What Is Social Ecommerce and How I Can Use It as A Singapore Business?

social ecommerce Singapore

What is Social Ecommerce?

Social ecommerce is simply selling products and services through social media platforms. It can also be referred to as social shopping. By combining social media and ecommerce, brands have been able to take advantage of social advertising to streamline the buying process.

A while back, social ecommerce involved redirecting people from a social media platform to an ecommerce platform to make a purchase, but technology has since changed that to what we now have.

Social ecommerce varies in the way it is implemented on various social platforms, which we’ll discuss in a while. Needless to say, purchases are made within the social platforms in any of them. Important to note is that the social media companies are not involved in any of the process, and its online retailers who do the selling.

Ecommerce is a booming industry in 2019. Gone are the days when you had to go to a physical store to purchase products or services. Now, with just a mobile device, you can buy or sell just about anything online.

Having started in 1994, ecommerce has grown to a massive industry it is today. Right now, ecommerce is the fastest-growing retail market estimated to hit $4.135 trillion in sales in 2020. Small businesses to large corporations no longer focus only on their local stores, but ecommerce as well to extend their reach to more customers.

global retail sales

Source: Statista

These are some of the latest ecommerce statistics that show the growth of ecommerce.

  • The total value of global retail sales will hit $3.45 T in 2019.
  • Ecommerce retail sales are projected to account for 13.7% of global sales in 2019.
  • By 2040, around 95% of purchases are expected to be through ecommerce.
  • There are between 12-24 million ecommerce sites in the world.
  • 85% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase online.

In this article, we will focus on ecommerce in Singapore, provide an overview of the same, and later offer a comprehensive guide to social ecommerce and how you can use social ecommerce in Singapore for your business.

 

Source: The Audiopedia

Before then, here are some insights into how to market online in Singapore.

Ways for Marketing a Business Online in Singapore

Digital marketing in Singapore has helped companies to improve their performance. When you use proper internet marketing in Singapore, you could earn more customers and retain the existing ones.

· Web design

Effective digital marketing in Singapore calls for a good website that conforms to all the necessary requirements.

· Email marketing

Email marketing in Singapore as in the rest of the world has remained an effective lead generation strategy for years. Email marketing in Singapore is used by affiliate marketers and social media influencers to put their marketing in place.

· Use search engine marketing

A strong SEO tactic helps a website become associated with keywords specific to that niche hence raising your brand awareness.

· Hold contests and giveaways

Encourage promotion from your customers and in return, offer a free product or service.

· Build an opt-in email list

This strategy allows customers to come to you and receive email correspondence hence, enabling you to connect with prospects.

· Start a blog

A blog enables you to optimize your search engine strategy, post new keywords, share information, and much more.

· Use social media

Social media plays a huge role in online marketing and has become an essential strategy for businesses of every niche.

Other ways to use digital marketing in Singapore include content marketing, affiliate marketing Pay-Per-Click, to name a few.

Ecommerce in Singapore: Overview

Singapore’s ecommerce market is enormous. At almost $5 billion in 2019, Singapore’s ecommerce market is one of the largest in the world. Reports suggest that Singapore’s ecommerce will be worth S $ 7.5 billion by 2025, five times its value in 2016.

With more than 80% of Singapore’s population relying on the internet for information, it is obvious to see why ecommerce is prominent in the country.

About 4.9 million Singaporeans use the internet today, which is about 85% of the total population of 5.8 million. It is reported that 3.5 million of the users have bought items online, and three in every five Singaporeans shop online, making the market revenue per user at $1, 022.

Currently, it is estimated that almost three-quarters of users between the ages of 16 and 64 already shop online.

Ecommerce users in Singapore by age are projected to follow this distribution:

 

Age

Percentage

16-24

10

24-34

16.67

35-44

28.14

44-55

32.22

55 and above

13.33

Users by Gender

Gender

Percentage

female

51.4

male

48.6

Singaporeans are also big on online shopping. A study shows that 26% of Singaporeans shop online at least once a week, with an estimated US$91 per order reported. This is the highest number reported in Southeast Asia.

