According to a survey by Forrester, online retail sales are going to grow to $2.5 trillion in 2024, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.3%. The study further reveals that 50% of the total global online sales are accounted for by Southeast Asian buyers alone and is expected to cross the mark of 64% by 2024. Given the immense opportunity, there is no dearth of retailers and businesses looking to enter the digital space.
Nowadays, starting your own online selling business is just a matter of a few clicks. But, it wouldn’t be right to say that it doesn’t have its own complications. Given the diverse nature of the Southeast Asian market and the fragmented network, it is a confusing and jumbled mess in itself. So, if you are just getting started, you need to carefully figure out initial steps. Without proper research, strategy, and planning, setting up a successful online business will be really complex.
If you have decided to enter your business in the eCommerce space, here is a complete guide to help you with it.
( Note: Check out how you can become a Power Seller on any Sales Channel you sell on )
If you aren’t already selling offline, then the first and most important thing is to define your offer. Increasing opportunities invariably lead to cut-throat competition. To gain success, it is very important that you spend time analyzing what are the best products you should sell. Keep in mind that your product choice is going to impact many other aspects of your business, like your shipping operations, production and inventory storage, as well as other costs.
Depending on the product categories you select, the region you want to service, and the buying behavior of potential customers, find out which are the top-selling products in Southeast Asia.
If you are already a seller, start with your ongoing offer. In case you plan to start from scratch, you need to ensure you have a working strategy to iron out the kinks while planning to take your existing business online.
1. Know Your Competition
Once you know what to sell, your next step should be focused on understanding the current state of the market. This includes gaining detailed knowledge about who your competitors are and what they offer.
Prepare a short list of all organizations, companies, and even individuals that are selling similar products. Include some important pointers such as strengths, weaknesses, tagline, and sales mission.
After you understand your competition, you can start creating unique propositions to make your business stand out from your competitors.
2. Know Your Customers
To be successful in an online business, you should be acutely sure about your group of potential buyers, their preferences, needs, and problems.
So, to improve the accuracy of your target audience data, you can use psychographic and demographic information from related marketplace segments. This will include the following details based on the following diagram.
Depending on the above information, you can get closer to what your customers actually expect from you. This should always be a recurring activity as buyer personas keep changing when new customers are introduced or your retaining customers can change their behaviour based on their latest needs and interests. So, make sure you value your customers as they will value your brand/service.
3. Know How to Satisfy your Customers
Remember, getting orders is not the only key to success. Instead, focus on your customer’s everyday problems and try to resolve them, by providing them with your products as a solution.
Do your research and identify the most common issues your customers must be facing. Then come up with an innovative solution to it or try to improve the existing ones. Once you start receiving orders, you need to make sure that you don’t mix up the orders or delay them. So you might want to work with third-party logistics and fulfillment partners instead of doing everything on your own. This will help you focus more on your products, promotions, sales, and improve the efficiency in what you truly like to do (sell online).
In addition to all this, if you are not planning to set up your own production unit, plan precisely where you will be sourcing your products from.
4. Determine your pricing & promotions strategy
After you figure out which products you will be selling, you need to start preparing a short checklist of the things you will have to take on priority.
Your business and operation costs highly depend on the supplier you choose. Hence, deciding on a trustworthy supplier before going online is a great choice. Also, calculate the manufacturing costs, shipping price, and profit margin, when you select your supplier.
The three most common sources to procure products are through:
So, it’s important to understand how each of these sources will be beneficial in order to make the right choice for your business. Depending on the nature of your product, the market you cater to, and consumer preference, one method may be more suitable for your business than the others.
Who is it for?
Sourcing from a wholesaler is a great choice as there is no minimum order quantity and they buy in bulk from manufacturers and redistribute them.
Who is it for?
Negotiate with the wholesaler to source the products at lower price and minimize your costs to earn better revenue
A Dropshipper is a business that sources products from one business and places them on sale through your online store. In this scenario, you will have to completely depend on an independent entity to fulfill the orders you receive from your customers. Both dropshipping and manufacturing have their own pros and cons.
