The 90s was a golden period for futuristic predictions especially during the dot-com boom. One amongst many predictions was that brick and mortar shops will be obsolete in another 15-20 years and how consumers can shop, from the comfort of their bedroom and pajamas, without having to step out of their homes. Well, we are almost close to the 15 year mark and guess where we Malaysians and Singaporeans stand now. Yes, you are right. We are still standing in the long aisles of our supermarkets.
Online shopping is quite mature in many western countries. But on the other hand, Malaysia and Singapore still lag behind these countries including other Asian countries like Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. So where is the problem? To be fair, the prediction on comfort shopping has turned out to be true. But brick and mortar stores did not become obsolete as predicted. The reason behind this is customers have not dropped their psychological fears related to online shopping.
Many reasons could be attributed to this dismal state including reasons such as lack of shopping experience, privacy, credit card safety and other such issues that are normally stated for the lack of online shopping growth. But there are also other reasons that are peculiar to Malaysia and Singapore only.
1. Shopping is a National Pastime: To Malaysians and especially, Singaporeans shopping is an entertainment activity. Along with eating out it ranks amongst their top leisure activities.
2. Inability to Bargain: Asians on the whole love to bargain. For many Malaysians and Singaporeans, shopping is incomplete without bargaining. Shoppers here try their very best to convince the owner to reduce the prices. Many would consider their shopping complete if only they were able to buy products at rates below the advertised price.
3. Inability to Feel Product: The average Asian would want to touch & feel most of the goods before buying. This is due to the fact that the shoppers don’t trust what is in the box. Many would want to have it opened and checked, right in front of their eyes. But this is not possible while shopping online.
4. Delay in Delivery: Web stores in Singapore and Malaysia normally don’t reflect the current stock position of a product. Many a times the stock will be delivered after a week or two. But shoppers will find out only after completing their payment. This is one of the main reasons, why shoppers in Malaysia and Singapore are wary about ordering product online.
Though there are many such identified blocks, but the future is not very bleak as it seems to be. Given below are some key indicators.
1. The past few years witnessed rapid growth in the number of online stores.
2. Many brick and mortar stores now have a web presence.
3. There is an overall increase in the number of online shoppers.
4. Shoppers nowadays depend on Internet to do product research to aid their purchase decisions.
5. In the past year or two, a few price comparison sites have cropped up. This indicates that online shopping in Malaysia and Singapore is maturing.
6. Broadband connections are witnessing stead growth over the past couple of years.
As these key indicators suggest that Online Shopping in Malaysia and Singapore is poised to grow at a very healthy rate in the days to come.
Source by TR Bharath Rajkumar