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Building your E-commerce Business: What Consumers Want

As e-commerce levels in Singapore continue to rise at an exponential rate, retailers must do what they can to keep up with the wants and desires of the modern consumer. But with the online shopping world constantly evolving, it isn’t easy keeping up with the changing pace.

As one retail expert recently pointed out, “How can we win when the consumer knows everything?” The answer to this is simply to know more. This isn’t an easy task, but it is crucial that retailers stay ahead of their game in order to gain a loyal customer base. We considered a few factors that are currently of high priority to modern consumers – just to get you started.


Omnichannel options – Cross-channel options are extremely important to Singapore’s online shoppers as there is still a real desire for transferable shopping experience between webstores and physical stores. Research has shown that omnichannel options remain high on consumer priority lists – for example, the option to collect their purchase in person from a nearby store instead of home delivery, or being able to walk into a mall to return an item they bought online if they’re not entirely satisfied with a product.

Unique customer service – Online engagements in a personal manner will benefit your brand greatly as it compensates for the lack of human interaction involved in webshops – a factor which many shoppers miss when buying online. Research has found that almost half of Singapore’s online customers email a brand’s customer service department when they are dissatisfied with a purchase, thus it is important to make this process as easy and pleasant as possible in order to create a lasting impression and encourage customer loyalty.

Coupon codes and discounts – Affiliate marketing is every online retailer’s best friend: Not only do you receive free daily promotion through partnerships with networks, but you can also increase your sales by offering promo codes to your customers through these services. Singapore’s online shoppers have really taken to the couponing industry, and ecommerce success stories such as Zalora and Rakuten have shown that being active with promo codes help increase customer loyalty as consumers feel like they’ve being rewarded for their shopping.

Social proof of your brand – Creating social media accounts, as well as embracing customer reviews and testimonials, is hugely popular particularly amongst young consumers and is becoming the go-to method of creating trust in a brand or product. More unconventional marketing platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are also riding the ecommerce wave by adopting pay-to-promote options, and Twitter has just launched a ‘buy now’ option – two innovations that suggest that the future of e-commerce is very much bound with social media platforms.

Mobile-optimised webshops – With one of the highest levels of smartphone penetration in the world, it is safe to say that mobile-optimising your webstore is one of the most crucial steps for your business to take in order to succeed in Singapore. Around 50% of Singapore’s online shoppers choose to do their shopping via smartphone, and the easier and quicker this process is, the happier shoppers will be. In addition, with Google’s recent algorithm update penalises websites which are not mobile-friendly, webstores have to keep up to remain relevant in the online space.

Personalisation… but not too personal! Personalising returning customers’ shopping experiences will increase your rate of returning customers vastly. Shoppers love to be presented with selected products suited to their personal tastes, and ensuring that purchase options are as swift and easy as possible via one-click transactions is a great way to gain customer loyalty. However, striking a balance in personalization is also extremely important here. It helps to reduce the volume of information necessary for new customers to as little as possible, as customers are more likely to fill in their details if it doesn’t take too much time. This will also reduce any hesitation with regards to providing too much personal information – keep it short but sweet!



Katie Paterson is a Researcher for global money-saving platform, Analysing digital advertising and marketing trends in Asia and Oceania, Katie works with a strong focus on social network, e-commerce and m-commerce trends. Originally hailing from Scotland, she spent the last three years living, working and completing a Research Master’s in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She has published topics associated with global e-commerce trends, consumer behaviour, and the future of shopping.


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