Are you ready for 11.11?
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Today, we will talk about every entrepreneur’s favourite topic: taxes!
Southeast Asia is one of the most exciting places today to be an online seller. With a growing middle class, a tech-savvy population, and an Internet economy expected to reach US$300 billion by 2025, the region is poised for an eCommerce boom. And e-marketplaces such as Shopee, Lazada, and Tokopedia are making it easier for solopreneurs and businesses to capture a share of the online market.
As a top Southeast Asia eCommerce platform, Shopee has made it easier than ever for anyone to open up a virtual store and start selling. But that also means it has an influx of sellers, making it tough for them to stand out from the rest.
ECommerce platforms are integral channels for selling goods and services. Compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts, they are more affordable, accessible, and maintainable. Ecommerce platforms are winning hearts and gaining ground all over Southeast Asia—the region is experiencing some of the highest levels of eCommerce adoption in the world.
A record-breaking 80 million items were bought online within 24 hours during Shopee’s 2019 12.12 Shopping Festival. This top Southeast Asia eCommerce platform had an impressive performance for the 11.11 Shopping Festival too, with 70 million items sold in 24 hours.
Today’s online shoppers expect convenience from start to finish. The product they want must be on the first page of search engine and eCommerce marketplace results. Customers need to see every product detail on one page—and be able to Add to Cart with the next click. And product comparisons should be simply worded and bite-sized.
ECommerce in Southeast Asia is thriving. Regional marketplace Lazada makes it easy for anyone to sign up and start selling, with 155,000 sellers across six countries now doing brisk business.
The world as we know it has temporarily stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries have implemented various preventive measures (from curfews and travel bans to total lockdowns) to lessen virus transmission and ease the pressure on healthcare systems.
Cross-border shipping may be tricky in the eCommerce industry. Costs can differ largely due to its dimension and weight but more importantly on the method, declared value and receipient addresses. If these are not well-taken care of, there may be a sudden cost spike and result in a lost sale and a unhappy customer.
Business owners often go where their customers are. And in an era when ‘socials’ don’t always mean actual, physical connections between human beings, social media has quickly become a critical eCommerce component for entrepreneurs.
With approximately three-quarters of Internet users in Singapore shopping online, going into eCommerce makes sense because that’s where the action is. Selling online also means fewer overhead costs like store rental, but there are still expenses to be incurred at every stage. You will definitely need to spend some money to make money—just like any other business.
In Southeast Asia, eCommerce has opened up the regional marketplace to big and small players alike. It has opened up paths for solopreneurship, and given small businesses the chance to compete with large brands without spending on a brick-and-mortar shop in a prime location.
Most eCommerce entrepreneurs channel their efforts into getting sales. But what happens after customers place their orders?
Cross-border eCommerce—defined as the selling of goods online from one country to another—is the next frontier for online merchants in Southeast Asia. According to Mordor Intelligence, Southeast Asia’s cross-border eCommerce sales account for more than 40% of the region’s eCommerce market, which itself is predicted to surge to US$150 billion by 2025—US$50 billion more than previous forecasts.
When it comes to shopping, there are several steps in the journey from browsing to purchase. In fact, research from Facebook and Bain & Company revealed that while 54% of digital consumers in Southeast Asia discover products via social media, 33% still check physical stores before making a purchase.
Working in eCommerce is like conducting a full orchestra: all orders across multiple channels must be picked, packed, and shipped on time—all day, every day! Timing is crucial: the longer a customer waits for their parcel(s) to arrive at their doorstep, the higher their anxiety (and dissatisfaction with you!) goes.
Most eCommerce entrepreneurs make two big mistakes in the early stages of their business. First, they think they can DIY the entire process, and routinely choose and switch up who they’ll work with from product ordering to the actual parcel delivery.
It took some time for eCommerce in South East Asia to catch on, but now it’s going full speed ahead. The internet economy has grown in size to a record US$100 billion in 2019, and is foreseen to hit US$300 billion by 2025.
Congratulations, you are now officially a Lazada seller!
Whether you’re set to do business on LazMall or the local marketplace, or you’re an approved LazGlobal merchant getting into the Singapore market, being on the Lazada marketplace is just the beginning of your journey in eCommerce in Southeast Asia.
With so much to gain in the world of eCommerce in Southeast Asia, the competition is fierce.
Customs terms every eCommerce seller in Southeast Asia should know
So you have already picked out which top eCommerce marketplaces you want to buy from (and maybe do business with), learned how to get your parcels through customs clearance, and found out how crucial last-mile delivery is for your brand.
The holidays are fast approaching, and there’s no better way to welcome the season than with everyone’s favourite pastime: online shopping.
As the eCommerce revolution continues to sweep across Southeast Asia, brands and retailers are rushing to meet their customers where they prefer to do their shopping: on the Internet. Research by Google and Temasek shows that in 2017, Southeast Asia had 120 million people shopping on eCommerce sites—up from 50 million in 2015.
2018 was a watershed year for online shopping in Southeast Asia. According to Google and Temasek Southeast Asia's internet economy hit an inflection point last year, with the eCommerce sector generating US$23 billion in revenue—more than double the revenue in 2017.
For consumers, buying a product online—and having that product shipped right to their doorsteps—has become routine. Everything is taken care of after just a few taps on their smartphone screen or laptop touchpad, and the transaction is done after a few days at most. Sometimes, even within a single day.
There’s no denying it: everyone’s shopping online. Data from Shopify shows that sales on global eCommerce platforms will go up to US$3.5 trillion this year. Meanwhile, 57.9% of shoppers in the Asia-Pacific region (which includes Southeast Asia) buy products from abroad, and our contribution to worldwide eCommerce will jump to US$1.4 trillion by 2023.