OPINION EDITORIAL BY WENDY LIU, CO-FOUNDER, EZBUY.SG:
SOCIAL MEDIA SHOPPING IS SOUTHEAST ASIA’S NEXT ECOMMERCE DISRUPTION WAVE
EZBUY.SG SHOWS HOW PIVOTING TOWARDS THIS MODEL EARNS THIS SINGAPORE STARTUP NEW INCOME STREAMS & HIGHER CONSUMER SPEND
SINGAPORE, THURSDAY 13 JULY 2017 – ezbuy.sg recently made Singapore ecommerce history with the launch of Friends Deal – Singapore’s first and only social shopping channel. Friends Deal is secured when consumers seek like-minded friends keen on purchasing the same item. When the requisite number of people have made upfront payments in full, the product in question is secured. Consumers can choose to pick-up in person for free at any of ezbuy.sg’s 277 physical self-collection points all over Singapore, or have goods delivered to their homes at a small home delivery fee top-up, upon checkout.
The idea for this social shopping element can be attributed to a unicorn digital platform out of China: PinDuoDuo. Started by a former tech employee of Google, consumers of PinDuoDuo secure heavily discounted prices via their friends, on China’s #1 smartphone chat app – WeChat. Within 21 months of inception, PinDuoDuo recorded more than 100 million visitors and achieved unicorn status with a company valuation of US$1.5 billion. ezbuy.sg, Singapore and Southeast Asia’s largest English-language Taobao marketplace outside of China, is already replicating this digital commerce format with the recent launch of Friends Deal via its smartphone app and mobile website.
The failure of group buying sites like iBuy Group and the sale of Groupon Singapore to Fave have proven that social commerce is a tough marketplace to be profitable or scale. Group buying sites typically secure deals from merchants which set a minimum amount of individual strangers required to purchase, not via friends. PinDuoDuo and ezbuy.sg via Friends Deal for that matter, are seeking their followers and consumer base to rally their friends via social media to shop and attain cash-saving discounts. According to ezbuy.sg Co-founder and Singapore Chief Executive Officer Wendy Liu: “Think of Friends Deal as buying in bulk and at rock-bottom prices, but with the help of friends. I liken it to the good old Singapore communal kampong spirit, but with a cutting-edge digital twist to the whole user experience.”
ezbuy.sg’s tech team began work on the Friends Deal ideation in April 2017, with a view to creating accessibility via mobile devices. ezbuy.sg’s Friends Deal, incorporates key elements that allow smartphone users access to a wide variety of products from China, Korea, Singapore, and the USA. Adopting learnings from ezbuy.sg’s buyer trends, products were curated by acquiring FMCG brands like Nestle, Kleenex, MKUP, Mammy Poko, Pokka, via local marketplace sellers. These brands and items were selected due to their high brand awareness equity and salability turnover. To date, ezbuy.sg’s Friends Deal features close to 1,000 product SKUs – barely a month from inauguration!
Friends Deal made its debut during ezbuy.sg’s annual 65eday – Singapore’s version of Black Friday. During the first six days, Friends Deal saw over 24,000 deals initiated and completed from over 50 active daily deals, and selling over 2,000 items a day while setting a record for selling close to 5,000 units for just one single product in a day. The most popular social platforms consumers use to rally friends and consumers are Carousell, Facebook, Hardwarezone and WhatsApp.
ezbuy.sg’s next steps are strategically expanding product offerings not sold in Singapore for Friends Deal. This includes enhancing bandwidth of brands from the USA such as Kirkland Signature, Color Pop, Yankee Candles, just to name a few. Expected savings will be anywhere between 30 and 50 per cent off regular retail prices.
States Wendy Liu: “Scalability is the keyword here as we pivot from being the world’s first and largest platform offering more than 20 million Taobao items in English, to a global marketplace offering products from China, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. By selling products sourced from the USA and now with the successful launch of Friends Deal, ezbuy.sg will be setting aside significant resource and budget to further develop online shopping via social media. Our mobile shopping app now ranks #2 on the Apple store and we have goals to achieve #1 status in the coming months.”
ezbuy.sg is Singapore’s first and largest global shopping platform by page views and number of distribution points. In 2016, ezbuy.sg was the 9th top search made by Singaporeans according to Google’s “Year in Search” ranking which analyses over one trillion search queries Google receives annually. Founded in Singapore in 2010 by Singaporean Wendy Liu and a consortium of like-minded entrepreneurs, ezbuy.sg allows consumers to shop for items direct from Taobao and overseas online stores out of China, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and the USA. A global marketplace for online retailers, Singapore consumers enjoy access to millions of products worldwide while paying the least in itemized costs. ezbuy.sg’s cutting-edge algorithm captures first-hand information on the latest deals on offer and in real time, enabling consumers to gain savings of up to 80 per cent as compared to buying retail. ezbuy.sg’s star feature is its Prime membership service. For a mere S$99.00 per annum, ezbuy.sg’s Prime subscription plan includes a flat S$2.99 in international shipping fees per shopping cart upon checkout, regardless of weight or size; 50 per cent off normal agent fees, and priority access to real-time sales out of China.
CO-FOUNDER & SINGAPORE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Wendy is the Co-founder of ezbuy Group Holdings – operating out of Singapore and Malaysia, and is the Chief Executive Officer of ezbuy Singapore. Wendy, a Singaporean citizen, is a First-class Honours graduate in Electrical & Electronics Engineering with a minor in Business from the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore and holds a Master’s degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering from the National University of Singapore. Prior to co-founding ezbuy (formerly known as 65daigou) in 2010, Wendy was a Product Engineer at Global Foundries (formerly Chartered Semiconductor). Wendy caught the technopreneur bug back in her university days. Whilst her peers stuck to the minimum core subjects curriculum, Wendy elected to take on additional business and e-commerce related modules out of sheer curiosity and interest. These extra modules paid off and opened another door to embrace the beauty of online e-commerce. Wendy got to learn and appreciate the ideation behind the convenience and savings consumers enjoy from online shopping. Technology companies are by far much more efficient than traditional brick-and-mortar shops and as a result, can report better capital performance. Digital businesses do not require heavy upfront investments and offer mobility and flexibility to operate anywhere, any time, and round the clock. The seed to become an entrepreneur in the e-commerce space was implanted. On a visit to China, Wendy was impressed by the unlimited product varieties that China e-commerce platforms offered. When another would-be entrepreneur came to Wendy with the idea of creating the same level of convenience in the South-east Asia region, Wendy said: “Yes, let’s do it!” Wendy’s core duties include overseeing the Marketing and the Global marketplace departments. Wendy grew the company from zero to 2 million customers in less than three years. Today, ezbuy is and remains Singapore and Malaysia’s first and largest global shopping platform by page views and number of distribution points. ezbuy allows consumers to shop for items direct from Taobao and overseas online stores out of China, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and the USA, with access to millions of products worldwide while paying the least in itemized costs. Wendy is effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin.
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