According to Dataportal statistics,

  • 89% of internet users in Singapore search online for a service or product.
  • 73% of Singaporean internet users have purchased an item or service online.
  • 54% of Singaporean internet users have bought something via a mobile device.
  • 47% of them have purchased via computer.
  • Ecommerce spending makes up 4% of Singapore’s total retail.
  • Singaporeans spend the most on travel and accommodation amounting to US$3.641 billion, followed by fashion, beauty, and electronics.
  • E-wallets is the choice of payment for 10% of all ecommerce transactions.
  • Credit cards are the preferred method of payment, with over 66% of shopping opting for this method.

Motivation for shopping online range from online stores giving discounts and gifts as well as the privacy of buying anything without anyone knowing.

The most common items sold in Singapore ecommerce are electronics [cameras, scanners, wireless devices, printers etc.], computer hardware and software, books, health and beauty products, travel, toys and games, apparel, and fashion accessories, music and office supplies.

The following table shows the most popular shopping categories in Singapore.

Category

Percentage

Booking hotels

83%

clothes

43%

Flight tickets

89%

Insurance

40%

Cinema

41%

 

It is no surprise then that Singapore is home to some of the most popular ecommerce platforms that dominate the region.

Here is an infographic on the impact of social media marketing on businesses.

social media marketing

Source: Monetate

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To give you a better perspective of the leading players of ecommerce in Singapore, below are the top ecommerce websites in 2019.

1. Lazada

Monthly traffic estimate: 8 million

Founded in 2011 by Rocket Internet, Lazada is the most popular ecommerce platform in Singapore. It is a general online store and market place that allows retailers to sell their products. Alibaba acquired a controlling stake on the platform in 2016.

2. Qoo10

Monthly traffic estimate: 7.85 million

Qoo10 is famous for its Korean products in the categories of fashion and women. Qoo10 expanded beyond Korea to become a leading online marketplace in Singapore.

3. Carousell

Monthly traffic estimate: 5.4 million

Carousell was initially a mobile platform and later developed a website shopping site. The site allows for brands and individuals to take pictures of their products and sell through the platform as well as chat with the sellers to buy directly.

4. Shopee

Monthly traffic estimate: 2.6 million

Shopee has established itself as a leading online marketplace, although founded just recently. It is primarily mobile, and also a online diversified market.

5. EZbuy

Monthly traffic estimate: 1.5 million

EZbuy is an online marketplace that focuses on clothing, beauty, electronics, family, and sports products. EZbuy promoted affordable products throughout the site.

6. eBay

Monthly traffic estimate: 1.1 million

eBay is one of the top ecommerce players globally. The local site in Singapore caters for all product categories.

7. Zalora

Monthly traffic estimates: 1.1 million

Founded in 2012, Zalora is the largest fashion ecommerce site in Southeast Asia. It enables fashion brands to sell their products through the platform.

8. FairPrice On

Monthly traffic estimate: 1.1 million

FairPrice On is a leading grocery store in Singapore. It allows customers to buy household products and is delivered to them.

9. Courts

Monthly traffic estimate: 960,000

Courts originated from the UK and expanded to South East Asia. It is a leading retailer in electronics, IT, and furniture. It allows customers to buy the products through the site.

10. Sephora

Monthly traffic estimate: 390, 000

Sephora is a leading online site in beauty and cosmetics in Singapore. Other than Singapore, it also leads in ecommerce in other countries for beauty and cosmetics.

Contributing Factors to Ecommerce Success in Singapore

The following are the drivers of ecommerce in Singapore:

1. High internet penetration

More than three-quarter of Singaporeans are active internet users. The country also has high internet speeds enabling internet use and internet marketing in Singapore. Also, most of the population is tech-savvy with most of them preferring online shopping.

Having the right technology and knowledge has contributed to the increasing growth of ecommerce in Singapore.

2. The popularity of cashless payment methods

Singapore has some of the best payment methods in Southeast Asia, with credit cards being the most preferred method of payment. This can be attributed to the 200% increase in credit cards by the country’s banks. Credit cards currently hold a 54% popularity mark in Singapore.

preferred online payment method Singapore

Other common payment methods in Singapore are PayPal, cash on delivery, direct debits, and bank transfer.

