Shopee SG gets hyperlocal with Phua Chu Kang as new brand ambassador

Shopee has brought on board Singaporean cultural icon Phua Chu Kang (PCK) as its first brand ambassador for Singapore, reflecting its hyper-localised approach. Shopee said PCK’s ability to resonate with and unite local communities aligns closely with Shopee’s long-term vision of connecting with Singaporeans, a trait which makes him a perfect fit for the brand.

In his role, PCK will work with Shopee on a wide range of initiatives and campaigns as it heads into the year-end shopping season, aimed at engaging and uplifting users. He will be the face of various Shopee campaigns, beginning with its 9.9 Super Shopping Day. In particular, he will join Shopee across various initiatives to engage and connect with Singaporeans, including exclusive appearances on Shopee Live and other marketing campaigns. PCK will be holding an exclusive Shopee Live session on 9 September from 9 to 10 pm.

Shopee’s chief commercial officer Zhou Junjie said as a proud homegrown company, it believes that PCK’s attributes parallel its deep understanding of Singapore and its culture. “PCK has always been a celebrated local icon and at Shopee, it was particularly meaningful for us to appoint an ambassador that creates a sense of oneness amongst local communities. We are excited to bring onboard our first local brand ambassador ahead of 9.9 Super Shopping Day,” he added.

On a regional level, the eCommerce platform previously tapped footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and K-pop girl group BLACKPINK as regional ambassadors in 2019 and 2018 respectively. While Zhou declined to reveal the monetary value of the partnership, he told Marketing that Shopee is confident that the partnership with a celebrated cultural icon such as PCK will enable it to unite local communities and deepen engagement with its Singaporean users. He added that aside from Shopee's 9.9 Super Shopping Day, PCK will also be the face of its 11.11 Big Sale.

"As with all our brand ambassadors, we look for personalities who embody Shopee’s key values and are also strong unifying figures amongst our users. Shopee’s partnership with all our brand ambassadors is closely aligned with our strategy of engaging and connecting with our users meaningfully," he added.

Zhou explained that the partnership with BLACKPINK was done in line with the growing popularity of K-pop in the region. Meanwhile, it partnered Ronaldo as he is known for his tremendous focus, dedication, and determination - a reflection of Shopee’s deep commitment to its users.

"PCK’s ability to resonate with and unite local communities parallels Shopee’s long-term vision of connecting with Singaporeans of all ages. PCK has also long been regarded as a proud and celebrated part of the Singaporean culture and identity. This mirrors Shopee’s strong understanding of the local landscape and the pride we take in being a homegrown company," Zhou added.

When asked if Shopee will also be appointing local brand ambassadors for other Southeast Asian markets such as Malaysia and Indonesia, Zhou said: "We are unable to say much about any potential brand ambassadors in these markets at the moment, but Shopee’s marketing strategies have always involved working closely with local celebrities across the region."

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Marketing its 9.9 Super Shopping Day

Shopee employs an integrated marketing plan for all its major campaigns, including its 9.9 Super Shopping Day. Besides partnering with PCK, Zhou said it will also utilise a mix of online and offline channels to maximise its touchpoints with users in Singapore. Users can look forward to its full-sized bus, taxi, and MRT platform screen door advertisements featuring PCK, and it will also leverage social media extensively to amplify the upcoming shopping festival to remain top of mind.

On 9 September, Shopee will also leverage its newest in-app game Shopee Bubble, a new shake tree in Shopee Farm, and Shopee Squad to engage consumers and encourage them to shop together with family and friends. "Our signature 9.9 Super Shopping Day is a great example of how our hyper-localised approach has resonated with users across all our markets," Zhou said.

Citing 2019 as an example, he said that there were three times the number of orders last year compared to 2018 and over 113 million deals offered on 9 September. At its peak, Zhou said 187,606 items were sold in a minute.

Meanwhile, Shopee told Marketing in a separate interview that engaging with figures that will resonate with its consumers - whether in terms of their general persona, lifestyle, or local presence - is key. Among the list of key opinion leaders (KOLs) it works with include Malaysia’s Siti Nurhaliza, Nabila Razali, Yonnyboii, and Shalma Eliana; Indonesia’s Cita Ciata and Rizky Febian; and Taiwan’s Alien Huang and Guan Guan.

According to Shopee the approach of ensuring its initiatives resonate with consumers is not limited to local key opinion leaders or influencers but also extends to wider trends that it has observed across the region. Citing KCON, a K-culture convention and festival it partnered with South Korean entertainment firm CJ ENM on in June this year, the company said the festival was borne out of an understanding that K-pop has consistently risen in popularity across the region.

