There’s a reason you’re here, you know Singapore’s eCommerce market is booming, online shopping is in a frenzy and you don’t want to miss out. Retail e-commerce is set to reach nearly $5tn by the end of the year globally.
Here in Singapore with 3.3million people now actively shopping online, (and much more accessible in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia plus others) and according to Google and Temasek, the eCommerce market will be worth SGD$7.4 billion by 2025.
With an opportunity so vast there are lots of ways to get involved in the eCommerce Singapore Boom, but how do you stand out in this mature economy, and which eCommerce platform is right for you?
Below we show you the best eCommerce platforms in Singapore for different business types. For example, Shopify is the best eCommerce platform for drop shipping and a startup online store.
Amazon is the best of the online marketplaces and Etsy is the best for craft products.
So stick with us as we identify the best sales channels for your entry into this awesome opportunity that will help you get in front of the correct online shoppers for your business.
What Will I Learn?
eCommerce Singapore Best Platform’s For Online Business
eCommerce Website Choices Include: (please click to be brought to your platform of choice)
- Best Overall eCommerce Platform – Shopify
- Best Marketplace – Amazon
- Best for Craft & Hobby – Etsy
- Best for Online Retailer – Big Commerce
- Best Best WordPress & Affiliate – Woocommerce
- Best Local – Zalora
How We Qualify Different eCommerce Software
First, we identify what the chosen online store solution is best for (and what products should you sell to online shoppers) Next, we look at the type of entrepreneur it would and wouldn’t suit. And we then evaluate based on these 4 criteria.
- Ease of Setting up your eCommerce website (technical know how & financial investment)
- Stock Management (purchase and restock)
- Traffic Generation
- Back End Management, mobile app accessibility (email and accounting)
Shopify – Best Overall eCommerce Platform
Shopify is a perfect eCommerce platform for a wide variety of sites in Singapore from dropshipping to enterprise scaling. This popular online store and versatile eCommerce platform have something for everyone looking to create their own website for a small few items all the way up to thousands of products online.
eASEAN rated Shopify as the best overall eCommerce platform because it is:
- The most versatlie online store and ecommerce website, packed with more resources, mobile app accesibility,
- User friendly of all Singapore online store builders/ecommerce platforms.
This is one of the sales channels that is suitable for everyone, from the absolute novice (there is the basic plan) to the massive eCommerce enterprise (there is Shopify plus).
So whether you looking to create a one-product dropshipping e-commerce site, your own local store, or scale up to an online store empire using your digital marketing skills, Shopify has a plan and the infrastructure for a wide variety of customers.
There’s a reason why it’s the most popular e-commerce store builder in the world,… its plans are awesome, and as a platform for eCommerce in Singapore, it rocks.
But it’s not just us here at eASEAN who think it’s a great eCommerce website…with over 220 million users worldwide, Shopify is the most popular e-commerce site builder in the world, and people creating sites in Singapore are growing too.
Currently, in the Singapore market, there are over 5,500 Shopify stores online in Singapore, but this number will definitely go up as the Singaporean e-commerce industry has nearly sextupled in the last 12 months, with a huge influx of online shoppers.
There is a reason for this, their plans are all very strong, offering:
- Awesome customisable themes to suit every business type,
- Superb product inventory management even inside the mobile app (particulalrly when using the Oberlo app),
- Major payment gateway integrations, and loads of payment methods,
- Integration for online marketplaces (ebay & Amazon),
- Social media integration, so you hook your eCommerce website to Facebook and even manage your live chat service via the social network,
- The Shopify app store, with more resources than any competitors, many offers free in the store,
- As well as very low (2%) transaction fees.
Benefits Of Shopify For Beginners
And the great news for all you beginners out there, with this eCommerce platform you don’t need any tech or coding skills, the dashboard is super easy to follow, it’s very intuitive the basic plan… you could be selling with your first website within the hour – this is the new way of Singapore online business.
eASEAN Criteria For Shopify
Stock and Go and never worry about bulk buying – When you follow the dropshipping model you never have to bulk purchase products like you have to on the likes of Amazon.
With the likes of Ali-express, you have access to literally millions of different products, inside a wide variety of categories, which can be simply integrated and managed with the Oberlo app. And you only pay for the product when a customer purchases it from your eCommerce site. With the Oberlo app, you will be able to monitor stock levels of the company that is supplying the products you’re selling, so if they start to run short you can look to another manufacturer to stock your site.
The one major issue with this stock and go dropshipping approach is delivery time. Delivery times can be anything from 3 to 60 days, and in our Amazon next-day delivery world, 60 days is just not acceptable, so you will have to spend some time trying to find the best product with good delivery times.
On the other hand, if you have your own products that you sell on your eCommerce website, or you have a reputable delivery system in place, Shopify is perfect, as it makes everything about selling a breeze.
Easiest Platform out there… you’ll be live and selling in under an hour – You can set up your Singapore eCommerce empire with just an email, you need next to no tech skills, there is an app for every task. You can upload and sell products quickly, and you’ll be up and running in less than an hour.
