The Ultimate Guide for Malaysian E-commerce Brands to Export Globally: A Step-by-Step Approach

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Hey there, savvy e-commerce entrepreneurs of Malaysia! Ready to take your online business to a whole new level? We’re diving into the world of global markets, and trust us. It’s a ride you won’t want to miss. 

Think about it – your best selling products have the potential to reach customers beyond our borders. That’s the dream, right? Well, guess what? It’s totally achievable, and we’re here to spill all the beans on how to make it happen.

We get it – exporting might sound like a complex puzzle, but don’t worry. We’ve got your back, and we’re breaking it down into bite-sized pieces. if you’re a Malaysian e-commerce brand with big dreams and even bigger ambitions, this guide will arm you with the know-how to strut your stuff on the global stage.

So, discover how to take your products from local favourites to international sensations. Let’s dive in!

1. Understanding the Global E-commerce Opportunity

Let’s look at the big opportunity waiting for Malaysian e-commerce champs like you out there in the big wide world.

The Global Playground Awaits:

Imagine this: Your products are liked all around, from sunny Australia to bustling Singapore, the lively Philippines, and colourful Thailand – basically everywhere! That’s what happens when your store goes international!

Numbers Speak:

Hold on to your hats because the numbers are impressive. 

Australia: In 2022, Australia’s e-commerce market stabilised after witnessing significant growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Over nine million Australian households made online purchases in 2022, with expenditure rising during sales events. The most popular product categories for online shopping in Australia are fashion and apparel, followed by electronics and media.

Singapore: Singapore is one of the most digitally-mature societies in Asia, with high internet penetration rates and good access to high-speed internet. The use of e-commerce accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to remain high even after the pandemic restrictions have been fully lifted. In 2022, Singapore’s e-commerce market was valued at US$4.9 billion, with an annual growth rate of 14.7%.

Philippines: The e-commerce market in the Philippines posted continuous growth in recent years. In 2022, the Philippines was expected to outperform India and Indonesia for retail e-commerce sales growth. The most popular product categories for online shopping in the Philippines are fashion and apparel, followed by electronics and media.

Thailand: Thailand was second after Indonesia in terms of internet economy size in 2021. The country demonstrated high internet penetration rates throughout the past years as well as a booming e-commerce market. In 2022, Thailand’s e-commerce market was valued at US$3.5 billion, with an annual growth rate of 8.5%.

Indonesia: Indonesia is the most populated country in Southeast Asia, with a total population of more than 270 million. The internet plays an important role in promoting economic and social interests, and internet penetration has been on the rise for a decade now and is not expected to slow down. As a result of difficulties in building a fixed-line network in an archipelago and a massive enhancement of the mobile network, smartphones are the main devices used to access the internet. The nationwide trend towards online communication offers opportunities in many digital areas, including e-commerce. According to a report from the Singapore-based Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, about 138 million Indonesians shop online — roughly one-half of the population. The e-commerce sector accounts for 72% of the total value of the digital economy.

And that’s not all. According to a report published by PPRO, in 2022, 61% of cross-border e-commerce in Malaysia was from China. This was followed by Singapore, with 9% of the market share. 

These numbers show a huge opportunity for Malaysian e-commerce champs like you to expand your business globally. 

Think of it this way: having different choices is smarter than just having one. By reaching customers in places like Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Australia, you’re tapping into more markets to succeed. Smart, right?

This isn’t just a small chance. It’s a big arenato show the world what you’ve got. 

2. Selecting High-Potential Global Markets

Now that you’ve grasped the essentials of research, it’s time to select the most promising international markets. In this section, we’ll delve into the factors that should influence your decisions, showcase real-life success stories, and guide you in choosing high-potential markets for your brand.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Target Countries for Expansion:

  1. Market Demand and Fit: Assess if there’s a demand for your products in the target country. Does your product solve a problem or fulfil a need in that market? Research consumer behaviour and preferences.
  1. Cultural Compatibility: Understand the cultural nuances of the country. Your brand messaging, visuals, and even product features may need adjustments to resonate with the local audience.
  1. Competition Analysis: Analyze your competition in the chosen market. Are there gaps you can fill? What unique value can you bring that sets you apart from existing players?
  1. Economic Indicators: Study the country’s economic indicators, such as GDP growth, income levels, and purchasing power. A thriving economy often correlates with higher consumer spending.
  1. Logistics and Infrastructure: Evaluate the country’s logistics capabilities, transportation networks, and ease of access. A well-connected market can streamline your distribution process.
  1. Regulatory Environment: Look into the country’s trade regulations, tariffs, and taxes. A favourable regulatory environment can save you costs and streamline operations.
  2. Language and Communication: Consider the language spoken in the country. Can you communicate your brand’s message and value proposition effectively in that language?

Real-Life Success Stories of Malaysian Brands

FashionValet: This Malaysian fashion e-commerce platform successfully expanded to Indonesia by adapting its product offerings to match Indonesian preferences. They localised their website and collaborated with local influencers to build trust within the new market.

