The eCommerce market in Singapore is a tough market to crack, and one that is only becoming more difficult for the untrained.
The revenue in the Singaporean eCommerce market is expected to show an annual growth rate of 14.7% until the year 2023, reaching a market volume of around $8.6 billion.
You now have a chance, more than ever to be part of this blossoming Singapore e-Commerce market.
So, let’s see how beneficial it is to start an online eCommerce business in Singapore at this moment.
How Profitable Is A Singapore eCommerce Business in 2021?
Okay, let’s look at some facts about the present day Singapore ecommerce market that 99% of the businesspeople underestimate.
- Almost 80% of Singaporeans are online. Unquestionably, it would be because the country has supersonic internet and tech-savvy natives.
- Instead of going out shopping, most Singaporeans prefer buying online.
- Currently, 4.4 million of the population of Singapore is active on Social Media, which means 77% population is active on Social Media.
- There is a good age breakdown, with the highest percentage spenders in the age range from 25 – 34 years.
With such high-speed internet connections, desires to buy online, language compatibility, the population on social media, it has become EASIER THAN EVER to make sales as an ASEAN eCommerce business owner.
One of the main issues I see as a business growth specialist in the ASEAN region is that most people back off in eCommerce because of investment, and it is understandable.
Some assume that they need thousands of dollars to start an eCommerce business.
The true fact of the matter is, you don’t need 5K or 10K to get started.
Investment Required To Set Up An eCommerce Business In Singapore
Reports by WorldPay say:
“The e-commerce market in Singapore is set for huge growth as it is expected to expand by 48% to $9.98b (US$7.4b) by 2022”.
However, the real question for you, the Singaporean Entrepreneur is – How much money do you need to get started?
The simple answer:
You can start an eCommerce business for less than $1000. And that is quite a bit…
So, here’s what you need:
- A Shopify subscription or any other platform’s membership which may cost you around $5-$300/month.
- Or a Domain & Hosting. You can get it at A2 Hosting for $5.95/month, and maybe WooCommerce.
- A logo may cost $FREE-$50
- Time to research products to sell, analyze the market, and then scale winning ads.
Apart from these fixed costs, you need money for advertisement (There are many that work well, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest ads work really well), and inventory.
You can cut the cost of inventory by doing dropshipping at the initial stage of your business, swapping your time for money instead. Time in finding great products to sell.
Don’t know what dropshipping is? Maybe this will help.
Like you, so many entrepreneurs from Singapore have had a desire to be successful in this eCommerce landscape.
You know what they achieved?
Top eCommerce Entrepreneurs In Singapore
To make your decision crystal clear, I made a small list of top Singaporean entrepreneurs who have made a real fortune from eCommerce. Whoever I am going to mention below have started from somewhere. And that’s what you need. A start.
Ku Young Bae (Qoo10)
If you are in any way internet savvy, you have heard of Ku Young Bae and his wonderfully cluttered Qoo10 behemoth. Formed when his old company Gmarket JV’d with eBay back in 2010 and Qoo10 came into existence.
According to CrunchBase, The company raised $82.1 million in funding. And it’s surprising to note that on average, the company generates around $26 million in monthly revenue from its Singapore operation, up 80 per cent on a year-on-year basis.
Alexander Samwer, Oliver, and Marc (Lazada)
Lazada is another competing eCommerce company in Singapore which was established by the Rocket Internet in 2012.
In April 2016, Alibaba bought around 51% of Lazada’s shares from Rocket Internet for an approximate of $1 billion.
At present, the Alibaba group owns 90% of its shares.
So, there is money to be made, especially with China looking to gain ground wherever it can. Lazada made approximately $1 billion for the 3 brothers: Marc, Alexander Samwer, and Oliver.
Marcus Tan (Carousell)
Carousell company was established in 2012 by co-founders: Lucas Ngoo, Quek Siu Rui and Marcus Tan. This eCommerce company has funding of more than $180 million ($182.2m exactly).