3. Singapore’s geographical location and competitive logistics

Singapore lies right in the middle at the cross border of many shipping routes that facilitates the shipping of products into it. In 2015, the World Bank ranked Singapore as the 5th best country globally for logistics. For this reason, the top global logistics companies in the world have headquarters in Singapore.

This allows e-retailers from surrounding countries to bring their products to that directly impacts ecommerce in Singapore.

4. The rise in mobile commerce

On average, Singapore millennial spends over three hours on their mobile devices. This has facilitated digital marketing in Singapore, with many marketers using this opportunity to reach their target market.

5. Singaporeans love to shop

Singaporeans are heavy shoppers. A study shows that 50% of Singaporeans will buy online at any given chance. Another study showed that 1 in 3 Singaporeans could willingly go overseas just for a shopping experience.

While there are many physical shopping stores, Singaporeans still love online shopping.

6. Social media influence

It’s hard to separate ecommerce and social media. Almost every brand in ecommerce connects with prospects via social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

The people enjoy one of the best internet connectivity in the world that facilitates online marketing in Singapore. Other than that, the country is one of the socially connected countries in the world. 3.60 million Singaporeans are reported to be active social media users, which account for 64% penetration rate.

Social media offers direct links to websites where Singaporeans shop for anything they need on the internet.

7. Singapore speaks English

Singapore’s main language is English, which has a significant impact especially on the commercial level. It makes it easy for international business players to build business relations with Singapore, which also contributes to ecommerce success.

An Overview of Social Ecommerce

The average person will spend approximately five years of their life on social media. This is equivalent to 1. 825 days. Research shows that time spent on social media might increase to beat the existing record.

While some can think of this as a bad thing in terms of social alienation and the modern crisis of distraction, it’s a good thing in the ecommerce world. If you’re in the ecommerce industry, you already know how competitive it is. Internet marketing in Singapore has enabled retailers to improve their online visibility and raise brand awareness.

Social ecommerce comes in and presents an online retailer with a huge opportunity to make bigger sales and boost their business. It has also opened ways for consumers to purchase what they see on their screens.

Internet marketing in Singapore and the rest of the world is enormous as more and more people embrace the digital way of buying what they need. Social media has noticeably become such platform and people are making purchases through it. This making it one of the hugest channels for internet marketing in Singapore.

This merge between ecommerce and social media has brought a whole new era of social ecommerce. The brands and companies optimizing this merge are reaping big and breaking ground in their niches.

In this section, we will explain what social ecommerce is, which are the most popular social commerce platforms , and share insights on how a business can use social ecommerce in Singapore.

Most popular social ecommerce platforms

There are many social media platforms that all play a role in our daily lives. However, when it comes to social ecommerce, three social media platforms call the shots. These are Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

· Facebook

You can never talk about social ecommerce without mentioning Facebook. Facebook is the most popular social network in the world; hence the most obvious place for an ecommerce retailer to start online marketing in Singapore.

Here are some Facebook statistics.

  • Facebook has about 1.5 billion active users
  • Facebook users spend an average of 40 minutes on Facebook daily
  • 92% of social media marketers use Facebook for advertising
  • More than 30 million businesses have a Facebook page
  • 93% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from mobile advertising
  • “Learn More” is the most effective CAT
  • The most famous calls to action are:
  • Shop Now: 74%
  • Learn More: 10%
  • Book Now: 8%
  • Download: 4%
  • Sign Up: 4%

With this large number of Facebook users, an ecommerce retailer can be sure there are a lot of potential customers there.

Facebook is also the marketing home for every kind of niche. Facebook accounts for an impressive 64% of all total social revenue. Regardless of what you are selling, there is the targeted audience on Facebook.

Hence, this is the best social platform to conduct ecommerce.

For Facebook marketing to work, marketers have to figure out how to make their ads the most relevant and compelling to their audience. The most successful marketers have figured out how to use data to understand their audience better.

Facebook is also the home for mobile commerce. Mobile ads account for 80% of Facebook’s revenue, making it the best platform for m-commerce and social ecommerce.

