Watching a television program that demonstrates how a vacuum cleaner can magically transform a home spic and span shiny in an instant, may be fascinating for viewers, particularly homemakers.
This is exactly what home shopping channels do - and it has proven to be an effective way for businesses to sell products without having the need to display their products in a physical store; it can be a good platform where problems are explained and the solutions are sold.
TV commerce has a unique way to engage audiences through highly entertaining and interactive live demonstrations
As many media and broadcasting companies are feeling the crunch from headwinds in the industry, Astro Go Shop is proving home shopping and e-commerce to be a viable revenue driver. The teleshopping channel registered a 29 percent year-on-year increase in revenue of RM374 million for the financial year ending Jan 31, 2019, with a 1.8 million customer reach.
“TV commerce has a unique way to engage audiences through highly entertaining and interactive live demonstrations, including music performances while selling products.
Since its launch four years ago, Go Shop could rely on its talented pool of talent within the Astro stable, as well as hiring nationally known celebrities, to be featured in their shopping shows.
“We have our talents, and our partners will bring in the products. So what do we do? We marry them in our show."
"Let me share with you our story; a vendor came to me and said ‘Grace, we need to sell these pots and pans’. I asked; ‘What’s unique about your product?’ and he said; ‘It’s big!’.
“So we approached Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza who was willing to help. So we pieced together a show. For the two hour live shopping show, she sang her top three singles, and talked about her family."
In the beginning, a lot of people thought; ‘TV Shopping channels only sells mops and crockery!’. Actually, that’s not true.
“To our amazement, we sold over RM1.3 million worth of cookware during the show,” says Grace with a smile.
In Malaysia, Go Shop has a unique position in leveraging on Astro’s large customer base of 5.7 million TV in homes, reaching to over 23 million consumers. “I’d say our customer base is almost unmatched by any physical retail chain store in the country!” she adds.
“In the beginning, a lot of people thought; ‘TV Shopping channels only sells mops and crockery!’. Actually, that’s not true. We do have so many other products including branded mobile devices and other international renowned brands."
“When we embarked on digital electronics products two years ago, we were selling a lower tiered brand mobile phone, and we managed to sell about 15,000 pieces of mobile phones a month. Many find that hard to believe, but we did it,” says Grace.
Despite the perception that shoppers on Astro Go Shop platform tend to be women comprising Generation-X and baby boomers, Grace says over 25 percent of buyers are in the category of 30-year-old and below.
I believe we need to do more than just placing a product on TV to sell. We want our partners to tell their stories and provide background about the product
“For the 20 to 30-year-old group, we have a variety of products, especially under the beauty and health segment. The prices start at RM10 and it’s very affordable for them."
“Men, too, enjoy shopping on our platform. When we do home visits, we do ask (the buyers) who will be using the products. Often, they'll say it’s for their husbands! It seems that men prefer to ask their wives to buy products from Go Shop for them."
“Because of this we introduced more products that will appeal to men, like electronic products and exercise machines!” says Grace.
In this era of digitalisation, Grace believes it is extremely important to ensure there is active engagement with consumers through entertainment and education.
“I believe we need to do more than just placing a product on TV to sell. We want our partners to tell their stories and provide background about the product."
"We do film our production outdoors so we can become closer to the community. Our consumers can also access recipes from out cooking demonstrations through our app. This what differentiates us from the rest (of competitors)."
“We also do Facebook Live and we curate short videos to allow consumers understand better about a product before making their purchase."
Currently, Go Shop features some 1000 brands with over 15,000 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) available for sale, ranging from home appliances, kitchenware, electronics, health, beauty and food.
“We work a lot with Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). More than 95 per cent of the brands we carry are names that you would probably have never heard of. But we do this to empower them."
“Two common challenges SMEs face is the capacity to produce, and the financial capital. So what we offer to them is that we link them to our banking financial partners through our SME programs."
“I also told them; ‘Let’s do this differently, we put your products on TV, and you focus what you do very best, which are the products!’. We don’t charge them a platform fee, and we cover the production and delivery costs. We only get a margin from the sale,” says Grace.
To remain competitive, Grace ensures that every product sold on Go Shop’s platform are safe, and approved with certification by relevant agencies in Malaysia.
“For beauty products, businesses need to have their products registered with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA). For health products, the products must be registered under the Drug Control Authority (DCA). This includes our electronic products which need to have certification from SIRIM."
We realise that Sabah and Sarawak is a huge opportunity for us
“We have turned down many products because they do not fulfil this requirement. This includes products from renowned personalities in Malaysia,” says Grace.
Today with over 1.8 million customers, Go Shop wants to grow its customer base, focusing on Sabah and Sarawak.
“We realise that Sabah and Sarawak is a huge opportunity for us. One of the biggest challenges, in the beginning, was the delivery cost. Now, we have started offering free deliveries, including to customers from East Malaysia."
“We are also planning to create special shows in different languages and dialects. These shows will be available in the various channels under the Astro platform."
For Grace, she measures Go Shop’s success not only by its year-on-year performance but on how the business can achieve sustainability financially and becoming the leading brand of choice for consumers in Malaysia.