2018 was a whirlwind year for the e-commerce scene in Singapore, many startups expanded across SEA seamlessly and Alibaba continued its takeover of Lazada.

This week marks the start of a new Lunar Year, one that should continue the remarkable growth within the industry over the next few years. After all, Singapore has one of the highest internet penetration rate in Southeast Asia with 4.83 million online users. Its overseas purchase rate is second highest in Asia-Pacific.  

Whether it is retailers, manufacturers or consumers, if to stay ahead of the pack they need to be vigilant of these predicted trends for the rest of the year.

Online-offline shopping mall is the new omni-channel

Omni-channel retail — a type of experience that integrates shopping experiences across online and offline — seems to be an ongoing trend. The big event in Singapore will be Funan taking it up a notch by introducing an online-and-offline shopping mall, a first of its kind in Singapore. It will feature a true omni-channel experience that combines online, offline, data, and logistics.  

This trend will be beneficial for many e-tailers, as it does not only allow them to do more business but also increase consumer touch points. Funan aims to leverage e-commerce players through their omnichannel retail infrastructure empowered by their newest technology.   

Solution for same-day shipping is via crowdsourced delivery

From GrabFood to Honestbee, everyone has seen the food delivery scooters swerving through traffic to get to their destination as quickly as possible. Over the years, Singaporeans have learnt to embrace online food deliveries as it is not only convenient but also efficient.   

Although food deliveries can be easily delivered on the same day, e-commerce offering same-day shipping can be costly and might not work in the long run for small e-tailers. However, the future of same-day shipping will not be so bleak if crowdsourced delivery takes off, especially with the recent launch of Go-Jek.  

Just last September, various companies have taken steps to improve the efficiency of same-day delivery through a dedicated smartphone app that offers AI-driven recommendations to its delivery partners.

Mr. Toshiya Sato, VP of Co-Creation Business Group of Fujitsu Limited said,

“In light of the drastic expansion of sharing economy business models and the ongoing growth of e-commerce in recent years, we see crowdsourced delivery as a new business opportunity that will spread all over the world. In this field trial, we are very excited to collaborate with UrbanFox, which is one of the pioneers of crowdsourced delivery, and advanced research & development institute A Star and SMU. We anticipate that in the future Fujitsu will make significant contributions to logistics industry by improving productivity of crowdsourced delivery.” 

Deployment of enterprises from overseas

Singapore is an ideal country for e-commerce to flourish as it has one of the best data centre hubs in Asia Pacific. It is a gateway that connects Southeast Asia and Asia to the rest of the world and at the same time attracting oversea consumers and enterprises.  

Dan Thompson from 451 Research said, “Singapore’s ever-increasing undersea bandwidth and diversity of providers means that there are good options available to get just about anywhere an enterprise would need to reach via network communications, at decent rates.” 

Due to its competitive pricing, Thompson also added that there will be possible deployment of data centres in Singapore that will operate both workloads from Southeast Asia and China.  

Embracing niche markets

To continuously improve consumer’s experience, it is important for the e-commerce businesses to embrace niche markets. Currently, the biggest niche market in Singapore is the government sector. Nevertheless, this online marketplace should be improved in terms of usability and flexibility in terms of procurement processes.

Other than B2G, the e-commerce industry in Singapore should explore other niche markets to become more feasible commercially. One example would be United Nations initiative of selecting Arcadier as a marketplace for their non-communicable disease medicine and supplies that will be accessible to over 100 countries.

In the final year of the Lunar cycle, use these trends to drive strategy and stay ahead of the game.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash