The surge in online demand has led Shopee to expand both its online platform and offline spaces to deliver outstanding experience to shoppers and sellers.
Since its inception in 2015, Shopee has worked relentlessly to position itself as an e-commerce player who can cater to fast-evolving and diverse shopper needs. Through its mobile-first, highly social and hyper-local online shopping platform, Shopee promises shoppers a truly engaging and enjoyable experience with in-app features that include games and live streaming.
For its efforts, Shopee has won numerous accolades in the industry and consistently tops the regional e-commerce rankings, like App Annie. Today, it is hard to miss Shopee-pee-pee-pee’s catchy jingle and vivacious orange on TV and online ads, beckoning consumers to shop at Shopee.
CapitaLand caught up with Shopee to find out how Shopee intends to stay on top of its game and paint the town orange amid intense competition and the persistent pandemic.
Q: In just five short years, Shopee has propelled itself to be one of the top online eCommerce platforms in Asia. How does Shopee intend to keep this winning streak?
The reality is as consumers become more familiar with shopping online, their expectations will also go up. They start to demand for more choices and better experiences.
Shopee has anticipated this trend from the start and positioned ourselves to be an integral part of consumers’ online retail experience. You will find that in all our markets, many have chosen Shopee to get their staples, daily essentials and other consumption needs.
At the same time, we are seeing more traditional brands and merchants trying to step up their digitalisation efforts to capture this online demand growth. Many are drawn to Shopee for the readily available marketplace and ease of handling transactions. For most of them, Shopee is their primary e-commerce platform to manage and grow their businesses online.
Shopee’s success comes from our deep focus on customer needs—those of shoppers as well as sellers. It has allowed us to rapidly expand overseas, which now includes seven markets. It will continue to be our core strategy as we work together with sellers to deliver the best online shopping experience to shoppers in Southeast Asia and beyond.
"During this period, we begin to realise how meaningful our works are. Many people are relying on Shopee to get their daily needs because offline retail is no longer available during the lockdown."
Forrest Li, Chairman and Group CEO
Q: The current pandemic has disrupted the physical retail sector with safe distancing and movement control regulations. How is Shopee responding to these changes online and offline?
COVID-19 has indeed changed our lives in fundamental ways. We know that digital transformation is happening in the near- to mid-term, but the pandemic has thrust this future upon all of us in the most abrupt and dramatic way. The new retail landscape we are observing is one that has materially accelerated the shift towards online-focused lifestyles that is broad, deep, and we believe, irreversible.
Take the social distancing measures for example. With the lockdown in many countries, we are seeing more consumers turning online to stay connected with their friends and family. This trend has also seen a sharp increase of activities on Shopee Live, our live streaming feature with in-app live chat and games. We responded quickly and stepped up the user experience and capacity of our social and interactive features to cope with the heavier usage. On top of that, we are regularly consulting with consumers and partners on ways to improve online shopping and make Shopee more engaging, social and personalised.
Moving into our new regional HQ in the Singapore Science Park last year turned out to be timely in many ways. We needed more space for the rapidly growing team, and the extra space has now become useful in enabling proper safe distancing measures in the workplace for the safety of our employees as well as business continuity.
Q: How are you supporting your sellers as well as traditional merchants who wish to do business online?
We are working closely with our seller community on several initiatives to tide over this challenging period. For example, we have waived the seller’s transaction fee during this period and introduced the Shopee Seller Support Package, which comprises educational and financial support to help the sellers ease their operational costs, grow their online presence and unlock new growth opportunities.
As for traditional merchants, we realise that a key challenge for them is their unfamiliarity with e-commerce and digital technology. They require more hand-holding and assurance to make the switch to digital. We encourage and facilitate these merchants’ shift to online in several ways. We have the Shopee University in each market where merchants can sign up for a series of free, in-depth tutorial modules on doing business online specially developed by us. We have also set up seller communities where sellers can learn from their peers who have gone through the digital transformation successfully. And, of course, there are the Shopee hotlines where our helpful staff are always standing by to assist and advise our sellers.
Q: How important is the physical space in supporting Shopee’s growth strategy as compared with digital investments?
Our original vision of the Regional HQ was a connected space where employees could feel comfortable and at home. This is exactly what we have found in the Shopee Building at Singapore Science Park 1 —scalable spaces purpose-built for connectivity, community and collaboration.
More importantly, now that we have 244,000 square feet at our disposal, we can easily accommodate up to 3,000 employees and work towards fulfilling our earlier commitment to Singapore to elevate its tech industry and groom more local talent.
Its location in Singapore Science Park with easy access by public and private transport is very convenient for our onsite employees.
CapitaLand, who manages Singapore Science Park, regularly organises engaging community building activities to facilitate networking and social interactions among the park tenants. We enjoy attending these sessions, which is good fun and great for meeting and socialising with our neighbours. It helps to keep our staff happy and energised in the workplace, and in turn, improves employee retention in the long run.
Q: Tell us more about what you did to all those space in Shopee Building?
Obviously, a good portion of the space has been designated for operations. We particularly like the large floor plates on every storey, which gave us unlimited flexibility to plan and design the layout to our exact operational needs. It is an advantage we exploited to the fullest by creating open and interactive spaces, that foster collaboration and innovation among our team.
We created a comfy workplace centred around the welfare and well-being of our people. Besides the standard amenities, like the fully stocked pantry, free meals, nursing and prayer rooms, snooker and foosball tables and a full-sized gym, we have installed a cavernous cafeteria that doubles up as a social space for our regular Zumba, boxing, Kpop Hip Hop, team-building and other events.
We also threw in eight sleeping pods for those who need their power and beauty naps, and a massage room with our own in-house masseuse to take the aches off tired back and shoulders. After adding the finishing touches and furnishing our offices in dashing Shopee orange, we can finally and proudly call it our new home.
Come and take an online tour of Shopee’s new abode here.
Q: You are turning us orange with envy. On a scale of 1 to 10, how will Shopee rate CapitaLand as a business space partner?
Shopee has enjoyed a great partnership with CapitaLand Business Park & Commercial over the years, growing from single units and co-working spaces to an entire building. We have found in CapitaLand a reliable and ready business space partner. But the value of this partnership is far greater than that.
Knowing we can always find the right business space solutions to match our needs as our business evolves with the market demand, provides us great assurance when we plan for the long-term. Ultimately, it puts Shopee in a strong position to innovate and keep pace with the fast-growing e-commerce market in Singapore and internationally. So, 12 would be about right.
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