Is owning a business a long-time dream of yours? Why not make this dream a reality by venturing into e-commerce? We share three reasons why you shouldn’t overlook this rising sector.
1) The barrier to entry is lower
For aspiring entrepreneurs and first-time business owners, an e-commerce store may be easier to begin with than a traditional brick-and-mortar storefront. There are many established online shopping platforms out there for you to choose from, all offering varying features and pricing plans. After choosing the online shopping platform that most suits your business needs and creating your shop, you can get it up and running with just a click of your mouse!
Unlike a traditional retail storefront, your e-commerce store can stay open 24/7 to all even as you sleep, and will require less labour costs and inventory upfront. This, along with the doing away of expensive rental costs, helps reduce the start-up capital required. Your business can thus start small and expand more easily!
2) The local e-commerce market is thriving
The COVID-19 pandemic saw consumers quickly shift towards online shopping due to lockdowns, ‘sheltering in place’ or staying at home whenever possible. In fact, according to an in-depth survey conducted by Blackbox in June 2020, nearly three out of five survey respondents across six ASEAN countries reported an increase in their online spending[i].
Singapore was one of the six countries that took part in Blackbox’s Into the Light study, which explored how COVID-19 affected the ASEAN consumer.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this led to the annual growth of the total value of the domestic consumer goods e-commerce market to grow by a whopping 32.4% in January 2021[ii].
E-commerce has long become a force to be reckoned with even before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, however. Many factors have contributed to this: think technological advances in digital wallets and social media, social selling, increasing internet accessibility as well as the growing adoption of mobile devices.
According to statistics from GlobalData, a leading provider of global business intelligence, Singapore’s e-commerce market grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.4% between 2015 and 2019 to reach S$8.3 billion (US$6.2 billion)[iii]. We haven’t even covered the global e-commerce market yet, which reportedly amounted to US$4.28 trillion in 2020 for retail e-commerce sales[iv].
There’s only one conclusion to make: online is where the crowd and opportunities lie!
3) Singapore is gearing towards becoming an Ecommerce hub
Singapore is looking to become a regional and global e-commerce hub, and many government-led initiatives are currently in the works.
Minister Chan Chun Sing first shared about the Government’s five-pronged strategy in a speech he gave during the Amazon Southeast Asia Online Seller Summit 2021. The strategy includes setting up two nationwide 5G networks by 2025, and 50% coverage in two years, to increase Singapore’s capacity to handle large e-commerce orders that come in from around the world. It also includes support and talent development schemes for local firms[v].
These are some of the initiatives that you may be able to tap into:
This scheme has been extended, and is open to retailers that do not have existing accounts with Shopee or Qoo10. Retailers can only apply for one platform and if successful, stand to 80 per cent of qualifying costs waived (capped at $8,000, one-time only).
An initiative for Small and Medium Enterprises looking to venture into overseas markets.
There are various programmes available to aspiring entrepreneurs, in areas ranging from funding to mentorship.
With this much support in place, there’s no better time to look into e-commerce as a potential revenue model.
Before you begin…
Is the idea of starting your own online store appealing? Here is one thing you must know before you take the leap: your competition will be fierce. There are millions of online stores, with new ones opening every day, and you’ll need more than good products to stand out from the crowd.
Just take a look at the results of PricewaterhouseCooper’s March 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey, which found the top three things consumers care about most when shopping online to be[vi]:
- Fast/reliable service
- The ability to quickly and conveniently navigate the website
- In-stock availability of items they want
To put it simply, there are many things you have to take care of and consider before your ecommerce store can go live. How should the website be designed? What features should be included? How do I ensure that customers will have a smooth check-out? How do I source and list my products? The list goes on!
If you’re not sure how to begin your e-commerce journey, or aren’t familiar with ecommerce website development and feel like you’re in over your head, don’t worry. There are plenty of resources online that you can kickstart your journey with.
Alternatively, you can enrol in an e-commerce course with a well-structured curriculum!
The Develop An Ecommerce Webstore course* offered by Wong Fong Academy is one such option. From choosing a suitable webstore type to ways of evaluating your website’s digital experience and how to maintain website publishing content, the 16-hour course takes you through the fundamentals of building an e-commerce website step by step.
Upon successful completion of the course, you’ll be awarded a WSQ Statement of Attainment (SOA) and a Certification of Achievement from Wong Fong Academy. Here’s an added bonus: you’ll also receive an exclusive link giving you a 180-day free trial for Shopify—as compared to the standard 14-day free trial—giving you ample time to set up your webstore and test, test, test!
If you find the course helpful, Wong Fong Academy offers a range of digital marketing and e-commerce courses that you can explore to help scale your entrepreneurial journey. You can find out which of their course offerings are suitable for you, in a recommended order of sequence, via the learning institute’s helpful course finder tool.
Ready to get down to business? We wish you success in this dynamic sector!
*The Develop An Ecommerce Webstore course is eligible for up to 90% subsidy (for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents) through the SSG Training Grant or SkillsFuture course funding scheme.