You might know him as the founder of Old Town or present guardian of Nam Heong, but Andy Goh is a bona fide multi-hyphenate who encapsulates the modern entrepreneurial spirit by reinventing himself time and again.
His latest venture is MeCan Trade, touted as Malaysia’s first social commerce platform. Fully aware that the ravaging pandemic has pillaged the livelihoods of thousands of his compatriots, Andy sets out to offer them silver linings with a unique and seamless platform that ties e-commerce with social media prowess.
Costing RM30 million to materialise, Andy pitches MeCan Trade as a multi-pronged platform accessible to all, with specific roles catered to their strengths: sellers (manufacturers or brand owners) or ambassadors.
Its selling point is that the platform requires no start-up capital or inventory stocking. Members only need to establish their own e-stores, select a wide variety of products on MeCan Trade, which are provided directly by manufacturers or authorised distributors themselves.
To gain insights into MeCan Trade, we speak to Andy.
Can you explain what differentiates MeCan Trade from the likes of Lazada and Shopee? Do you see these platforms as your direct competitors?
MeCan Trade is designed to be a unique proposition within the business industry and a social commerce environment. Lazada or Shopee is a B2C trading platform, to buy and sell, with one marketplace and very high competition, and perhaps questionable quality. A typical business trading on those platforms will need capital and a business model.
MeCan Trade, however, is a journey for two key segments, each with its own formula to grow, but they share the same vision – to succeed, create a fair-trading ecosystem that everyone can enjoy and go beyond borders. We are a business enabler for business owners, also known as sellers, to list their items on our platform with no additional charges. They have full control over their products, as well as the ability to expand their brands to over 1,200 channels, and above all, curb price wars.
And for those who aspire to be an entrepreneur, also known as ambassadors, we give them a platform, their very own customisable, personalised store, with a huge variety of products that they are comfortable selling, with no capital, no risk and no cost involved. The best part is, it is absolutely free.
There is a clear differentiation between us and other marketplaces. MeCan Trade is all about personal business growth that leverages big data, technology and emotion.
As you are an experienced entrepreneur in the F&B sector, will MeCan Trade be focusing on F&B-related FMCG?
Absolutely. MeCan Trade is opening up opportunities to many sectors as we develop further to match the speed of technology. At present, we are very driven and focused on what we have on our platform, but at the same time, we will be looking into more customisation and freedom for business owners to take control.
Can you tell us MeCan Trade’s target audience? Which segment of users MeCan intends to attract?
MeCan Trade is a 360 commerce solutions provider. We cater to two key segments, which are business owners, whom we label as sellers, and literally everyone else.
Business owners can enjoy big data, social tools, systems, logistics and support. You have the products, while we have the entire platform and an army to promote and sell your products.
As for everyone else, it also means that individuals who have always aspired to be entrepreneurs have this absolutely free platform to try their hands. MeCan Trade has more than 2,000 products on our platform which they can choose from, learn about these products and promote to their network. The intention is to enable passive income while they build their own network and base, and progress in social commerce.
The vision is to create a healthy ecosystem within commerce and bring Malaysians up to speed with technology.
Give us reasons why sellers should pay attention to or join MeCan Trade.
If we look at the commerce landscape today, it is similar to how trade wars have been created. Quite a handful have lost control of their product ownership and brands, fallen to price wars, with no visibility of their product distribution and succumbed themselves to that business environment.
Our platform is very focused on using technology as an enabler. It gives these sellers new ways to reinvent their business strategies, regain control of their brands with full visibility of business data, and most importantly, decide the value of the business and product.
That is not all. Our platform, as we speak, has more than 1,200 ambassadors to promote and sell their products. This equates to deploying in your business or brand a 1,200-strong salesforce overnight.
Tell us about the concept of ambassadors.
To us, an ambassador can be anyone, including celebrities. We start small, with leads and resources that they already have. We have 2,000 original and genuine products of their choice to promote. Gradually, we will grow and learn together. We also have the #MeCanBoss programme for them to get educated about the journey to become a successful social commerce entrepreneur.
What was the process of setting up MeCan Trade like? How long did it take you from ideation to realisation? Did you encounter obstacles in securing capital or funding?
MeCan was founded in 2011, back in the days when I was still running Old Town White Coffee. The sole purpose of MeCan’s existence is to provide business solutions to business owners using technology. During my time at Old Town, I always wished we had data to support my business decisions. I could imagine the kind of acceleration of the business we might have had if only technology back then was moving a bit faster.
When we first started, we experienced various obstacles along the way as technological solutions came with expensive price tags. The progress was slow and to subsequently offer these solutions to conventional businesses was too difficult.
We created MeCan Trade less than 24 months ago and placed it under the MeCan umbrella. We decided to build everything from scratch as we wanted a comprehensive system and to eventually evolve it to cater to everyone. From complex ideation to a less-than-10-minute setup for every end consumer, it took us substantial brainstorming to get to where we are today. I am proud to say that we have achieved this with plenty of blood, sweat and tears. We have a long way to go and much more to achieve, but so far we are on track with our finances and funding.
What are your expectations or targets for MeCan Trade? How confident are you that MeCan Trade will establish itself firmly in a crowded marketplace?
We are very focused on becoming the leading social commerce community that only promotes quality and genuine products to all end users. In 2020, despite Covid-19, we achieved our acquisition targets as our business module opened up plenty of opportunities to business owners and individuals who suffered losses during this difficult time.
We have much more to do and achieve in the coming years, but we target to have on board a larger variety of listings on our platform and an even larger community of ambassadors within a short span of time.