And the best part, it won’t cost you the earth to get this going, with the basic plan starting at $29 a month and no product overhead costs (as mentioned above), you won’t even spend $50 to get your site up and running.
There’s an app for everything if you need extra functionality – Dependent on the plan you choose, you will go from basic email and reporting to professional analytics. And if you can’t find the backend support your business needs there’s literally an app and /or plugin for everything:
- SEO – Apps to help you with your organic traffic generation and digital marketing,
- Lead Collection – Apps to help you build lists of customers,
- Social Media Integration – sell on many of the social media platforms,
- Incresae Order Value – Apps to help you increase the amount customers spend on your store,
- Plus, so many more things you can do inside the platfrom and mobile app.
Even if you do go with the basic plan, while some things might not be available, there is always a work-around. Our favorite is what can be done with Analytics (The tracking of customers on your store).
With a little bit of time and a bit of clever UTM tagging, you can hook the Shopify eCommerce platform to Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, plus local Singapore sites and run it all through Google sheets giving you awesome professional analytics system without the cost.
Shopify for eCommerce in Singapore scores the top spot, and the reasons are multiple, along with being so easy to use, their app store is filled with everything a starter or growing business needs to excel in online business.
Get your 14-day free trial here
Why Shopify Is The Best All-Round
It is the best all-around popular eCommerce platform and mobile app, not only in the Singaporean e-commerce industry, but also throughout Southeast Asia, and it comes down to its very short learning curve.
It is so intuitive, packed with more resources than competitors, you just log in and start. It feels like you have used the platform before, and that in term makes it much easier to get your first eCommerce products up and ready to sell products to Singapore (even on social media) in a super quick time.
Where Shopify Falls Short
Short-term traffic generation can be expensive for your eCommerce website – As it’s a site builder rather than an online market place (where people know to shop like Amazon) you will have to generate your own traffic.
Particularly when working with dropshipping immediacy is very important (as the market is ultra-competitive) you will have to spend on Facebook advertising to trigger people’s interest in your product.
Of course, over time as small businesses grow, you can take advantage of the far more cost-effective and in fact more intentional benefits of SEO as you start to rank for certain searches on Google. Think of it this way “Short Term Pain, Long Term Gain – worth it for growing sites in Singapore.
eASEAN Score For Shopify in Singapore
We give Shopify a very respectable score of 4.3/5 for its eCommerce platform. This is a really popular eCommerce solution for ANYONE in Singapore looking to get their first online store, but not only that, if you are looking for a system that your current online store can scale with, Shopify is great too.
As mentioned about traffic generation – Shopify can build a long-term sustainable visitor generation through SEO, but in the short term, you will most likely have to focus your traffic efforts on paid media, the likes of Google Ads, Facebook, and YouTube.
Amazon – Best Marketplace
Of course, you’ve all heard of Amazon… the world’s biggest retailer and popular online destination, owned by the world’s richest man. You probably already know it’s made 50K+ millionaires.
And now with the Launch of Amazon Singapore in 2019 Singaporean businesses are taking advantage of this awesome online market place. Launched just prior to the global pandemic, the 12,000+ Singaporean businesses on Amazon Singapore eCommerce platform have massively benefited from the house-bound society who fell in love with purchasing on online marketplaces.
As Online Marketplaces go… This Is The Marketplace of Everything – Why has it been so successful, and why have we rated Amazon.com as the best online Market place?
You can sell pretty much anything on there, from wolf t-shirts to windscreen wipers, audiobooks to AirPods, there’s so much on there you’d be amazed at what people regularly buy. They also offer two modes for delivering your goods, should you choose to sell products on Amazon:
- FBA: Fulfilled by Amazon
- MF: Merchant Fulfilment
But can everyone get involved?
People purchase from Amazon because they know they will benefit from next-day delivery, but how does Amazon coordinate this when it has hundreds of thousands of eCommerce sellers on its platform.
Well, it strongly encourages sellers to adopt the FBA Approach. FBA stands for Fulfilled by Amazon, which means, you the seller deliver the product you are selling to one of Amazon’s massive fulfillment centers so that they can manage/fulfill the logistics of delivering the purchase when it’s made.
As they say, FBA offers:
- Free shipping,
- Free storage,
- Free removals,
- Free returns.
On the surface, this sounds great, as your business does not have to worry about delivering your goods as Amazon has it sorted. But when you look a little deeper, it says you need to bulk buy products regularly through the year, which is probably too big an overlay for any new small businesses that are starting out.
eASEAN Criteria For Amazon
Easy & Affordable to set up – Probably the most difficult element is just getting started…
- What you need: Business mail address or Amazon customer account / Chargeable credit card / Valid passport or ID. / Company registration details
- Amazon Fees: you’ll have two subscription options here in Singapore for your ecommerce platform, either you will go with the professional seller flat fee $29.95 or you pay $1 per sale (if you sell products amounting to less than 35 items a month)
The other fee you will need to think about is the FBA fee (which Amazon strongly push) which is usually 15% of the purchase price (payed after a purchae is made)
- Setting up your listing can be done in a matter of minutes, but in such a competitive marketplace, with a wide array of competition, we recommend you spend time getting professional photos taken and come awesome converting sales copy created.
