E-commerce in Malaysia is booming since the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.
Not all business can survive this pandemic. Its getting worse when the government enforce the Movement Control Order or (MCO).
Only 'essential' business can run and open their shop or office as usual.
How about the rest of the business community, whose business is considered non-essential?
Eventually, pandemic doesn't slow down these e-commerce ready business. Perhaps, the only thing that will stop e-commerce is the non-existent of internet connection.
As long as people are connected to the internet using their mobile phone, it is good enough to convert visitors into customers.
In this article, we are going to share about things that you should aware of and why you should own e-commerce business now.
Table of Contents
Ease of use
Compared to establishing and running a physical store, it is much cheaper to sell on a pre-programmed website.
While you will need experience and skills in technology and eCommerce, there are several shopping cart apps that offer ease of use. In conjunction with the help of vendor experts and platform development communities, you would not have much trouble with your business on the website.
Social commerce is much more suitable because it is popular. You just need to tinker a little and know how to set up a store account, and with a small investment, you can use social media to grow your brand.
Traditional trading needs a substantial investment in order to run the shop. In addition, you will need to budget resources for recruiting workers, promoting businesses through ads, transport, warehousing, etc.
Inversely to this, eCommerce and social commerce do not need a significant investment since you would not sell directly to consumers but electronically sell goods and services. This results in major cost savings relative to conventional trading.
There's a matter that we want you to hear about. That's when you're advertising items on social networking sites or internet retailers, you're going to get a discount on payments that are considered middlemen's fees. They would also be more competitive than conventional trading.
There are several factors that decide the profitability of a market, including product categories, location, availability of products, competition, segmentation of consumers, etc.
For example, some of the products sold online would be more lucrative than those sold offline since their buyers are young people, and there are items that are the opposite. Therefore, you need to know how to evaluate the type of product, the subjects of the consumer, the potentials, etc., in order to select the right sales method.
However, social commerce, in general, would not offer many benefits relative to the other two approaches.
Scaling up conventional shops can cost a lot of money and require a variety of paperwork procedures. This is because conventional trading is a direct transaction, which ensures that the company will be established in a physical setting in one or more different places.
As for the eCommerce shop, since it is built in a virtual world, you would have to pay a charge to update your eCommerce platform provider contract. However, it's also a lot cheaper than opening a new store in a different location. Meanwhile, the number of consumers in the virtual world would be higher and easier to reach relative to the real market, making eCommerce more flexible.
The growth of technology and the Internet has made eCommerce and social commerce a new way of business for product suppliers. However, it is about selling and the fields of after-sales services, such as consumer reviews, customer support, or membership registration. This is one of the benefits that traditional trading is hard to match.
For instance, some clothing or coffee shops already have a loyalty program to increase sales in the future. However, not everyone is likely to come back for a second buy, including visiting the online shop or visiting the store's Facebook page. Conclusively, it can be said that if you open an online shop, be it eCommerce or social commerce, you will not only have a greater number of customers, but you will also be easier to consolidate customer loyalty.
Each type of sales can offer a different customer experience. Specifically, the customers can shop in a typical store in person or face to face. As such, they have the ability to test the product before deciding whether or not to purchase it.
In addition, the workers at the store are instantly informed that they do not have to wait for the answer as if they were shopping online. This will allow the seller to know the aspirations and preferences of the customers. And if they are unable to meet the products they need, the store may choose the alternatives available to them that are similar to their requirements.
While selling online on a website, there is no direct interaction between the seller and the buyer, but only on the Internet. Therefore, if customers need more product details or need advice between different choices, certain technology resources will be needed to meet customers' needs.
The invention of the Internet removes physical and geographical obstacles between the seller and the consumer. Even though consumers cannot evaluate products when they purchase products online, they can as well get an overview of them through product reviews and ratings. In addition, goods can be compared at various prices and materials, etc.
Marketing (Advertising and Promotions)
Since conventional commerce is the exchange of sale and purchase between the two parties (i.e., the seller and the buyer), the ads made using this approach will be transmitted directly from the seller to the buyer.
If you are selling on social media, the best way to advertise your brand and goods is through campaigns. And the most significant prerequisite for consumers to be able to view advertisements in this type is an Internet-connected device.
Your advertising would also reach more consumers and quicker, because today, most people in the world are using the Internet every day, not just locals. Not only that, shoppers will see the items at any time. In other words, it is not limited to working hours like conventional shops.
If you choose eCommerce, you won't have to spend too much money on advertising new items, because often the platform vendors will allow you to advertise on your website. Or, you're going to have to pay out a small amount of money to integrate with third-party vendor applications.
Unlike physical shops, which only accept credit cards and cash, online shopping allows you and your customers to have more payment options. At the same time, many eCommerce sites are often connected to a range of popular third-party payment methods, such as Paypal.
In addition, online transactions can stop frustrating customers due to queuing.
And it gets even more better:
Payment and accounting procedures will be identified and instantly evaluated in the online store system. You would not have to record or calculate daily or monthly earnings. And thanks to this automated method, you can know which products carry the most revenue and vice versa, which must be used for promotion or liquidation.
You can face security issues, including robbery or stealing from a conventional store. In the meantime, the network is still not safer than it is due to hackers or technological glitches, network security, which can pose information leakage, memory loss, or even website crashes.
Co-founder of Specflux Solution, he builds IT products that work. He is also running Ipoh based website design agency with his partner. If not working on client's project, he's a part of a vibrant IT community in Ipoh locally known as Digital Perak.