COVID-19 has changed the consumer landscape permanently, accelerating the growth of e-commerce exponentially. While the pandemic has sounded the death knell for brick-and-mortar stores for many brands, online shopping has thrived in these very same conditions. “Following a 25.7% surge in 2020, to $4.213 trillion, we expect retail ecommerce sales worldwide to climb a further 16.8% this year, to $4.921 trillion,” according to the Global Ecommerce Forecast 2021. While only two years ago, a mere 17.8% of sales were made from online purchases, the proportion of e-commerce sales is expected to reach 21% in 2022. With numbers like these, it’s hard for retailers to ignore cross-border retail and include it as one of their distribution channels.
If you have just started a business in Malaysia, deciding which e-commerce site to choose to sell your products internationally can be difficult. Which ones will help you reach your target audiences? Or which makes the most sense, economically? In this blog, we have compiled a list of third-party sellers that would fit best with your brand and product.
Selling internationally on an e-commerce website is more convenient than setting up your own website, provides you immediate access to a wide pool of buyers and helps you quickly build brand awareness.
Some things to consider when deciding on a platform is the set-up procedure, listing fees and international markets you can access. For example, some e-commerce sites allow you to effortlessly set up a seller profile while others require extensive proof of seller credibility first. Some sites also specialise in a particular niche, like thrift clothing or handmade crafts. Do adequate research on each before deciding which ones you should select.
Amazon offers several benefits to its sellers. One of its key advantages is that it offers access to a huge consumer base, with hundreds of million of worldwide active customer accounts and more than 200 million paid Prime members globally. This makes it the largest e-commerce site in the world.
According to Statista, 66% Prime users have also declared that Amazon offers the fastest delivery and it’s the main reason why users from the United States choose to shop on Amazon. It’s also particularly attractive for first-time sellers, as their listing fees are low and you only are required to fork out a cut if you make a sale. The checks Amazon puts in place also reassures buyers that you are a credible company selling quality goods.
Etsy stands apart from the pool of e-commerce sites as it was founded with the intention of allowing indie craftsmen and creators to sell their work to those looking for unique, one-of-a-kind gifts. Their three core areas are handmade, vintage and supplies. Unlike Amazon, which sells standardised goods, most items sold on Etsy are handmade, fall under the arts and crafts category or are vintage, and inventories are managed by the sellers. This gives the e-commerce marketplace a personal touch. As of 2020, “there were over 39.4 million active Etsy buyers worldwide,”. according to Statista.
A list of online marketplaces is not completed without eBay. As one of the first companies that connected buyers and sellers online starting in 1995, eBay has now become a household name all around the world. “In the second quarter of 2021, eBay had approximately 159 million active buyers worldwide”, notes Statista. Those who choose to sell on eBay also have the flexibility to set their own shipping policies, return policies and shipping charges. Hence, those who are hawking their wares can go with a third-party logistics provider they feel most comfortable with.
Singapore’s tech unicorn, Carousell, is a strong choice for those looking to sell to other countries within Southeast Asia. This online shopping website currently serves eight markets across Southeast Asia, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, and most recently Australia. The perk of using Carousell is that there are no fees involved for listing your products and you don’t get charged when someone buys from you too. One drawback is that the platform does not offer a payment gateway, so buyers will need to make do with a bank transfer – which can be worrisome if you’re selling internationally.
You might be an experienced business owner, or you might be exploring entrepreneurial opportunities through the sale of products projected to be in high demand for the year.
Each e-commerce site comes with its share of pros and cons; one is not inherently better than the other. It’s necessary that you evaluate your products and target audiences, to decide which works best for you.