Only Successful business bulk buy – As mentioned earlier Amazon strongly recommend their FBA program. So what does this mean for you like someone new to all of this?
Well, it will mean you will have to bulk buy. Usually, bulk buying on a platform like AliExpress eCommerce will mean you will need to buy at least 100+ products. Obviously, prior to bulk buying, you will need to get a sample product sent to you (to make sure the product you want to promote is legitimate), plus delivery to Singapore is fast.
In terms of financial outlay, what does it mean?
Well this really comes down to the cost of the product coming from the manufacturer, this can be anything $0.10 to $500+, so you will have to find a product that suits your small business’s financial ability.
One further word of caution, experts recommend 30% spend (of your overall budget) on Amazon Ads to help your product stand out. So as you can see there is quite a bit of sensible accounting needed if you’re going to start the amazon route. Saying all of that, if your product takes off you could be having five/six-figure months very quickly.
An ultra-competitive marketplace but some digital marketing can help you cut through – The massive benefit of selling on Amazon is the customer’s intentionality. Up to 60% of Amazon’s traffic is looking to buy… you could call it “a marketplace of intent“.
That is phenomenal. However a lot of small businesses understand this, and many product categories have reached saturation point. To take advantage of this high-intentional traffic you will have to do some smart digital marketing around your eCommerce listings (optimization), so as to move it up the Amazon platform search and stand out from the competition in Singapore.
Excellent backend analytics and email service – One of the benefits of selling on the world’s biggest and most successful retailer is that you get to use all of their smart backend software to look after all the running of your business, like understanding transaction fees, etc.
Amazon Singapore – Best Marketplace
With easy-to-start prices and the specific user intent of its shoppers, Amazon is the best online market place to build your sites in Singapore. While it lacks the functionality and customizations of a Shopify eCommerce Website, it certainly makes up for it in buyer numbers.
Why Amazon Is The Best Marketplace
This comes down to active customers, searching for what it is that you potentially offer, credit card in hand, ready for your business to appear so they can choose you and make a purchase from your store. Now while there is more to it than that, it is not far from the mark.
A great choice for sites in Singapore looking for a popular eCommerce platform that takes all the hassle out of the design and development of a standalone eCommerce store.
Where Amazon Marketplace Falls Down
Well for starters you are limited, Amazon controls everything you do – the look, the feel, the lack of personalization, you are just another numbered Singapore seller on the Amazon Market platform with no eCommerce store individuality at all. You need to be on your game when it comes to product optimization, but if you can get this correct, even just better than your closest competition and you have a chance at selling big with Jeff Bezos and Co.
eASEAN Rating Score For Amazon
Amazon gets a nice round 4/5 for its online store marketplace. That’s a 4.5 for ease and affordability to start, a bad 2.5 for bulk buying of products, vs the likes of Shopify and drop shipping, their internal traffic and buyer intent get them a 4, and then finally, they score 5 for their excellent backend system, analytics, and email service.
Etsy – Best For Craft
The biggest craft marketplace in the world
Are you a craftsperson, a maker, an artist, or a designer? Are you looking to turn your hobby into a side hustle? Look no further than Etsy. With nearly 4million sellers and over 70 million active buyers, Etsy is the biggest craft marketplace (both online store and offline) in the world.
Building an Etsy store may not turn your hobby into a multi-million dollar empire…
- But it’s super low risk (compared to building/designing & hosting your own website),
- Extremely easy to create your own store inside the marketplace,
- You will be up and running with your very own store in less than an hour (*if you have all your designs ready to go) and…
- It’s even easier to maintain.
Sell products in your easy to create low-risk Etsy store in no time.
If you already have a product or are still looking, get your unique item to sell on Etsy and it will find a market eager for it.
Etsy pitches itself as an ecommerce marketplace where you buy “unique items”, and the platform really is full of these unique items making lots of sales every month, could yours be one of the next sites in Singapore to become a success?
From jewelry to clothes, paintings to photos, cups to candles, cards to stickers, whatever your niche there’s a market and customer base waiting for your store to open on Etsy.
eASEAN Criteria For Etsy
Getting Started – It’s so easy to get up and running but fees can get a bit complicated.
There’s a reason why this low-risk marketplace is so popular (with nearly 3m sellers) it’s super easy to get up and to run. You’ll be ready to go in 6 simple steps…
- Choose a name for your online store,
- Create a logo (either yourself or pay a designer of fiverr),
- Take professional photos of your craft (remember there are 3m sellers, you want to stand out and look professional in the eyes of the buyer, if you don’t they will go to another who does),
- Write cool converting copy – get them excited about the “unique items” they’re going to buy from you,
- Create a posting plan – you’re in charge of P&P so make sure you cost it correctly,
- Have small budget to pay for your listings.
