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Behind the scenes of Shopee’s 11.11 Big Sale

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Shopee employees worked round-the-clock on 10 and 11 November to ensure all users were able to enjoy a seamless shopping experience. In this exclusive interview, Lim Teck Yong, Head of Regional Operations and People Team, Shopee, tells Jerene Ang how the online shopping platform thanked employees for their hard work.

Q Congratulations on the successful Shopee 11.11 Big Sale! What was the secret to the record-breaking numbers?

This year’s 11.11 Big Sale is undoubtedly our largest and most exciting one yet. Our Shopee 11.11 Big Sale continued to drive the 11.11 shopping phenomenon in the region as we set a new record, with 70 million items sold on 11 November and three times more orders recorded in the first hour compared to 2018.

As we delivered on our promise to offer an engaging shopping experience, our in-app games including our first augmented reality game Shopee Catch were played over 150 million times across the region in three weeks.  We also brought non-stop entertainment to users with 65 million views recorded regionally across our 11.11 Big Sale streams.

The outstanding results are a testament to our teams’ in-depth knowledge of local shoppers’ needs. We make it a point to hire local talent in every market to better understand and cater to shoppers’ unique needs and preferences.

With this in mind, we designed the Shopee experience to be a highly interactive and social one by pioneering in-app live chats, games and social features to provide shoppers with a more engaging shopping experience.

Q From a manpower perspective, what was involved in preparing for 11.11? And, what were the manpower challenges involved and how was this overcome?

To provide the best online shopping experience for our users, all business units in Shopee worked collaboratively and tirelessly, to prepare for the year’s biggest and busiest shopping festival. Shopee employees have spent months preparing for the Shopee 11.11 Big Sale through a variety of ways. In fact, Shopee employees worked round-the-clock on 10 and 11 November to ensure all users were able to enjoy a seamless shopping experience.

For example:

  • The local marketing team worked closely together to drive an integrated, 360° marketing approach to engage users effectively across both online and offline channels.
  • To prepare for the influx in traffic and sales, we worked closely with various stakeholders (sellers, brands, logistics partners and payment providers) to forecast the uplift in orders, as well as pre-pack products ahead of time, so as to ensure sufficient stock.
  • In the months leading up to 11.11, Shopee’s product team worked together to forecast traffic estimations and put in place measures to ensure our servers have sufficient capacity. Closer to the day itself, they also conducted a series of stress tests to ensure that we were able to effectively manage the influx of traffic.

Working closely with one another as a holistic unit was also a crucial factor in enabling us to deliver an optimal performance for one of the biggest sales events of the year. Pulling off a campaign of this magnitude is a team effort and the level of collaboration between the different functions in Shopee certainly contributed a great deal to the success we saw during our Shopee 11.11 Big Sale.

Q How did Shopee motivate and engage staff through this busy time of the year?

At Shopee, people are our most important asset. The success of 11.11 could only have been made possible by every member of our team.

Our team comprises highly-driven and passionate individuals, and the way we stay motivated as a unit is through a firm understanding of our common goals. Each member of our team carries with them a strong sense of purpose and responsibility to provide our users with the best shopping experience possible. Shopee employees work closely with one another, motivating and inspiring each other along the way.

To also thank our employees for their hard work, we prepared catered meals and bubble tea for all employees on 11 November, and set up a photo booth station where teams came together to commemorate the event. On 12 November, there was a line-up of fun and interactive activities, including yoga classes, massages, a floral arrangement workshop, board games session, and more.

Q Any advice you have for companies to motivate staff through busy periods?

Ultimately, people define who we are as a company, and our efforts to motivate employees during key campaign periods is a key aspect of our long-term success.

By working hand-in-hand with every employee to create a working environment that he or she is comfortable with, our employees will not only be happier but will also be empowered to drive greater productivity and efficiencies, especially during peak periods.

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