What is Shopee?
Shopee is a Singaporean e-commerce platform headquartered under Sea Group (previously known as Garena), which is a global consumer internet company founded in 2015 by Forrest Li. Shopee first launched in Singapore in 2015, and since expanded its reach to Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Brazil. It serves users in Southeast Asia and Taiwan to buy and sell products online. Shopee presents an expansive range of products, a social community for exploration, and smooth and satisfactory services. Due to the mobile and social element built within the concept, Shopee was described as one of the “5 disruptive e-commerce start-ups we saw in 2015” by Tech In Asia.
In 2015, Shopee launched in Singapore as a social-first, mobile-centric marketplace where users can browse, shop, and sell on the go. Integrated with logistical and payment support, the asset-light platform aims to make online shopping easy and secure for both sellers and buyers.
Subsequently, the app-based platform launched a website to rival other fast-growing e-commerce websites in the region like Lazada, Tokopedia, and AliExpress. To differentiate itself, Shopee offers online shopping security through its own escrow service called “Shopee Guarantee”, where it withholds payment to sellers until buyers have received their orders.
On 3 September 2019, Shopee officially opened its new six-story regional headquarters at Singapore Science Park. The new building has 244,000 square feet (22,700 m2) of space, which can accommodate 3,000 employees and is six times larger than the previous headquarters at Ascent Building. The building was previously tenanted by WeWork in Singapore. The co-working space giant has a presence at more than 700 locations globally as of 2020. The lease was subsequently relinquished to Shopee due to its rapid expansion. By doing so, it strengthens its push into the digital economy.
What does Shopee sell?
Shopee online shopping works uniquely, adopting a purely marketplace model. This means all products sold on the site come from third-party retailers. Because it does not have its own inventory or warehousing, it uses third-party logistics companies for product deliveries. On the other hand, Shopee does not charge commissions. There is no official information online on how exactly Shopee earns from its business. Shopee’s products retailed include men’s and women’s clothing, groceries, electronics, personal care, appliances, and more. Customers may even buy prepaid cell phone stock from Shopee.
What makes Shopee distinct from Lazada, Qoo10, Carousell?
Shopee generally offers lower prices than its main competitor Lazada, particularly on gadgets, clothes, toys, and bags. Selling cheaper items has earned Shopee the monicker “online Divisoria” among Pinoy online shopping enthusiasts. Shopee sellers can reduce their prices since they do not pay commission fees.
Lazada online shopping has a combination of retail and marketplace models. It started and continues to use a retail model in which it manages and sells inventory from its own warehouses. Eventually, it added a marketplace model, opening its doors to third-party merchants who sell their products using the e-commerce platform.
Shopee first started as primarily a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketplace but has since moved into both a C2C and business-to-consumer (B2C) hybrid model.
Shopee partners with over 70 courier service providers across its markets to provide logistical support for its users. In Singapore, it collaborated with logistics startup, NinjaVan, for item pickup and delivery. Other delivery partners in the region include Pos Malaysia and Pos Indonesia.
Shopee, like Qoo10 and Carousell, is an interface to connect sellers with buyers. Many retailers on Shopee tend to be small enterprises and suppliers seeking to connect with a larger online customer base while Carousell usually allows individuals to sell personal used possessions like laptops, furniture, musical instruments, musical equipment, electronics online and allows sellers to arrange meet-ups with buyers to exchange their used items for the buyer’s cash on a mutually negotiated and agreed price. Qoo10 functions like Shopee by connecting small suppliers to shoppers but features more products shipped from China, Korea, Taiwan, and the USA. Qoo10 can offer prices cheaper than Shopee on many items shipped from China and Korea, especially electronics.
How to enrol as a merchant
Firstly, do ensure that:
- Your phone number has been verified on Shopee
- Product(s) you intend to sell are not under our list of Prohibited Products.
To take a new photo of your product, tap the “Camera” button. To choose an existing photo from your album/gallery, tap the “Photos” button. Filters and photo editing tools are available. You can also import photos from Instagram. Up to 9 photos can be added to each listing.
