As online shopping becomes the predominant product consumption channel during on-going movement restrictions, e-commerce players in Southeast Asia have launched initiatives to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and non-profit organisations.

Carousell has announced a plan aimed at supporting non-profit organisations in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, helping communities impacted by COVID-19.

The "COVID-19 Free Ads for Charity" programme will offer up to HK$10.87m (US$1.4m) in advertising support for non-profit organisations, helping the communities worst hit by COVID-19.

Beneficiaries include Singapore Red Cross, Give.Asia, Free Food for All in Singapore, Parents Without Partners in Malaysia, Habitat For Humanity in Hong Kong and Caritas Manila in the Philippines.

Shopee Malaysia has unveiled a RM15m (US$3.4m) support package for SMEs on its platform that will include a digitalisation package with RM6m set aside to help new sellers, including RM200 in free paid advertising credits.

Existing sellers will also receive up to RM400 each in free paid advertising credits to get more exposure for their products and stores, and stand to benefit from RM100,000 worth of dedicated campaign vouchers every week. The advertising support is to help sellers drive sales during the Ramadan and Hari Raya period.

Ian Ho, regional managing director of Shopee, said the support package is meant to create a positive long-term impact. "We hope these efforts will help local SMEs make up the loss in offline revenue, improve cash flow and, most importantly, sustain their businesses.”

Last week, Lazada Malaysia unveiled a RM10 million support package to aid local SMEs from April to June 2020. Through the Pakej Kedai Pintar cash fund, eligible SMEs will be able to enjoy the services of a support team to onboard, train and develop customised sales campaign with them through Lazada University. Approximately 50,000 local SMEs are estimated to benefit from this cash fund.

In Singapore, SME retailers that are new to e-commerce can have 90% of their costs of selling online covered, thanks to the E-Commerce Booster Package under Enterprise Singapore.

Retailers can sign up with one of four e-commerce platforms - Amazon, Lazada Singapore, Qoo10 or Shopee. The one-time support is capped at S$9,000 and the e-commerce platforms will offset their fees directly.

Qualifying costs refer to the services provided by the platforms, including content development, product listing and advertising. The platform providers will work with retailers to curate and list products for up to six months, participate in promotional campaigns, fulfil orders and analyse sales data.

Sourced from Marketing Interactive, Straits Times, The Drum APAC