was that customers in the region and the e-commerce platform have both matured in recent times — which is indicated in the fact that big-ticket items are selling quickly on the platform.

As the e-commerce industry gears up for another year of robust growth, Ho offered some winning tips for 2020 to merchants who are about to start selling online or are already in the game:

# 1 | Don’t forget about marketing

“A great product does not sell itself. Marketing and in particular securing online traffic is crucial for e-commerce success.”

Shopee and other e-commerce platforms provide an opportunity to sellers, but they also provide tools and support to help merchants market their products — and that’s important. The ability to generate traffic and create a buzz around products is what differentiates those that succeed with online selling.

# 2 | Know what you’re offering

“Information is more transparent online. Buyers can easily compare prices and services, switching to more attractive merchants. Be clear on what you are competing on and fight to be the best.”

Merchants have a choice on e-commerce platforms. They can either compete on price or quality — and they need to know what their strong suit is in order to win over customers.

# 3 | A good customer service speaks volumes

“Focus on providing superior customer service with a personal touch. A small gesture goes a long way.”

The customer is always king, the customer is always right, and the customer won’t wait. Merchants that want to win at selling online must find ways to provide the best customer service — just as they would in the brick and mortar world.

# 4 | The real work starts after the sale

“An order does not stop at checkout, place equal attention in fulfillment and logistics. This is fundamental to growth.”

Nobody likes to wait or not know the status of their purchase. The best e-commerce players work with their platforms to provide customers with as much information and ensure that the after-sales experience, especially delivery, is as seamless as possible.