You do have to pay for your listings, and this is where everything gets a little complicated, as Etsy has a rather strange fee structure.
Etsy Fee Structure
- $0.20 for listing an item (so if you have 20 items for sale on etsy it will cost you $4.00)
- 5% Transaction fee (on every purchase)
- $0.25 plus 4% (of entire payment price incl P&P) procession fee.
As I said its pretty complicated. Just imagine you’re selling a T Shirt for $20 (P&P incl), this is how much profit you would make:
$20 – $0.20 (listing fee) – $1 (transaction fee) – $1.05 (processing fee: $0.25 + $0.80 (4%)) = $17.75.
Starting From Small – Keep it simple as you are in charge of creating your stock, beware of craft copycats if your lines start to take off.
Don’t try to offer up a massive range of products on the platform to start, keep it simple, and let your eCommerce lines grow because you’re the maker, and replenishing stock levels is up to you, even in a country as small as Singapore this can cause issues…
But once you do get on top of this, this is a massive bonus because you take a lot more profits when the products are made by you.
You will have to make sure your products/crafts are unique – the Etsy buyer base is a demanding bunch…
Also, be aware of the craft copycat community… they’re out there just waiting to catch a trend to copy, so if you are a shop that really starts to take off, you will have to expect copycats coming soon after…
Our advice here is to keep evolving your range at a healthy pace so as to keep your customers excited.
Tap into pre-existing buyers – Take advantage of their active buyer base and your social community to maximize traffic and sales.
With 70 million active buyers who know what they want, this is massive, and as a marketplace, Etsy is nowhere near as saturated as other online marketplaces like Amazon…
So the traffic coming there is very intentional.
As mentioned before, create a professional-looking shop, master the Etsy listing system and these buyers are willing to have a look around.
As another positive, many Etsy stores have been using social and in particular Instagram to seriously increase traffic to their Etsy stores. If you have a big following already on Instagram, introduce them to their Etsy store, your current fans will be your first customers.
Not Great Backend – Rudimentray platform backend so Shopify Plus eCommerce is definitely worth checking for the more professional Singapore Etsy store owner.
When comparing Etsy’s backend analytics to say someone like Amazon, it does look very rudimentary, maybe an unfair analogy but think farmers market compared to a supermarket.
They are working on improving this area, and they have opened up their code to developers, with some stores applying really interesting inventory management systems.
We would also strongly recommend Etsy Plus for the serious professionals out there.
Etsy Plus offers you the tools to help you properly market and stand out from the crowd. It also includes credits for shop listings and Etsy Ads, along with access to custom web address discounts, restock requests, advanced shop customization, and more.
Etsy – Best For Crafts & Hobbies
If you are a bit of a creative type and buy or produce your own unique crafty/hobby type products then Etsy could well be the Singapore eCommerce solution you are after. With a pre-existing buyer audience, getting started couldn’t be easier.
Why Etsy Is Best For Craft/Hobbies in Singapore
For a start, it is so easy to get up and running, and you can tap into a huge league of buyers who are looking for that uniqueness that your craft or hobby offers. Top that off with the affordability of starting your eCommerce shop and it ranks the best platform for our arts and crafts marketplace for sites in Singapore.
Where Etsy Falls Down
There are a number of issues with Etsy. #1 is that they have a complicated pricing structure that you need to get your head around, and if you aren’t any good at calculator math you might begin to have issues as sales rise (sales definitely are not a bad thing). #2 They also have a very basic backend that really doesn’t take into consideration growing small businesses’ needs, so make sure you are aware of this if you already have a lot of products in different categories ready to sell online.
eASEAN Score For Etsy Singapore
Etsy gets an overall score of 3.9/5, but yet it is still the best online selling platform for arts, crafts, and hobbies. The score is broken down into the following: Ease of setup and fees 4/5, if you keep it simple to start it gets a 4.3/5, their active social community of buyers gets them a 4.3/5, and finally, their basic backend gets them 3/5.
The way they have structured their platform makes it easy for you to learn about the platform at every single step. Which is a masterstroke in our opinion and a real benefit to craft sites in Singapore!
BigCommerce Pro – Best Online Retailer
Packed with features for a scaling business (plus it’s open source)
This was a close-run competition between Big Commerce Pro and Shopify Plus, but big Commerce Pro with its additional features won out as the best eCommerce platform for online retail in Singapore, not only because it is open source as you will see. Offering the usual stuff like:
- Unlimited products/bandwidth/file storage/staff accounts and,
- Real-time shipping quotations,
- POS Functionality,
- AMP functionality,
- Abandoned cart saver & persistant cart tool,
- Store credit cards,
- Open source community,
- And the very cool google customer reviews display.
But the biggie for all you budding eCommerce website enterprise builders out there is Big Commerce Pro’s ability to process $400,000 worth of sales.
Scaling Your eCommerce Websites with Big Commerce
So you’ve gotten past the pain of surviving eCommerce beginnings, now you start thriving with a scaling multi-site e-commerce enterprise.
