AllSome fills in the cross-border e-commerce gaps
By Anushia Kandasivam October 23, 2017
- Cross-border fulfilment and tracking system eases business
- Social commerce solution empowers merchants and resellers
MALAYSIA-based software-as-a-service startup AllSome was founded in 2016 shortly before participating in the MaGIC Accelerator Programme organised by the Malaysia Global Innovation & Creativity Centre.
AllSome entered the programme as AllSome Track with its SMS parcel tracking system that enables online merchants and buyers to obtain up-to-date information on the whereabouts of their parcels.
After three months in the programme, the all-woman founding team comprising Malaysian Ng Yi Ying and Chinese national Liu Yishu decided to enter AllSome into SOS Venture’s Chinaccelerator in Shanghai.
Entry into Chinaacelerator was through MaGIC’s partnership with the former; MaGIC partners with accelerators based in other countries to funnel startups to other markets. AllSome qualified based on its focus on the Alibaba-Asean market via Malaysia.
AllSome has now graduated from the accelerator programme and opened offices in Kuala Lumper and Shenzen, as well as a fulfilment centre in Shenzhen.
The startup’s parcel-tracking solution, which was built in-house by Ng herself, has been doing well – AllSome has tracked about 615,000 packages since May last year. Ng says that regular customers started asking AllSome to help them with their fulfilment problems. AllSome’s customers are mainly Malaysia-based SMEs and microbusinesses that resell goods purchased from China.
The startup has about 1,200 customers in Malaysia to date, the majority of which are located in more rural areas and use their reselling business as an alternative form of income.
Ng explains that customers in Malaysia who purchase goods directly from China face numerous problems from product selection – they do not know what products to buy – to slow or failed delivery or being delivered the wrong product.
“Delivery can take 30 to 50 days in some cases, which means that by the time they receive the product it is too late to return or exchange if they find something wrong with it,” explains Ng.
Further, customers who buy in bulk will have to manually check each item and then fill out a consignment note for a courier company to collect and send the goods back to China, a process that takes time and money.
AllSome’s cross-border fulfilment service receives the goods at the startup’s fulfilment centre in Shenzhen, checks that the goods fit the customer’s specifications and returns and exchanges or forwards them to Malaysia as required.
“We check in China itself so it’s much cheaper for the customer. We do everything so the customer doesn’t have to,” says Ng.
Because many AllSome customers resell their products to other countries, including Indonesia, AllSome basically acts as a fulfilment bridge between China and the rest of Southeast Asia via Malaysia. The startup has managed about 16,000 order fulfilments since March this year.
Everyone can sell
What AllSome customers really find valuable, and how the startup really bridges the fulfilment gap and helps generate more e-commerce between China, Malaysia and the rest of the region is AllSome’s end-to-end social commerce solution for resellers called hipie.
hipie basically enables customers to buy and resell with a few clicks. When a customer registers with hipie, they are asked what product category they prefer – women’s clothes, for example – what kind of style they want and other questions. Once the details are finalised, hipie pushes the relevant products to the customers.
All the customers have to do is click on the desired products, download the pre-prepared images and item details then immediately share them all on the customer’s own website or Facebook page.
Because AllSome tracks hundreds of thousands of packages, the data it has gathered informs it of what the top selling e-commerce products are and who is selling what to whom. This information is provided to customers though hipie and informs them which the best products to resell are.
hipie takes AllSome’s services full circle so that altogether the startup provides social commerce expertise plus fulfilment.
“A lot of our customers don’t know much about e-commerce. Some don’t know how to measure custom tax or anything about logistics and using couriers. We do the hard work and thinking for them so they are able to get involved in e-commerce,” says Ng.
This decentralised approach to e-commerce – social commerce – also works because a large number of hipie and AllSome tracking and fulfilment users are predominantly smartphone users, conducting all their business through their smartphones rather than a desktop or laptop computer. It also means that the startup is opening up e-commerce opportunities to more people.
High growth potential
AllSome recently integrated its hipie API into AliExpress, Taobao and JD, making product pushing to customers more efficient and driving up the amount of products available to customers to resell.
AllSome’s biggest competition in Malaysia is dropshipper Kumoten but Ng says that AllSome has an edge over Kumoten because the latter only links resellers in Malaysia to Malaysian merchants and can only provide an inventory of about 40,000 products for its customers to choose from.
With the recent links to the three mega Chinese e-commerce sites, AllSome provides access to millions of products to its customers.
“On top of that, we provide personalised product recommendations so the customer doesn’t have to go through thousands of products to figure out what to sell. We can optimise our personalisation because we have a bigger volume to choose from,” says Ng.
Though there are other players in the market working on similar verticals, Ng says that because AllSome acts as an integrator to link all the verticals together, there is no competitor doing the exact same thing.
“Everyone focuses on their own areas; what we are doing is playing in the areas in between,” says Ng, adding that creating the technology for the business to work requires a lot of effort and is not a task everyone can or wants to take on.
Interestingly, the AllSome team consist of four people, including the founders. The core of the business is the technology, which allows the business to scale up.
AllSome has plans to expand to Thailand and then Singapore. It has already established a partnership with affiliate network Everyday People in Thailand with an agreement to push products to the latter, who will then list the products to their affiliates to resell.
However, Ng says the startup is taking overseas expansion slowly. “We are focusing on Malaysia and trying to stabilise the business here and get more resellers. We want to capture the majority market share in Malaysia before we move to another country.”
AllSome predicts this will happen very quickly – hipie is already capturing about 1000 products per day to push to customers. Though Ng says she is not certain how many resellers Kumoten has, it is likely the same amount as AllSome, hence AllSome may soon surpass Kumoten in that respect as well.
AllSome is currently on the hunt for funding. Ng says that US$500,000 would be ideal to allow it to expand its team, take the business to other markets and do more sales and marketing for the next 12 months.
Ng reveals that the startup aims to be the largest social commerce business in the region within the next year, an achievable goal because its projects it will have a total of 6,000 resellers in six months, which will make it cash-flow positive.
“We didn’t expect to get the first 1,000 customers but now we see where the business is going, we know this is achievable,” she says.