WARC Asia Editor Rica Facundo speaks to ShopeePay Director Agatha Soh about how the integrated mobile wallet can elevate a brand’s e-commerce strategy and boost customer loyalty.

This article is part of a Spotlight series on e-wallet marketing in Southeast Asia. Read more

Key insights

  • E-wallets boost customer loyalty by deepening relationships with customers, cultivating loyalty and building brand advocacy.
  • E-wallets accelerate the time taken for a consumer to go through the entire marketing funnel.
  • ShopeePay’s goal is to elevate the user experience through a convenient, frictionless and easy-to-use payment process.
Briefly tell us about ShopeePay.

ShopeePay is our integrated mobile wallet that allows users to make online payments on Shopee, top up their wallets, transfer and withdraw funds, and make payments offline at thousands of merchants. As Shopee scales, ShopeePay grows alongside it due to the benefits of the integrated ecosystem it provides. Through this broader ecosystem, we hope to continue enabling access and helping more people benefit through technology.

How has ShopeePay been using e-wallets to innovate the brand’s e-commerce marketing strategy?

ShopeePay elevates the Shopee (e-commerce) experience by making the shopping and payments experience seamless, convenient and integrated, allowing users to fulfill all their daily needs in one place.

ShopeePay also helps bring more people into the digital economy. Through features like ShopeePay Near Me, our location-based online-to-offline feature, shoppers can discover great deals offered by merchants in their area and show their support for the sellers and brands they love. This does a few things:

  • Allows merchants to leverage Shopee’s extensive user base to increase footfall and connect with new and existing customers while using e-wallets as an entry point into our wider ecosystem.
  • Deepens relationships with users and seamlessly brings them more rewards and incentives as part of the ecosystem.
With the rise of e-wallets in SEA, what have been the biggest shifts you’ve seen from customers in their expectations of e-commerce brands? And how has ShopeePay responded?

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital services. With a greater demand for such services, digital-first consumer expectations are evolving – they want more seamlessness, convenience and immediacy. At ShopeePay, we are committed to continuously adapting to changing needs and integrating closely into users’ lives to deliver frictionless and rewarding experiences.

Consumers are becoming more comfortable with digital services and increasingly expect more seamless, integrated and rewarding experiences that fit without friction in their lives.

One shift that we are seeing is growth outside metropolitan areas and cities. We are committed to widening the access to those in more suburban and rural areas and creating a more inclusive digital economy. In 2021, we saw 2.5x more ShopeePay users outside of big cities, 3x more offline merchants on ShopeePay and five million transactions for offline merchants.

What does “customer loyalty” mean in the era of e-wallets?

Customer loyalty sits at the heart of any brand and e-wallets are no exception. It is important to recognise the key role e-wallets play today in deepening relationships with customers, cultivating loyalty and building brand advocacy.

Another way that e-wallets are expanding what customer loyalty means is that it allows brands to diversify what it offers to customers through a holistic channel. In our case, ShopeePay can continue to integrate more closely into consumers’ daily lifestyles because we have expanded to use cases such as transport, data load, top-ups, utility and insurance payments.

Overall, ShopeePay is an important part of our brand ecosystem that enables us to bring greater seamlessness to consumers’ lives. As part of this ecosystem, it brings users greater convenience, security, rewards and more. Specifically on Shopee, users can browse, discover, checkout and pay with ease – all at the touch of a button. This elevates the user’s shopping experience, making it frictionless and memorable from start to end.

Can you share some examples of ShopeePay initiatives and why they were successful?

At 3.15 Consumer Day 2022, we saw:

  • Singapore: A 3x increase in ShopeePay users with ShopeePay transactions surging by 5x. One in six ShopeePay users also shopped from new merchants across the campaign period.
  • Malaysia: The number of ShopeePay transactions surged by 3.5x on March 15.
  • Thailand: A 4x increase in ShopeePay transactions compared to an average day.
  • Vietnam: A 4x increase in ShopeePay transactions compared to an average day. The number of ShopeePay users also more than doubled compared to an average day.
What role do brand partnerships play in helping brands like ShopeePay integrate more closely into consumers’ daily lifestyles?

Collaborations with like-minded partners go a long way in helping us to better serve our users. At the end of the day, ShopeePay’s goal is to help make our users’ lives easier and more convenient through the benefits of technology.

  • In Malaysia, ShopeePay partnered with the Ministry of Finance through the eBelia programme, an assistance programme to alleviate the financial burden of youths and promote cashless spending. In 2021, the programme saw close to 500,000 claims made via ShopeePay on the first day. Almost one million youths claimed their eBelia credit through ShopeePay.
  • In Thailand, ShopeePay has collaborated with various partners such as Traveloka, EasyPass and Bangkok Expressway and Metro to provide users quick and convenient online payments for their travel needs.
  • In Indonesia, we launched the Semangat UMKM Lokal programme to support local MSME businesses amidst the pandemic. In 2021, we saw a 4x increase in ShopeePay merchants versus 2020. ShopeePay is now available at more than one million merchants across Indonesia.
  • In the Philippines, we partnered with local government agencies such as the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, Manila Local Government Unit and many more to make paying government bills more convenient and rewarding.
How does e-wallet adoption challenge the traditional marketing funnel or customer journey? For example, is there a stage that’s more important than others?

E-wallets accelerate the time taken for a consumer to go through the entire marketing funnel. While all stages of the funnel are important, e-wallet adoption is especially impactful in the consideration, conversion and advocacy stages. 

The consideration stage can be shortened, especially for users who consider payment methods as a factor for conversion, e.g., lower preference for cash payments and concerns about credit card spending.

The conversion of users also happens a lot quicker given the ease of use of e-wallets and integration at many online and offline touchpoints.

In addition, it builds advocacy for merchants amongst users: a pleasant, smooth and convenient payment process creates a positive experience for users. Users are likely to share positive experiences and over time, become advocates for brands/sellers.

And this is exactly ShopeePay’s goal – to elevate our users’ experiences through a convenient, frictionless and easy-to-use payment process.

Looking to the future, what do you think is next for e-wallets in SEA? What do you think will be possible for marketers that wasn’t before?

SEA remains largely unbanked and underserved. More than six in 10 people are unbanked or underbanked, and only 17% of transactions are cashless. This means there is plenty of room for e-wallet players to innovate and bring new services to consumers. For ShopeePay, we are committed to continue promoting financial digitalisation and inclusion and expanding access to the digital economy for more users, businesses and local communities. We will continue to adapt our services based on evolving needs and are excited for what is to come.

But, in general, e-wallet players will continue to innovate for possible integration into new technologies. As SEA consumers continue to embrace digital services and new technologies as part of daily life, there will be more opportunities for e-wallets to seamlessly integrate into more creative touchpoints, making payments a frictionless process from one use to another.

Marketers will be able to market through wallets as adoption grows and more use cases surface, and marketers can use this as a medium to communicate with key audiences. This opens up avenues for marketers to speak directly to their customers from different angles and build brand love in a more holistic way.