Big Commerce pro is one of the most popular eCommerce websites for professionals with 50+ product stores, and will probably have a few of these multi-product stores.
It will cost you $299.95 for sites in Singapore, but that’s to be expected. This cost will look expensive to an early-stage entrepreneur, but to a Singapore business sincere in its ambition to scale, it’s an essential part of your business and an overhead worth investing in one of the best eCommerce platforms around.
eASEAN Criteria For Big Commerce
Support – 24/7 technical support to ease the scaling transition – While nowhere near the size of Shopify, Big Commerce does have 60,000 loyal customers, because they pack their plans with cool features.
Big Commerce pro is definitely packed with them, meaning you will need to be technically proficient to deploy and maximize the potential of all its features. Saying that you’ve probably reached a scale where you’re employing Singapore tech staff, and with their unlimited staff accounts, your professionals can work their magic on the eCommerce platform.
To support your team are the awesome Big Commerce team who will make the process as easy as possible and help you tailor the features to the requirements of your sites in Singapore.
Customer Experience – Improved customer product experience and technical support – Now that you have weathered the early storms of popular eCommerce Websites, and have properly managed all stock issues, you either have long-term (replenishment) deals with manufacturers in place or maybe you’re white-labeling or have your own brands created.
What you need is an awesome real-time product customer interface. Big Commerce Pro has an awesome product filtering feature that significantly improves the customer experience. It enables Singapore shoppers to dynamically filter products, unlike on other eCommerce platforms. So for you as an online store retailer, it allows you to leverage custom product fields to filter products in faceted search.
Great Digital Marketing Tools – Advanced digital marketing functionality – Regular high converting traffic is the lifeblood of businesses/sites.
You will already have different strategies already in place, and you need an eCommerce platform in Singapore that enables and enhances these strategies so you can maximize returns.
Big Commerce Pro can help drive and convert more traffic with leading SEO tools, also offering 70+ promotions and discounts. Their single-page checkout, abandoned cart saver and persistent cart tool are perfect for re-converting lost sales.
Backend Area – Awesome backend features but you will have to add third-party email – With a powerful feature list and awesome technical support team, Big Commerce offers a great Back End offering, which will help you scale your growing sites in Singapore.
But, and this is a big ‘but’, Big Commerce Pro (and all plans) do not offer email service on their eCommerce platform.
It will mean you will need to add the (often) expensive third-party email provider. The backend is set up to make integrations super easy, so if the additional cost is not a problem Big Commerce Pro is the plan for you.
Open Source – At BigCommerce, they benefit from open source communities, and have built their business on it. They leave their code open source for developers to build within its ecosystem, strengthing its power.
Open source means that they leave their code open so developers can use it. So to use the open-source code they do not have to pay to use it and are not limited but the legality of using the open-source code either, unlike the likes of other eCommerce platforms like Shopify vying for the Singapore market, who are not open source.
Big Commerce – Best For Online Store Retail
Big Commerce is perfect for you and your business if you are ready to scale up to the next level. If you are just starting out, the cost can be prohibitive, so when growing your pre-existing business is essential, BC is the right move forward.
Why Big Commerce Is The Best For Online Retail
#1. They have off-the-shelf plans tailored to your business needs. The truth is while lots of popular eCommerce platforms are more than sufficient when you’re SME starting out when you’re properly scaling up, not many a platform can really handle your scale in Singapore.
Big Commerce Pro can. While the plan is an off-the-shelf product, the technical team helps you tailor and optimize the features so your sites in Singapore or the Asia Pacific achieve maximum performance. Big Commerce Pro is a Professional level solution designed for your business.
Where Big Commerce Fall Down
They don’t really fall down in many places, but can if you are new to e-commerce. If you are just starting out and want to choose a solution that gets you up and running quickly, without much technical know-how, BigCommerce is not the right eCommerce website for you. Also, the BC backend doesn’t have its own email system, which is annoying.
eASEAN Rating For BigCommerce
BigCommerce gets a 4.2/5 for being the best online store retailer for sites in Singapore. We broke the scoring down as follows: 4.3/5 for 24/7 technical support to ease the scaling with their great team. 4.4/5 for their improved customer product experience (it’s brilliant). Their Advanced digital marketing functionality gets 4.2/5, and finally, they fall down a bit on their backend features ONLY because you have to add third-party email, they get 3.9/5 for this.
WooCommerce – Rated Best For WordPress
It’s hard to believe that WooCommerce is already 10 years old, over those 10 years WooCommerce has accumulated a massive user base, WooCommerce is now powering 28% of all online stores, making it the most popular eCommerce platform available today, and growing in Singapore.
It’s hardly surprising then that WooCommerce is the best e-commerce platform for WordPress, the world’s most popular site builder. Add the WooCommerce plugin to your WordPress site and turn it into an online store sales machine.
