- 4 min read
- April 12, 2018
The massive shift of Southeast Asian retail towards digital has opened up a whole new world of opportunities of online sellers. Consequently, the entire Southeast Asian eCommerce ecosystem has leapt into action, making it easier for anyone to sell online.
Today, starting your own online selling business is just a matter of few clicks. However, without proper research, strategy, and planning, setting up a successful online business is not possible.
Selling on online sales channels not only gives a product or brand a wider audience visibility, but helps any business explore the global market. According to a survey conducted in 2014, 41% of the total global buyers preferred buying products online. These stats raised up to 58.3% by 2016 and is expected to cross the mark of 63% by 2019. Hence, online selling is a crucial requisite for overall business growth.
So, if you have decided to take your business online and achieve success as an online seller, here is your complete guide to being a successful eCommerce seller in Southeast Asia.
( Note: Check out how you can become a Power Seller on any Sales Channel you sell on.)
Plan WHAT to sell and HOW to sell
The first and the most important thing is to know your product. Increasing opportunities invariably lead to increase in the level of competition. Hence, to gain success it is very important to decide which products you should sell. Your product choice will further impact many other elements of your shipping facilities, cost or production and inventory storage.
Here’s how you can make the correct product choice.
1.Take Your Existing Offline Business Online
Taking your existing business online or starting an altogether new business is a considerable task in itself, try not to add any extra stress to it. If you are already a seller, simply choose your existing products. If you are a completely new seller, you may want to invest some time to gain knowledge about products you choose.
2.Step into the Shoes of Your Customers
If you value your customers, they will value your brand. Remember, the sale is not the 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 solutions.
Once you start receiving orders, the most important thing to attain success is by keeping your customers happy. Make sure your product is feasible enough to be shipped and delivered on time. If you chose something quite big, fragile and easily perishable, it will increase your operations and business costs. Also, if you are not planning to set up your own production unit, plan precisely where you will be sourcing your products from.
Plan WHERE to Buy From
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.
You have two options here, either you go for a drop shipper or work with a manufacturer.
Drop shipping means buying products from someone else and placing them on sale through your online store. In this scenario, you will have to completely depend on someone else to fulfil the orders you receive from your customers. On the other hand, a manufacturer is the one who will create specified products for your store. Both drop shipping and manufacturing have their own pros and cons. You will have to choose the one that best suits your budget and business needs.
- Less or absolutely no work headache, as all the worries related to shipping and returns, are handled by the drop shipper.
- No risk of overstocking or losing money on production.
- Low overhead costs.
- Low-profit margins, as you need to pay a lot to the drop shipper.
- Lack of control on the quality of the products you sell under your brand name.
- You have no control over the stock, ending up into potential inventory issues.
- You have better control over the product quality and branding.
- Per unit cost is much lower.
- High investment as you will have to put in a lot of money in developing your own products.
- Lot of time consumption in product research, planning, designing, development and testing, which can eventually take a longer launch time
Analyse the market
Once you know what to sell, your next step should be focused on understanding the current state of the Indonesian market. This includes gaining detailed knowledge about who are your competitors and what are they offering.
Prepare a checklist of all organisations, companies and even individuals that are selling similar products. Include some important pointers such as strengths, weaknesses, tagline and sales mission.
Once you understand your competition, you can begin researching for your potential buyer profiles and the target market. To be successful in online business, you should be acutely sure about your group of potential buyers, their preferences, their needs and their problems. If you don't know your customers properly and you will never be able to build the trust factor and fulfil their requirements. Hence, you will end up losing your supposedly long-term customers.
To improve the accuracy of your target audience data, you can use psychographic and demographic information from related marketplace segments. This will include:
- Marital status
- Religious Background
- Moral Values
- Online Activity Timings
Launch Your Online Business
As discussed, eCommerce gives you an open space to be creative in running your business successfully. There are multiple beneficial platforms to choose from, and selecting the right platform is an essential step in reaching your desired target audience.
Two most popular platforms to sell online are:
1. eCommerce Marketplace
eCommerce marketplaces are the easiest ways to start selling online if you are relatively newer to the field. You can create a seller account with these online marketplaces and start selling your products immediately. You will have to register to these eCommerce sites with some basic details such as VAT registration number, identity proof, address and bank details.
These sites have a very low operative cost which helps you save a lot. These stores already have millions of per day visitors eliminating your concern of attracting customers. Also, the maintenance of the site is done by marketplace team, so you will never have to worry about the downtime. Popular online marketplaces in Indonesia include Lazada, Zalora, Qoo10, Matahari Mall, BliBli, JD amongst others.
( Note: You can manage your selling on multiple marketplaces at one place with SelluSeller. Check out all the marketplaces that can be integrated and managed with SelluSeller)
2. Set up a Web Store
Another easy and effective ways of launching your store online are by setting it up through an eCommerce store development platform. There are many technically advanced and popular platforms that allow you to design your own web store and start selling. They use their own server to host your web store and help you reach your 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 catalogue and start selling. With these web stores, you will never have to worry about catalogue management and web hosting glitches. All this will be handled by the service provider. Some of the most user-friendly examples of such platforms in Southeast Asia are Magento, PrestaShop and Shopify.
As an online seller, both options- marketplaces and webstores are equally good for generating sustainable revenue. But, in order to find real online success, you must think about selling on multiple channels in order to increase your overall revenue. Naturally, multi-channel selling requires way more efforts, but this is where multi-channel selling software applications come into the picture.
Why is it better to manage your online selling through a multi-channel selling software?
Multi-channel selling applications let you manage your complete online selling on multiple channels- at one place. Instead of managing each channel separately, you can simply integrate all channels you sell on with a multi-channel selling software. This not only automates your entire selling operations, but also helps you save time, efforts & money.
( Note: Check out all these Benefits that you can get by managing your online selling with SelluSeller)
Legal Do’s & Don’ts of Online Business
Setting up an online business is easy, but finding success take a lot of hard work. Apart from setting up the business, you also need to get various legal formalities & paperwork in place:
1. Permits and Licenses:
Before you start selling online, you need your legal authorization documents for your business. Apply for a business license and become eligible to sell digitally.
2. 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 the fact that these goods come with a restriction to shipping. Hence, you may require some extra paperwork to ship them across to the customers.
3. Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks
Try to keep yourself away from all kind of copyright issues when dealing online. Neither let anybody take credit for your work, not get involved in any kind of stealing yourself. Get your property rights counselled beforehand to be safe.
You need to be present everywhere, and let tools, marketplaces and webstores work for you. Your focus should always remain on your product and market analysis to maximize your profits!
Your target audiences are no more confined to any particular city or country and you get the maximum opportunity to promote your brand. Although it's quite a challenging process, your key to success is your constant smart work, use the best tools and incorporate smart strategy.
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