E-commerce to grow and boom in Malaysia
08 Jun 2020
The e-commerce landscape in Malaysia is booming and will only continue to grow at least in the next five years, Carousell country head of Malaysia Tang Siew Wai said.
Tang said the Covid-19 crisis had accelerated the shift in consumers’ shopping habits and he expects it to be the new normal for most Malaysians.
“Many brick and mortar businesses have already started pivoting online and many more will follow suit in order to sustain their businesses.
“Even traditional business offering services (e.g. air-cond repairs, CCTV installers etc) and our beloved mamak food stalls are having an online presence at Carousell now,” Tang said in an email interview with the New Straits Times.
He said since the end of January this year, Carousell had seen a significant lift in online activities.
This means more people are coming online to search, browse, shop and compare prices.
And that momentum is not slowing down any time soon because there will be a need for people who are financially tight to convert unused or unsold stocks into cash.
There would also be many more smarter buyers who will compare the prices of new versus used items before making the purchase decision. he added.
“At Carousell, we dream of a world where people intuitively sell their under-utilised items to benefit others instead of letting them go to waste, and where people buy these things as a smarter choice.
“I believe five to 10 years from now, people will shop from the wardrobes, storerooms and garages of their friends’, neighbours’ or people in the community for what they need, as their primary choice,” Tang said.
He said currently, there was still some negative connotation associated with second-hand but that is gradually diminishing and becoming increasingly acceptable by the market, especially among Internet-savvy working adults in Malaysia.
“Few years ago, it was unimaginable for people to ride in a stranger’s car but now e-hailing has already become a norm in our daily lives now. Therefore, in time, I envision a world where people can buy second-hand as a natural, smarter and more meaningful choice.”
Tang said SMEs should look for a platform that provides high exposure and low operating costs.when making the shift from brick and mortar to the online retail space?
“If an SME owner is not familiar with conducting business online, he/she should start with online marketplaces that are easy for them to learn and use to minimise operational disruptions.”
He said with the changing retail environment, a platform with huge online presence is key to getting one’s brand or products known.
Tang shared that Carousell users open the application six times daily, with each session averaging more than 13 minutes each.
“Just imagine the benefits your business will get if you can cut through the mix to reach millions of potential customers.”
Trust and safety are also a huge part of bringing your business online.
“Consumers are wary of online frauds and scams, which is where Carousell Protection comes in to establish trust and credibility with our users,” he said.
Tang said the key is to start building one’s business online gradually via online marketplaces (first) before making any heavy investments to build his own dot-com online store.
“Otherwise, the SME owner may end up with additional overheads that will burden the business. Leveraging on the traffic and facilities from online marketplaces is usually a good starting point to familiarise yourself,” he added.