While traditional brick and mortar stores are still alive, it is certainly facing tight competition with online marketplaces. It is estimated that in Singapore alone, the e-commerce market is expected to grow to S$14.2B (US$10.7B) in 2025 from S$7.8B (US$5.9B) in 2021. In the past years, we’ve witnessed the rise of digital stores such as Lazada, Shopee and Zalora. Given the vast options in the market today, setting up an eCommerce platform in Singapore may seem like an easy task. However, many entrepreneurs are still left wondering, with such strong competition, how do we even begin creating an online storefront?
Questions You Need to Ask Yourself When Looking for the Best eCommerce Platform in Singapore
Whether you want a hosted solution that offers quick setup and configuration, or an online eCommerce platform that will allow you to fully customise your online store, there is surely an option that is right for your business depending on your needs, technical skills and target market.
Here’s a list of questions that might help you pick the right eCommerce platform in Singapore.
- What type of products or services are you planning to sell?
- Where do you think your target audience hangs out online?
- Do you want an eCommerce website that only works like an online catalog without the checkout function?
- Do you plan on prioritising customer service?
- How much time are you willing to spend learning the platform?
- Do you need a developer to help you with setting up the website?
- Do you need a developer to help with maintenance?
- How much technical support do you need?
- Is the scalability of your business important to you?
- What kind of marketing channels do you plan to use to drive traffic?
Which eCommerce Platform in Singapore is Best for Your Business?
Open-source ecommerce platforms
An open-source eCommerce platform is a software that you can download, install and configure on your own. It has to be installed on a server that you own. Unlike other eCommerce platforms in Singapore, open source eCommerce platforms are free to use without any monthly fees. However, you will need to have technical knowledge in order to set up and maintain the system.
One popular example of an open source eCommerce platform is Woocommerce for WordPress. Most of these open-source eCommerce platforms offer a wide array of themes and plugins. However, the biggest downside is that they do not offer premium support that is necessary for handling complex eCommerce websites.
Fortunately, there are a lot of reliable eCommerce developers in Singapore who are well-versed in open-source eCommerce platforms such as WooCommerce.
Website builders with eCommerce function
Website builders also known as ‘drag and drop’ builders eCommerce platforms that allow you to easily and quickly create your own eCommerce website with little to no coding needed. Great examples of website builders include Wix and Squarespace.
These eCommerce platforms in Singapore are best for novice entrepreneurs as they are cost-effective, easy to set up and require less maintenance compared to other platforms. However, website builders often lack capabilities for customisation. In most cases, they do not allow additional custom features or website monetisation without third-party add-ons.
SaaS eCommerce platforms
Another type of eCommerce platform in Singapore is the SaaS eCommerce platform such as Shopify or BigCommerce.
Saas stands for Software as a Service. With a SaaS platform, you don’t have to install any software on your own website. Instead, you pay a monthly fee to use their platform and sell your products. In most cases, this fee covers the use of the service, hosting, technical support and others.
Commission-based marketplace platforms
Commission-based marketplace platforms allow you to sell your products but charge a commission for every sale. Rather than creating an entire eCommerce website, a commission-based platform lets you create a storefront where you can sign up for free and upload product photos.
Popular examples of commission-based marketplace platforms are Amazon, Lazada and Shopee.
Free online marketplace platforms
With free online marketplace platforms such as Carousell and Facebook marketplaces, you can sell almost all types of products without the need to pay for sign-up fees, monthly fees or transaction fees.
However, one biggest disadvantage of free online marketplace platforms is that you do not have control over who sees your products. As such, there’s no way to target the right customers. Another thing is that because anyone can list their products, tight competition cannot be avoided.
How Do You Choose Which eCommerce Platform is the Right One for Your Business?
Choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business is a difficult task. You need to think about various factors such as the type of products you are planning to sell, who your target audience are, the functionality you’re looking for, the level of scalability you prefer and so much more.
If you aren’t sure where and how to start, you can reach out to our digital strategists at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (65) 8687 8143.