Pomelo: Originating from Malaysia, Pomelo is an e-commerce fashion brand that expanded across Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia. Their success was driven by trendy fashion collections tailored to each market’s preferences.

3. Crafting a Winning Global Expansion Strategy

Now that we’re on the same page about the amazing global e-commerce opportunity, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to conquer those international markets like a true e-commerce pro.

Strategy: The Secret Sauce

First things first – having a plan is like having a secret recipe for success. Think of it as your roadmap to global domination. Before diving headfirst into new markets, you need a solid strategy as solid as a brick house.

Know Your Audience

Imagine selling winter coats in a tropical paradise – not the best match, right? Understanding your audience is like speaking their language. It’s all about knowing what they want and need and how your products can improve their lives.

Scoping Out the Competition

It’s like a friendly game of “Who’s Who” in the market. Check out what other players are doing – both big and small. What’s working for them? What can you do differently to stand out like a shining star in the night sky?

Locad’s Insight Boost

Guess what? You’re not alone on this journey. Locad’s got some serious insights up its sleeve. We’re like your personal treasure map to success. With data-backed information from our team, you’ll know which markets are hungry for what you’ve got.

One Step at a Time

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a global empire. Start small, test the waters, and learn from each step. It’s all about adapting and growing as you go.

Tech is Your BFF

In this digital age, technology is like your trusty sidekick. Managing orders and tracking inventory is all about staying organised and efficient. And guess what? A 3PL like Locad offers tech-savvy solutions to keep your supply chain on track. We’ll get to that later.

So, there you have it – the blueprint for your global expansion. Prepare to conquer new markets with a strategy as sharp as a samurai sword.

Next up, we’re diving into the exciting world of export regulations and compliance.

4. Navigating Export Regulations and Compliance

As you gear up to take your Malaysian e-commerce business global, there’s a crucial roadblock you need to navigate – export regulations and compliance. Here’s how you navigate through the maze and ensure you and your products sail smoothly to newer markets.

Understanding the Legal Landscape

Exporting isn’t just about packing products and sending them off. Countries outside Malaysia have different rules, regulations, and customs procedures. It’s like a global jigsaw puzzle, and you need to know how to fix all the pieces together.

Steps to Navigate Export Regulations:

  1. Research the Destination Country’s Regulations: Every country has its own rules for importing goods. Research and understand the specific regulations, including product standards, labelling requirements, and any prohibited items.
  1. Determine Product Classification: Your products may fall under certain categories with specific regulations. Use the Harmonized System (HS) code to classify your products for customs purposes accurately.
  1. Check Export Restrictions: Some products might be restricted for export due to safety, environmental, or cultural reasons. Confirm that your products are allowed for export to these target countries.
  1. Licensing and Permits: Certain products require licenses or permits for export. Check if your products fall under these categories and obtain the necessary documentation to avoid confiscation or penalties.

Dealing with Tariffs and Taxes

Tariffs and taxes are like the toll booths on the highway of international trade. They can vary from country to country and product to product. Get a clear picture of what you’ll be paying and ensure your pricing strategy considers these costs.

Steps to Manage Tariffs and Taxes:

  1. Research Tariff Rates: Research the applicable tariff rates for your products in your target markets. These rates can vary significantly and impact your product’s competitiveness.
  1. Understand Trade Agreements: Some countries have trade agreements that offer preferential tariff rates for specific products. Determine if your products qualify for these agreements.
  1. Calculate Import Taxes: Calculate the potential import taxes and duties your products will incur in each target country. Consider these costs when setting your product prices.

Shipping and Logistics

Ah, the art of getting your products from A to B. E-commerce logistics can be a breeze or a storm, depending on how you handle it. Find reliable logistics and shipping partners who understand the intricacies of international trade. Locad, for instance, has the expertise to ensure your products reach their destination hassle-free.

Steps to Streamline Shipping and Logistics:

  1. Select Experienced Shipping Partners: Choose reputable shipping companies with experience in international logistics and customs procedures.
  1. Understand Shipping Methods: Research different shipping methods – air, sea, land – and choose the one that suits your products and budget.
  1. Track and Monitor Shipments: Stay informed about the status of your shipments. Use technology and tracking services to ensure your products are moving smoothly.

Customs Declarations and Paperwork

Imagine getting held up at the airport because your immigration documents aren’t in order – that’s how important accurate customs declarations and paperwork are for your products. Each item must be accurately described, valued, and documented to avoid delays and fines.

Steps for Accurate Customs Declarations:

  1. Provide Detailed Product Descriptions: Describe your products accurately on customs documents. Include details like materials, dimensions, and intended use.
  1. Declare the Correct Value: Accurately declare the value of your products. Under- or over-declaring can lead to customs issues.
  1. Complete Required Forms: Fill out all required customs forms accurately and completely. Incomplete or incorrect forms can cause delays.

