As a Shopee seller, you probably had to learn how to make the most out of your Shopee store through the Seller Education Hub, Shopee University Summit, and tech and business resource blogs with easily digestible walkthroughs such as the LOCAD Blog.
The amount of information and help guides on Shopee online all over cyberspace is never lacking, and it’s important to keep on learning from the experience of others to avoid falling into pitfalls ourselves.
While there are many aspects of an online store to focus on, the next Shopee sale should be top of mind for sellers who want to maximize revenue by aligning with the promotions and campaigns of Shopee.
The Shopee Monthly Sale has been a fixture for a few years now, but the first Shopee Mega Sale launched just a few months ago in March. The Shopee sale is one event not going away anytime soon, especially with Shopee being officially named the most popular B2C e-commerce platform by Statista.
By the end of the first quarter of 2022, Shopee recorded more than 77 million monthly web visitors. The potential for conversion and subsequent revenue is staggering! There exists a looming pressure to deliver and not let any of this go to waste. It may seem like Shopee sellers now have to be at the top of their game all the time, but all that’s needed is careful planning and thorough preparation, plus some knowledge of how selling has evolved through time.
Barters and Ads – The Way it Was
The different ways a customer can buy or sell products can be traced back to the bartering system of old: paying for goods and/or services with other goods and/or services. This greatly addressed the problem of accumulating clutter as to attain something new, an old item had to be let go. Even today, trading exists as a way of getting what you want without shelling out money. In 2005 and again in 2020, two creative geniuses were able to continually trade up to a house!
In addition to bartering, advertisements also started popping up. In the 1600s, they were either handwritten and nailed to posts or announced by scribes. Many of these began with “if anybody knows of.” A century later, the first classified advertisements appeared in newspapers. This included previously-owned items for sale, job openings, plumbing, electrical and other services, apartment vacancies, and even personals for the lonely ones.
For many broadsheets in the Philippines, the print was very small, with the ads occupying narrow columns. They were composed of just words and phrases – never complete sentences.
Known originally as want ads, they were renamed classified ads in 1938 by the Manila Bulletin. If a seller had an item he wanted to sell, he had to physically visit the office of the newspaper of his choice to place an ad together with his contact number. Years later, publishers became more lenient and ad placements were allowed to be called in by phone or, later on, sent through the fax machine and, even much later, via email.
In a few days, the ad would appear in the middle of a newspaper under the appropriate category. Prospective buyers would contact the seller and if all went well, both buyer and seller had to agree and set up a face-to-face meeting at a predetermined time, date, and place. Upon meeting up, often in a crowded place to ensure safety, an exchange would take place. Back then, there were no after-sales or feedback mechanisms in place.
Shopee and the Rise of E-Commerce
With the growth of new technology and the fall of the printed format, sellers began looking into placing online ads instead. Right before the turn of the century, PinoyExchange (PEx) was born.
Created as a forum similar to modern-day Reddit with a plethora of topics and exchanges, PEx also allowed for the buying and selling of goods under PEx Classifieds. Specialized forums catered to a wide variety of categories including cars, gadgets, computers, and phones.
Even social media platforms such as Friendster, MySpace, LiveJournal, and Multiply joined in, offering spaces dedicated to buying or selling. Currently, top social media websites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram also feature buying or selling functions.
Soon after, for both convenience and speedy deliveries, many companies, including food establishments, started enabling their websites with payment systems. It was even easier to order online as opposed to picking up the phone, but many Filipinos were still hesitant and wary.
Concerns over identity theft, and the security of the sites they would order from, reduced the number of customers open to trying out online shopping. It wasn’t until the pandemic struck, and strict lockdowns were imposed across the world in 2020, that people started considering it might be a good idea to order over the Internet. For safety reasons, they had no choice!
This benefited e-commerce platforms greatly, as sites such as Shopee and Lazada began experiencing huge leaps in Internet traffic, which continues until today. In particular, Shopee launched years before the pandemic – in the Philippines in 2016 – and took advantage of this surge.
During the early days of the pandemic, customers flocked to Shopee and ordered essential items such as food and toilet paper. The buying populace then shifted to buying gadgets needed to work and study from home, such as computers and related peripherals like monitors and headsets with microphones. The first Christmas of the pandemic in 2020 reported record-breaking sales across many e-commerce platforms all around the globe.
