Since I started blogging in May 2017, I had never thought of going overseas for this blog.
But I did it! My First cross-border interview, about cross-border eCommerce with WorldFirst. It rhymes nicely and done on 19th November 2018.
From my recent articles, readers can see the gradual change in KK. Earlier blogs was about helping local sellers do well in Malaysia Marketplaces. But now we want do more for them!
Our sight now is on Global Markets. Malaysia Sellers and Product Owners can do well locally, and internationally as eCommerce is about selling everywhere, 24 hours non-stop.
Undeniably, it is much easier and simpler to sell at the local marketplace, as the fulfillment and payment gateway is integrated in it. Thus it is simpler to get money back to your bank account.
But there is one limitation of local marketplaces currently. They focus on the local market without opening global cross-border services yet. Even in future if they do it, they will focus on SEA markets. But we know there are a big market in other side of the world.
Webstore does not have this limitation. There are great eCommerce website solutions frrom Easystore, SiteGiant, Webshaper, BigDomain to name a few. You actually can apply SEO, FB or Instagram marketing, and other methods to drive International traffic to your websites to sell cross-border.
In this websites, we have great Malaysia payment gateways which help seller accept funds in foreign currency like Ipay88, Molpay, etc.
But how about International Marketplaces like eBay? These marketplaces foot traffic is much larger compared to Malaysia. eBay has 175 million active buyers globally! We know that for an eCommerce business, it is strategic to have both websites and marketplace foothold to increase your reach to different audiences.
However in eBay, the integrated payment gateway is an international payment gateway.
The issue is, it is expensive for a seller to convert the foreign currency from the international payment gateway directly into MYR and Malaysia Bank Account.
Alternatively, Sellers can set up an account in the International market, for example, US. Then you can transfer the USD from the international payment gateway to your US bank account. Again, there are much hassle and difficulties to get a US bank account, not to mention also high Bank TT rates.
If there is an issue, there is an opportunity.
There are two service providers available for Malaysian sellers to help on this issue, WorldFirst and Payoneer. WorldFirst is a UK solution, while Payoneer is US made. Both are well known globally and respected.
For example, if you sell in Euro markets, basically you can transfer your Euro from the international payment gateway to a Euro bank account managed by them free of charge. In their system, you can track and manage your funds for different objectives. They offer attractive rates to convert it into MYR and then bank into your Malaysia account.
Regarding popularity in Malaysia, Payoneer with my friend, Joachim as the ambassador takes a lead. But for Malaysian sellers, it will be better if there are 2 service providers in Malaysia. This encourages healthy competition and when there is competition, it benefits users. We all know what monopolies do to the markets.
Thus when I had the opportunity to engage with WorldFirst, I did not hesitate. However our objective is not becoming WorldFirst ambassador or marketing agency. We want to help improve Malaysian eCommerce Industry and sellers' benefit by providing choices and encouraging competition.
Surprisingly, when we invited WorldFirst to participate and support our events in Perak and Penang, WorldFirst answered to our call almost immediately. Not just that, after understanding our non-exclusive position, they are still willing to provide some funds to sustain KK effort in spreading Cross-Border eCommerce in Malaysia.
It is very rare because in standard cases, we need to justify the ROI for corporate and organizations to support our mission. But for WorldFirst, it is mainly base on trust, which is uncommon in the business world.
So it pique my curiosity. What type of organization is WorldFirst to provide funding to small “fly” like KK without much questions?
So, I need to visit them to understand more!
I looked at my calendar, and find the nearest date to fly to Singapore and that day is 19th Nov. I gathered as much user’s feedback currently and prepare tough questions for them. Then I called Stanley, the guy on the cover picture that I am Coming!
The first impression, when I reach the building, OUE tower, it felt so high class at the lobby. They even have face recognition to enter the lift. haha
However, the impression change after I reach WorldFIrst office on the 36th floor. They have a strong entrepreneur feel in their office with complete open setups.
I was looking for the boss – Managing Director Office and couldn’t find it. Because he, Mr. Scully is sitting among the staff as everyone else.
After we warm up, come the first tough question.
Where is WorldFirst all this while? Is Malaysia market too small for Worldfirst? Honestly, I rarely saw WorldFirst presence in Malaysia eCommerce events and news.
WorldFirst wanted to be in Malaysian much earlier. However, as a responsible service provider, they need to ensure that Malaysian sellers do not have legal issues using WorldFirst services. Thus they had to engage top legal experts to engage with Bank Negara, and WorldFirst confirms now it is all good to go.
They did not setup up an office in Malaysia as it requires WorldFirst to provide local payment gateway and bank transfer. Such is not their core offerings, and they have no intention to compete with the many great local players already in Malaysia. Their objectives are to help Malaysian Sellers selling in International marketplaces like eBay to bring in foreign currency safely, legally and efficiently.
Why support KK? Any hidden motives? Haha
I clarify first clearly to WorldFirst that KK is not into marketing agreement for a service provider (there goes my sponsors waaah). We will always want the neutrality to bring Malaysia sellers’ voice frankly to them, and not marketing for them when Malaysia Sellers is complaining.
Mr. Scully explained clearly that WorldFirst objectives is to understand and know more about what Malaysia Cross-Border Sellers need, as happy customer build business. Thus KK mission matches their objectives on engaging with Malaysia sellers to learn the real issues on the ground selling cross-border in Malaysia.
And yes, KK can do that! Actually, we will want to collaborate with anyone who can solve Malaysia sellers’ headache in cross-border. Sincerely we hope that they understand and resolve the issues as happy customers are a service provider most powerful marketing channel, not KK ever.
But why so little justification needed from KK to support us? It is because WorldFirst is an organization which still have a kind of entrepreneur culture in it. At times, the team in the SEA will execute if it matches the objective, rather than focusing on what WorldFirst will get in return.
I like hearing that. (Mr. Scully is a great salesman haha)
So in the following discussion, I am direct in voicing out Malaysian Sellers concern such as:
a) Crrently, WorldFirst Malaysia users have to call a hotline to obtain the exchange rates information, and it is not a Malaysian hotline.
b) Suggest ongoing display of rates and compare it with public information such as bank rates, so that users know they are making the right decision.
c) Popular chat presence such as Whatsapp, Wechat, Messenger and DingTalk. Users can screenshot any issues and send directly to WorldFirst customer service. Provide Feefo review access to Malaysia users also and update the status also.
d) Regarding Malaysia government recent announcement on overseas online provider service charge, WorldFirst needs to advice Malaysia users on it.
e) Further support and appearance not just for KK event, but other Key Influencers such as MDEC, ecInsider and other organization which supports Malaysia Cross-border.