Fill in the product details such as Category, Price, Stock, Variation, Weight, Shipping Fee, and Days to Ship. Don’t forget to add hashtags to your product! Tap on “✓” (Android) or “Submit” (iOS) button. Your product is now listed on Shopee!
Below are the steps to list product from Seller Centre:
- Click on “Seller Centre” at the top left-hand corner
- Click on “My Product
- Click on “Add New Product”
- Insert your product name, our system will suggest the most relevant category based on your product name
- Insert your product details and brand.
- Insert your product price and stock. You may attach up to 9 pictures to your product.
- Finally, insert the product weight, choose which courier service you would like to use to ship this item, save the product listing, and publish.
Forms of assistance Shopee extends to merchants
Shopee expedites payment through Seller Wallet:
- Your Account allows the storage of money you receive from your sales proceeds made on the Platform (“Seller Wallet”). The sum of this money, minus any withdrawals, will be reflected as your Seller Wallet’s balance.
- You may transfer funds from your Seller Wallet (up to the amount of your Seller Wallet balance) to your linked bank account (“Linked Account”) by submitting a transfer request (“Withdrawal Request”) a maximum of once per day. Shopee may also automatically transfer funds from your Seller Wallet to your Linked Account on a regular basis, as determined by Shopee. Shopee shall only process such transfers on business days and such transfers may take up to two business days to be credited to your Linked Account. Shopee is only able to make payments to Sellers via bank transfer. Hence, Sellers are required to provide Shopee with their bank account details.
- Sellers are entitled to one (1) free Withdrawal Request per week (“Weekly Withdrawal Limit”). Shopee may impose a fee of SGD0.20 for each additional Withdrawal Request made in excess of the Weekly Withdrawal Limit (“Withdrawal Fee”). The Weekly Withdrawal Limit and the Withdrawal Fee are subject to change at Shopee’s sole discretion. Sellers are entitled to one (1) free Withdrawal Request per week (“Weekly Withdrawal Limit”). Shopee may impose a fee of SGD0.20 for each additional Withdrawal Request in excess of the Weekly Withdrawal Limit (“Withdrawal Fee”). The Weekly Withdrawal Limit and Withdrawal Fee are subject to change by Shopee.
- Money from your sale of items on Shopee shall be credited to your Seller Wallet within three days after the item is delivered to Buyer or immediately after Buyer has acknowledged that they have received the item.
- Once submitted, you may not modify or cancel a Withdrawal Request.
- If there is an error in the processing of any transaction, you authorize us to initiate debit or credit entries to your designated bank account, to correct such error, provided that any such correction is made in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. If we are unable to debit your designated bank account for any reason, you authorize us to resubmit the debit, plus any applicable fees, to any other bank account or payment instrument that you have on file with us or to deduct the debit and applicable fees from your Seller Wallet in the future.
- You authorize Shopee to initiate debit or credit entries to your Seller Wallet:
- to correct any errors in the processing of any transaction;
- where Shopee has determined that you have engaged in fraudulent or suspicious activity and/or transactions;
- in connection with any lost, damaged or incorrect items;
- in connection with any rewards or rebates;
- in connection with any uncharged fees;
- in connection with the settlement of any transaction dispute, including any compensation due to, or from, you;
- in connection with any banned items or items that are detained by customs;
- in connection with any change of mind agreed to by both Buyer and Seller; and
- (ii) where Shopee has determined that you have engaged in fraudulent or suspicious activity and/or transactions;
- to purchase Advertising Credits where you have activated the Advertising Credits Top-Up Feature and your Advertising Credits have fallen below your Advertising Credits Minimum Amount.
- Where you have both an Account with Shopee and an account with ShopeePay Pte. Ltd. (“ShopeePay”), you authorize Shopee to disclose such information to ShopeePay as is necessary for ShopeePay to provide the Services (as defined in the ShopeePay Terms of Service) to you, including but not limited to any payment details associated with your Account.