15k Singaporeans currently use WordPress today, so whether you’re selling products / digital products / or driving affiliate links you should be supercharging your WordPress site with Woo.
eASEAN Criteria For WooCommerce
It’s Not A Site Builder – Requires Tech Knowhow – To start with let’s just clarify WooCommerce is a free open source WordPress plugin, it’s not a site builder / platform for eCommerce like Shopify which offers an all in one hosting to checkout solution in Singapore.
So straight away you have more work to do, you’ll need to 1) get a hosting account, 2) build and design your WordPress site, 3) then add WooCommerce (where you can create a woo storefront).
As it’s not a one-stop-shop, you will need to add a lot of extensions and plugins, which can be very complicated for the eCommerce beginner, but once you get used to it, you can find some awesome plugins to power your site.
There are now over 400 plugins and extensions that fit with Woo, plus you are able to utilize 100+ different payment methods.
You do have to be patient, and you do need to know your way around a WordPress dashboard – but once you do, you will be able to create a site & store more powerful than any of the all-in-one builders.
Excellent Plugins – WordPress Plugins Are THE BEST – You get unlimited access to these (well, some you have to pay for) There are plugins for everything eCommerce with WooCommerce which will supercharge your online store sales, turn your website into a platform, and can kickstart your sales in Singapore.
A lot of WordPress users avoid the complication of selling physical products, instead of focusing on digital products or driving traffic to affiliate products, therefore avoiding the stock replenishing and delivery hassle associated with physical products. A number of awesome plugins like their memberships, subscriptions, bulk discounter and much more will amplify your digital sales.
SEO Plugins – Build Your Free Traffic – Key to many WordPress (and as a result of WooCommerce user) is budget-friendly organic traffic, rather than the oft-expensive Facebook advertising traffic associated with dropshipping to eCommerce platforms in Singapore.
Woo Commerce has a collection of awesome SEO tools and extensions that will help your customers find your products and store. Take for example Yoast, which has a one-off payment of $99, it will help your product images stand out in customer search results, straight away giving customers a visible reason to visit your site.
Backend – Complicated For A Few – Woocommerce and all its extensions integrate very easily into the WordPress dashboard, so once you’re comfortable with that you will be easily able to master Woo. As mentioned before woo-commerce is not a one-stop-shop solution, so you will have to pay for a lot of additional functionality.
But do remember WooCommerce is free, and the quality of many of the plugins is far greater than what’s on offer with the one-stop-builders. There are 400+ extensions so you will get everything from email to analytics, stock management to bulk discounts, whatever you can think of there’s a plugin to superpower your store.
WooCommerce – Best For WordPress
If you are a WordPress fan then choosing WC is a great option over other eCommerce platforms. Not only Woo free, but you also get to use WordPress’s army of plugins and features to help build and grow your store. If you don’t know WordPress, using something like Shopify is a great choice.
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Why WooCommerce Is Best For WordPress
Well to start with, it’s WordPress, which in itself is a triumph. Woo is the longest and best-running e-commerce plugin on the marketplace and enables WP users to turn their non-eCommerce Singapore websites into eCommerce stores, sell products, with multiple payment methods, and jump on the e-commerce bandwagon, just like any other platform.
It is free (you will have to pay for addons etc), and after using it for a week you will be so comfortable with it.
Where WooCommerce Falls Down
WordPress-focused users are usually confident and tech proficient as they have been online for a few years, which is a good thing as setting up Woo can take time and it’s probably too quiet for beginners.
eASEAN Score For WooCommerce
Overall WooCommerce gets 4.2/5, and as eCommerce platforms go, that’s not bad. Our team at eASEAN broke it down as follows – 3.5/5 because it’s not a site builder and requires patience and some tech skills, but it’s worth the endeavor. 4.5/5 because it uses WordPress plugins to supercharge your digital sales. 4.5/5 for SEO because it has access to so many great plugins to use, like Rank Math, Yoast, image optimizers, etc, and finally, it gets 4.3/5 because the backend is pretty good, and the more comfortable you get with it, the easier it becomes.
Zalora – Best Local Choice
More and more popular eCommerce websites are popping up in SE Asia and Singapore every week. There are some awesome platforms like Lazada, Mummy’s Market, Qoo10, Shopee, but our choice for the best local eCommerce platform for sites in Singapore is Zalora… the biggest online fashion retailer in Asia, covering Singapore plus another six countries.
Zalora is also part of the government’s very popular eCommerce booster package program. The Singapore government is helping retailers to diversify their operations so as to add online store retail or e-commerce side to their business.
Eligible Singapore eCommerce retailers will get a one-time payment of up to S$8,000, and a platform like Zalora will help retailers with content development/product listing/channel management/fulfillment/advertising, as well as offering training workshops.
eASEAN Criteria For Zalora
It’s Complicated Until It’s Easy – Set up should be easy if your business is already set up as a bricks & mortar. You will need:
- Original ID’s,
- All permits and registrations,
- Be able to fulfil all orders by following the Zalora delivery policy,
- And realise it’s not free to list on Zalora. The fee structure in itself can ve quite complicated as all listing will incur a commision between 10& 30%, and these commisions are always susceptible to change. There are also additional hidden costs associated with returns.
