Online Shopper

This M’sian Subscription Marketplace Wants To Disrupt Our Usual Shopping Habits

Did you know that on an average, we make about 35,000 conscious decisions a day? A study back in 2006 shows that we even make around 200 daily decisions on food alone.

This is why meal kit subscriptions have been on the rise lately. But, they only cater to one aspect of your life.

There is a new e-commerce platform in Malaysia that aims to simplify mundane tasks of deciding on food, what to wear, what type of tissue to buy, and other decisions for you.

What Is PopWonders?

PopWonders is an e-commerce marketplace that sells products and services through a subscription model. Just like any other subscription service, you can opt for a monthly or a yearly subscription for your purchase.

The platform features a diverse range from meal and coffee kits, to maid services and online courses.

“There are lots of gaps in the e-commerce market, and it lacks a comprehensive platform with full features that can bring value to multiple parties,” said Sean Leong, the CEO and founder of PopWonders.

He then lists the problems that PopWonders wants to tackle in the e-commerce market:

  1. A marketplace failing to draw good merchants onto their platform,
  2. Merchants having doubts in terms of revenue every month due to one-off sales in a very competitive market,
  3. Customers overwhelmed by choice as they struggle to look for good deals that are convenient and trustworthy.
They have products ranging from fitness to wellness kits and many more

Sean believes that PopWonders is one of the first marketplaces that offer subscription, social and intelligent commerce, all on a single platform.

Note: Sean defines social commerce as selling through influencers and intelligent commerce refers to the Hybrid AI Chatbot on PopWonders.

A quick Google did show that although there are other platforms like Cratejoy that offer variety box subscriptions, they lack the social and intelligent aspects that he mentioned.

He also considers the subscription model to be the way forward for e-commerce.

One-off sales are uncertain, and because of that, merchants will have to invest in stocking and labour costs. The subscription model allows them to have recurring sales with predictable revenue.

Sean Leong, CEO and Founder of PopWonders

The Merchant Experience 

Anyone can sign up for the platform, be it large retailers or small business owners as they can use PopWonders’ backend and list out their products for free.

Note: Some of the features are currently free, but Sean did inform us that it might change in the future.

Merchants who sign up on the platform must be manually approved. After that, they send PopWonders a product box for quality checking.

If they pass, they will be matched with a few Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) or influencers to choose from.

One of PopWonder’s KOLs / Image Credit: PopWonders

The chosen KOL is responsible to advertise and market the products of the merchants under them. With each successful sale, they will get a share of the profit. But as a merchant, you can also opt to not have an ambassador.

“Our platform will fully leverage on influencer marketing as social commerce to bring out the best ROI for our merchants,” said Sean.

The Consumer Experience 

PopWonders operate on two different models, a discovery and a replenish model, which offer you options based on your own personality and preference. 

The discovery model sends you different goods every month, which would be perfect for curious and adventurous people who want to discover new brands and products regularly.

For necessities such as toiletries or COVID-19 kits, you can opt for the replenish model. For those who value brand loyalty and predictability, this model will have those items delivered to their home consistently, without them having to remember to buy it themselves. This effectively cuts out a need to make a decision in their personal lives.

Depending on which subscription you opt for, it might even be cheaper compared to buying it in stores as the merchants do get wholesale prices when they buy in bulk, so the savings can go to you too.

To help you with finding the right products, PopWonders has a Hybrid AI Chatbot equipped with machine learning and natural language processing that acts as a personal shopping assistant.

The PopWonders AI System / Image Credit: PopWonders

While the AI is still in its early stages, Sean said that the AI can help customers with looking for the right products without even searching, make them recommendations based on their browsing habits and even manage payment processes for faster checkout.

Empowering Merchants With A New Business Model

PopWonders is also one of the startups selected to join accelerator programs such as Selangor Accelerator Program (SAP) by SITEC and Global Accelerator Program (GAP) by MaGIC.

Because it’s not your traditional business model, PopWonders have been actively reaching out and teaching merchants how to utilise the subscription model. They also have plans to launch a “Subscription Academy” soon, and this’ll guide potential merchants throughout the whole process.

The PopWonders team, with Sean in the middle / Image Credit: PopWonders

Looking further ahead, Sean revealed that they plan to roll out other features such as:

  1. KOL Incubation (to bring in more KOLs onto the platform)
  2. Social Community (to provide value to their customers)
  3. Unbox Addiction (to showcase the products)
  4. Ambassador Programs (an affiliation and referral marketing service)

From a marketing perspective, a consolidated platform for subscription services will make it more convenient for users who like this business model to look for new subscription services to automate their lives further. 

After all, if one is already getting skincare products delivered to them monthly, who’s to say that they won’t also appreciate getting their pet food, baby essentials, and clothes that way too?

  • Check out PopWonders here.
  • Keep an eye out on PopWonders’ Facebook for the latest subscriptions on their platform.

Featured Image Credit: PopWonders

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