Shopee publicity for merchants: Advertising
Advertising services for Sellers on Shopee:
- “Keyword Advertising” and other advertising services, including participation in flash deals (“Flash Deal Advertising”) (Keyword Advertising and Flash Deal Advertising hereinafter referred to together as “Paid Advertising”) on its Paid Advertising Site and another site/s on an ongoing basis. Sellers may purchase Paid Advertising services. Shopee provides the Paid Advertising Services in accordance with these Terms of Service and any explanatory materials published on this Site, the Paid Advertising Site or otherwise communicated to Sellers in writing (hereinafter referred to as the “Paid Advertising Rules”). Sellers who purchase Paid Advertising services agree to be bound by the Paid Advertising Rules. If you are not agreeable to being bound by the Paid Advertising Rules, do not buy any Paid Advertising Services.
- In order to purchase Paid Advertising services, you must be an eligible Seller under the Paid Advertising Rules. At the time when you purchase and pay for the Paid Advertising Services, your Account must not be suspended.
- You may purchase Paid Advertising services by purchasing advertising credits on the Paid Advertising Site or other site/s (“Advertising Credits”), and fees payable for the Paid Advertising services will be deducted from the Advertising Credits by Shopee. All Advertising Credits will be subject to goods and services tax and expire after six (6) months of purchase, or such other time as determined by Shopee. Except as otherwise provided in the applicable Paid Advertising Rules, you may not cancel the order and/or request for a refund after you have purchased Advertising Credits and completed the payment process.
- You may also choose to have your Advertising Credits automatically topped up via your Seller Wallet (“Advertising Credits Top-Up Feature”) if your Advertising Credits balance falls below an amount set by you (“Advertising Credits Minimum Amount”). When activating the Advertising Credits Top-Up Feature, you may choose the Advertising Credits Minimum Amount and the amount of top-up, and you consent to the debit of your Seller Wallet in accordance with Section 10 of these Terms of Service.
- You have the option to purchase Keyword Advertising services at the time you list an item for sale or subsequently. When you purchase Keyword Advertising, you can set different budgets, keywords, marketing periods, etc. for each item in accordance with the Paid Advertising Rules. The Keyword Advertising service for each item will be activated and will expire on the respective dates set by you (the “Paid Advertising Period”). You will not be entitled to transfer the remaining Paid Advertising Period or Advertising Credits to other items if an item is sold or unlisted during the Paid Advertising Period you set for that item. The Advertising Credits will also not be refunded.
- You have the option to purchase Flash Deal Advertising services during the periods nominated by Shopee. When you purchase Flash Deal Advertising services, you may nominate items to be included in a flash sale and Shopee may include such items in a flash sale at its sole and absolute discretion. Advertising Credits are not transferable to other items once used, regardless of whether the items are sold/unsold, or unlisted during the flash sale. The Advertising Credits will also not be refunded.
- The goods you list on the Site must comply with all relevant laws and regulations, the Paid Advertising Rules, these Terms of Service, and the Prohibited and Restricted Items Policy. You understand and agree that Shopee has the right to immediately remove any listing which violates any of the foregoing and any Paid Advertising fees that you have paid or Advertising Credits you have used in relation to any listing removed pursuant to this Section 18.7 will not be refunded. Shopee will also not be liable to compensate you for any loss whatsoever in relation to listings removed pursuant to this Section 18.7.
- You understand and agree that Shopee does not warrant or guarantee any increase in viewership or sales of your items as a result of the Paid Advertising services.
- You are advised to only purchase Paid Advertising services after fully considering your budget and intended advertising objectives. Except as otherwise provided in these Terms of Service or the Paid Advertising Rules, Shopee shall not be liable for any compensation or be subject to any liability (including but not limited to actual expenses and lost profits) for the results or intended results of any Paid Advertising service.
Shopee fees for successful transactions
- Shopee charges a fee for all successful transactions completed on the Site (“Transaction Fee”). The Transaction Fee is borne by the Seller and is calculated as two percent (2%) of the Buyer’s Purchase Monies, rounded up to the nearest cent. The Transaction Fee is subject to GST (“Tax Amount”), and the Seller is responsible for such a Tax Amount.