Buying patterns and purchasing habits have been altered irreversibly. Even with the slow return to life before the pandemic, many customers choose to do their shopping online. Many of the existing E-commerce platforms are still works in progress, adapting and evolving based on the needs of their target market. Sellers have stayed on, having experienced the benefits of moving with the times and selling online.
Leveraging the Shopee Monthly Sale
Check out the competition
Recurring Shopee monthly sales mean the challenge to have customers choose you over others will often be present. It’s possible to have many competitors based on the common products you carry in your Shopee stores. Start with the ones with the most similarities and work your way down.
In the past, market research included physically visiting a competitor’s store to compare store layout plans and design, record price differences, check out stock supplies including the quality of both raw materials and finished products, and observe customer service displayed by the store staff.
Because your competition is now online, it is much easier to keep abreast of how they run their Shopee stores. Include checking out the reviews left by their customers to gauge which products are selling, and where the general pulse of your common target market is at. Are they doing better than you are? Analyze the reasons behind this and address any related issues. Are you doing better than they are? Identify your store’s strengths and amplify them if you can.
Go beyond their Shopee stores. Follow them on all their social media accounts to gain a deeper understanding of how their businesses are run. Study both their advertising and marketing strategies by joining their mailing lists and subscribing to their newsletters. You can see how they leverage the Shopee monthly sale. Remember to use the information you collect responsibly, only as inspiration and not to outright copy.
These are all legal and ethical ways to learn and improve your business, but never cross the line to obtain confidential information through illegal means or by using shady apps. While you are always competing with others to gain more customers, your competitors deserve your respect in the same way you deserve theirs.
Notice how this principle rings true in Divisoria or any other tiangge or collection of stalls. Salespeople help each other out by referring the customer to a neighboring stall if they didn’t carry a certain item. Sometimes, they’d even make the extra effort to get it from the stall which carried it. Even if buying or selling methods have changed over the decades, business ethics will never go out of style.
Spoil Your Customers
Many child psychology books discourage parents from spoiling their children lest they turn into entitled adults. However, spoiling your customers just means genuinely making them feel special and going the extra mile for them whenever you can. For the bare minimum, customers expect your product to arrive on time as promised, appear the way it was advertised, and in good shape, packed properly to avoid any forms of damage.
Taking extra care of your customer means going beyond a customer’s normal expectations. More than having the order delivered on time, it would also be ideal to offer same-day or next-day delivery options to cater to shoppers who are in a rush or feel too excited and are eagerly awaiting the order’s arrival. Take note not to add this though if you will not be able to adhere to it.
Review the pictures of your products and reshoot those that do not accurately reflect reality. We’ve laughed countless times at professional food photography making fast food appear much more appealing than they are. Don’t open any windows for your detractors to accuse you of false advertising. Finally, make protecting the package a top priority, even if it means spending a little more to keep it secure. We live in a tropical country with crazy weather changes. Prepare for all possibilities.
Keep Tabs on your Supply Chain
Look into your supply chain and make sure that in-demand products don’t run out of stock. More importantly, keep your Shopee store page clean, constantly updating it and deleting sold items. Nothing frustrates a customer more than excitedly ordering an item supposedly on hand, and then being told days later that it is no longer available.
When it comes to supply chain management, do not underestimate its importance even if your Shopee store is a retailer instead of a manufacturer. Studying the process behind your products can improve communication channels between your store and your suppliers.
For any Shopee store, the customer either has a product in mind and searches for it or the customer might just be browsing, waiting for a product to call out to him. Once he places an order, the fulfillment of that order kicks in.
An e-commerce store owner or staff looks for the product and packs it properly before having it shipped or delivered by a rider in a few business days. That’s a lot of elements working together to get an order to the customer, Multiply that by a larger number, especially during the Shopee Mega Sale, and you’re left with an even larger number of ways order fulfillment could go wrong. Some sellers even rely on fulfillment solutions for e-commerce brands and stores to reduce and even eliminate possible problems.
There are many other ways to use the next Shopee sale to your store’s advantage, including setting up Facebook ads through the Shopee Seller Center. As your Shopee store continues to scale, you might fail more, but you’ll also learn and grow as a store owner.
Turn setbacks into opportunities. It can get tiring at times, especially participating in the monthly grind to align with Shopee’s sale promotions, but remember that if you consistently prepare both mentally and physically, then things should turn out great, and I promise that it will get easier each month.