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Shopee shifts strategic focus to livestreaming, sees real-time sales as key to growth


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Shopee's strategic focus shifts to livestreaming. Shopee and TikTok are emerging as important players in Thailand's rapidly evolving e-commerce landscape, each leveraging unique strategies to capture market share and attract users. Shopee's recent moves to increase its livestreaming e-commerce efforts and enhance its affiliate marketing platform highlight its ambitions to not only consolidate its position in the market, but also take on rivals such as TikTok, which has been making strides in the livestreaming commerce space.


Thailand's e-commerce market has been on an upward trajectory, with growth expected to be 13-20% by 2024, pushing the market value to potentially reach 900 billion baht. This growth, while slower than during the pandemic, is still a significant increase from the 770 billion baht recorded in 2022. Shopee has leveraged its deep understanding of the Southeast Asian market and recognized the high rate of mobile internet usage in the region to capitalize on this growth by implementing a mobile-first strategy.


Shopee’s strategy revolves around enhancing user engagement and providing a personalised shopping experience. Livestreaming on Shopee Live aims to create an immersive and interactive shopping experience, enabling real-time interactions between sellers and buyers. This approach not only taps into the growing trend of live commerce, but is also in line with Shopee’s mission to provide more than just a shopping platform by fostering strong communities and social interactions among users.


At the same time, Shopee has been fine-tuning its affiliate marketing platform, focusing on partnerships and collaborations that expand its reach and strengthen its market presence. In doing so, Shopee has not only diversified its marketing strategy, but also leveraged the affiliate network to help drive traffic and sales in a cost-effective manner.


TikTok, which mainly focuses on short video content, has entered the live e-commerce market, bringing new challenges to traditional e-commerce platforms in Thailand. The platform's entry into live shopping aims to leverage its large user base and engaging live video content format to promote real-time shopping. TikTok's model focuses on creating a seamless integration of entertainment and shopping, especially attracting young people who value real interaction and immersive experience.


The competition between Shopee and TikTok in Thailand reflects a broader trend in the global e-commerce and social commerce sectors, where livestreaming and affiliate marketing are becoming increasingly important. While Shopee’s efforts to enhance its livestreaming capabilities and affiliate marketing platform are aimed at strengthening its e-commerce dominance, TikTok’s entry into the space with its unique value proposition of combining commerce with entertainment presents a noteworthy challenge.


Additionally, as in many other regions, Thailand’s e-commerce market is increasingly integrated with social media platforms, indicating a shift toward social commerce. This integration suggests that the future of e-commerce in Thailand and the wider Southeast Asia region may be dominated by platforms that can effectively combine social interaction, entertainment, and shopping into a cohesive and engaging consumer experience.


As Shopee and TikTok adapt and evolve their strategies to capture Thailand’s growing e-commerce market, the key to success may depend on their ability to innovate and create value for sellers and consumers. For Shopee, this means continuing to build on its strengths in mobile commerce, personalized shopping experiences, and community engagement. For TikTok, the challenge will be to translate its massive social media appeal into a viable and sustainable e-commerce ecosystem.


At its core, the battle for Thai e-commerce supremacy between Shopee and TikTok is not just about selling products; it’s about redefining the shopping experience in the digital age, where the lines between shopping, entertainment and social interaction are increasingly blurred.

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