Who is it for?
As discussed, eCommerce gives you an open space to be creative in running your business successfully. There are different beneficial platforms to choose from, and selecting the right one is an essential step in reaching your desired target audience.
Two of the most popular platforms to sell online are:
1. eCommerce Marketplace
The eCommerce marketplaces are the easiest ways to start selling online if you are relatively new to the field. You can create a seller account with these online marketplaces and start selling your products immediately. For that, you will need to add some basic details such as VAT registration number, identity proof, address, and bank details.
Popular online marketplaces include Lazada, Zalora, Qoo10, Matahari Mall, BliBli, JD amongst others.
[ Note: Did you know SelluSeller is connected with more than 150 marketplaces in the region. Check them out here.]
2. Set up a Web Store
Another simple and effective way of launching your store online is by setting it up through an eCommerce store development platform. There are many technically advanced and popular solutions that allow you to design your own web store. They use their own server for this and help you reach potential buyers from all over the world.
You just need to register with these platforms, select one of their packages (whichever is most suitable to your brand, product, and budget), upload your product catalog and start selling.
But, running your own webstore means you will have to do a lot of marketing and promotion, in order to compete with the bigger competitors.
As an online seller, both options- marketplaces and web stores are equally good for generating sustainable revenue.
The two most important decisions you will have to make from this checklist is choosing the right sales channels and how you plan to manage them. Many businesses choose to go with a comprehensive order management system for a better performance.
Sellers who sell on multiple sales channels generate 190% more revenue than sellers who sell on a single channel.
While selling on marketplaces gives you the opportunity to get quick sales, having your webstore can help you promote your own brand gradually as you grow. Being on marketplaces helps people to know about your brand, leading to more direct traffic to your webstore.
In order to find real success, you must think about selling on multiple channels and increase your overall revenue. Naturally, multichannel selling requires way more effort, but the benefits you will get after implementing it are equally rewarding.
Why is it better to manage your online selling through a multi-channel selling software?
Multi-channel selling software applications let you manage all your online operations on one unified platform. Instead of managing each channel separately, you can simply integrate them through a multi-channel selling software. This not only automates your entire selling operations but also helps you save time, effort & money. It enables complete control and visibility over all your sales channels and lets you manage a centralized inventory, process orders receive across multiple channels on a single dashboard, monitor key insights and analytics to measure the success of your operations
Legal Do’s & Don’ts of Online Business
Setting up an online business is easy, but finding success takes a lot of hard work. Apart from setting up the business, you also need to get various legal formalities & paperwork in place:
a. Permits and Licenses
Before you start selling online, you need legal authorization documents for your business. Apply for a business license and become eligible to sell digitally. In addition to business licenses, you will also need a seller's permit, employer identification number, and sales tax license. Although it can vary by each country, you need to make sure you are complying with legal requirements by checking in with licensing boards from time to time.
b. Shipping Restrictions
If you are planning to deal in perishable goods like fresh fruits and vegetables or products such as cigarettes, alcohol, or perfume, you should know that they come with a restriction to shipping. Hence, you may require some extra paperwork to ship them across to the customers.
c. Intellectual Property in eCommerce
When you are selling different products from multiple brands, you will have a huge database of product descriptions, images, logos etc. Additionally, may have brand videos, background music, clip art, audio files etc. Make sure you have the rights to use them, and have checked for permissions with relevant stakeholders if needed.
There are three elements that safeguard every eCommerce actor to facilitate fair business practices. They are copyrights, trademarks and patents. Here’s how they have been defined:
Try to keep yourself away from all kinds of intellectual property issues when dealing online. Neither let anybody take credit for your work nor get involved in any kind of stealing yourself. Get your property rights counseled beforehand to be safe.
Although you have seen businesses transform their physical stores and explore the advantages of online selling, it is equally hard work to execute multichannel online selling.
While it may seem challenging at the start, if you acknowledge the steps that we’ve shared in this article, you can definitely simplify your transition to the online world and maximize your profits! Since your consumers are no more confined to one particular channel, going online will in fact be a smart way to stay relevant in this competitive yet lucrative eCommerce space.
