KUALA LUMPUR, 31 March 2017:
“My husband said I was crazy to do online business, because he challenged me, asking ‘Who will give you money online?’” revealed Shopee Seller of the Year winner Te Mei Hong.
“Of course now he sings a different tune,” she laughed – not only because her first month sales alone hit RM20,000, but probably because approximately 19 months later, she is now nearly RM700,000 richer.
Te joined Shopee (a mobile marketplace) in September 2015,and admits her first month revenue estimate was only around RM3,000 or RM4,000, which was “already good enough for me”.
Not only did she not expect it to hit the volume it did, but she revealed that she also had to overcome a lot of negativity from her family.
“Other than my husband, my kids also don’t like me working 24 hours on my computer because I don’t have time for them. I’m doing everything myself at the moment, including packing; so I sometimes go without sleep.
“This was especially so when I ran about five to seven campaigns whereby I sold products at RM1 only. Those three months were madness,” she recalls.
“I got aches and pains in my arm from writing all the documentation manually. Everybody said I was crazy to sell my stock so cheaply, but I saw it as advertising costs that were necessary to make myself known, so that people would remember me.”
And while she focused on building up her online business, Te said her hubby played support by taking care of the accounts and playing the mummy role – such as ferrying the children to and from school.
And with her growing confidence and success, Te has set her sights on even bigger things.
“I want to hire some assistants. I also want to look into my chat response which is a bit poor right now,” said the 39-year-old from Medan, Indonesia, who has already bought the house next door to hers to cope with her fast expanding business.
“I can go further, grow faster as I still have about 10 more years before I retire.”
Her market buyers are 100% Malaysian now, but being a foreigner did have its challenges for her when she first arrived in Malaysia in 2003.
In 2009, she established her own online wholesale business using mainly Facebook to market her products of children’s and babies clothes and toys.
Selling under Cathyshop (her first daughter’s name), Te says she learned how to get followers and good ratings, and set herself a target of 3,000 ratings in the next six months – which she reached.
As a self-taught entrepreneur, Te says if one is willing to make huge sacrifices and dare to lose – one can succeed. She feels this sacrifice has all paid off for her.
In recognition of that hard work, Te received a trophy, RM30,000 worth of Shopee advertising space and RM3,500 cash at the first ever Shopee Seller Awards last night.
Before giving out the awards, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said Malaysia has witnessed a prolific and colossal boom in the area of mobile commerce as the affordability of smartphones and other mobile devices have made the internet accessible like never before.
“This presents a huge opportunity for us all, more so for the generation of tech-savvy entrepreneurs to rise up and capitalise on this growing trend.”
Shopee Malaysia regional managing director Ian Ho said Shopee will commence its ‘Cash on Delivery’ service in May this year, which will allow sellers to enlarge their customer base, and capture buyers who are not as yet comfortable with online purchasing.
It will offer the same zero commission and nationwide free shipping programme. “Shopee is a free platform to use. There are no commissions, which means if you sell an item for RM100, we will return you RM100. The COD will also be free for sellers, if they want to use the service.”
Ho said the COD service also intends to capture customers who are still not comfortable with online shopping, particularly those in the rural areas and the older generation.
He added that a Shopee Raya festival will start on May 15 and run for 45 days.
Shopee is an online platform for sellers that recorded an annualised gross merchandise of US$2.5 billion regionally with more than 30 million installs in seven countries; with Malaysia contributing to two million of the number.
Apart from the coveted top seller award, other categories that were recognised were: most popular official store, best in men’s fashion, best in women’s fashion and best in mobile and gadgets, just to name a few.