Shopee strikes 5-year partnership with Visa to help SMEs digitalise

Shopee has tied up with Visa for a five-year regional partnership that will encourage greater participation in Southeast Asia’s digital economy. Through the partnership, Shopee users will benefit by being able to pay using Visa and enjoy additional promotions and rewards. Meanwhile, Visa will tap on Shopee’s extensive user base to expand its presence with Southeast Asia businesses and online shoppers. According to a press release, this partnership is part of Shopee’s mission to better the lives of individuals and businesses through technology, which increasingly includes digital payments.

Shopee and Visa will partner to incentivise small and medium businesses (SMEs) to digitalise their business on Shopee and adopt digital payments through Visa, provide them with marketing and campaign support to drive awareness, traffic and sales to online stores, offer fast, easy and secure Visa payments to all Shopee users, as well as create unique experiences for Shopee users through Visa’s exclusive sponsorship platforms.

Over the next few months, Shopee and Visa will also launch co-branded credit cards across selected markets in partnership with local banks. This will offer shoppers rewards and allow Visa to reach more local consumers. In Malaysia, the Maybank Shopee Credit Card was launched in June 2020 and was well received by Malaysians with overwhelming response in the first few days of launch. The Shopee-Visa partnership will also see Shopee deepen its relationship with CyberSource, Visa’s payment management platform, to support transaction processing and fraud detection and ensure a smooth and frictionless online shopping experience. 

Terence Pang, chief operating officer, Shopee, said: “Shopee continually strengthens our ecosystem to be an enabler for SMEs to leverage technology to grow their business. We are looking forward to working closely with Visa to leverage their extensive and secure network to make it easier for sellers to digitalise, particularly those in tier-two cities and rural areas."

Neil Mumm, head of merchant sales and acquiring, Asia Pacific, Visa, added: “When a small business goes digital, they’re plugged into a much broader commerce landscape. Visa is working to help any business, regardless of their size or location, better attract and serve more local and global customers by getting enabled to accept digital payments in a safe and secure manner. This is especially important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers and businesses increasingly adopt touchless payments and online shopping." Last month, Visa also partnered with Singapore Tourism Board, focusing on two strategic areas to revive the local tourism industry - marketing partnerships and joint research and analytics.

Meanwhile, Shopee has also launched Shopee Premium, a destination created to help premium brands better reach digital shoppers. This comes as the eCommerce platform sees a growing segment of users on Shopee are searching for authentic premium products online, especially as more brands and consumers in the region turn to eCommerce. Shopee Premium will be launching in five markets: Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, with plans to debut in more markets in the subsequent months.

Shopee Premium is said to help brands to amplify their visibility and allow more room for immersive brand storytelling. Brands can create richer, multi-varied content through a combination of digital communications and digital marketing tools. They can also tap on Shopee’s core engagement features such as Shopee Live, Shopee Feed and Shopee Games to build and deepen connections with their customers.

According to a press release, the Shopee Premium ecosystem is designed to allow brands greater flexibility in enhancing their brand storytelling capabilities. For example, the "Brand Spotlight" page showcases curated products in an editorial layout, with a mix of long-form articles and videos to illustrate their brand ethos in richer ways. This not only helps to increase user touchpoints as users scroll through the content pages, but also allows brands the space to experiment with different types of content to capture user attention.

Additionally, brands on Shopee Premium will also have access to marketing support through activations such as key opinion leaders and celebrity livestreams, as well as co-branded marketing opportunities to drive user recruitment and engagement, generating more buzz for the brand.

To promote Shopee Premium, Ian Ho, regional managing director at Shopee, said it has in place a 360-degree marketing strategy in place to ensure strong positioning and presence in the long-term. One of its key approaches is to have always-on online marketing in order to increase traffic, sustain buzz and drive buyer recruitment and engagement. According to Ho, this is achieved through a mix of brand partnerships, affiliate marketing, sustained in-app visibility, PR, sophisticated data tools, online/offline events, and celebrity/key opinion leader endorsements.

Shopee will also continue to leverage on large-scale regional shopping events such as 9.9, 10.10, 11.11 and its Super Brand Days to drive user traffic to Shopee Premium. Additionally, it will tap on its data tools and machine learning capabilities to ensure it is always recruiting and converting relevant, high-potential users to become buyers on Shopee Premium.

Ho added that it will have brand collaborations such as exclusive launches, offline-to-online events and even co-created products, to constantly refresh its offering and entice more users to Shopee Premium. As part of the launch of Shopee Premium, brands including L'Occitane, Calvin Klein and Sulwhasoo will be doing livestreams from their boutique stores in selected markets to generate greater hype and awareness.

With Millennials and Gen Z being the largest and fastest-growing consumer segment for premium and luxury products, brands also need to innovate their ways of reaching consumers and sustaining their interest. In a survey conducted by Shopee last year, the majority of consumers aged 19 to 45 in the region indicated that product reviews and educational product tutorials are key elements when shopping for premium fashion and beauty products. Shopee Premium is said to cater to that need by giving brands more flexibility to share varied content.

In future, Shopee Premium plans to roll out more sophisticated marketing solutions and value-added services that cater to the needs of both premium brands and buyers. For brands, this includes forging closer partnerships on customer relationship management solutions, data sharing and innovative digital collaborations to create a seamless offline-to-online brand experience that will grow their presence. For consumers, they can look forward to services and features that further enhances their premium shopping experience, such as express delivery.

Ho said: “Following the successful launch of Shopee Mall for brands, we now have a portfolio of more than 18,000 brands across multiple categories. With an increased demand for premium products online, we saw the need to carve out a more exclusive and differentiated destination for premium brands to capitalise on this growth opportunity."

"Shopee Premium caters specifically to the needs of premium brands where they can leverage our consumer insights and brand tools to reach a broader audience, and deliver a premium digital shopping experience that complements their offline stores," Ho added.

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