How To Win Back The Retail Market From E-commerce in Singapore

Ecommerce in Singapore is becoming the top market in South East Asia, according to a report from Borderfree.

The country is a “very attractive” market for cross-border ecommerce with a BorderfreeIndex (BFI) score at 4 out of possible 5 carts.

(Quoted from their report: the BFI is a proprietary measure established by Borderfree, and is meant to provide an indication of a market’s relative cross-border ecommerce attractiveness, specifically from the vantage point of a U.S. retailer selling abroad. The index is comprised of proprietary Borderfree data and pivotal market indicators across five broad dimensions.)

First, there are some key findings from their 2015 report on Singapore that you should know:

  • Highest disposable income in Asia
  • Large population of expatriates
  • Overall familiarity with English and U.S. brands
  • Around 55% of online spending comes from merchants outside the country (mainly USA, South Korea, Japan, EU and China)
  • Strong Singapore dollar
  • Holds 2% of the world’s apparel market
  • Ecommerce expecting to generate more than $4 billion revenues in 2015

In fact, ecommerce has been slowly creating “trouble” for retailers in Singapore, according to this news article on Today. Just months back, lifestyle retailer Goods of Desire which ran a 6000 square foot store in Central mall on Clarke Quay, have decided to close shop in Singapore. They joined a list of international retailers that have pulled out of Singapore recently, such as Lowrys Farm, Parco, Francfranc, River Island, Aussino Group, and Fancl.

Founder of Goods of Desire, Douglas Young cited the significant shift to online shopping over the past year as one of the factors for the decision. He added that the brand has revamped and reinvigorated its website to prepare for the digital shift.

But Is Having Just An Online Store Good Enough For Existing Retailers?

It’s a good start if you do not have one and want to expand your sales channels.

Retailers who are still on the edge of thinking whether to put substantial budget and resources into ecommerce, and strategy to fuse digital marketing with physical retail shopping experience, should really act before it’s too late.

To combine retail and ecommerce, businesses must have a well-designed persuasion, conversion and customer retention strategy on their website and digital marketing efforts. Online payment and security should not be a major issue nowadays with many options of 3rd party payment gateway like PayPal. Logistics is also not an issue with many new and innovative local service provider like Ninja Van, and of course not forgetting bigger logistics companies like Singpost, DHL, Fedex and Ta-Q-Bin.

Retailers should also start thinking about omni-channel marketing strategy if they want to compete with online-only retailers, not just to ‘also have an online store’. With an additional layer of personalization, and if a seamless onmi-channel shopping experience can be achieved, this can be the winning strategy physical retailers can have against online-only retailers.

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