/ Digital Transformation

How to sell online in Southeast Asia

Want to sell your products to Southeast Asia's over 650 million people? Consider selling on Southeast Asia's online marketplaces.

Why marketplaces?

Many of the marketplaces do not charge a listing fee. Listing your products on them gives your brand greater reach and potential customers without significant marketing spend.

Back in June 2017, we looked at the amount of web traffic to some of the larger marketplaces in Southeast Asia (see below). Many of these websites have millions of visitors each month.

marketplaces

(Note that the chart above omits US marketplaces who are in Southeast Asia such as Ebay and Amazon. You'll want to consider these as well.)

The Southeast Asia market resembles a more nascent version of China, where large majority of ecommerce transactions take place on third-party marketplaces like Tmall, Taobao and Jingdong.

It is a common strategy for retailers and merchants to sell both on their own ecommerce websites, retail stores as well as on third-party marketplaces.

Marketplaces do, however, charge a fee upon the completion of a sale. To keep customers within their ecosystem, most of these marketplaces also prevent you from exporting customer emails and contact numbers (this is standard practice for all marketplaces).

What is the selling process?

The process for selling on these marketplaces is similar to that of your own ecommerce store.

The steps involved are as follows:

  1. Register as a seller on their website
  2. Upload your products for approval
  3. Products will be published on their website once approved
  4. Customer places an order
  5. Fulfill the orders
  6. Get paid every 2-4 weeks from the marketplace

When you list on a marketplace, you will also have to extend your customer support functions to cover questions that might come from customers browsing the marketplaces.

Which marketplaces should I list on first?

Different marketplaces focus on different geographies, product and customer types.

Most of the time, merchants already have product names and descriptions in English. In this case, listing on marketplaces in English speaking countries first is a good way to test the waters. These would be Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines.

It is also a good idea to test your products on different marketplaces as their customer bases are different and your products could be more successful in certain marketplaces.

To help you to decide which marketplaces to consider listing on, here's a list of the popular marketplaces and what they focus on (in alphabetical order):

11Street

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Malaysia

Amazon

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: International

Blibli

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Indonesia

Bukalapak

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Indonesia

Carousell

  • Model: P2P selling
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Singapore

Ebay

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: International

Elevenia

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Indonesia

Lazada

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan

Lelong

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Malaysia

OLX

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Philippines, Indonesia

Qoo10

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia

Matahari Mall

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Indonesia

Redmart

  • Model: Marketplace (invite-only)
  • Products: Groceries
  • Countries: Singapore

Sendo

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Vietnam

Shopee

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan

Tiki

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Vietnam

Tokopedia

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Indonesia

Vatgia

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Diversified
  • Countries: Vietnam

Zalora

  • Model: Marketplace
  • Products: Fashion
  • Countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan

(Note: If you would like to be included or suggest an edit, please contact us)

What's next?

We help Shopify and other ecommerce businesses list and manage their products and orders on third-party marketplaces for a monthly fee.

If you'd like to sell to Southeast Asia, feel free to contact us here for more information about our services.

Justin Yek

Justin Yek

Partner & Cofounder @ Altitude Labs. Responsible for our in-house personalization technology Metisa.

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