And with annual revenue of Carousell estimated to be $15 million. Not huge, but with that big investment coming into the company, you can see that people have big plans for this mobile marketplace.
Before you go…
I just mentioned about top 3 Singaporean eCommerce entrepreneurs. There are more.
Who you may ask?
Well, you are, or you will be!
Why don’t you look at the next section? You can get an idea of what to sell.
How to decide what to sell in Singapore
So, how do you decide what to sell in the Singapore eCommerce Market?
Now if we talk about trends, then I must say that consumer electronics is huge, with a whopping revenue of US$770 in 2018, with projections of US$1,130 million by 2022.
I’m not saying that you have to stay out of this market, but, please remember, there are so many other market types that would be far easier to make a foothold in.
I recommend you to keep in mind other products categories like fashion, hobbies, furniture, and stationery. A look at Amazon’s top selling products is always a great way to start coming up with product ideas.
However, the right way to decide what to sell is to research and test. You will have to research and test a product and see whether it’s selling or not. It’s about finding the right market, or the right swing on the product.
Whenever your sales skyrocket, instead of bringing money in the pocket, just reinvest the money for further profits.
That’s how it is. You have to research consumer market, test your product, and eventually scale your campaigns.
There is no push button solution for this, it’s decent hard work and effot.
Shopify for the Singapore eCommerce Market
There are so many e-commerce platforms where you can start an ASEAN eCommerce business. Which ones to choose?
You can check out my article on the best platforms for eCommerce in Singapore
You may be wondering why am I writing about Shopify only.
Shopify alone has made $100 billion of sales and have given power to 800,000 online stores in 13 years.
The Basic Shopify plan costs $29 per month, it’s what I use.
If you are looking to start an ecommerce business from scratch, Shopify provides services that other eCommerce website building platforms can’t provide even on their ultimate plan.
For the convenience of entrepreneurs like you, Shopify has integrated a lot of payment gateways in its system, and it is a competitive market. So you won’t have to hustle much for payment transactions.
Now, if you have chosen any other ecommerce platform for a specific cause, that’s totally fine.
It’s essential for you to know what kind of payment gateways are mostly used in the Singapore eCommerce Market or you may have a rough time with payments.
Setting Up Payment Options For Singapore eCommerce
So many payment options are available out there. What should you prepare for?
If you use Shopify, you can use all of them. Otherwise, you must integrate these 2 into your eCommerce system.
- Stripe: Stripe is slowly-slowly getting into the Asian market. Nowadays, it is famous for having an excellent API, meaning ease of integration. Like any other payment gateway services, you won’t have to sign up here and wait for days to get approved. You can instantly start accepting payment. Right now, the Stripe is charging 3.5% + $0.50 on every successful transaction.
- Credit Cards: Most of the merchants in Singapore offer credit card as a mode of payment. And yes, consumers also tend to pay through credit cards, obviously.
Best Marketing Platforms For Singapore
So you have made an online store, it looks excellent and you have set up many products that through research you have found are great.
The best way to market your products in Singapore is to use Google AdWords and SEO (if your product has long term demand) along with Facebook and its Pixel.
SEO means search engine optimization. We do SEO to position our website in the top rankings for a specific keyword. For example, “the best t-shirts in 2019.”
On the other side, Google Shopping is a shortcut way to pop up in the top rankings. You need to pay per click to Google for showing your ads. Each click cost may vary between $0.5-$2. You can get a click for a specific keyword. For example, let’s say, I searched “running shoes?”
Boom! Your ad appears, and you just clicked on it to fulfill my demand.
See! Here’s a magic trick.
Visitors who have visited your store either from SEO or Ads or Shopping can be retargeted on Facebook using a feature called “Facebook Pixel”.
Don’t know SEO, Google AdWords Optimization, and Facebook Pixels?
So if you are looking to start an ecommerce business from scratch, the best thing to do is find someone who can train you on what it needs to become an ASEAN ecommerce expert.