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What is Shopee? An E-Commerce Superstar in SEA

As its name suggests, Shopee is an e-commerce platform primarily operating in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Latin America. The platform offers customers a full shopping experience, bridging buyers and sellers in a convenient, secure, and reliable environment.

With more than 375 million users, Shopee offers promising business marketing potential. This guide will dive into Shopee, uncovering user preferences and highlighting effective marketing strategies to help you make the most out of it. What is Shopee? Read on to learn more.

What is Shopee?

Shopee is the largest e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, and it is also expanding its reach in Brazil. Launched in 2015 by the global consumer internet company Sea Limited, Shopee adopts a mobile-first strategy, offering a dynamic marketplace that bridges buyers and sellers.

Shopee guarantees a reliable, secure, and enjoyable shopping experience, complemented by services like integrated payment and logistics. The platform encourages users to rate and share, fostering a community where transactions are seamless and transparent. Additionally, it also equips sellers with a suite of tools, such as live streaming, to support their interactions with potential buyers.

Who Uses Shopee?

Shopee’s users can be categorized into two groups: buyers and sellers. While the buyers are consumers, as you would expect, the sellers include a diverse mix from small and medium vendors to individual sellers and large retailers.

Each seller can operate an online storefront to showcase products, connect with buyers, and finalize sales. Larger brands and authorized retailers can leverage premium retail space Shopee Mall to list their products.

What Do People Use Shopee for?

People visit Shopee to buy and sell. The platform mainly focuses on categories like fashion, health and beauty, and home and living, and is expanding to increase product diversity.

Shopee’s buyers enjoy its social nature, as the platform allows them to freely browse and share items they find, but also rewards them for certain interactions and participation. For example, they can win “Shopee Coins” by making purchases and participating in campaign activities, after which they can spend the coins on other items. Additionally, augmented reality features like “BeautyCam” and “SkinCam” further provide a personalized shopping experience as buyers can virtually try on products.

For sellers, Shopee also provides comprehensive support services, such as inventory management and store operation in addition to the live streaming feature “Shopee Live.” In this way, Shopee becomes the one-stop solution, offering integrated services to meet all user needs.

What Do Users Like About Shopee?

Shopee users often highlight the platform’s wide selection of products offered at competitive prices as one of the main reasons for them to keep returning to the platform, complemented by numerous vouchers and ongoing discounts that enhance the shopping experience.

User Chester John Bactol specifically appreciates the level of engagement during promotional events, stating, “I am glad because the seller always meets customer expectations in their shop, making it very entertaining to watch during every payday sale.”

However, while cost savings are significant, Shopee’s service features also contribute significantly to user satisfaction. User Kathrine Kae Rosario considers Shopee her go-to shopping platform, praising its user-friendly interface, extensive product range, and regular promotions. She especially appreciates the Chat feature, saying that it “allows me to communicate directly with sellers, ensuring a hassle-free shopping experience.” Similar to Kathrine’s sentiment, user Arnold Salas also praises the timely communication: “The sellers could readily be contacted for any concern I encountered and is being acted upon promptly.”

How Does Shopee Generate Revenue?

Shopee generates revenue mainly through paid advertising, transaction fees, and other value-added services like logistics. Additionally, Shopee sells items directly.

In 2023, Shopee’s platform services revenue (listed as e-commerce and other services) increased by 30.9% to $9.8 billion, and revenue from products owned and sold (listed as sales of goods) remained a stable performance and achieved $1.1 billion.

E-commerce and Other Services

Shopee’s e-commerce and other services revenue contribute significantly to its parent company, Sea Limited, accounting for 45.8%, 60.0%, and 74.8% of Sea’s total revenue in 2021, 2022, and 2023, respectively. This sector records revenue mainly from its marketplace services, digital financial services, and other platform services.

Just like other e-commerce platforms, Shopee earns from a fixed rate commission fee on completed transactions based on gross merchandise value (GMV). Besides that, Shopee also charges sellers with its paid ads service, where sellers can bid on keywords to boost the visibility of their product or service in search results rankings. Revenue from this service is recognized based on the number of clicks received during the service period.

