The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted almost every industry and many sectors, from tourism and airlines to food and beverage, are still struggling to regain their footing. But the pandemic has also created winners such as e-commerce, which is now an essential business service for consumers.
An unprecedented number of people have turned to the availability, convenience and safety offered by e-commerce platforms and this has created significant opportunities for businesses with digital capabilities.
Go Shop Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s e-commerce arm, which was launched in early 2015 — is among the digital shopping platforms that have been able to meet the soaring online demand for products and services this year.
Go Shop CEO Dr Grace Lee says the company quickly responded to the change in shopping patterns during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period by providing fresh and frozen food as well as expanding the number of health and wellness products sold on its platform.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and MCO disrupted many businesses in the country. During this period, Malaysians were limited in their mobility and they turned to e-commerce platforms to purchase essential items. The building blocks that we put in place during our digital transformation journey enabled Go Shop to meet the surge in online shopping.
“Unlike other e-commerce players, we have a wider audience reach via our TV platform. We also provide nationwide delivery services and offer the option of shopping over the phone. This ensures that customers who are not technologically savvy and/or from rural areas are not left behind. They can purchase our curated value bundles and select what they want from our wide array of products.”
To expand its reach during the MCO, Go Shop produced short video content for popular social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok. “We creatively adapted and explored new ways of producing content during this time. Apart from producing short video content, our marketing campaigns conveyed different messages. We are indeed pleased that our efforts managed to resonate with younger consumers,” says Lee.
A major concern among those new to shopping on the web is the authenticity of products sold online. Most online shopping platforms are aggregate retailers and they may have little control over the quality, authenticity or warranty of the products sold on their platforms.
To address this concern, Lee says Go Shop carefully screens its vendors’ product lists and ensures authenticity before offering the products for sale. “All the necessary warranties and certifications must be in place before a product is sold on Go Shop. These requirements are to protect our customers.”
She adds that in addition to genuine products, online customers look for convenience when browsing, purchasing, returning products and obtaining refunds. They want access to a wide range of products and timely delivery services.
Go Shop works with partners to deliver the best possible end-to-end shopping experience to their customers. “It is crucial to work with the best-in-class if we want to deliver on our customer promise. We share our customer experience key performance indicators (KPIs) with our warehouse and delivery partners to ensure that our digital innovations are aligned with the technology used in warehouse management, last-mile delivery services and other parts of our ecosystem,” says Lee.
“For example, Go Shop and our partners tweaked our business operations and standard operating procedures to prioritise ‘contactless deliveries’ during the MCO period. This includes e-cash options instead of cash on delivery. These are safety measures to protect our customers.”
Go Shop continues to deploy strategies to encourage repeat customers. Its main market segment is household decision makers looking to improve their family’s well-being and lifestyle.
“As a content-driven shopping platform, we constantly share information on ways to improve lifestyles and general well-being. For example, we have videos of certified nutritionists giving nutritional information or on how to bake with an air fryer. We also provide a step-by-step guide to browsing and placing orders on our mobile app,” says Lee.
Go Shop posted a year-on-year growth of 28% to 2.4 million customers and revenue growth of 14% to RM95 million in the first quarter of its financial year ending Jan 31, 2021 (1QFY2021). The e-commerce platform also made a profit before tax of RM600,000, compared with a loss before tax of RM4.5 million in 1QFY2020. — By Elaine Boey