But once you have all this in order, setting up is a breeze:
- Go to ‘sell online with us Zalora’,
- Populate the details above (ID’s etc) in th reequired fields,
- Submit forms,
- Wait for the strategic advisor to accept you onto the marketplace (usually takes up to a week),
- Once you get accepted, you can design your store (with logos etc),
- Upload products, make sure you understand the ecommerce platforms nuances,
- Set prices (and stock quantities),
- Learn the Zalora delivery process flow (and integrate it into your current logistics flow).
There will be a few platform complications along the way but stay patient and you will get your eCommerce Singapore offers set up.
Good if you currently sell offline – If you already sell your products offline, you will have a proper stock replenishment logistics system in place. You will just have to modify it for your additional online sales. Zalora’s seller center has a very easy-to-use stock management dashboard that should complement your current logistics plan.
Access To Asia – You have access to Asia’s most popular online fashion retailer… so you have access to very intentional customer traffic. As with recommendations for other online marketplaces and eCommerce platforms in Singapore, take professional photos so your clothes POP, and create awesome copy which amplifies the story of their style.
Basic Backend – Still quite a basic backend offering, it does offer a good fulfillment email service. Investment, (which is in the pipelines) is definitely needed for the analytics side of the Zalora sellers offering.
Zalora – Best For Offline Retailers
If you already sell offline in your own store then moving to an online store and getting access to Zalora’s customer base of Asian buyers is a great move to expand your business. While the backend isn’t too great, once you start and through the initial phase of setup, the whole process becomes a lot easier.
Why Zalora Is Best For Pre-existing Offline Retailers
It’s really this simple… you have all of the requirements already in place that you need when you sell in Zalora. So the whole setup process is more of a data entry part on your side. You will most likely have all your Singapore company details, product codes, eCommerce photos in place, which will make the transition to the online platform so much easier. Also, why not get access to a huge army of regional buyers too, just make sure you work out your shipping and handling costs.
Where Zalora Falls Down
While not as streamlined as some of the global online marketplaces (like Amazon) and also suffering from some growing pains like fake listings… there has been significant investment in Zalora, so it’s only going to get more professional.
eASEAN Rating For Zalora
Zalora for Singapore Sellers gets 3.75/5. We broke this down as follows – Use of the system starts off complicated then becomes easy over time, for this reason, we give Zalora 3.9/5. If you already have a logistics system in place, this compliments current logistic systems, for this, they get 4.1/5. Getting access to intentional traffic 4/5, and finally, their backend is in need of an upgrade and investment 3/5. A bit of a miss out if you are looking for eCommerce platforms with ease of use for Singapore.
Which Platform Is Best For Selling Online In Singapore?
So there you have it, the top e-Commerce platforms for Singapore in 2021.
We shortened the list down to our top 5 and then added Zalora in also.
As an all-round e-commerce platform, taking into consideration:
- Ease of use,
- And the availability of not only proficient designers and developers
- but a brilliant App Store, in the Shopify App Store,
We recommend Shopify as the best e-commerce Platform For Singapore, and with its 14 Day Free Trial, and only need your email address, it’s a great solution to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an e-commerce platform?
An e-commerce platform is a type of website that helps you build eCommerce stores really easily. It allows small local brands to be involved in online shopping.
It integrates lots of tools that help you make sales of high-quality products, like the ability to add a buy button to your e-commerce website, take payment on your e-commerce site, calculate transaction fees, capture customer email addresses, and the ability to post your products to social media websites to increase visitors to your store.
Online shopping can also help you sell your products in your offline store in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, wherever really, if you potentially have one. With the small investment, it means that local brands can now compete on a much bigger level.
Which platform is the best eCommerce website?
The best eCommerce website for online business is Shopify.
It is one of the cheapest eCommerce websites in Singapore’s eCommerce market, and also the most user-friendly. It allows the small guys to compete in this mature economy.
As eCommerce platforms in Singapore offer free add-on applications that you can add to your own website, like a buy button, to help you become a better marketer, sell more products, and you can find them in the Shopify App store, many of them for free.
Also, it has great themes/templates that you can use (again many for free).
What is the cheapest eCommerce software?
The cheapest eCommerce site in Singapore is definitely Shopify for online shopping, not only in price but in the number of things that you get with it, and the ease of use, which takes you way less time to get your store in Singapore live, no wonder it is such a popular eCommerce software among small businesses.
Sure there are cheaper alternatives but they end up costing your online business more in the long run due to hidden fees, the difficulty of usage, and lack of people who can help you. Plus, you don’t even have to enter your credit card details to begin.
What skills do you need for e-commerce?
The most important skill you need for e-commerce in Southeast Asia, and Hong Kong is patience.
Other skills that will help you excel at e-commerce for your sites in Singapore include:
1. Market Research – being able to find great products to sell, and also being able to research potential target customers to sell those high-quality products.
2. Digital marketing – Digital marketing will help you sell your products online by enabling you to use your research to create great advertisements for your products and place those ads on the likes of social media giants Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube. Digital marketing is probably the most important skill you need to get to grips with to power up your eCommerce platforms profits.
