ABOUT Shopee

What is Shopee?

About Shopee

Shopee is one of the largest e-commerce marketplaces in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. It is based in Singapore, but operates in 7 countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, and Taiwan. It is gaining momentum, surpassing its long-established competitor, Alibaba Group's Lazada, to become the No. 1 e-commerce marketplace in terms of sales and app downloads in 2019. The C2C and B2C models coexist, and its logistics network includes more than 100 courier companies, so that you can receive your order the same day or the next day. It is also said to be the Amazon of Southeast Asia.(Update date: September 9, 2021)

Source: Research by j-Grab Cross-Border EC Lab

Expanding sales channels from Japan to Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

Shopee has Shopee JAPAN, which provides customer support in Japanese exclusively for Japanese cross-border EC businesses. Another advantage of Shopee is that you can start a cross-border EC business with low risk in the initial stages because you do not need to hold inventory overseas like Amazon. The number of orders in 2020 is 2.8 billion, a rapid growth of 232.8% (+132.8%) compared to last year, and the total circulation value (GMV) in 2020 is US$35.4 billion.

The Merits of Shopee

  • Covering most of Southeast Asia

    Cross-border EC sales will be possible with an overwhelming market scale in the Southeast Asia and Taiwan area. Japanese products are very popular on Shopee, and many of them are purchased for their high quality.

  • Cash flow friendly

    Payoneer is a secure payment method which you can use your Payoneer account to quickly transfer funds to your Japanese bank account for a very good cash flow.

  • Research on hot-selling products, etc.

    Shopee allows you to research information on past sales. Based on this data, you can check the keywords, product information, shipping costs, and logistics for the items to be listed. You can do in-depth research on areas and products that will sell well in the future, as well as the characteristics of products of sellers that sell well.

  • Join a special promotional website

    As to attract the customers, you can be featured on Shopee's dedicated promotion site for cross-border EC sellers in Japan. This has the advantage that you can expect to attract a certain amount of customers without having to do any advertising on your own.

  • Low sales commissions

    As of June 2021, there are no sales commissions on store openings and product listings! Even the sales commission is set to be free. This is a benefit only for Japanese cross-border EC businesses, and sellers in other countries are charged for this service. The cost is only about 2% of the commission when you send money from Payoneer, so you can do test marketing easily.

The Demerits of Shopee

  • Mainly trading low unit price products

    The average unit price being purchased is lower than eBay and Amazon, and it tends to be difficult to sell high value items. The market is still difficult to actively sell traditional crafts, products that cost more than several tens of thousands of yen, one-of-a-kind items, art works, and antiques, as products within 10,000 yen sell well. We are looking forward to the future.

  • Customer service in foreign languages

    All communication is basically in English. Shopee can translate the listing information for Indonesia and Taiwan, but it is basically up to users, so you are necessary to respond in foreign languages. When dealing with problems or complaints, if the meaning is not conveyed correctly, the problem may get worse. Therefore, it is necessary to separate human translation from machine translation and make good use of both.

  • It takes time to generate sales

    It is difficult to make a big sale right after you list your products. This is not limited to Shopee, but immediately after opening an account, you will have zero transaction ratings. You need to have a strategy to get a good sales record and customer ratings. You will need to be prepared to take your time and develop your account.

  • Points to take note for the sale of cosmetics, skincare and food products

    Violating the rules set by Shopee may result in suspension of your listing or deletion of your account, so you are expected to be aware of the latest rules and to list your items correctly according to the rules. Be especially careful when listing cosmetics, skincare, and food products.

  • Needs to be competitive

    The environment is relatively easy for Japanese businesses to exhibit their products, and Japanese businesses may become competitors. As in the case of domestic EC, there will be categories that will become price competitive, so it is necessary to conduct thorough research and analysis to determine how to keep shipping costs and prices low, and to make cross-border EC profitable.

The process from applying for a Shopee account to product listing

To apply for an account, you will need to submit an application form from the official Shopee Japan website. Applications can be submitted by both individuals and corporations, and will be reviewed within a few days. Then, you will receive an email invitation to open a shop in the area you have specified when you applied for your account and you can proceed with the procedure.

After you log in to Seller Centre, you will need to do the basic set up of your store. The official payment method is Payoneer (overseas bank account), so please obtain it in advance. You will need to Insert a profile photo or image that can be seen by the buyer, and carefully fill in the company description, brand introduction, products handled, and shipping time,etc. Also, please also pay take note on the initial Vacation Mode setting.

Source: Research by j-Grab Cross-Border EC Lab

The language options are English or the local language, but not Japanese. In the address field, you will need to enter your Japanese address in Japanese. This is also the address that will be used for returns and exchanges. If you have a separate warehouse or office, you will need to enter the address where you receive your products.

The last step is to set the Shipping Setting. If you are using Japan Post or DHL, please set "Other Logisitcs Providers - Japan" to ON. The days to Ship is a standard shipping time of up to 72 hours in Taiwan and 48 hours in other countries, which can be extended with the pre-order function. Once that is done, it is time to register (list) your products. If you have a large number of items to sell, you can upload them in bulk in CSV format file instead of creating them individually.

