|By||http://e27.cohttp://e27.sg/2012/12/19/sold-sg-seizes-opportunities-in-e-commerce-by-moving-beyond-online-auctions/||| Dec 19, 2012 | Malaysia|
Sold.sg did a relaunch of their site in September this year, adding in an e-commerce store and a members sales section to the original auctions site. The service, founded by Chiou Hao, Qiuyan and Angeline, started off as a pay-to-bid auctions site. Having raised about S$1 million a year ago, the team is now looking for their Series A funding after the new launch.
Speaking to Qiuyan, e27 finds out more about the expansion strategy of Sold and also what the team has learnt so far about the e-commerce space in Southeast Asia.
Do share more about Sold.sg’s strategy to expand out of the pay-to-bid auction space into a full e-commerce site.
We started out as a pay-to-bid auction site and that gave us significant traffic and user base. However, we noted that pay-to-bid auctions is not for everyone and the natural progression for us is to open up an e-commerce site where we can reach out to a wider base. We will continue to operate our auction model as we have a large group of loyal users that enjoy the thrill and strategy of bidding.
How is Sold.sg’s e-commerce traction versus the auctions?
Most of our revenue still comes from the auction business. With the e-commerce site, we have significantly expanded our product offerings and this has opened new channels for customer acquisition, bringing down the overall acquisition costs. In terms of visits, our most frequented site is still the auction site. Traffic has gone up since we re-launched.
Sold.sg’s e-commerce store puts it in a space with competitors ranging from chains stores (Challenger, Courts) to other e-commerce sites (Zalora, Qisahn). How does Sold.sg differentiates itself?
Our product offerings are different. In Sold.sg, we curate the products we put up – we only put up products we think are interesting. The e-commerce competitors mentioned do not limit their product range if it falls in their verticals.
Are most customers to the e-commerce store converted users of the auction services or are they new customers drawn in by the differentiated offering?
I would say about 60-70% of our shop site customers are not existing auction users. This is in line with our objectives for opening the e-commerce store – to reach a wider audience.
Sold.my has not followed the expansion of Sold.sg yet. Are there plans to the Malaysian side of the business?
Yes, we are looking at 1st quarter of 2013.
What are the key trends in the e-commerce space that the Sold.sg team has noted that presents strong opportunities for the future expansion of the business?
I think without a doubt, there is a growing trend in e-commerce in both Singapore and Malaysia. Singaporeans are generally quite comfortable buying things online. In Malaysia, online sales and online buyers have nearly doubled over the last two years and this shows that consumers are slowly beginning to have more faith in e-commerce. It also helps that the various online transaction methods available have increased their safety measures, to ensure consumers are more comfortable utilising them.
In some of the other ASEAN countries, based on our research, online buying is low but growing. Trust issues with making payment online and product fulfilment are still prevalent in these countries. However, we are seeing more and more new companies come up with solutions to tackle these issues. This coincides with rising incomes, internet penetration rates, usage of smart devices, and willingness to transact online. Like Malaysia, we only expect exponential growth in online buying over the next few years. We are definitely looking to expand to these countries and be there to capture this opportunity.
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