Shopee aims to expand its footprint in Vietnam's e-commerce market

August 07, 2017 | 14:40
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Singapore-based e-commerce platform Shopee has celebrated its first year of operations in Vietnam last week. Tran Tuan Anh, managing director of Shopee Vietnam, shared with VIR’s Thanh Van his insights into the market and how the company contributes to the fast-growing e-commerce scene in Vietnam.
Tran Tuan Anh, managing director of Shopee Vietnam

After your first year of operation, how would you evaluate Shopee’s development?

We have grown tremendously over the past year and our performance has far exceeded our wildest expectations. Since our local debut in August 2016, the firm’s app has been downloaded five million times and its listings have increased by 133 per cent, with a total of four million listings to date. Consequently, Vietnam is now our key market in the region, with the third-fastest user growth rate following Taiwan and Indonesia.

Shoppe celebrated the first birthday in Vietnam with performance "far exceeded our wildest expectations"

We see terrific potential in the Vietnamese e-commerce sector due to the rising middle-class and high connectivity. With rising disposable income and wealth, Vietnamese consumers are willing to spend more, and thanks to high connectivity, e-commerce now has greater room for growth. In particular, Vietnamese consumers are increasingly connected with smartphones outgrowing computers as the main connectivity tool.

We expect that the market share of online retail in Vietnam will continue to rise, so we target double-digit growth in the next two years. To facilitate this goal, we plan to gain more consumers, educate the Vietnamese market about e-commerce, and bring more e-commerce benefits to locals.

With the increasing popularity of smart phones and tablets, a variety of online retailers have set up shop in Vietnam. How do you see competition and what strategy will you use to expand your customer base?

Trust is one of the top concerns for online consumers. From our end, we has launched several initiatives, like Shopee guarantee, free shipping, and lowest price guarantee, to woo Vietnamese customers. Shopee aims to attract early adopters and gradually expand to the tech-savvy.

"Trust is one of the top concerns for online consumers"

We have also offered daily Flash Sales to feed the frenzy of digital bargain hunters. The programme targets price-sensitive consumers looking to reduce costs. Meanwhile, we have teamed up with several brands, such as Samsung, Oppo, FPT, and Unilever, to serve a broader buyer segment who value product safety, quality, and authenticity.

Moving forward, Shopee aims to expand its user base around the nation. We want to cater to every buyer and seller across the country. With our robust and well-integrated platform, we are confident that we can provide an easy and hassle-free shopping experience and be the one-stop shopping destination in the country.

With the emergence of foreign brands, there is real concern that domestic products are losing their place on the store shelves—a trend that may spread to online retail as well. How does Shopee aim to support local sellers?

More entrepreneurs and retailers are flocking into e-commerce sites to connect with consumers. In the past year, Shopee has facilitated their online business by offering strong logistical support and an efficient payment system. The app also has a chat feature to help sellers keep in contact with consumers. All of these efforts aim to ensure that sellers are able to sell their products and receive payment across the country.

In addition, we believe that a healthy e-commerce system cannot exist without a thriving seller community. Shopee has been striving to maintain a strong seller community through several activities, especially an education session known as Shopee University. During the session, we share with sellers the predominant market trends and ways to sell online, like packing goods, taking pictures, and responding to buyers’ queries.

Furthermore, Shopee has enhanced the Seller Centre tool to allow sellers to self-manage their own products, pricing, and campaigns. Additionally, we provide advertising features, such as ‘Paid Ads,’ which sellers can use to improve their visibility in search results and further boost their shops. Through these initiatives, Shopee’s seller base has increased by over three times during the past year.

Shopee must work hard to compete with foreign brands

How does Shopee contribute to the rise of online shopping in Vietnam?

The Vietnamese e-commerce sector is in the initial stage of development, so operators might face some challenges associated with payments, logistics, and infrastructure. Indeed, Vietnam is very high on cash-on-delivery (COD) which causes a lot of issues over cash handling. Therefore, Shopee will bring in new technology and solutions to digitalise the economy.

In addition to our plan to educate the market, we will bring in best practices from mature markets to create a seamless online shopping experience for consumers. We will build a local workforce for e-commerce by investing in our employees’ growth. Shopee created various training programmes to ensure that employees are prepared for their tasks. Additionally, Shopee established a Trainee Programme to hire and train the best talents, and hopes to become one of the top employers of choice for the young and energetic generation.

Shopee aims to continually enhance its platform and become the region’s e-commerce destination of choice. Shopee has a wide selection of product categories, ranging from consumer electronics to home and living, health and beauty, baby and toys, as well as fashion and fitness equipment.

Launched in November 2015, Shopee provides over three million brands and sellers with direct access to more than 40 million users across the region in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

By By Thanh Van

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