Malaysians love malls and shopping. But most of all, we love discounts. In pre-pandemic times, we may even have visited the Genting Highland Premium Outlets and Johor Premium Outlets just to get branded items cheaper.
Inspired by this demand he noticed from the locals, Kyle and 3 of his longtime friends set out to create a marketplace recreating these premium outlets called CepatBeli, which launched in May 2021.
One's (almost) rubbish is the other's treasure
"During the pandemic, I was researching different ways I could sustain myself and one of the ideas that came up was to salvage usable products that were close to their expiration date (less than 6 months)," shared Kyle his lightbulb moment with Vulcan Post.
"It was then that I realized that with the economy so bad from COVID-19, there might be a way to get these unwanted goods to consumers who might want them at a big discount." Kyle explored this idea further and scaled it down too Clothing included, inspired by the premium outlet concept.
The homepage of their e-commerce platform / Photo credits: CepatBeli
So Kyle and his friends (who came from the supply chain, sales, and marketing) each invested RM 15,000 in this idea. Kyle is the only one who works full time on CepatBeli while the others come in every now and then to help if needed.
Onboarding providers took a straightforward approach with the help of a "fat face," said Kyle. “I would say that, first of all, it was a combination of correct and concise explanations what we can offer them. We want them to understand that there is no loss for them in working with us. "
By bringing brand owners and manufacturers directly on board, they avoid middlemen or resellers and help CepatBeli cut the cost of what they sell.
Easing the e-commerce problem for merchants
On their website you can find some big name brands like Aik Cheong, DC Comics, Volkswagen etc. Products they offer include fashion, babies and toys, electronics and accessories, and dry foods.
The team offers these merchants free warehouse space, pickup and delivery, order fulfillment and even graphic design services as they want to experience a hassle-free end-to-end solution. For monetization, they then take a small percentage of the sales that dealers generate.
The team behind CepatBeli / Photo credit: CepatBeli
As they are a new team with no background in IT and e-commerce, they sought MDEC's guidance through conversations, meetings, and entrepreneurship courses such as go-ecommerce.
Through MDEC, Kyle and his team also met their angel investor, who pointed out the weaknesses in their business plan and taught them how to find the right product / market fit and how to focus on their market reach.
Convince dealers and users of their legitimacy
As a new venture, it was difficult for her to convince brands to trust her website. Because of this, they offered the above hassle-free services to encourage brands to get on board.
However, it was more difficult to convince users that the products and brands on their website were real. "Many consumers have had concerns about the authenticity of the products as these products have been discounted by up to 70%," said Kyle.
Offers that many would initially be skeptical about / Photo credit: CepatBeli
So they are currently addressing these concerns with brand awareness campaigns and Facebook Live events, where they are giving high discounts to first-time customers in the hopes that positive reviews will increase. As of now, you will see many household products purchased on their website.
“Malaysians are very price sensitive and are always looking for the cheapest bargains. Free shipping campaigns above a certain amount always attract consumers who are far away, ”said Kyle, adding that they implemented that strategy after the finding.
Originally operating out of Kyle's house, they now have a storage room in Shah Alam to house their growing inventory.
Earn enough to give back during the pandemic
“One of our big mistakes early on was saving costs on our initial web development, and that meant we had to build the website from scratch when the number of users grew and the platform couldn't meet the needs,” recalls Kylele.
But Kyle slowed down his team a bit because their first website was also a pilot project without market validation, which is why they initially didn't dare to invest more in a better website.
Fortunately, the general pandemic hasn't affected them too much as they are an e-commerce business that generally thrives in times like these.
While Kyle declined to comment on their sales growth, he proudly shared that during the second MCO, the team was able to run a CSR campaign to give back to the community. They distributed masks, easy-to-prepare meals and everyday necessities to delivery drivers who passed by Centrepoint Bandar Utama.
Kyle running her CSR campaigns / Photo credit: CepatBeli
“We are currently running another round of CSR campaign to provide care packages to the White Flag program and charities. We are working closely with the city council to determine the location of the households we need and we will send them right to their doorsteps, ”said Kyle. Her ability to give back was also what he called her proudest moment yet.
Thanks to their connections with companies and MDEC events, they can source goods from major brands and delegate them to those in need. "With times being tough during the pandemic, providing reliable products is a huge bargain in itself," concluded Kyle.
- You can learn more about CepatBeli. Experienced Here.
- You can read more of the ecommerce articles we've written Here.
Photo credit: Kyle Keah, co-founder of CepatBeli