Chillax! This is how I would describe my Shopee online selling experience when I started receiving orders of my products.
Early this year, I decided to open two online stores through Shopee and Lazada to add an additional source of income while working for my Australian clients at home. After writing my blog Lazada vs Shopee: Where Should You Do Your Online Shopping in the Philippines, I got inspired to dip my toes into online selling.
I had the capital to spare, but I decided to start small first in case the gig doesn’t pan out. I decided to take my chances even though there is a risk of entirely losing that capital. Well, that’s business for you.
My Struggles with Selling on Lazada
When I opened my two online stores, I found out that owning a store on Lazada presented more hassle than having a Shopee store. Most of my concerns were the following:
- Tight competition with other established online sellers both from local and abroad.
- I need to buy Lazada’s very own dark blue pouch to package my products, which are costly.
- I have to print the airway bill on my own when processing the order. This means I needed a printer and an A4 paper/sticker to print the AWB label for each order.
- My store has small to zero visibility on the platform when I tried searching for my products under its category
- Larger fees/commissions
I do not have the intent of defaming Lazada. This is just my personal opinion and experience as a small merchant on their platform. Lazada’s seller platform might be more suitable for bigger merchants than those who are still starting with small capital. As someone starting out with a low inventory, I do not like my efforts being wasted on a platform that I think doesn’t meet the needs of my small online store, one of which is enough exposure.
Reasons I Prefer Selling on Shopee Philippines
Shopee is seller-friendly. This is the thing that I like the most about selling on Shopee’s platform. It is making everything from uploading your products to processing the orders a breeze. Processing an order on my Shopee store only takes me literally 1-3 minutes. No joke! More on that later.
Let me first list down the reasons I prefer selling on Shopee than on Lazada.
1. No Business Permit Needed to Start Selling
I cannot stress enough how easy it is to open your Shopee online store in the Philippines. When I registered as a seller, I was not required to submit any SEC or DTI document to run my store. That means sellers are saved the trip from going to these government agencies just to register their businesses. I am not sure how Shopee does this, but sellers with unbranded items are spared from dealing with the headache of securing these permits .
2. Low Fee/Commission Rate
When I started selling on Shopee, I used to enjoy my profits in full. However, by mid-2019, Shopee started to roll out their 1.5% transaction fee that is taken out of the total payment I receive for my products from the buyers.
That, for me, is not a big deal compared to Lazada’s 1.80% to 8.90% and Zalora’s 15% to 25%. This is the main reason items on Shopee are much cheaper than on any other online shopping platform in the country.
3. Shopee Provides Free Shipping Vouchers
Shopee offers a lot of free shipping and discount vouchers (subject to terms and conditions) to buyers. Of course, the buyer must at least reach a minimum purchase amount in one store to redeem the vouchers.
This convinces customers to buy more from your store to reach the minimum required purchase, especially if the voucher or the free shipping promo is only applicable to one store.
4. Shopee Offers Cash On Delivery (COD) via Integrated Shopee Supported Logistics
With Cash on Delivery, your customers do not need to own a credit/debit card to purchase an item from your Shopee online store. Customers can pay only after they get the product in hand. In that way, there is no risk of lost money.
Please note that there are 2 methods of shipping your Shopee orders:
- Pick-up by one of Shopee’s partner couriers
- Shipment outside Shopee’s partner couriers
Shopee have teamed up with various logistics providers to offer wide shipping options. Shopee orders are delivered fast and keeping track of shipment directly in-App with Shopee Supported Logistics providers is a no-brainer.
Here is a list of the Shopee Supported Logistics providers in the Philippines:
- Shopee Xpress
- Black Arrow Integrated (with own packaging)
- Xpost Integrated
- Ninja Van Integrated (with own packaging)
- 2GO Integrated
- J&T Express
I live in the southside of Cebu and the courier that Shopee approved for me is Black Arrow Integrated. It took about one week and a few emails to Shopee’s customer support before my shop’s cash on delivery capability was approved.
When I first started and my COD wasn’t yet approved, there were people who tried to order but abandoned their carts when they found out that my shop did not support cash on delivery upon checking out. You can imagine how frustrated I was and how I badly needed the COD feature to work on my shop so I could start getting sales.
If you want to enable the COD option on your online store, you have to meet the following criteria:
- You must have at least 10 different products on Shopee
- Your pick-up address must be serviceable by one of Shopee’s partner couriers.
5. Easy and Fast Order Processing and Shipment
This is the part that I swear by and love the most as part of having a Shopee online store.
When someone orders from my store, Shopee notifies me via email and mobile app about the sale. Once I receive the order, I make one final quality check on the ordered item before packing it. Since I sell clothing items, I use a durable plastic bag with tape sealing as the initial packaging. It is up to you how you want your items packed, but make sure that they are packed properly to protect them from the elements while in transit.
On the app, I then accept the order and arrange for the item to be picked up by Black Arrow Integrated or any of your shop’s approved integrated courier.
Black Arrow then picks up the item the next day. When the pick-up person arrives at my house to get the item, he hands me a Black Arrow pouch in which I place the packed item inside. They also provide the waybill sticker, so there’s no need for me to print it on my own. I review the shipping and delivery details written on the waybill sticker before sticking it outside the pouch. The pick-up guy then gives me a copy of the pickup receipt.
Basically, all I have to do is to have my products on hand, accept the order on my mobile app, pack the item, arrange a pick-up date, and hand over the item to the pick-up person arriving at my house on the pick-up date. No need to go outside the house to process anything!
6. Receiving Sales Payment via Bank Transfer
After the customer confirms the receipt of their order, the funds are released to my Shopee wallet. If they do not confirm the receipt of the item, I will have to wait around 3-5 business days for the funds to be automatically released from the delivery date.
Once released to my Shopee wallet, I then withdraw the amount to the bank account connected to my seller account. Within 2-3 business days, the amount is reflected on my bank account.
You don’t need a huge capital to start selling on Shopee. In as little as ₱10,000 for your stocks and packaging, you can make it work. I started shopping for my stocks in Carbon Market (Cebu’s version of Divisoria) and Colon Street, and then moved on to getting better quality items from China (which takes weeks to arrive in the post office). I suggest that if you live far away from your supplier, you need to have a bigger capital so your store will have plenty of stocks on display. Consider your capital as the amount of money you are willing to lose.
You won’t get a sale right away though. Don’t get frustrated. It will take weeks for your items to get viewed and liked by prospective customers. Based on my experience, it took approximately 3 weeks before a sale on my store happened. And as you know, the first sale is probably the most special and memorable one.
How about you? How’s your Shopee online selling experience? Share your comments and questions below!