Their Businesses Were Dying, So 3 M’sians Jumped Onto e-Commerce—And Made It Big

Forget what your parents told you about securing a stable 9–5 corporate job.

Gone are the days of waking up at 6 am and dragging oneself through the heavy traffic to sit at a dull desk crunching numbers. Young ‘uns these days are getting into the entrepreneur life sooner.

And it’s not surprising, seeing as there are so many options open to them to help them get into it.

We know that with the rise of e-commerce, more and more sellers are moving online to trade their wares. However, it’s not easy to make your presence felt in the digital world—but there are ready platforms available for sellers to launch their businesses.

We managed to get in touch with three sellers who shared their Lazada fairytale of how they went from struggling with the retail life to reaping the riches of online businesses.

Sia Chin Lin, 29

Image Credit: Lazada

Chin Lin’s entrepreneur story began when he was 18 years old and fresh out of school.  Having been part of his father’s motorcycle parts business since young, the youngster felt it was it was his prime duty as a son to aid his aging father in their family business.

Coming from a small town of Mentakab, Pahang, Chin Lin says he spent years learning the ins-and-outs of motorcycles, and the industry so that he can grow the business well.

The retail store was doing pretty well until 2008 when Malaysia was hit with the financial crisis. Chin Lin realised his retail business was getting stagnant and it wasn’t growing as it used to.

It was then that he had the idea of transforming his father’s business to the online market and try their luck.

“After bringing my products online I could say it truly changed my business. It also revamped my expansion plan and helped with clearing products that was once stuck in a rut. Lazada was my first venture into e-commerce and I think it has benefited me well,” said Chin Li to Vulcan Post.

On an average day, he can get up to 700 orders a month from the 1,000 products he has available on his Lazada page.

Though they still have their retail shop, Chin Lin believes moving towards e-commerce is the way to go as they can reduce costs they would need to spend on their offline business and use that to improve their online one.

They believe customers keep returning to them because they always ensure a quality check is done on their products before they upload on Lazada website and only good & original brands are sold by them.

Alice Chung, 33

For Alice Chung, she had two options. First, she could either take over her family business of handling wholesale disposable products or build her own business from scratch and be her own boss.

So she went for the latter.

Alice has always loved products that give off a home-y feeling, so it’s no surprise she chose bedsheets, comforters, and pillows for her inventory.

To start off her business 5 years ago, she opened up a retail store that sold these imported items to appeal to the audience who shares the same fondness of home living goods. Things were smooth at first but it didn’t have as wide of a reach as she had hoped it would.

It wasn’t until she had visited her cousin’s shop and met up with a sales representative from Lazada that she was informed of this e-commerce site.

3 years later, she decided to let go of her physical store and do her business completely online.

“I always encourage my customers to shop online because I find that it is so much more rewarding for both sides. Customers get to enjoy good promotions and gain reward points from shopping online while I as a seller get to interact and sell stuff to a wider audience,” said Alice.

One thing to note is that Alice is a one-woman show, saying that this was the decision she made after rejecting her parents’ offer.

Alice shared that after having her business online, her current monthly sales have been quite impressive and she herself has seen quite a rise in revenue from her previous venture as a store.

Surenther A/L Kulanthipiyen, 23

Image Credit: Lazada

In the comforts of Temerloh, Pahang, Suren and his family run 2 retail shops selling house appliances which have been operating for the past 22 years. They are the main bread and butter for his family.

Even at the young age of 10, Suren already found himself being a seller in his family’s shop. His main job back then was tending to customers and making sure the selling procedure is done right.

“I’ve always had this interest of selling products, I guess you could say it runs in my family,” said Suren.

But being more of an IT fanatic, Suren wondered if he could use that to his advantage and help out his family business in a different aspect.

A few years ago, Suren had noticed that the volume of customers coming into the store was decreasing as time passed by.

“I figured it was because people just couldn’t find time to walk into stores, check out prices and compare them with other stores to see which one is the cheapest. So they resorted to online platforms instead as they could do it all in one click. That was the sign I needed,” said Suren.

He was then introduced to Lazada, and he admitted that he was drawn to the fact that there was no capital needed to start a business on the site. So he discussed with his father to try and see whether it could be another optional choice of income.

“I definitely preferred the idea of doing an online business as it’s easier for me. My dad saw no harm in us trying so 8 months ago, we started our online business with Lazada and it turned out to be a really good decision,” said Suren after sharing that he now receives an average of 500 orders a month.

His proudest achievement thus far was actually during Lazada’s Online Revolution campaign.

“On 11/11, I woke up to 12 orders which was already a bit surprising because on a good day, we’d start off with less than 10. But as the day progressed, it got better. We had about 65 orders and my sales revenue ended up being RM10,000 on that day alone.

I was also proud to know that sales on the website was better than our sales in our two retail stores combined for that day,” said Suren who is also an Aerospace Engineering final year student.

At the young age of 23, it is quite surprising to know how far he has come. But it didn’t stop people from sometimes questioning his ability as a seller.

“What people forget is that I actually have 12 years of experience as a seller, seeing as how early I’ve been involved with my family business. But I believe my age actually helps. Young people are seen as risk-takers, something my dad worries about, but the market is converting to this demographic,” said Suren.

“It was very difficult. Luckily, my brother was back home maintaining the retail store so he’d update the stock while I handled the backend of the site. After graduating in September, I focused all my time on the site and I’m happy to see a tremendous growth,” said Suren.

Everyone Can Be An Entrepreneur

What these three sellers have in common is their drive towards entrepreneurship. Though they came from simple backgrounds in small towns they were still able to come through and show that business can happen anywhere, anytime.

These sellers join many others participating in Lazada’s Online Revolution Campaign that runs from 11th November 2016 till 14th December 2016.

As one of the largest online shopping events to happen in Southeast Asia, it brings various brands, retailers and consumers from across six countries together.

Shoppers can get discounts up to 95% for over 7 million products, including those under these three sellers.

For more information, click here to access the Lazada site and get your wallets ready for one of the biggest shopping sales you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

This article was brought to you by Lazada Malaysia.

Feature Image Credit: Dreamstime.com


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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)



Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)