Interested in transforming your existing multichannel selling, retailing, or eCommerce service business? Speak with our expert now.
Integrate your online channels in few steps, and try out all features of the SelluSeller
Receive the latest insights, reports, research papers, news bytes, and important announcements from Anchanto.
8 Valuable Principles of Establishing Project Management Processes
For businesses that wish to scale while maintaining quality work and standardized operations, Pro...Learn more
Why Should Brands Adopt Omnichannel Retail?
For brands, omnichannel retail holds endless opportunities and benefits. With a key strategy in p...Learn more
5 Metrics to Strengthen your Multichannel Sales Strategy
To be successful in Multichannel Sales, you must analyse your existing channel operations closely...Learn more
How eCommerce Marketplaces Can Help You Setup Offline Presence in a New Market
To establish an offline presence in a new market, brands can begin by selling through eCommerce m...Learn more
Meet Bhushan, Product Consultant at Anchanto
Freshly out of college, Bhushan joined Anchanto’s rapidly growing team three years back. His jour...Learn more
Anchanto facilitated successful year-end eCommerce sales of Filipino local businesses amidst Covid-19
Anchanto helped Filipino businesses navigate challenges & scale operations online during COVI...Learn more
7 Key Steps to Set up Operations in a New Market
Establishing offices and operations in a new country requires detailed market study, proper strat...Learn more
Top tips to boost your social media and social commerce strategy
Your social followers can gradually convert to your shoppers. Here are few ways on how you can ma...Learn more
Electronics Conglomerate Panasonic announces eCommerce expansion across Asia-Pacific in partnership with Anchanto
Panasonic, a global electronics conglomerate announces partnership with Anchanto to streamline it...Learn more
Starting a New Job from Home: 7 Anchanto Stories
Listen to the stories of Anchanters who joined the company during a global crisis and how they na...Learn more
Social Commerce: The Winning Combination of Social Media and eCommerce
Social commerce is an upcoming trend and takes the best of eCommerce and social media to help you...Learn more
6 Useful Practical Insights to Manage Cross-border eCommerce
Understand the challenges of cross border eCommerce and how to tackle them through intuitive tech...Learn more
Preparing your logistics business for special sale seasons
Plan ahead for sales season this year with these recommendations for warehouse management system ...Learn more
How to Leverage YouTube for Retail Businesses
YouTube can work wonders for retail businesses. From having access to a large number of customers...Learn more
8 eCommerce Mistakes to Avoid this Holiday Season
Some businesses struggle to convert their holiday website traffic into sales. If you face this ch...Learn more
Top Multichannel Inventory Challenges and Solutions
Shifting to multichannel sales, you are likely to encounter commonly faced inventory challenges a...Learn more
Content Asset Management: A key to multichannel eCommerce success
Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Product Information Management (PIM) are two systems help that...Learn more
Retail distribution giant Valiram selects Anchanto to accelerate its global eCommerce transformation
Valiram, South-east Asia’s leading retail specialist, announces partnership with Anchanto to soli...Learn more
How to achieve control over your online retail business and improve its visibility
Understand how technology and software solutions can help eCommerce businesses to improve control...Learn more
Analysing The New Normal for Fashion eCommerce
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way in which shoppers use eCommerce, especially when fashio...Learn more
Using my past entrepreneurial experience to solve eCommerce Challenges for Enterprises
My experience as an entrepreneur helped me solve the challenges faced by eCommerce enterprises as...Learn more
Practical insights to implement a robust Omnichannel strategy for your retail business.
A few years back, ‘Omni-channel’ was merely a buzzword, a theoretical concept that was just discu...Learn more
How we conceptualised and launched our latest innovation in just 3 months
When it comes to innovation, we are always on the lookout for newer ways to make our customers’ e...Learn more
Scaling your logistics and fulfillment business with the right technology.