As for Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, you can create your product in English, and the product name will be automatically translated into Thai/Indonesian in 1-2 weeks. As for the prohibited items, you will need to check the Shopee's rules and the situation in each country before listing.

Source: Research by j-Grab Cross-Border EC Lab

List of prohibited items on Shopee

Shopee cross-border EC sales prohibit transactions that go beyond "personal import".You are solely responsible for complying with all applicable laws & regulations for products, terms and policies for the listings. Shopee's banned items vary from country to country, but typical banned items include knives, pirated and obscene publications, politically and culturally sensitive items, adult products, mobile batteries, currency, radios and other communication devices, weapons and armor, products that deny religion, condiments (saccharin, salt, etc.), medicines, contact lenses, alcoholic beverages, valuables, and items that infringe on patent rights, utility model rights, design rights, trademark rights, copyrights, neighboring rights, and breeder's rights.

Important Points regarding Shipping

If you are shipping an item as an individual seller , you must use "Japan Post" to ship it with tracking. If you are a corporation, you will need to enter into a corporate contract with a logistics company, which can be either Japan Post with tracking or a recommended logistics company (ECMS).

Source: Research by j-Grab Cross-Border EC Lab

About attracting customers and advertising

Shopee is currently offering a free advertising function for Japanese cross-border EC store owners. You can stream your own live productions on the app, use the marketing center tool to set up discounted sales, product sales with special offers, and participate in Shopee's campaigns. If you have a product that you are confident of selling, you can apply for the "shocking sale". If you are approved after a strict screening process, your product may be listed on the top page of the sales promotion page, but you need to specify the sale period, have enough stock, and sell it at a lower price. If you have the budget, you can also advertise for a fee, but it is not possible to do so from the tool and you need to consult with Shopee JAPAN.

What is Preferred Seller?

Preferred Seller is a title given by Shopee to sellers who have received high ratings in six overall categories. When you get it, your SEO in Shopee will increase and you will be able to secure stable sales.This includes good products, competitive pricing, a high store rating, fast response time (within 12 hours), and timely shipping for at least one month, which will result in a "Preferred" label on your store profile picture the following week and a higher ranking in search results, making you more likely to be chosen by buyers.

The limits on the maximum number of product listing

For new sellers, after a minimum of 10 products are listed, within 30 days, if the number of unique order completions is less than 5, only 1,000 products can be listed. If the number of unique order completions is between 5 and 100, you will be able to list 3,000 products. If the number of unique order completions reaches 100 or more, you will be able to list 5,000 products. If you become a “Preferred Seller”, you will be able to list 10,000 products. If you are approved as an official store, you can list up to 20,000 products.

About the Penalty System

Shopee also has a penalty point system, which states that penalties are necessary in order to maintain high quality service for store owners. The performance of the sellers will be checked weekly and penalty points will be imposed if the target performance is not reached.

For example, failing to ship an item within 48 hours, selling an item that is not in stock and then automatically canceling the sale after the shipping time has expired, customer making a return request because the item is "damaged," "not received," or "not complete," using an unrelated product title to mislead or provide incorrect product information, the product is listed in a category unrelated to the product, the seller is rude to the buyers with the intention to encourage cancellation, or if the seller intentionally gives a different address to avoid a return.

Penalty points will be updated every Monday and reset quarterly. The penalty level is determined by the total number of points accumulated over a three-month period. It varies depending on the level, but some examples include not being able to run a campaign or sale, hiding your items even if you list them, not being searched, and freezing your account.

What can j-Grab do for you?

j-Grab is well versed in the opening, customer attraction, and operation of overseas EC malls such as Shopee, eBay, and Amazon. j-Grab is one of only 10 companies in Japan to be certified as an "eBay Japan Certified Consultant," and our cross-border EC consultants are active as national cross-border EC experts at JETRO and the SME Support Japan, and we can provide companionship support for your Shopee mall opening and operation.

We offer a support plan that is only possible because we work with Shopee JAPAN and are well versed in sales methods, the latest rules and policies. For corporate customers, in addition to a plan that provides thorough coaching to the Shopee sales representative on everything from opening the store to attracting and managing customers, we also offer a plan that allows j-Grab to manage all or part of Shopee sales on your behalf if it is difficult for you to assign a representative.

We provide support for various Shopee settings, know-how for maximizing sales, in-Shopee sales promotion, and foreign language support in case of trouble. We can respond to requests for support from government agencies, municipalities, and financial institutions as well as individual entrepreneurs and corporations.

For those who would like to open a Shopee store or list your products on Shopee, those who already opened a Shopee account but sales are not increasing, those who are losing in the price competition and your sales are unprofitable, or those who would like to link Shopee with your own cross-border EC site and succeed in the main website and sub-site strategy, please feel free to contact j-Grab that has the experience of supporting 2,500 companies in cross-border EC and over 20 years of experience in cross-border EC.

Edit: j-Grab Cross Border EC Lab


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