- For Sellers located outside of Singapore, Shopee charges fees for successful transactions completed on the Site (“Cross Border Fee”). The Cross Border fee is borne by the Seller and is calculated according to the rates as notified to such Sellers from time to time on the Site.
- Following the successful completion of a transaction, Shopee shall deduct the Transaction Fee and the Tax Amount, and the Cross Border Fee (as applicable) from the Buyer’s Purchase Monies, and remit the balance to the Seller in accordance with Section 12.2. Shopee shall issue receipts or tax invoices for the Transaction Fee and Tax Amount paid by Seller on request.
Reasons Shopee is a good platform for small businesses to sell their wares
With around 90 percent of the Southeast Asian population accessing the internet through their smartphones, the Shopee’s mobile-first approach has been an eminent reason for Shopee’s growth over the years.
Within 4 years, Shopee has successfully managed to establish the hold above the other marketplaces. The second-largest eCommerce marketplace in the region, Shopee, purveyed around 147.6 million monthly visits record in June 2018.
Shopee’s growth is the result of its dynamic work module and strategic expansion plan in the Southeast Asian region. Its presence over the social media channels and the user-friendly languages have made it more popular among the buyers. The ease of selling draws, attracts accumulating, growing sellers to sell on its platform.
Shopee has grown over the years at a rapid pace and has acquired the Southeast Asian market swiftly. With e-commerce popping up as the new trend in the Southeast Asian region, Shopee is to reach new heights in the coming years.
Reviews of Shopee
Although all online shopping sites provide great deals, Shopee generally offers lower prices than its competitors, particularly on gadgets, clothes, toys, and bags. Selling cheaper items has earned Shopee the monicker “online Divisoria” among Pinoy online shopping enthusiasts. Shopee sellers can reduce their prices since they do not pay commission fees.
For example, an iPhone X (64GB) currently costs PHP 58,989 at Lazada.
But an iPhone X with the same spec’s costs PHP 49,500 at Shopee. The price difference is substantial at PHP 9,489.
There are other reasons why Shopee is a more cost-saving option for online shoppers. For example, some of its sellers offer discounts to customers who buy in bulk. Customers can even haggle cheaper prices with sellers through Shopee chat. Wholesale suppliers offer competitive warehouse prices on Shopee.
Some merchants on Shopee sell second-hand or pre-loved items, providing affordable options for shoppers.
Shopee has a Lowest Price Guaranteed feature that allows customers to claim 120% of the price difference (in Shopee Coins, which can be used to get discounts on next orders) if they find the same product with a lower price.
Avenues for customers get redress for issues (such as shipping, faulty, product not as described)
Phone call at +65 6206 6610 (Monday to Sunday – 8.00am until 10:00pm) including Public Holidays
Live Chat via Shopee App (Monday to Sunday – 8:00 am until 2:00 am)
Future of Shopee
By the beginning of 2019, Shopee was the clear leader in Southeast Asia’s E-commerce mobile shopping.
Despite entering the market significantly after Lazada, Shopee has been able to rise in the ranks faster than any other player and even eclipsed Lazada in site visits during 2019.
With regards to Shopee, the company can provide a customized online shopping experience to both buyers and sellers across different markets.
This is where engagement comes in, which Shopee has innovated for the South East Asian context.
As Shopee shows, though, the future of commerce is social.
Shopee’s GMV run rate is ~$18Bn, higher than even Flipkart and Amazon. While it has a much lower take rate – or revenue as a % of GMV, it demonstrates the size of the opportunity it is tapping through a different model.
Through live feeds, interactive shopping, and increased engagement, winning the Indian E-commerce consumer will come down to who can provide the immersive end-to-end experience. By tapping into the habits of bargaining, bartering in Asia, Shopee has replicated noisy “bazaars” on users’ smartphones. It has reinvented e-commerce in South East Asia, and after being a runner-up, it may well ascend to first place.