According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the logistics market in APAC is set to grow at a CA...Learn more
Overcoming challenges of cross-border eCommerce
Over the last few decades, selling has seen a logical progression. Earlier, the brick-and-mortar ...Learn more
Utilizing Cutting-edge Technology to Overcome the Challenges of Channel Management
Distributors have long played an important role in streamlining the operational lines between man...Learn more
Onboarding customers remotely: how the pandemic helped us learn & innovate processes
Aligned with our deeply ingrained objectives of delivering anchanting experiences to our customer...Learn more
How to Use Partnerships & Tools for Shorter Time-to-market?
As a retail brand or distributor, time is of the essence, especially when you want to expand your...Learn more
Can sticking to a marketplace harm your online trade?
There’s no doubt that eCommerce has given businesses a new lease of life. Much of the overhead th...Learn more
How brands overcame the channel conflict dilemma
Earlier, businesses had to establish their dealer and retailer networks in all geographies, putti...Learn more
Anchanto achieves profitability and receives S$16.6 million in ongoing Series C-funding round for market expansion & product development
Anchanto’s SaaS offerings receive a vote of confidence from globalcompanies due to steady profita...Learn more
How can distributors keep both brands and buyers happy?
As the world shifts to the new normalcy and adopts online shopping, your distribution responsibil...Learn more
Australia: How Anchanto is ramping up growth in the region
After entering the Australian market in late 2019, we are well underway to serving as a bridge fo...Learn more
Creating a Successful Cross-border eCommerce Strategy for Your Business
Cross Border eCommerce strategy is one of the major factors associated with the future of eCommer...Learn more
Should you outsource eCommerce operations or manage them in-house for your brand?
It is no secret that the global retail economy is changing fast and eCommerce has a significant p...Learn more
Execute Seamless eCommerce operations on-the-go with the all new SelluSeller App!
The world, as we knew it, has completely changed over the past few months. A remarkable shift can...Learn more
The Power to manage business ‘on-the-go’ for eCommerce leaders.
Living through a pandemic has altered the way people across the world shop, leading to a remarkab...Learn more
SelluSeller Now in Your Palm- An eCommerce Management Revolution
Aligned with our vision of making multichannel selling & eCommerce logistics simple for every...Learn more
Enhancing eCommerce Logistics Operations with Cutting-edge Technology
The eCommerce wagon runs on the tracks of resourceful supply and excellent connectivity. As onlin...Learn more
2018’s Top Ecommerce Trends That Will Shape Online Selling in Southeast Asia
As online selling is a fairly new retail method, ‘change’ is a common expectation for almost all ...Learn more
The Influence of COVID 19 on Fashion eCommerce
Understand the existence of consumer trends for fashion industry during the lockdown period and h...Learn more
What does the current pandemic mean for brand marketing agencies?
The Covid-19 pandemic has shut offices and significantly affected our world, but it has also resu...Learn more
Exploring the Future of Australian Businesses in Asia - I
Covid-19 has become a force that has changed the way in which businesses operate, strategize and ...Learn more
Exploring the Future of Australian Businesses in Asia - II
In order to grow and thrive in a post-pandemic era, Australian businesses must analyse the risks ...Learn more
How to avoid human mistakes in eCommerce with Automation?
eCommerce businesses in Southeast Asia have struggled for a long time dealing with manu...Learn more
How Should I Structure my Warehouse?
The efficiency of an eCommerce business depends heavily on how well its warehouse is op...Learn more
How to Improve User Ratings on Seller Centre
As an online seller, you must be well aware of the importance of the ratings that you get on your...Learn more
How to Structure Fulfillment Operations for Your Selling Business?
Fulfillment operations primarily refer to the process of getting a product delivered to the right...Learn more
What is the difference between B2C & B2B Fulfillment?
With the rapid expansion in the Malaysia digital economy and online purchasing decision...Learn more
How to Avoid Overselling?
Inventory and stock management are one of the biggest challenges faced by enterprise eCommerce bu...Learn more
What is the Difference between WMS and eWMS?
