‘TRUST AND REACH’ KEY FACTORS IN E-COMMERCE

E-Commerce is like any other business, with trust and reach identified by industry players as key factors in succeeding. However, industry players have also noted that the means to achieving trust and reach are different in E-Commerce.

Speaking at the very first SITEC E-Commerce Class for 2016 held by the Selangor Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (SITEC) in Shah Alam, Edward Poh, product manager of PanPages, an agent of Alibaba.com in Malaysia, had spoken about the importance of merchandise exposure and merchant engagement in E-Commerce to draw in buyers and establish credibility during his presentation titled “Sure-fire strategies to guarantee startup success”.

Quoting Consumer Barometer, Poh (pictured) noted that 70% of Malaysians name the Internet as the first place they go to look for information, with online research starting with search engines. He stressed the importance of being found when customers are searching, not only in the online world, but offline as well, noting that 84% of consumers have performed a mobile search after seeing an ad.

“At Alibaba, we provide vendors with a global showcase to display their products to the world, global trade in that we help vendors to go borderless, and global research, so that vendors know their market, and can react to optimise their marketing strategy,” said Poh.

Poh also pointed out that Malaysia had the potential to export globally, but again, local e-merchants needed to get connected and get noticed by the international market.

“Some of the issues faced by consumers in buying online include the lack of website usability, along with a lack of the option to ship internationally on the merchant’s website,” noted Poh, adding that this was a problem not only among Malaysian e-merchants, but among the global e-merchant community as well.

“There is also the matter of how you present your product to potential buyers,” noted Poh, stressing the importance of tagging products with the right keywords, as well as the number and quality of product photos, the description of the product by the e-merchant, as well as the engagement of the e-merchant in responding to the buyer as well.

“Even on Alibaba, we have noticed that sellers with a faster response time to buyers tend to be rated with higher buyer satisfaction,” said Poh, adding that on Alibaba, the ranking of a particular product was based off of these criteria as well.

The importance of trust and credibility was again put forth by Jonathan Soh, the head of business development at mobile marketplace Shopee Mobile, noting that trust remains a key component in e-commerce in his presentation titled “How to build trust in the new era of mobile commerce”.

“Shopee’s own research has shown that people who have chat response rates of above 50% on our marketplace see a 33% increase in orders over other sellers. If the response rate is above 90%, the seller could see an increase of up to 240%,” noted Soh (pictured below), who also debunked several myths about the mobile marketplace as well as using mobile phones to perform transactions. Jonathan Soh- Shopee

“The mobile market is not only for millennials, as mobile shopping is a trend even among those aged above 40. According to a survey by MasterCard, mobile shopping in Malaysia has increased to 45.6% from 25.4% in 2014. The myth that transactions are unsafe is also false, as security remains a top priority among marketplaces, and the mobile market is meant to complement, not kill, brick-and-mortar stores,” said Soh, adding that e-commerce players like Amazon and Alibaba were actually moving towards opening brick-and-mortar stores.

Soh also spoke about the concept of perfect competition, which is a concept that Shopee aims to meet.

“This is an important aspect of online marketplaces. Ideally, all firms will sell an identical product, not counterfeits or knock-offs, and all firms will be price-takers, where the price listed is the price the item will be sold at. At the same time, all firms will have a relatively small market share, which allows an equal ground for competition. Buyers should also have complete information about the products being sold and the prices charged to promote transparency. There is also the matter of freedom of entry and exit, where buyers and sellers are free to buy or sell in any marketplace,” said Soh.

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