Cambodia’s leading super e-commerce app Smile Shop has reflected on an eventful 2021; helping the local community during COVID lockdowns as well as its own journey and how other local SMEs can navigate Cambodia’s e-commerce sector.
Launched in 2018, Smile Shop E-commerce platform has been pioneering Cambodia’s early stage of online business development setting itself apart by their key mantra of being ‘customer obsessed’ in everything they do.
Sovannareth Theab, Co-Founder & COO of SmileShop E-Commerce told Cambodia Investment Review, he was studying for an MBA in China and learning about the huge presence of e-commerce in China.
“After discussing the concept of e-commerce in Cambodia we decided to launch Smile Shop aiming to build the most trusted e-commerce platform where Cambodian people can enjoy worry-free online shopping,” Theab said.
One of Smile Shop’s key mantras is taken from the founder of Amazon Mr. Jeff Bezos who said: “We’re not competitor Obsessed; we are customer-obsessed”. This is the same concept that Smile Shop has adopted with keep focusing on the customer rather than competitors.
Smile Shop assisting the community during COVID lockdowns
It was this mantra that guided Smile Shop during the height of the COVID outbreak when Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh was put into color-based lockdowns.
These lockdowns ranging from yellow and red (most severe) resulted in many merchants being forced shut and communities unable to access food and daily necessities.
Utilizing its already established system of digital ordering and delivery capabilities Smile Shop was able to step in and assist in joining the Ministry of Commerce program’s ‘Online Shop’ and deliver food to the residents in each zone.
“During the very hard times of the COVID 19 lockdowns Smile Shop was able to gain travel permission from the local authorities and deliver both food and other everyday necessities from producers to customers,” Theab said.
“Thanks to the support from the Ministry of Commerce – especially Mr. H.E. Rath Saravuth and his team – we were even able to deliver these goods to people in the red zones around Phnom Penh,” Theab added.
To achieve this work the Smile Shop team worked both day and night to ensure all orders were being properly delivered to their customers. “During this period the Smile Shop team worked like crazy – however all the staff was very happy because they were able to help the community with vital food and other everyday necessities,” Theab said.
Advice for other SMEs looking to enter Cambodia’s e-commerce sector
While Cambodia’s e-commerce sector is still in its early stages many SMEs are now looking to the sector with the government implementing an e-commerce law in 2019 that regulates domestic and cross-border e-commerce activities in Cambodia.
In addition, the law establishes legal certainty for electronic transactions and enacts several important protections for consumers.
“Please trust and keep patience for the young generation will continue to adapt to e-commerce here will get better and better,” Theab said.
Looking to the next five years Smile Shop’s vision is to be the number one super-e-commerce in Cambodia outlining the growth of the platform to connect with more and more partners and support them grow together, such as ride-hailing, online media, online travel, online insurance, fin-tech company and others.
Cambodia Investment Review previously reported that e-commerce platforms have been linking with e-payment providers to install seamless gateways for customers to use.
E-payments in Cambodia are continuing a strong upward trend with data from the National Bank of Cambodia revealing there were 698.8 million transactions, valued at $199.76 billion in 2021 as more companies utilize e-payment technology
To find out more about Smile Shop E-commerce super site click here.