Sources for Further Reference:

Now, armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to confidently sail your products across borders and into the eager hands of global customers.

But wait, there’s more to know! In the next section, we’ll cover the most important part in the next section. Preparing your orders for the transit.

5. Preparing Your Products for Export

Now that you’re all fired up about conquering the global e-commerce stage, it’s time to dive into something crucial – your products. Let’s make sure they’re all set to shine like stars in the international arena.

Tailoring for Global Appeal

Imagine this – your products dazzling customers in Australia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and beyond. But here’s the thing: what works in one place might not fly in another. It’s all about customisation to appeal to the local demographic. Think of it as giving your products a global wardrobe makeover so they fit right in.

Getting the Look Right

Visuals speak louder than words, right? Your product images and descriptions are like your e-commerce store’s window display. They should be so enticing that customers can’t help but take a closer look. It’s all about showing off your products in the best light.

Pricing Strategies Across Borders

Here’s the deal – prices can vary like crazy across different countries. What’s affordable in Malaysia might be a splurge elsewhere. Get your pricing strategy on point. Research local pricing trends and ensure your products offer value without breaking the bank.

Language Matters

Imagine shopping on a website in a language you don’t understand – it’s like trying to solve a puzzle without the instructions. Localise your content, including product descriptions and customer service, to connect with customers on a personal level.

Packaging That Pops

Picture this – your product arrives at a customer’s doorstep, and the packaging is so cool that they can’t resist sharing the unboxing experience on social media. That’s the power of packaging. It’s like your product’s first impression, so make it count!

Locad’s Expertise in Action

Guess what? Locad isn’t just about logistics management – we’re also here to help you optimise your products for global appeal. Our insights and experience can guide you in making the right choices, from adapting designs to nailing the perfect packaging.

There you have it – your products, all set to make waves worldwide. 

6. Choosing the Right Fulfillment Strategy

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork for your international expansion journey, and now it’s time to ensure that your products reach customers across the globe seamlessly and efficiently. 

In this section, we’ll dive into the crucial aspect of fulfillment strategies – the behind-the-scenes magic that ensures your customers receive their orders on time, in perfect condition, and with a smile on their faces.

Understanding Fulfillment Strategies:

Fulfillment is the heart and soul of cross-border e-commerce. It’s the process of getting products from your inventory to your customers’ hands. But how you manage this process can make all the difference. There are a few key strategies to consider:

  1. In-House Fulfillment: This involves handling your own warehousing, packaging, and shipping. While it provides complete control over the process, it can be resource-intensive and might not be the most cost-effective option, especially for global expansion.
  1. Third-Party Logistics (3PL): Partnering with a 3PL provider, like Locad, can be a game-changer. They take care of the nitty-gritty – from warehousing and inventory management to picking, packing, and shipping. This allows you to focus on growing your business while experts handle the operational complexities.
  1. Dropshipping: With this model, you don’t hold inventory. Instead, you partner with suppliers who ship products directly to customers. It’s low-risk and requires minimal upfront investment, but you might have less control over quality and shipping times.

Choosing the Right Strategy for You

Selecting the optimal fulfillment strategy requires aligning your business needs with your growth goals. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Consider Your Scale: Are you just starting out or already an established player? If you’re scaling up, partnering with a 3PL like Locad can help you manage increased demand without the hassle.
  1. Global Expansion: If you dream of serving customers in multiple countries, a 3PL with international reach is your best friend. They navigate the complexities of customs, tariffs, and local regulations for you.
  1. Cost Efficiency: In-house fulfillment might seem cost-effective initially, but when you factor in overheads, storage costs, and labour, a 3PL’s economies of scale could offer better value.
  1. Focus on Core Competencies: Do you want to spend time managing logistics or growing your brand? A 3PL handles the operational side, letting you focus on what you do best.

How Can Locad help you with cross-border export and fulfillment?

At Locad, we are dedicated to optimising your cross-border fulfillment journey. Leveraging our specialised expertise, cutting-edge technology, and expansive network of strategically located warehouses across Southeast Asia, including key countries like the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia, we ensure that your products seamlessly reach your customers quickly and efficiently.

With Locad as your trusted partner, you can confidently navigate the complexities of international expansion, knowing that your fulfillment needs are expertly handled. Our comprehensive solutions and meticulous attention to detail empower your business to thrive on the global stage. Your success is our priority, and together, we can turn your aspirations into achievements.

Final Thoughts 

Congratulations! You’ve journeyed through the intricate landscape of global e-commerce expansion, from understanding the opportunity to select markets, navigating regulations, and preparing your products. You’ve explored the pivotal role fulfillment strategies play in ensuring customer satisfaction.

Remember, each step you take brings you closer to the world of international success. Your journey has only just begun. And with Locad by your side, the possibilities are limitless. 

Experience fulfillment by LOCAD

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  • Pay only for what you store
  • No hidden fees or lock-in periods
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