However, the number of people using their phones to research and compare products than they are buying is still large, which poses a challenge to online retailers. Facebook is countering this by reducing the clicks required to complete a transaction by auto-completing the users’ information on ad units.

Facebook will also fill in the information they know about a customer to make the experience easier. Without having to worry about poor user experience, high bounce rates, slow loading pages, and remarketing, everyone wins- both the customers and the retailers.

· Instagram

Undoubtedly, Instagram is currently one of the best social media platforms. It is said to be the next big platform when it comes to engagement.  Research shows that 68% of Instagram users interact with brands.

Instagram is currently one of the leading platforms when it comes to online marketing in Singapore.

With Instagram becoming a pay-to-play platform, ecommerce marketers have a platform to increase their revenues from ads. Also, as only about 36% of marketers use Instagram, those using the platform have a big opportunity to reap big from this feature.

Also, Instagram is at an intersection of m-commerce and social commerce, which is very rewarding for marketers.

Instagram Shopping feature was introduced that allows users to tap on stories and images to view featured products. This feature is available in over seventy countries that sell physical goods and have an Instagram business account that is connected to a Facebook page.

Instagram also has an in-app checkout feature that strengthens Instagram’s social commerce.

· Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the leading social commerce platforms that have worked with retailers such as Wayfair, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s. What makes Pinterest outstanding is the originality of a section of the site’s content. A source revealed that 80% of the site’s content remains on repins.

For any original content creator, this is one platform you should consider for online marketing in Singapore and ecommerce as a whole.

Why is social ecommerce important for your business?

Social media usage continues to grow, as seen in the growing numbers of activity in social media platforms. In the past, marketers assumed their target market wasn’t on social media but the narrative has long since changed.

Social media is used by everyone-young and old.

The average social media user will spend a third of their time online. The potential customers are therefore spending more time on social media that they are on shopping.

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This is why you need to target them here.

How can a marketer use Social Ecommerce in Singapore?

Social commerce in Singapore has gotten into a whole new level. If you haven’t created a social media presence yet, you are missing out on a chance to drive traffic, build brand awareness, and make sales.

Nevertheless, its never too late to take that step.

This guide will give insights on how to use social media to grow your business. We will also share some tips and strategies to use for social commerce in Singapore.

For successful social ecommerce in Singapore, you need to learn how to use social media for various purposes.

1. To drive traffic

Social media is about engagement, connections, and relationships. These three things can be used to drive traffic to your business.

Studies show that customers who have had a good experience with your company are three times likely to recommend your brand to others. The most probable place to make these recommendations is on social media.

To create good connections, you need to start by creating content that the target market relates. You also need to have a social media presence to connect with your target market. This includes answering queries and complaints.

Research shows that 88% of customers do not purchase if their social media queries and complaints are not answered. 77% of customers warm up to a business after online interaction.

To be more engaging for a successful campaign in social ecommerce in Singapore, be sure to share written content, images and links to your website.

Social ecommerce in Singapore is all about investment and playing smart. It is no surprise then that most online retailers in Singapore are willing to pay for paid social media ads.

This is a give-away sign that social media advertising works, and you will also have to pay to play. Competition is tough on social media and for you to boost your visibility.

Other than this, these are avenues to drive your social ecommerce in Singapore.

·  Facebook Content

Sharing articles on Facebook is an effective strategy for social ecommerce in Singapore. However, you need to be sure that the articles are about 2, 000 words in length as these kinds of articles get the most shares.

Facebook content

Source: Statista

Length is, however not the only consideration as you need to ensure that the content is of high- quality.

·  Live Streaming

Live streaming is a popular strategy used in Singapore. Using live streaming on social media is becoming increasingly useful to marketers.

Here are some live video statistics:

  • Over 36% of internet users have watched a live video.
  • 80% of people prefer watching live videos over reading written content. 82% of people would choose a live video over a social media post.
  • People watch live videos three times more than recorded videos. Live videos get ten times more comments than recorded videos.

Videos are this effective as they encourage engagement and enhance the customer experience. It is a great way to connect with customers and transform them into loyal customers.

Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live, and Snapchat are all effective platforms depending on your prospect demographics.

·  Messaging Platforms

Though not mentioned earlier, Instant messaging is massive in the modern world.

The leading messaging platforms are:

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  • Whatsapp with more 1.5 billion users
  • Facebook Messenger with 1.2 billion users
  • WeChat with 1.5 billion users

The most effective way to use these platforms for social ecommerce in Singapore is to use chatbots, which can automate your sales, complaint and help desk.

You can use these platforms for:

  • Sharing new content
  • Creating a sales funnel
  • Providing resources
  • Automating conversions
  • Pushing out resources

·  Instagram Stories

Instagram stories are massively popular, with over 250 million daily active users.

The feature is a great way to improve customer engagement by posting photos and videos. You can use this feature to target customers, depending on their demographic.

How to Sell Using Social Ecommerce in Singapore

As mentioned, ecommerce is vast and social ecommerce in Singapore becoming even bigger. Singaporeans love to shop, and supported by other contributing factors, online marketing in Singapore, is really big.

Singaporean online retailers take advantage of this to makes large sales, and you should as well.

There are several ways of selling on social media in Singapore.  The main consideration should be the social media to use depending on your target customers as customers need to be ready to buy.

The same engagement tactics discussed in the previous section can be used to sell as well. Once you have driven some traffic to your business, the next step is converting the traffic to sales.

Here are some strategies:

·  Paid advertising

Facebook and Instagram regularly update their algorithms to support content personalization. Hence, you will require using paid ads to increase your product visibility.

A rule of thumb is to only pay for your top content as a way to promote it.

·  Facebook pixel

A pixel is a Facebook code that can be used on a website. The code allows a retailer to measure the effectiveness of ads by using visitor behavior on the site. Once a pixel is set up, Facebook begins to advertise the business.

How to run Facebook ads for a product:

  • Facebook Carousel Ads- with this feature, you can display up to 10 images or videos in a single ad using a card format. This enables a retailer to showcase different features of the same product in a single ad. The feature is very useful in increasing interaction rates.
  • Dynamic product ads- this is the highest return on investment tactic for ecommerce

·  Remarketing

Remarketing is basically continuously targeting a customer across multiple platforms.

This has proved very effective in increasing conversion rates, especially on Facebook and Twitter. Remarketing ads is likely to receive three times more clicks and more likely to convert more customers.

·  In-app purchasing

Social ecommerce in Singapore has been facilitated by an easy online transaction. Singaporeans can make purchases on social media without leaving the platform.

On your Facebook page, you can set up a shopping cart to boost your sales as this tactic makes mobile shopping easy. This tactic is especially very effective in capturing impulse buyers.

Pinterest has a “Buy It” button that functions more or less the same.

·  User-generated content

User-generated content works wonders in social ecommerce in Singapore. You need to make your followers feel special for them to engage and make purchases from you.

One way is to announce that customers will be featured in your profile description.

You can use something like “tag us to be featured.”

·  Pinterest

Pinterest is also an incredible platform for social ecommerce in Singapore. It is very effective in driving product sales in ecommerce.

You can use the site Buyable Pins that allow users to buy your products without leaving the platform.

·  Instagram

Instagram is a great platform for social ecommerce in Singapore. It is especially very effective in selling visually appealing products.

The best part about this platform is that marketers have not yet flooded it, and your followers are likely to see your unpaid posts as compared to Facebook. Instagram storefronts come in handy when it comes to driving sales directly from Instagram for free.

When it comes to your Instagram feed, ensure that you do not post too many product photos as you may ruin your integrity.

Conclusion

Social ecommerce in Singapore is a huge part of people’s lives. For a marketer, it presents an excellent opportunity to raise brand awareness, increase sales and build a loyal customer base.

However, you need to be sure that you’re not wasting your money effort and time on a platform that doesn’t match your niche.  As such, you need to do is keep track of your ROI to confirm that your efforts are paying off.

Get in touch with us for digital marketing services in Singapore. 

                                                           

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.
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December 13, 2019

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