By Joseph L. Garcia
ONLINE SELLING gets a little bit easier with Shopee, an easy-to-use buying and selling app.
Last week, in Makati’s Prohibition Lounge, Shopee brought some of their buyers and sellers together to trade, as well as to watch celebrity makeup artist Albert Kurniawan at work.
Shopee is a third-party buy-and-sell platform launched last December. Macy Castillo, Shopee Philippines head of commercial business, tapped on her phone to show BusinessWorld the app. “Right now, I can sell this phone… if I wanted to.”
She boasted that one can sell and then buy in 30 seconds. After signing up, all you have to do is take a picture of your item, provide a price and a short description, and you’re good to go.
Although the app sells “everything under the sun,” according to Ms. Castillo, the thrust during the event was its beauty products because cosmetics are a big component of Shopee’s sales.
Online shopping, however, presents many pitfalls, such as counterfeit items. “We try as much as possible… to remove, as soon as we see them… [items] found to not meet our terms and conditions,” said Ms. Castillo.
Because the app serves as a platform for third-party sellers and buyers, Shopee itself does not own any of the items in stock. And because anyone with a smartphone can sell, the company has some guidelines in place.
“We really try to be strict… with our sellers… if some buyers are unhappy, and it’s a constant thing, we really try to reach out to them… we… really contact them… and help them manage their accounts.”
As for other measures to protect the buyer, the buyer pays the app first, and the payment for the seller is only forwarded once the buyer receives the item. Credit cards and bank transfers are accepted, as well as cash-on-delivery for some sellers.
The app is present in seven countries: the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
“We do have, in terms of products, throughout all our seven countries… 21 million products,” Ms. Castillo said.
And despite being launched only in December, the app already has 12 million downloads, according to the executive.
The app is backed by Garena, a Singapore-based game and app developer with operations in the Philippines.
The app also helps sellers by serving as a business incubator, with Ms. Castillo saying that every two weeks, Shopee holds an event called Shoppee University, where sellers are taught sales and marketing techniques.