Manila, Philippines – Leading recommerce group in Greater Southeast Asia, Carousell, recently held its Caroupreneur Awards in the Philippines. The Caroupreneur Awards recognises a wide variety of outstanding achievements of ‘Carousellers’ over the past year, ranging from entrepreneurs who started or scaled their businesses online, to brick-and-mortar retailers who digitalised their businesses, and everyday casual sellers who wanted to find valuable use for their pre-loved items and supplement their income.

This is the second iteration of the Caroupreneur Awards where the pioneer awards was held in its home country, Singapore, last year. The regional awards event, which now includes the Philippines and Hong Kong, will be recognising a total of 182 users on the platform’s wide array of product categories for their outstanding achievements throughout 2021.

A physical awards show for the Philippines was held in Manila on 1 September. Winners of the awards were determined through a judging panel made up of Marcus Tan, co-founder of Carousell; Djon Nacario, GM of Carousell Philippines, and Vishal Salunkhe, VP of Seller Success Operations at Carousell.

On the importance of the recognition exercise, Djon Nacario, GM of Carousell Philippines, shared with MARKETECH APAC, “We wanted to recognise the best of the best in Carousell because we recognise that Carousell is not simply a platform in order for sellers to sell, but it’s actually a platform of ‘possibilities’. We’ve seen throughout the years, even during the pandemic, that a lot of our sellers actually resorted to a lot of creativity, and really translated to passion in order to get, I would say, sources of revenue or sources of funds, especially during the difficult time.”

He added, “And we just really wanted to celebrate that type of ingenuity, and also at the same time, recognise the best practices that our top sellers have been doing on our platform in order to inspire more people to start selling and learn from them.”

The Carousell Group lauded the winners and finalists in the categories of Autos, Property for Sale, Property for Rent, Home Services, Men’s Fashion, Women’s Fashion, Electronics, Furniture and Home Living, Toys and Games, and K-Wave. Meanwhile, the Group also named the seller for its top award – Caroupreneur of the Year 2021 – as well as a special award for the Most Meaningful User Story of the Year. The shortlisted sellers were identified through a mix of qualitative and quantitative criteria, such as quality of listings, reviews, creativity, and brand story.

Seller Katherine Mae A. Cipriano, who sold electronics and gadgets through her Carousell page, @TekiCashGadgetsph, was the one who won the Caroupreneur Award of the Year for Best in Carousell: Electronics.

Cipriano shared with MARKETECH APAC her tips for aspiring sellers, and said that it’s all about just making the jump and carving out your first step in selling.

“Actually, I can’t believe that I won, I even thought that it was a dummy account who was chatting with me [about the win], because ever since I started selling gadgets, it’s really my first time receiving an award like this and to add to that – 2 awards,” she said.

Cipriano, whose main source of funds is through the platform, added, “Carousell is really a big help, especially if you just start selling because you will learn to like what you’re doing especially when you’re already earning.”

Full list of winners can be found on Carousell’s website.

The internet and social media transformed the way we do business where conducting transactions online has become the ‘new normal’ for buyers and sellers. However, there are manufacturers and distributors who are still reluctant to list their products and services in online marketplaces which is now a necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic may have forced some companies to set up their own e-commerce operations or sell their products in marketplaces. But most marketplaces they know are designed for retail and are not capable to handle business-to-business transactions. Purchasing officers want the best prices for their procurement requirements, but you can’t attract them with rebates, vouchers, or free delivery.

We’ve been talking to manufacturers and distributors who shared with us the common reasons why they remain reluctant in getting listed in online marketplaces. Below are their common responses:

• They don’t want to upset their existing clients.
• They have a tight-knit distribution channel.
• They already have a dedicated sales team.
• They are afraid of the competition.
• They don’t want to disclose prices.
• They think it’s costly.

They don’t want to upset their existing clients. Some manufacturers would argue that they don’t need online marketing because they already have a strong business relationship with their clients for the long term. They think that disrupting the process might break that relationship. Marketplaces, on the other hand, can improve that relationship by providing more transparency and efficiency.

They have a tight-knit distribution channel. Like the relationship manufacturers have with their customers, they also have a close relationship with their logistics provider that runs like clockwork. Marketplaces can be configured to select which logistics provider they prefer and can offer tools that can provide more efficiency in the supply chain. While B2C marketplaces have a few logistics partners, B2B marketplaces are more flexible and can be integrated with any logistics partner selected by the supplier.

They already have a dedicated sales team. Sales representatives are a channel for customers – but it’s not the only channel. Distributors can easily expand their reach by bringing their business online. And even before potential customers would meet with sales rep, they will do some research online.

They are afraid of the competition. Marketplaces are a great tool for competitor research. Manufacturers shouldn’t be afraid to be compared with their competitors. Buyers now are more informed and will be able to tell which suppliers have the best products with better prices.

They don’t want to disclose the prices. B2B companies have a different pricing model which can vary for each customer. Unlike retail marketplaces like Lazada or Shopee where prices have to be shown, B2B marketplaces are better at handling wholesale pricing and can be negotiated.

They think it’s costly. Traditional marketplaces can be costly because they rely on commission and transaction fees. Modern marketplaces are shifting to a subscription model that provides suppliers better tools at a lower cost.

This article was written by Jeff Clarenz Turla, Co-founder and CTO of Burket.

Burket (business + market) is a platform to connects buyers and suppliers, digitizes procurement, and facilitates business-to-business (B2B) transactions.

Singapore – For the first time, Amazon will be hosting a seller summit in Southeast Asia for small and medium-sized enterprises, which will be a two-day complimentary virtual event. 

