Social mobile marketplace app taps beauty online habitues

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A leading mobile-first marketplace in Southeast Asia and Taiwan mounted its biggest mobile shopping festival in the region. Shopee Philippines, known to offer free shipping, 24-hours of non-stop deals, and price points for as low as P99, held a countdown to its grand shopping day on September 9.

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The countdown saw hourly flash sales, auctions and social media contests.

According to Shopee chief operating officer Terence Pang, when it comes to online shopping, top categories in the country are health and beauty, followed by women fashion, and finally home and living. With a wide range of products for the said goods, the mobile app gained a six-fold increase in number of orders from the beginning of 2016.

Since officially launching across Southeast Asia and Taiwan in December 2015 has experienced significant growth in the region. Across all markets, Shopee has over 20 million installs, 250,000 daily orders, and an annualized gross merchandise value of $1.3 billion, making it the fastest growing online marketplace in the region.

With over 55 percent smartphone penetration rate, the Philippines is currently undergoing a digital transformation with everyone gradually shifting to mobile. Based on a recent study by Visa, 59 percent of Filipinos aged 18 to 35 have made a purchase via mobile gadgets.

“This clearly shows the huge growth potential for mobile shopping in the country. Our company has leveraged on this trend by focusing on building a mobile-first platform that provides a convenient way to buy and sell. The in-app live chat is one of our most popular mobile-first features, as it allows buyers to communicate directly with sellers while on-the-go. We have since facilitated over 430 million chats regionally, with 30 new chats every second,” Pang explained.

Featured sellers
Meanwhile, some the app’s featured sellers were able to share their journey and experiences in starting an online business during Shopee’s countdown event.

Eunice Hariwa of Kering-Keri Store said her favorite online makeup seller inspired her to set up her own shop while she was still in college.

“After getting married, I started with just P2,000 as capital. I wanted the name of my store to be unique and catchy, so at my husband’s suggestion, I named my shop ‘Kering-Keri Store’ as a fun way of showing that my products are affordable,” Hariwa said.

According to the online entreprenuer, no one bought her products from social media at first, so she did all sorts of things for her business to pick up. She gave samples to friends and joined online groups and pages to promote her store.

“It took a lot of hard work and faith, but my dream of having my own store eventually came true. In five years, we opened a physical shop and another online store,” she enthused.

On the other hand, Vanessa Tinitigan of The Purpektion Shop shared that it she was only 15 when she launched her online shop in 2007 with very little capital. She started with products from a multi-level marketing company and quickly expanded to contact lenses, cosmetics and garments. One door opened after another, and she soon found herself featured in a TV show, became a staple at bazaars, gained celebrity patrons, and even interviewed by Bloomberg for an article.

“This business has helped pay the bills. It got me through college, and pays for my siblings’ tuition fees,” Tinitigan shared.

With such success stories, the team behind Shopee effectively demonstrates the transformative power of technology.

“As shopping on mobile devices becomes the new norm, we aim to continually enhance our platform and become the region’s mobile commerce destination of choice,” Pang concluded.

The Shoppe Philippines can be downloaded for free on Google Play and App Store.

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