The Singapore e-commerce industry is steadily climbing. After all, if there is an industry that has been performing robustly during the ongoing pandemic when most other industries have been sluggish, it is undoubtedly the e-commerce sector.
In Singapore, just like in most countries in the region, the strong growth in the online commerce industry could be attributed to significant factors. These include the increasing consumer spending, the consistent government support for local entrepreneurship, and the inevitable preference for online shopping due to the convenience and safety provided to shoppers who heed the advice to stay at home and help control Covid-19 cases.
Even before the onset of the pandemic, the retail industry in Singapore had already started slowing down. Based on economic data, the Singapore e-commerce industry is poised to grow 16% year on year. E-commerce platforms also started exhibiting growth potential, with such sites collectively posting a 23% rise in total web visits in the first six months of 2020, despite the restrictions implemented due to the pandemic.
The continuously rising e-commerce industry
As the economy rebounds amid the easing of pandemic restrictions, the e-commerce market in Singapore is projected to reach S$9.2 billion (US$7 billion) by the end of 2022, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.
Based on the regional report ‘Technology-Empowered Digital Trade in Asia-Pacific’ released by financial firm Deloitte, the number of e-commerce users in the country is expected to reach 4.1 million at the same period—that is about 72% (among the highest in the region) of the national population of 5.7 million.
How Singapore e-commerce businesses can succeed
While Singaporeans are typical consumers who prefer to touch, smell, see, and feel the products before they make purchase decisions, most local businesses in e-commerce have successfully offered solutions to make up for the shortcoming especially during the pandemic, thanks to innovative entrepreneurship.
For businesses to succeed in the e-commerce arena in the new normal, there is a need to formulate strategies that are aligned with these four key trends:
E-commerce and social media have become natural bedfellows. Creative and effective use of popular social media platforms is now an important requirement in entrepreneurship. Businesses can stand out from the rest by implementing engaging communications strategies that not just convey the brand story but also persuade the target consumers to purchase.
Livestreaming and other interactive content
E-commerce platforms are now not just for facilitating transactions. They have evolved as brands strive harder to gain attention and engage their target consumers. This is why popular e-commerce sites like Lazada and Shopee are broadcasting live, real-time videos on their sites to further promote and sell. Most brands now take efforts to stream content and collaborate with popular influencers to push the audience to buy goods or services. Aside from live-streamed videos, e-commerce websites and apps now also offer interactive games for the same purpose.
Convenient, yet safe payment modes
Electronic payments are growing along with e-commerce. Credit card payments are still the most preferred to date in Singapore, according to GlobalData, which reported that credit/debit card payments accounted for about 43% of e-commerce transactions locally in 2021. At the same time, alternative digital payment solutions are also growing, collectively accounting for about 30.6% of payments. These include Grab Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Apple Pay. ‘Invisible payments’ or automatic payments without going through the usual checkouts are also starting to gain traction.
An emerging trend in e-commerce is inevitable—voice-enabled shopping. If you are fascinated by Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri, you surely welcome the idea of incorporating the feature into your favorite e-commerce site or app. It will not surprise anyone if voice search will be introduced by one or some of the e-commerce platforms in Singapore this year or next.
E-commerce is ever-changing and it is taking over the domain that used to be exclusive to brick-and-mortar businesses in Singapore and across the region. Thus, creative strategies to stand out in this new landscape must be part of the basics for entrepreneurship in the new normal.