3. Design and development – learning how to design great ads and graphics is a real bonus when you are starting an e-commerce business.
4. Analytics – this is the study of eCommerce website monthly traffic, latest trends, and data. What customers do when they come to your e-commerce site. This is important to know because it helps you to see which campaigns and content you create are working (selling) and which ones that are not.
5. Finance – this helps you understand how much money you are spending to sell each product. An example of this would be: If your product costs $10 to sell, but you are only selling it for $9, then you are making a loss of $1, not a profit. So this would be a losing product. But, if your product costs $6 to sell, and you sell it for $9, then you are making a $3 profit per product.
6. Country Knowledge – you must know how to sell online into different countries in Southeast Asia if that is what you plan to do because selling to Hong Kong will be different than selling to sites in Singapore. If you want to sell online in Kuala Lumpur, know what makes people click the buy button in Kuala Lumpur, eCommerce platforms are incredibly powerful, once you know your audience, simple.
There are many other skills that you need to sell your products if you want to be a really successful e-commerce store owner, but in our opinion, figuring out your target customers and digital marketing angles top the list.
Remember Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific is a multicultural region, and one ripe for those in a strategic location like the Singapore market.
How do I start an eCommerce platform in Singapore?
It is really very simple to start popular eCommerce websites, and it all begins with:
Know what niche you want to sell your products in.
Locate a good audience that is hungry to buy your products, you can find if there is a good audience by doing research into the niche on Google.
Find good quality products to sell online to the niche you have chosen that allows you to add high retail mark ups.
Set up an eCommerce website, the easiest to use for most people is Shopify (this is the most popular e-commerce website), they are so inexpensive and easy to use, no wonder they have over 1 million customers.
Create ads using a free tool like Canva, which will enable you to create beautiful product graphics with a very easy-to-use interface.
Put those ads that you created onto a place where your audience is (you will have found where they are via your research) to make sure you get them to your eCommerce platforms. Most likely it will be Facebook, Instagram, Google, or Youtube.
Monitor closely your ads to see if they are selling your products. If they do sell online, then you could have found a winning product.
What items are in high demand right now?
There are a few key items that are in super high demand right now for sites in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region, that will get the buy button clicked including:
1. Women’s Fashion – The latest trends never go out of style when it comes to selling online. Women’s fashion is now, and will always be in high demand, so get it up on your eCommerce platforms.
2. Designer Furniture – With so many brands jumping on the designer furniture bandwagon, consumers are always looking for that cool statement piece for their home.
3. Home Essentials – These never go out of favor, but they are ever advancing and changing so understanding what are the home essentials en vouge will be the key to success.
4. Lifestyle Products – These are all the rage, what does the product say about the buyer, does it say they have made it, or that they live the life, are stylish, fashionable, get your lifestyle products right and you are into big money.
What big companies are involved in eCommerce in Singapore?
Online shoppers are buying on steroids, popular eCommerce platforms are making a killing, and when there is blood in the water the sharks ‘come a hunting’. So, who are these sharks, who are the companies that are making the moves in Singapore?
Golden Gate Ventures – Golden Gate Ventures looks to invest in many e-commerce businesses, fintech, plus a whole host of other types of businesses in the region.
iPrice Group – iPrice offers shoppers products and brands, through hundreds of partners in Southeast Asia.
Rakuten Ventures – Rakuten Ventures looks at investing in IT startups, so if you have any ecom ideas in this field, maybe Rakuten is right for you.
Sequoia Capital – Sequoia Capital is a venture capital focused on energy, financial, enterprise, healthcare, internet, and mobile startups. If you are after investment, check them out.
Lucas Ngoo – Lucas Ngoo is a co-founder of Carousell Since the launch of Carousell, the huge eCommerce behemoth.
Has COVID affected eCommerce growth?
COVID Has Accelerated Growth In eCommerce Websites…
The COVID pandemic has seen a rapid acceleration in the digital transformation of society with many predicting retail eCommerce to be valued at over $10tr by the end of the decade.
Here in Singapore, we’re seeing the perfect example of this change, where older “Digital Laggards” have fully embraced the new way, of eCommerce website adoption and the benefits of online internet shopping…
The government here in this strategic location of Singapore has reacted to this rapid transformation by setting the E-Commerce Booster Package to support companies in diversifying their operations and defraying the business costs of going online.
What types of eCommerce businesses can I do?
So whether you want to use an eCommerce website for: Ecommerce Platforms In Singapore Are The Easiest Way.
Dropshipping on an eCommerce platform (selling a wide variety of another company’s product with high retail mark ups on your e-commerce site) a Single Product,
Creating an Online Retailer (a bigger store selling multiple products & brands across multiple ranges),
Affiliate (using digital marketing to sell products and services on your site for a commission) marketing or,
Sell products on online marketplaces (a website where different entrepreneurs can list their products for sale)
We break down and evaluate each of the sales channels so you can choose which is best for you.”
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