When the pandemic hit, a lot of people’s careers and businesses were affected. Like Juan Khoo, who started an ad and digital marketing company just before March 2020. Then came COVID-19, the lockdown and an uncertain future.
The name of the game now is to diversify, and that’s exactly what Juan and her business partner SY Chan did. “I started looking into products for e-commerce. When we had our first lockdown in March 202, I noticed people were into cooking and gardening. So I began looking into gardening tools and accessories, and sold them on Shopee. At the same time, I was also toying around making my own face mask lanyard with leftover paracord ropes I had lying around the house. I thought to myself, hmmm why not put that on Shopee too? When the first order came in, I was so excited! Then more people start enquiring about it, we did more research and development, and came up with a wide range of designs both for kids and adults,” shares Juan.
They named their company KD, which means Korek Deeper. The ad and digital marketing company is known as KD Consultancy while retail, it is KD Goods, currently selling customisable face mask lanyards for both kids and adults. “Literally to dig deeper,” explains Juan. “For the digital marketing company, it means to dig deeper into your products and really push what really stands out about your product to the audience. For retail, the same philosophy remains which is to dig deeper into a product to see its functionality and quality potential.”
A NEW BUSINESS PLATFORM
Even before the pandemic, online shopping has been a favourite Malaysian pastime. In 2019, 50% of the population and 62% of mobile users use their devices to shop online. In times of pandemic, that figure shot up to an increase of 30% with Malaysians spending RM254.6 billion on e-commerce in the first quarter of 2021!
“E-commerce is already happening and it is the future. Going to a physical shop is frustrating these days. You not only have to face traffic but a physical shop will most likely not have the item you have. E-commerce is also easier to set up, the money goes into R&D and products rather than renovation and high rental cost,” says Juan. “Plus, I can work from home!”
Shopping platforms like Shopee and Lazada have proven to be highly effective for sellers like Juan. The fact that it is so easy to set up shop on these platforms is also a bonus that is highly encouraging for many potential sellers.
But it takes more than just setting up a Shopee account and putting your product up for sale, says Juan. “You cannot just leave it there and expect sales to come in. You need to do your homework every day to push sales to your Shopee page,” she shares.
With so much being sold on Shopee, how do you make sure your product stands out? Juan’s advice is to make sure you know who your audience is and market your product well. “It’s a hit and miss thing. I think everything sells on Shopee because there is just about everything under the sun in Shopee. It boils down to how you market it and target your audience. You have to do your homework to see what sells and what doesn't,” she says.
Nevertheless, once your product is out on Shopee, it can have a lot of potential too, she says. “Shopee is like a shopping mall, a successful one where there is high traffic view. Yes you still need to do your marketing to bring in sales but Shopee too has a high traffic flow where they sometimes will push your products for other customers who are not on your page,” explains Juan.
Now in her sixth month as a Shopee seller, Juan says business has been picking up rapidly. To date, KD Goods has received over 4,000 five-star reviews for the lanyards – how’s that for customer satisfaction! “Sales has been growing every month. We are moving our production from home to a studio as I need a bigger space for storage, production and packing. It’s been a super-fast paced journey!” says Juan.
Orders coming in also means long hours, which Juan says is the biggest challenge for her. “To be honest, it’s been overwhelming. We’ve only gotten four to five hours of sleep daily since we started. And we are working around the clock – it’s not as easy as just putting your product online and boom it will sell. You have to do marketing, closing sales, packing, and sending out.”
Another challenge is also hiring someone to work. “During this pandemic, I have to be very careful and trust who I work with. My product is customisable so it needs some time for production. It can be challenging trying to make the item on time and send it out within the time frame given by Shopee in order to be a good reputation seller,” says Juan.
The next steps for KD Goods? Aside from moving to a bigger space, Juan shares that they will look into releasing new products. “COVID-19 and mask wearing will still be around for the next six months for sure, but what happens next we do not know.”
Check out KD Goods’ customisable face mask lanyard at kdgoods on Shopee and IG @kdgoodsparacord