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‘We want to inspire and engage people together with Cristiano Ronaldo’ – Shopee’s Zhou Junjie

Shoppes Zhou Junjie

Against the backdrop of Shopee’s ‘9-9 Super Shopping Day’,  Mumbrella put a few questions to the ecommerce firm’s chief commercial officer and Singapore head Zhou Junjie. Excerpts from an interview:

Given the number of competitors in this space, why do you believe consumers pick Shopee? What sets you apart? 

“In less than four years, Shopee has become the leading e-commerce platform in South East Asia and Taiwan. According to the latest report by App Annie, it is the number one shopping app in South East Asia by average monthly active users (MAU) in Q2 2019. 

As the boundaries between shopping, socialising and entertainment fade, time spent in-app and the ability to retain users’ attention is becoming an important performance metric. We have created an interactive e-commerce experience through engaging gamification. For instance, we recently introduced a suite of new features for users in Singapore. 

“Shopee Live is the first-ever in-app live streaming feature which enables sellers to interact and engage with shoppers in real time. It also allows customers to purchase featured items without having to leave the stream. For sellers, it eliminates the hassle of going through individual questions on item listings. 

“Shopee Quiz is a mobile-optimised interactive live trivia game. Each session is hosted by a popular local influencer. Participants can answer eight questions, across topics like history and pop culture, and winners will split the Shopee coins prize pool and products from participating brands. 

“Each country has a different app, which allows Shopee to create hyper-localised experiences. 

“For example, in celebration of Singapore’s 54th birthday earlier this year, we paid tribute to the iconic phrase ‘mee siam mai hum’ [a noodle dish without cockles] with an adaptation of Shopee Slice [A fruit ninja-like game that can be played in app]. Users were challenged to avoid the hums [cockles] and slice as many limes, tau poks [fried tofu] and eggs to win Shopee coins [in app currency that can be redeemed while making purchases] and brand-dedicated vouchers. 

“As we grow, we will gather feedback from users, innovate and improve our platform features to provide a seamless online shopping experience.”

Why the decision to create all your communication inhouse? 

“As a homegrown tech company with local offices operated mainly by local talent, the advantage is our deep and nuanced understanding of user’s market-specific needs. This enables us to employ highly localised strategies across all areas of the business, including marketing, to grab users’ attention.”

How different is is your marketing approach during a key sale event like 9.9 or Singles Day? 

“For 9.9 Super Shopping Day and major sales events, we employ an integrated marketing plan. We leverage data-driven insights and technology to understand what the consumer wants and employ a mix of online and offline channels to maximise our touchpoints.

“This year’s 9.9 Super Shopping Day is our largest-ever. More brands and sellers have joined. Users have experienced our largest-ever collection of entertainment features. We have introduced Shopee Games, a dedicated page offering users one-stop access to our growing collection of popular in-app games, including Shopee Shake, Shopee Quiz and Shopee Slice.

“Social media is another key platform of the campaign. We leverage it extensively to amplify the Shopee brand across the region. For 9.9 Super Shopping Day, avid fans can compete to win signed merchandise from our latest brand ambassador, global football icon Cristiano Ronaldo. 

“In line with our 360° marketing approach, we also activated offline channels to further boost visibility and maximise awareness of 9.9 Super Shopping Days. We featured Ronaldo in our latest for 9.9 Super Shopping Day ad which was aired in cinemas and elevators in office buildings and shopping malls across the country. 

“We have also rolled out several out-of-home initiatives such as full-sized advertisements featuring Ronaldo on buses, taxis and train platforms.

“This year’s, we came up with Super Shopee Search, an all-new online-to-offline game involving 71 physical stores in Singapore. Users can purchase items from the offline stores of nine participating brands such as Etude House, Miniso, and Xiaomi, and collect stickers to fill up a game card in order to enjoy discounts on the brands’ official store on Shopee.” 

How do you choose your brand ambassadors?

“We partnered Cristiano Ronaldo in line with our strategy to engage and connect with users in the region more meaningfully through iconic celebrities. Shopee has a demonstrated history of successful celebrity partnerships. 

“In Indonesia, we introduced local rock band Slank as our brand ambassador and  launched their official store to bring users exclusive access to merchandise. In the Philippines, we introduced Sarah Geronimo in line with our 6.6 – 7.7 Lowest Price Sale from June to July this year. We also launched a new commercial featuring her dancing to the catchy Shopee Spaghetti tune [A version of the Spaghetti Song by popular Filipino band SexBomb Girls].  

“We want to inspire and engage people together with Cristiano Ronaldo. We are confident that this partnership can create a lasting positive impact for everyone in the region.”

In the case of Blackpink there were a couple of controversies with an ad being pulled in Indonesia and a promo in the Philippines which was allegedly mismanaged. What are some of the lessons learnt from these situations?

“We remain committed to bringing the best online shopping experiences to our users across different markets. We will continue to partner leading celebrities to engage users more meaningfully via fresh initiatives, and build stronger connections with our users across the region. This is in line with the strong demand among users to get closer to their stars.”

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