From livestreaming to data analytics: How this omnichannel platform helps companies scale up and build powerful retail experiences

SHOPLINE provides an all-in-one solution for merchants, using industry-leading templates, integrated data and other tools to build fully-customisable e-commerce websites

By offering a fully-integrated Software-as-a-Service ecosystem that supports e-commerce, social commerce, and physical retail, SHOPLINE aims to help brands scale on a global level and in an omnichannel manner. PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

A bright red backdrop, a winking face: Miniso’s logo is easily recognisable from the moment you see it adorning a storefront in a shopping mall. 

But online? This is less so the case — up until September last year, when the lifestyle variety store enlisted the help of omnichannel retail platform SHOPLINE to help expand its global footprint. 

After onboarding onto SHOPLINE, Miniso was able to connect their e-commerce store to diverse social media channels such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to reach more customers. 

Simultaneously, SHOPLINE also improved Miniso’s search engine ranking by providing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) marketing tools to catapult the brand and its products to the top of Google searches for related keywords. 

And finally, at the team’s recommendation, Miniso then incorporated an automated e-mail direct mail tool — SmartPush — to send custom push notifications to their existing user base about upcoming flash sales, reminders about abandoned items in shopping carts, and attached limited-time coupon codes for discounts. 

The result? After just half a year, Miniso saw a whopping 507-per-cent increase in its quarterly gross merchandise value on its Indonesian site and a 73-per-cent increase on its India site.

This is just one of the many success stories of brands that SHOPLINE has had the privilege of impacting.

SHOPLINE’s functions are extensive and the interface is easy to operate, says Miniso, a partner of the omnichannel provider. PHOTO CREDIT: SHOPLINE

Bridging the online-offline gap 

With over 350,000 merchants using its services globally, including the likes of cosmetics retailer Lush and logistics provider SF Express, the Hong Kong-based smart commerce platform is steadily gaining dominance over the e-commerce scene in Asia. 

Founded in 2013, SHOPLINE was accepted into the Silicon Valley 500 Global accelerator programme just one year later, and by 2017, became the first company to partner with Google in China and Taiwan. 

By offering a fully-integrated Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) ecosystem that supports e-commerce, social commerce, and physical retail, SHOPLINE aims to help brands scale on a global level and in an omnichannel manner.

“Currently, there are multiple retail touch points across online and offline channels,” says Mr Joshua Qiao, general manager of SHOPLINE. 

For instance, he says, many retailers might use a specific platform for logistics management, another for payments and collections, yet another for analytics, and so on.

This not only causes difficulties in organisation and management, but also forces merchants to pay transaction fees across multiple platforms — which, for a small business, adds up very quickly. 

“Our platform exists to integrate all these touch points to solve the current fragmentation issue where data across sales, inventory, marketing analytics and the like are not centralised,” Mr Qiao continues. 

As an omnichannel platform, every aspect of a business from payments to logistics to marketing and even advertising can all be accessed from SHOPLINE, without the need for extra integration from software engineers.

Even if merchants already have existing accounts on other e-commerce platforms, such as Lazada or Shopee, they can still use SHOPLINE’s Shophub marketplace enabler tool to integrate these accounts into their SHOPLINE dashboard. This lets them manage all sales channel products and inventory in a single, centralised location.

Not familiar with web design? Not a problem. SHOPLINE offers ready-to-use, drag-and-drop templates to build your site. PHOTO CREDIT: SHOPLINE

But SHOPLINE isn’t just a business management tool. The platform also gives merchants the power to build their own fully-customisable webstore, with a bevy of ready-to-use, drag-and-drop templates that require little knowledge of web design.

Tools like graphics editor Zhuge Creative allow merchants to create their own creative assets, even letting fashion or furniture retailers create their own virtual 3D showroom spaces.

For LuxeGo, a platform that reviews and sells lifestyle products, having the flexibility to play around with the templates for a quick website refresh without any downtime was a big plus.

 “Unlike other platforms, SHOPLINE does not have fixed or rigid layouts. We can switch our website’s look at any point without it affecting our listings,” says a spokesperson for LuxeGo.

On top of that, merchants have a plethora of easily accessible features at their disposal, including discount codes, point-based membership systems and affiliate marketing tools.

“Having an omnichannel platform improves the customer experience and provides more channels for customer purchase — whether on mobile, web, or in stores, leading to an increase in sales and traffic,” says Mr Qiao. 

For instance, one of the features that has gained SHOPLINE a significant amount of converts is its Social Commerce live selling function. When a merchant streams on Facebook or Instagram live, Social Commerce will generate a keyword for each advertised product.

All a customer needs to do is simply enter the keyword and the desired quantity in the livestream chat, and the item will automatically be added to their cart. The Social Commerce function will then send them a link to complete their purchase. 

This already-exhaustive ecosystem of functions is bolstered by an app store that has 100 available apps and counting, thanks to a growing base of developers. Whether you’re looking to improve store management, interface design, logistics, marketing, enterprise resource planning, SHOPLINE has you covered. 

“The functions are extensive, and the interface is easy to operate,” says a spokesperson for Miniso. “Many convenient and complete payment methods are provided as well.”

The sheer amount of features available at an affordable monthly fee is what makes it appealing to smaller businesses as well. 

According to Mr Qiao, the average price to build a bespoke website from scratch hovers around $300,000 — far above the annual SHOPLINE subscription fee of $2,400.

We want to give the power back to businesses to own their data and webstores, says Mr Joshua Qiao, general manager of SHOPLINE. PHOTO CREDIT: SHOPLINE

Support, whenever and wherever you need it

But perhaps even more valuable than that is the support offered by SHOPLINE. 

In real-time, SHOPLINE provides merchants with a comprehensive list of metrics — product sales, traffic, conversion rate, customer preferences, to name a few — with which they can monitor and adjust their business strategy accordingly. 

These metrics are used by SHOPLINE’s own personal merchant success teams to advise clients on business and marketing strategies. 

For instance, in Miniso’s case, SHOPLINE found that Facebook advertisements had the highest clickthrough and conversion rates. As such, Miniso’s designated merchant success team devised a business strategy that leaned more heavily on the platform’s inbuilt ad management service. 

“SHOPLINE also works with brands to help develop and implement further functions according to their needs and wants,” says the Miniso spokesperson.

And just as their merchant success teams continue to evolve their strategies by the day, so does SHOPLINE as a whole. With localisation at its forefront, the global research and development team performs market research on each market.

After all, with 440 million users and a 75-per-cent Internet penetration rate in Southeast Asia, the regional market for e-commerce is ripe with opportunity. According to SHOPLINE, e-commerce in the region is projected to total $89.67 billion in 2022 — more than $15.31 billion more than last year. This number is projected to cross the $100 billion mark by 2023.

And to get themselves a piece of the pie, businesses need the right set of tools for the job — which is where SHOPLINE comes in. 

“We want to give the power back to businesses to own their data and webstores,” says Mr Qiao, who hopes to establish Singapore as a regional hub for SHOPLINE. 

“Our unique positioning, platform capabilities and strong localisation efforts empower them by giving them complete ownership of their data, as well as powerful tools and resources to scale their businesses.

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