Malaysia Top E-Commerce Merchant Awards 2020

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E-commerce is experiencing a boom in Southeast Asia. The Covid-19 pandemic is massively altering shopping behaviour, leading people to fill online shopping carts rather than physical ones. Digitally transforming a business, even in small steps, can prove vital to survive in the new normal.

As such, it’s important for businesses to understand the full significance of embracing e-commerce. Granted, diving so quickly into the deep end may seem overwhelming, if not outright terrifying. Where do we even begin? How do we scale? How do we ensure that we’re on the right path?

If anything, the upcoming Malaysia E-Commerce Merchant Awards (Top ECM) may be a handy guide. The event, organised by the Selangor Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (SITEC), awards the country’s most creative and innovative homegrown e-commerce merchants.

These merchants are judged based on their products, platforms, visibility and promotion, and business potential, as well as how well they performed during the Online Sales Contest that is happening from today, 3 Nov, up till 16 Nov.

In short, these are some of the best e-commerce merchants to thrive online, with approach to products, sales and marketing that can be prime areas for learning.

Since its inception in 2016, a total of 458 merchants have participated in Top ECM, generating US$13.5 million (RM56 million) in gross merchandise value. The number is growing exponentially – this year, the competition received a record-breaking 162 applications, which is 27% more compared to the 128 applicants of 2019.

After careful consideration, 123 applicants were shortlisted to the final for Top ECM 2020.

These are reputable, established merchants. Top ECM only takes applications that meet the minimum threshold of US$6,000 (RM25,000) in sales or 100 orders per months. Past winners include the likes of Sally Fashion, Printcious, Sea Gamer Mall and Hermo.

Top ECM features two categories of awards, namely Top E-Commerce Merchant Awards and Selangor E-Commerce Merchant Awards. The winners will be able to take home RM40,500 in cash prizes and other prizes this year – almost double that of 2019.

An evolving contest

The rise in participants is a clear reflection of the expanding e-commerce sector in Malaysia, which has been exacerbated by the movement control order (MCO) imposed in March, and, more recently, the conditional MCO (CMCO) reinstatement in Sabah and the Klang Valley.

The participants also paint a picture of the nation’s e-commerce sector. For one, 60% of the participating e-commerce merchants are from Selangor, which indicates the state’s growing status as the nation’s e-commerce hub.Malaysia Top E-Commerce Merchant Awards 2020 is platform to nurture e-commerce industry

This is followed by Kuala Lumpur and Johor, which contributed 15% each to the total number of applicants.

While Covid-19 may have slowed down the fashion , the segment does make up 25% of the total participants. This is followed by the Mobile, Electronic & Gadgets segment with 20%, Health & Beauties (15%), Home & Living (10%) and Grocery (8%). The remaining 12% consist of e-merchants from Sports, Mum & Baby, Automotive and Ticketing Segments.

The trend, however, is seeing some shifts. The sudden increase of Grocery e-merchants – which grew from 2% in the previous year – shows just how much the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the way we embrace the low-touch economy.

“Over the past years, the representation of the participants has clearly indicated the diverse e-Commerce growth and its dynamism as representation from various industries, small to big companies, seller focusing on local to international markets, Omni-channel/O2O model and more,” says ClickAsia.com chief executive officer Sunny Ooi, who is also a committee member of the Internet Alliance (IA).

Nurturing e-commerce

IA has been collaborating with SITEC as a promotion partner to forward the Top ECM Awards information to their members, as well as clients of the members who are in the e-commerce space to encourage participation.

Additionally, the president of the IA is also part of the panel judges that evaluate and assess the award entries.

The Top ECM Awards may have attractive prizes to incentivise participation, but the awards ultimately is here to foster e-commerce growth and adoption. “In my opinion, SITEC has done a great job in bringing out the best of e-commerce players throughout the past years, and nurture many of the young start-ups to become established players today,” says IA president Tan Tuan Kai.

“Despite of our small domestic market, some of these e-commerce players have started to grow beyond Malaysia and ASEAN, which in turn would help Malaysia to be a future power house in e-commerce. SITEC has made remarkable achievement in making the annual ECM award to become a premier annual event for the tech industry in Malaysia where Internet Alliance is a proud supporter”, he adds.

Furthermore, the Top ECM awards serves as a platform for e-commerce players to benchmark against the industry’s best, and grow from there. “E-commerce is relatively an industry where it involves many dimensions from digital contents/creatives, social media marketing, online fulfilments/operation, customer service and engagement, online brand equity, Go-to-market business model – own brand.com store, marketplaces or social commerce platform or more,” begins Sunny.

“So, the finalists or participants represent their significant strengths and contributions in some if not all of the areas.  This competition is indeed a good platform for many emerging e-Commerce players to come forward not just to compete but rather to benchmark against the industry best. This is perhaps the best way to learn, network from each other and helping to Malaysia E-Commerce industry.”

Ooi, who adds that Top ECM has been associated with the “Oscars” awards in the realm of Malaysia’s e-commerce industry since inception,  says that the nation’s e-commerce industry has progressed from its initial nascent stage into the growth stage with the push from Covid-19.

“We firmly believe the next wave of e-commerce growth will comprise of many new entrants from traditional SME and retail industry joining this Digital Disruption journey,” he says.

There will be much to learn from the Top ECM participants this year. Each contestant is busy into the Online Sales Contest, which begins today up to 16 Nov. Consumers can expect discounts and promotions during the period, which coincides with the 11.11 Sale. Come for the discounts, stay for the competition.

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