The event, which carries the theme ‘Start Local, Go Global’, will focus on empowering SMEs to develop strategies and skills and reach more customers locally and globally. It will be held on January 28 and 29, 2021 at 10 am onwards, Singapore Time. 

Amazon said the summit was brought about by the increase of preference for digital-first shopping among consumers. The event will be discussing the impact of e-commerce trends and how local businesses can sell online on Amazon’s 18 markets to expand internationally. 

Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing will grace the virtual event on the first day as the guest of honor. He will be joined by leaders of Amazon Singapore, industry experts, and local business owners selling on Amazon Singapore.  

The event aims to make online cross-border selling more accessible to SMEs by equipping them with the insights and resources to address rapidly evolving consumer demands and expectations. 

“Supporting small and medium-sized businesses has been a fundamental part of the work we do at Amazon and we are excited to continue expanding our support for sellers in Singapore and Southeast Asia,” said Henry Low, country manager of Amazon Singapore. 

“I believe that everything big starts with something small. With our growing resources and support for local sellers here, we want to empower them to seize the huge opportunities in selling online and across shores — helping them start local, go global. The Amazon Southeast Asia Online Seller Summit 2021 is another milestone for us to bring more sellers online, support their growth journey, and connect them with customers everywhere,” added Low. 

The Summit will also include one-on-one sessions with third-party service providers such as the logistics and payment companies from Amazon’s Service Provider Network, to share best practices for businesses to bounce back quicker from the impact of COVID-19 and expand their retail presence. 

Participating SMEs can also access professional training courses and programs to sell with Amazon, with workshop sessions hosted all throughout the summit.

Manila, Philippines – Philippine telco Globe’s SME service myBusiness will be running a “Gift Local” e-Bazaar on Lazada, creating an opportunity for select SME merchants to do live-selling.  

The e-bazaar will take place from November 27 to 29, and aside from Lazada, shoppers can catch the live-selling on Globe myBusiness’ Facebook page every 6 PM during the duration of the e-bazaar opening.

The virtual event is in line with the telco’s ongoing Gift Local campaign, Globe myBusiness’ campaign to promote SMEs in the spirit of Christmas shopping.

“The Gift Local campaign is all about supporting our local entrepreneurs by encouraging Christmas shoppers to buy local products. But this bazaar is unlike any other, because it incorporates the newly launched Globe myBusiness’ Unli Internet Plans, which brings the bazaar experience online for unli enjoyment,” said Alyssa Gil, Globe myBusiness’ segment marketing manager.

Aside from the ongoing e-bazaar campaign, Globe myBusiness is pledging support to the Ayala Foundation’s Brigada ng Ayala by donating 100% of the merchants’ joining fee to the foundation to provide help to disaster-affected areas as well as provide connectivity to public school teachers and students.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – eCommerce platform Youbeli has collaborated with IT mall PJ Digital Mall to adopt an online-to-offline (O2O) commerce.

The new partnership comes as Youbeli gears up for its 10.10 sale event. It has brought together 10 participating tenants from the mall onboard the Youbeli platform.

In conjunction with the 10.10 campaign, the parties have prepared surprise freebies for customers who prefer to self-pickup items from the mall. In the future, Youbeli said that it will be offering same-day delivery to any addresses within a 10km radius from the PJ Digital Mall.

Meanwhile, up until 10 October 2020, shopping vouchers and promotions will be continually announced on Youbeli’s and PJ Digital Mall’s Facebook pages. The promotions will be applicable for computers, laptops, and accessories.

This will be the second time that the platform has collaborated with a physical shopping mall, and according to Youbeli CEO Chua Khai Suan, the new partnership is part of their ongoing O2O initiative to help brick-and-mortar retailers to attract sales.

“[Instead] of competing as two different entities, we complement each other’s business model to bring the best deals for our customers,” Chua said.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Fang, leasing manager of Digital Mall shared, “Since we started the collaborative campaign on 1 October, we saw a long queue of customers outside the mall especially last weekend.”

“At times like this, we need to ensure businesses continue to run to support the country’s economy however much we can so we can reduce the number of unemployment due to the pandemic,” Fang added.

Just recently, Youbeli has also partnered with a co-eCommerce player, Taiwan’s PChomeSEA, to integrate its products to the platform.

United States – As more businesses in the APAC region turn to eCommerce amid the pandemic, Google has decided to make it free for merchants to list their products on the Google Shopping tab, which takes effect in mid-October.

The free listing has been available in India and Indonesia since 2019 and was earlier introduced to the United States in April as part of its COVID support to retailers.

“For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For advertisers, it means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings,” said President of Google for APAC Scott Beaumont on a product update.

Google said the time of the pandemic changed the way people shop and sell in the region. According to Google analysis, 53% of online shoppers in APAC stated that they’ll choose to buy online more frequently after the pandemic, while almost 40% who weren’t online shoppers before said they intend to continue buying online.

To help retailers adjust to the changes, Google will be offering skills training through its dedicated learning resource Grow with Google. Google will also be sharing research and insights on its market research platform Think with Google to inform retailers’ business decisions.

In addition, Google has launched a playbook and webinar series on how to better manage digital storefronts. It will also be working closely with a number of partners to help merchants manage their products and inventory; this includes global partners like eCommerce platform Shopify, and those across the region such as Vietnam-based SEO website design platform Haravan, eCommerce Shopline in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Thailand’s eCommerce business provider LnwShop.  

The free listings will be automatically applied to retailers already registered on its Merchant Center and those currently using Shopping Ads, while for new registrants, Google will continue working to streamline the onboarding process over the coming weeks.