,RPG Comerce CEO Melvin Chee: This new-normal created by the societal reaction to the pandemic will create an upward trend that will even continue post-pandemic, and we believe it is a perfect opportunity for DTC brands to strengthen their foothold among Malaysian consumers as a more viable choice than big traditional brands."
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THE Internet has become a launchpad for many brands and businesses – more so in the past one year.
But e-commerce opportunities have helped mint many entrepreneurs like Melvin Chee long before the recent rush to go online. Back then, he had dabbled in the online business out of curiosity and just to make a little side income.
Chee, the chief executive officer of RPG Commerce, first got involved with e-commerce while he was still studying in Melbourne, Australia.
“Growing up in a small town in Perak, I had very limited Internet access during my high school days. When I first arrived in Melbourne, I was totally fascinated by the way people were transacting and selling over the Internet and that made me see the amazing potential in this space, which further ignited my passion for the industry.
“But back in my university days, all I intended to accomplish was really just to earn some extra pocket money for entertainment and travelling purposes, ” shares the 28-year-old.
While he had little comprehension of the whole online deal, he was rather resourceful.
With limited capital, he found a creative way to learn digital marketing.
He took up whatever free courses that were available at the time and began freelancing as a “marketing expert”.
“In truth, I was a digital marketing novice making the most out of my clients’ marketing dollars to gain experience in return, ” he admits sheepishly.
Chee managed to convince mom and pop stores to allow him to deploy Google Ads for them. When he saw that his efforts led to increased website traffic for these independent businesses, he knew he was onto something.
He further looked into consumer buying habits and expanded his digital marketing services to include social media platforms.
Not long after, he decided to go down the route of a retailer, which would give him more insights into consumer trends.
But with no products of his own to sell, Chee started off his venture with dropshipping under RPG Commerce.
Dropshipping is a retail business where the retailer does not keep stock of goods sold.
“Dropshipping was the ideal business model to start with, as it had the lowest starting capital and highest reward during that period of time, ” he says.
Notably, the e-commerce landscape then was vastly different from what it is today. Chee points out that back in 2013, a new generation of consumers was just beginning to explore new avenues of shopping and retailers were only starting to provide that additional channel through social media platforms.