“With an understanding of the appeal of K-culture across the region, the Shopee Live Kpop festival also served as an opportunity to highlight Korean-made products across beauty, fashion, and food items that have proved to be popular among Southeast Asian shoppers,” Shopee said.

What makes live-streaming work?

ECommerce has also evolved its strategy into something more than just “swipe, tap, spend”. In fact, Shopee’s head of regional marketing, Agatha Soh, explained to Marketing separately that eCommerce has become a channel for people to interact and connect with others.

When it comes to live-streaming, Soh explained that Shopee sees it as a way to bring people together and build deeper connections through fun and interactive content. She added that live-streaming has brought entertainment online and is increasingly serving as an alternative way of connecting and engaging communities, especially in recent times.

“We believe live-stream has gone beyond just a means for brands to promote their products. It has become an integral part of the shopping experience and a way for brands and sellers to create meaningful interactions with their customers,” she added.

As more brands and sellers are adapting to live-streaming, one of the initiatives Shopee has launched is the Masterclass Series on Shopee Live featuring successful star sellers who have built a strong following on their live-streams to share their tips and tricks. Soh added that this provides a platform for knowledge sharing within our seller community.

It has been a year since Shopee Live was launched and the brand has seen success with this function. Shopee Live was launched with the aim of allowing viewers to directly engage with sellers, learn about products and ask questions in real-time. The feature also allows customers to purchase items online without having to leave the live-stream. According to Soh, Shopee Live was designed to be mobile-optimised, making it convenient to stream while on-the-go. In a region where 90% of people access the Internet primarily through their mobile devices, brands are able to engage and reach a wide range of customers through Shopee Live.

“Interestingly, we have seen increasing viewership across demographics, which debunks earlier notions that only younger audiences enjoy watching live-streaming. In fact, across the region, we are seeing an increase in viewers aged between 34 to 50 on Shopee Live,” she added. Live-streaming’s popularity among consumers certainly is not going away. In fact, Soh said that live-streaming has grown to be a key part of the online shopping experience in Southeast Asia and this trend has continued amidst the pandemic.

“Many businesses that have been operating offline are finding new ways to digitalise and connect with their customers. As live-streaming becomes one of the methods they are adopting to build deeper connections, many have recorded strong growth in sales and visibility by using the [Shopee Live] feature,” she added.

According to her, brands and sellers are streaming on Shopee Live more often to meet growing demand, and they are also streaming for longer periods of time as the situation evolved in recent months. The company recorded 300 million views on Shopee Live in April alone, and is seeing a strong increase in viewers aged between 34 to 50, despite popularity among youths and Millennials.

In June this year when Shopee live-streamed KCON, it had about a 100% uplift in the number of new users compared to a week when business is as usual. The total views amassed exceeded six million. Meanwhile in May, the eCommerce platform also leveraged on live-stream for P&G’s Show Me My Home campaign. When asked about the return on investment for this campaign, Shopee said it met its expectation of driving more traffic and keeping users more engaged on the app. Live-stream sessions featuring top celebrities and key opinion leaders in each market proved to drive hype and attract traffic to the campaign microsite. Shopee added that users were also more engaged as they got to see celebrities on Shopee to talk about their favourite P&G products.

“From the start, we designed Shopee to be highly social and engaging because we understand a fulfilling online shopping experience goes beyond the offerings of product promotions. We have a highly localised approach for live streaming in each of our markets, with campaigns and content tailored to local consumption preferences. This ensures that there is something for everyone,” Soh explained.

When asked about the live-streaming trends that Southeast Asian brands can adopt from China, especially in today’s climate, Soh said while the reception towards live-streaming has been extremely positive so far, the brand has observed that people in different markets prefer different content formats. According to her, this ties in well with Shopee’s philosophy from the start to focus on hyper-localisation as it operates in such diverse markets.

“Given this, simply replicating strategies which other brands have successfully employed will not work in a region as unique and disparate as Southeast Asia. Rather, it is important that brands seek the right support they need to learn how live-streaming can be effectively leveraged as a channel to maximise the reach and impact of their efforts,” she explained.

Join us on a three-week journey at Digital Marketing Asia 2020 as we delve into the realm of digital transformation, data and analytics, and mobile and eCommerce from 10 to 26 November. Sign up for early bird tickets here!

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