In 2015 we saw the birth of Shopee. By then, the e-commerce giant Lazada was already well established.
However, another e-commerce marketplace was launched that same year. It's called Youbeli.
Unlike the two giants, it is a fully locally invested company created specifically for local SMBs by putting them online, especially for companies with little IT skills.
But of course we had to ask ourselves: What gave Youbeli the confidence to start despite the established and potential competition at the time?
"From what we currently know, both companies are still not making any money from their businesses," Youbeli CEO Chua told Vulcan Post.
Youbeli itself is not yet profitable, but it is also not making any losses. He also pointed out a difference between focus and that of others.
“Our direction is still quite simple: We should support SMEs with online sales. Perhaps we are not aiming in the direction of 1,000 sellers selling the same product, but on a smaller scale so that users can choose between good and high quality sellers. "
"It takes time to compare and review for such large amounts of information, and we know time is the most expensive resource," he added.
quality before quantity
All the listings you see on Youbeli are only created by a registered company as no individual sellers are currently accepted.
This is one way of maintaining and ensuring the quality level. Prospective sellers must provide full company forms and their director's IC upon request.
Some of the notable sellers on Youbeli are well-known brands like Nestlé, Razer, Logitech, Pelangi, and Sasbadi.
Youbeli website offerings / Photo credit: Youbeli
Just because they are a registered business doesn't mean customers won't be scammed.
When someone makes a purchase, Youbeli steps in to hold payment to the sellers until the transaction is complete.
On the other hand, some customers are known to scam sellers as well and Youbeli combats this by ensuring that customers send proof of a registered email and verified phone number.
Prioritizing customer service, not acquisition
When Youbeli first started, the team had to overcome several obstacles.
This included believing the sellers that selling online would benefit them in the long run, especially because their early sales were typically lower when compared to those of their traditional outlet store. "
They also had to be trained in basic ecommerce knowledge and marketing skills.
Chua said the cost of user acquisition is increasing. At the end of Youbeli, they try different methods.
Offering niche products and working with agencies and partners like MDEC, SITEC, telecommunications companies and banks to attract users are just some of the possibilities.
In order to further expand the company in the better financed competition, Youbeli avoids the path of burning money to generate high traffic and sales.
Instead, they double their added value for customers.
"We know from the last marketplaces that the services were discontinued that quality customer service is more important than a large number," said Chua.
Take it slowly and steadily
Youbeli is currently working with Taiwanese and Indonesian marketplaces to bring more products and services to its customers.
“We now have 2 million SKUs and plan to have 5-8 million products in the next 2 years. With this increase in variety, we expect another 5-fold sales, ”said Chua.
To achieve this, they will work with higher quality retailers, overseas partners and local shopping centers.
To date, they have worked with Mah Sing Group's Star Avenue and most recently Petaling Jaya Digital Mall on O2O marketing campaigns.
In terms of service, they plan to deliver same day through next month via a third party shipping.
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There is no doubt that ecommerce websites have stiff competition from one another and everyone needs to find a way to retain their customers while attracting new ones.
Some of the bigger players do this by offering mini in-app games and rewarding customers with coins or coupons.
It's a fun and interactive way to retain customers and encourage them to keep shopping.
As far as I can see, Youbeli doesn't offer things like that, and maybe it's not even a priority for the team who just want to focus on customer service and quality offerings.
However, I think that given people's desire for instant gratification these days and their short attention span, a mini-game or two with small rewards could boost Youbeli's brand awareness among the Malaysian public.
Even so, they have been pretty steadfast for the last 5 years and I believe their less aggressive growth strategy is working in their favor.
- You can find out more about Youbeli here.
- Read what we wrote about e-commerce here.
Selected image source: Youbeli