Expanding to Southeast Asia: Ecommerce Trends

Make the most of Southeast Asia ecommerce trends and opportunities.
29th Mar, 2023

Why expand to Southeast Asia?

It’s clear that online selling opportunities in Southeast Asia are growing rapidly.

By 2030, Southeast Asia is expected to be the world’s fourth largest region by combined GDP, following the EU, US and China*. This region is also set to have increased purchasing power with a middle class of 500 million people* by the end of the decade.

More and more shoppers, from Myanmar to Malaysia, Singapore to Indonesia are searching online for everyday items. So let’s take a closer look at some of the Southeast Asia trends and opportunities this area could present for online sellers.

Southeast Asia ecommerce trends

If you’re thinking about expanding your sales into this area, here are key trends to consider.

1. Omnichannel customer experiences

As with the rest of the world, Southeast Asian shoppers are now likely to have multiple touchpoints on their search to find a product. Customers may encounter any number of different websites, social media platforms, apps and offline experiences along their purchasing journey.

Providing an omnichannel customer experience means that every successive interaction is consistent, integrated and easy for the buyer. If selling in the Southeast Asia region, think about how you can provide a smooth and supportive experience wherever and whenever you reach your customers – and wherever they might find you. A good starting point will be having detailed product listings, cohesive branding and helpful customer service at every turn.

2. Social ecommerce

Of course, social interactions can account for a large part of the omnichannel experience across Southeast Asia and beyond. Sellers are using social media platforms in these regions to:
• Inspire purchases and build brand recognition
• Connect potential buyers directly with an online storefront or specific product listing, and
• Answer any questions buyers might have about products.

Whether attracting attention through organic social media content or through social media advertising, expect to see more sellers reaching buyers through social media environments.

3. Mobile shopping

Southeast Asia has been leading the world in mobile internet use in recent years, with the majority of the region's internet users connecting primarily on their mobile phone.

Singapore’s smartphone shoppers
Many buyers in Singapore will look to their phones to purchase a product. According to external research, 47% of ecommerce transactions in Singapore take place on a mobile device, while 75% of Singaporean shoppers aged 18 to 29 use their mobile device to shop online**.

Sellers who fail to optimise for mobile purchases in the Southeast Asian region could be missing out on sales – which is why it can be a wise choice to sell through Amazon’s mobile-optimised store and app.

Get started with Amazon >

4. Sustainable choices

Sustainability is an important cause for customers in Southeast Asia. To align more closely with customer intentions and offer more sustainable products, online sellers can consider:
• Continually improving products and manufacturing processes
• Using sustainable packaging and shipping options
• Sharing sustainability success stories with buyers

5. Direct-to-consumer

Direct-to-consumer is a model where the manufacturer or producer of the product sells directly to customers, often online. This can mean bypassing traditional middle players like wholesalers or distributors. In Southeast Asia and beyond it’s now simpler for startups and emerging brands to find direct channels to the public, including across food, health and beauty products.

If you’re developing your own unique products and plan to expand to other countries, consider registering with Amazon Launchpad. This program can provide global infrastructure, powerful marketing tools and an expedited path to launching in international stores.

Explore Amazon Launchpad >

6. Online payment options

Just as elsewhere in the world, speed and convenience have become important parts of the online shopping experience. One-click payment options take away the inconvenience of having to enter credit card information and billing details for every purchase. This is just one more reason it can be beneficial to sell through Amazon’s store, so customers can set up their default purchase preferences in a secure way.

Tips for expanding internationally

Whether you’re already selling on Amazon Australia and plan to expand, or are new to selling online, here are a handful of tips that may be helpful as you offer products to Southeast Asian shoppers.

7. Register your seller account in the new region

If you’re already selling on Amazon Australia, you can click on Sell Globally in Seller Central to start creating a selling account in the region or regions in which you'd like to sell. You’ll be able to track and manage your business for all regions in one place, and review which offers you want to feature in the new region. If you’re new to selling online, you can register for a seller account through our global selling page.

Learn about selling globally >

8. Localise your product offerings

While shoppers the world over enjoy the variety and ease of buying online, the products they’re looking to buy will naturally vary from region to region. The best sellers in Australia are likely to be different to the best sellers in Singapore. For this reason, it’s worth localising product offerings to the region you’re selling in.

9. Product requirements

A breathtaking range of products can be sold on Amazon Australia, but there are also a few product and category restrictions to be mindful of. Brush up on Amazon’s product categories, and you’ll be better equipped to source or create products that are safe and permitted to be listed.

Consider popular categories
At the Amazon Southeast Asia Seller Summit 2022, product categories flagged for future growth in Southeast Asia included health and beauty, smart living and wireless, travel products, PCs and computer accessories.

Brush up on local requirements & restrictions
Different regions and countries can have their own product requirements and restrictions, including when it comes to importing and exporting. Research and work within these parameters when expanding new regions.

10. Sync existing listings

If you already have an Amazon Australia account and there are products you plan to offer on Amazon Singapore, the Build International Listings tool can help you port your listings to other Amazon stores with ease. Simply log into your Seller Central account and click on Sell Globally to get started.

See our guide to Global Selling >

11. Localise your listings & landing pages

Whether you’re syncing existing listings or starting from scratch, it’s important to consider local shoppers in the region you’re expanding to.

The Build International Listings tool will attempt to translate and create product detail pages on the target store. You can then fine-tune these listings to localise your product descriptions. You can also set specific price rules and offers to suit local customers.

Local currencies for shoppers
Shoppers on Amazon Singapore can now choose to see browse in Singapore Dollars or in Malaysian Ringgit.

12. Treat each country and region as its own

Keep in mind that different countries and regions will have their own cultures and celebrations. Consider inventory levels ahead of relevant key events, like Spring Festival, Diwali and local national holidays. As you scale and expand, factor in the unique characteristics of each location and how these might affect marketing and sales.

Grow your Amazon business >

13. Optimise the shopping experience

As with all online selling, it’s important to continually optimise your customer experience. Aim to find the best fulfilment options to suit your business, and focus on earning positive customer reviews to build trust. There are also a range of third-party software partners that could help you automate, manage and grow your business across different regions.

Explore seller tools >
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