Warehouses have always been an integral part of any retail chain business and proper wa...Learn more
How to Reduce Customer Complaints and Claims
When the customer is unsatisfied, investigating the way they are treated, is important.Learn more
3 Things You Need to Master To Sell More on Marketplaces
Why is it that global businesses and brands, most often, seem to be miles ahead in their approach...Learn more
How to Make an Effective Social Media Plan for Your Online Store
A Social Media Marketing Plan or social media plan is a document that details the strategies in s...Learn more
How to Use Emotional Persuasion as a Growth Tool for Online Selling
Neuromarketing or emotional persuasion in connection with sales and marketing is not a new concep...Learn more
Top Marketing Strategies for Your eCommerce Store in 2018
eCommerce is the next big thing when it comes to online web stores in MalaysiaLearn more
Top 5 Ways to Advertise Your Products for Free on the Internet
E-commerce is what Malaysia is going towards with each passing day. With the rise in the accessib...Learn more
How Do I Sell Online in Malaysia For Free?
To sell online without having to spend a penny, you have several options: through social networks...Learn more
Decoding the Cross-Border eCommerce Puzzle
Technology enabled eCommerce has given an unprecedented push to cross-border trade in recent years.Learn more
Grow Your Online Business by Selling More to Current Customers
When you ask a co-seller what their goal is when they start start selling in Malaysia, they almos...Learn more
How to Transform Occasional Buyers in Frequent Customers?
While online sellers and brands always seek to expand their reach to increase their sales in Mala...Learn more
Five Most Common Mistakes Made by Online Stores
Revenue in the eCommerce market of Malaysia amounts to US $8,591m in 2018, and it is expected to ...Learn more
7 Tactical Ways Every Business Can Use Local Marketing to Sell More Online
Local marketing is the process of optimizing your website’s brand in a way that adapts the localLearn more
How to Choose the Perfect Theme for Your Online Store
Judging a book by its cover may not be a good way of understanding our society, but when it is aboutLearn more
Best Software and Apps to Edit Product Photos
We all know about Photoshop, one of the most common and efficient image editing software in South...Learn more
How to Describe a Product in Your Web-Store?
The content is king. A phrase conveys the importance of your titles, descriptions and other texts...Learn more
The Drop Shipping in eCommerce: Is it Possible to Sell Without Having Inventory?
The inventory is undoubtedly one of the dilemmas of any company that trades with articles of any ...Learn more
How to Choose an online marketplace to sell your products?
A data from Entrepreneur-the elite magazine says In 2017, the eCommerce market generated a revenu...Learn more
Eight Effective Ways to Promote Your Products on eCommerce Platforms
When planning to promote your products to strengthen the sale, you should not limit yourself to t...Learn more
How to Master Product Photography on a Tight Budget
If you are one of those who keeps uploading the product photos provided by your supplier,Learn more
Nine Effective Strategies to Increase Additional Sales
Selling more is something that obsesses both online and offline marketers. Hence, a seller is con...Learn more
Top 10 DIY Things to Make and Sell Online
Malaysia has a history of thousands of years. This means people residing here have ideas of art, ...Learn more
Marketplace Aggregation – Why It Can Make or Break Your Online Business
Okay, so you’ve moved on—not in the distant past—from the brick and mortar model of doing busines...Learn more
Dont Just Meet Marketplace SLAs, Beat Them!
With the spurt in Malaysia eCommerce, sellers need to deal with a deluge of Service Level Agreeme...Learn more
How to Use Discounts and Deals to Get More Customers Come and Stay Forever
Encouraging repeat sales is a crucial aspect of online selling, specially when you are an online ...Learn more
How to Maximize Selling During Peak Season
For an online business seller in Malaysia, holidays are golden opportunities for increasing their...Learn more
How to Be an Online Power Seller on Major Marketplaces in Malaysia
The rising popularity of Malaysian eCommerce marketplaces has led to increase in the direct compe...Learn more
Top Products to Sell Online in Malaysia
With a history of over 40,000 years, Malaysia is one of the 17 mega diverse countries in the world.Learn more
How to Start Selling Online in Malaysia
The massive shift of Malaysia retail towards digital has opened up a whole new world of opportuni...Learn more