In addition, Shopee also provides logistic services to its sellers and runs a customer loyalty program for its buyers. The loyalty program encourages repeat purchases and engagement in various activities on the platform by rewarding users with Shopee coins, which can be used for future purchases or to redeem vouchers. Revenue related to Shopee coins is deferred until redeemed or expiration.

How to Market on Shopee?

Shopee Video

Shopee Video allows sellers to create and share videos showcasing and educating potential buyers about their products. This feature helps sellers attract new customers, increase their shop’s visibility, and easily demonstrate their products, leading to increased sales. Sellers can link products from any shop to their videos, with each video featuring up to six products.

Shopee Ads

  • Product Search Ads: These ads will push products to the top of the search results page when shoppers type in relevant keywords, helping brands reach potential buyers and generate sales from search results.

  • Shop Search Ads: These ads feature the shop’s name and logo at the top of the search results page when consumers look up relevant keywords. In addition to gaining more awareness, they will direct individuals who click on the ad to the store, ultimately driving conversions.

  • Discovery Ads: These ads appear on product detail pages to showcase similar or complementary items according to the buyer’s recently viewed product, and are also displayed in the Daily Discover section on Shopee’s homepage, reaching buyers who have browsed similar items within the past 30 days. In this way, these discovery ads not only help brands boost product visibility but also connect them with potential buyers.

  • Boost Ads: Instead of requiring sellers to manage settings manually, this option allows Shopee to handle the optimization across various high-traffic areas such as the search results page, product detail pages, and the Daily Discover section. Boost ads help brands feature their products in prominent sections of Shopee and target potential shoppers who are likely to convert.

  • Display Ads: These ads are displayed on the homepage banner carousel, a high-traffic section that captures buyers’ attention immediately upon logging in. This prime spot is usually one of the first elements users notice; therefore, sellers need to reserve their preferred dates early to secure this ad space.

Shopee Live

Shopee Live is a social selling platform that allows sellers to engage directly with buyers through live streaming. This feature provides sellers the opportunity to showcase their products, offer exclusive deals, and host giveaways, all while interacting with viewers, enhancing the shopping experience and driving sales.

Sellers are allowed to manage up to 500 SKUs during a single live session and adjust their offerings in response to viewer interest.

Shopee Live includes several interactive features to boost engagement. Before streaming events, sellers can set up Livestream Reminders to promote their upcoming sessions, attracting potential buyers to join in. During the stream, hosts can use interactive tools such as “Ask Host” and polls to facilitate real-time communication and better understand buyer interest and feedback, which is a great way to drive sales.

Additional features like Auctions, Vouchers, and Lucky Draw can be used to reward viewers and incentivize them to continue watching and potentially make purchases. After the stream ends, sellers choose to feature the live stream replay on their shop profile, and access Business Insights for detailed performance analytics.

Shopee’s Campaigns

Shopee provides many promotional campaign opportunities on its platform to help sellers enhance their store’s visibility and drive sales. Sellers can nominate their products for these campaigns, which Shopee will feature on its website and app.

To assess the campaign performance, sellers can go to Business Insights, and adjust their strategy based on performance metrics to optimize sales.

Key campaigns include Shopee Shocking Sale, Product Campaign, and Voucher Campaign.

Shopee Shocking Sale

The Shocking Sale allows sellers to offer time-limited deals to attract buyers. This is particularly effective for sellers looking to clear out inventory, as they can set up several flash deals each day.

Product Campaign

Product Campaign is Shopee’s promotional event that features products from participating sellers during retail seasons. These campaigns are categorized into various tiers; importance is decided by Shopee.

Voucher Campaign

Similar to the Product Campaign, the Voucher Campaign is another Shopee’s promotional event, except it features vouchers from participating sellers. These campaigns serve as excellent incentives for buyers to explore and purchase, thus benefiting sellers with increased traffic and sales.

Market on Shopee with Nativex

Navigating advertising on Shopee in Southeast Asia can be challenging, but the right support can simplify the process. This is where Nativex comes in, providing full support to brands and advertisers looking to expand their footprint on Shopee.

Get in touch with us today to unlock your brand’s full potential on this leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia.

Want to learn more about different social media app marketing in China? Take your pick from our “what is” series on WeChat, Xiaohongshu, Weibo, Naver, and Kwai. You can also keep your eye on the blog for more updates as they happen.

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