8 Reasons Why You Should Consider Starting an Online Business in Singapore
With the inception of the internet, there has never been an easier time for people to connect, share ideas and conduct trade. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are getting replaced by the more convenient alternative of trade, e-commerce. Brands such as Amazon and Ebay have grown to be some of the biggest companies in the world as consumers shift their shopping methods online. In Singapore, brands such as Lazada and Qoo10 are making the news by getting funding from big players in industry, a stark testament to the rise and dominance of e-commerce.
If you are a traditional business owner in Singapore, you may have experienced the headaches of expensive overheads, sluggish scalability and low margins. Online businesses might appeal to you as they do not share the same hurdles a traditional business might face.
Here are 8 reasons why you should start an online business in Singapore.
1. Lower Costs
Some of the major costs of starting a traditional business are personnel costs and real estate costs. With an online business, you can cut down on personnel costs by automating certain functions such as checkout, payment billing and other operational functions. You can also eliminate real estate costs, which can get expensive in Singapore, as an online business requires no physical location. Real estate costs includes the rental fees, maintenance and insurance costs. Lower operating costs can translate into higher profit margins for your business.
2. Targeted Communication
Usually, customers would have to input their information into the e-commerce website before making a purchase. By placing cookies on the consumers computer (with their permission), you will have access to valuable consumer information such as their interests, their spending habits and more. With this information, you can create targeted communication for your consumers. For example, if a customer has purchased a laptop, you can automatically push accessories and affiliated products to your customer. In addition, you can increase customer relationship by pushing emails and newsletters about products your customer is interested in.
3. Unlimited Earning Potential
Brick-and-mortar business operating hours are usually limited to a fixed schedule. Online businesses are 24/7/365, as the websites can be ran all the time. From a business owner’s point of view, this increases the number of orders you can potentially receive. From a customer’s point of view, a business that is always open is much more convenient.
A physical business is most likely limited to its geographical location. This does not apply to online businesses as the internet provides connectivity all across the world. As a business owner, the world will become your playground as you can sell your products or services across geographical boundaries with low costs.
4. Tap into Government Schemes and Funding
By starting an online business in Singapore, you can tap into government schemes that are targeted at the Infocomm (IT and E-commerce) industry in Singapore. These schemes seek to spur innovation and help bring down the start-up costs of a business. Some of these schemes are:
- Infocomm Local Industry Upgrading Programme (iLIUP)
- Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme (CITREP)
Singapore’s business landscape has paved the way for numerous private equity firms and venture capitalist firms to set up shop here. Singapore-based online business owners can find themselves in an advantageous position to seek funding from these firms here in Singapore.
5. Expansion of the E-commerce Industry
According to Google and Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s e-commerce industry is set to exceed S$7b by 2025, making up 6.7% of all retail sales.
This is a promising outlook for the local e-commerce market, with expectations of huge growth in the e-commerce industry in the South-East Asia region. With large room to grow, you can consider starting an online business now to reap the benefits of the future e-commerce landscape.
6. Information Availability
There are certain limits to the amount of information that is accessible to consumers in a physical store. It is also difficult for retail store employees to respond to customers that require information across a wide range of product lines. With e-commerce, you can easily provide consumers with information by making the information available in your website. Consumers will also be able to compare products with technical specifications without the hassle and troubles faced in traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
If you are selling a service, e-commerce websites are better equipped to provide consumers with the information they require. For example, an artist can easily show his works online, rather than having the customer come to his store to have a look.
7. Take Advantage of Automation
With an online business, you can take advantage of e-commerce automation software. E-commerce automation is a combination of software, processes and mindsets that allows your business to reduce workloads, simplify workflows and increase efficiency. Automation can be applied to every aspect of an online business, such as customer management, order processing, marketing, inventory management, customer service and more. Increased automation will help an online business unlock greater scalability to meet market demand.
Saving the most important reason for the last, online businesses offers convenience. Who can argue with the fact that online shopping is the most convenient shopping method of all? For consumers, they can buy products and services directly from the convenience of their home at any time of the day. For online business owners, they can easily provide customer service and many operating functions with low costs from anywhere and anytime in the world. Because of its convenience, consumers and online business owners can save lots of time and money, that is the true miracle of e-commerce.
To grow your online business, you can consider selling specialty items that can grab the attention of the online customers. These include global products that are not available in local market. Singapore has an excellent market for unique products; products that are for specific communities or hobbyists. Numerous start-ups are moving their business online to access online global consumers. You should identify the right niche market for your online business to succeed.
Online shoppers look for flexible mode of payments along with Credit Card, PayPal and online transfer through the bank. A Global Consumer MEF Survey in 2011 confirms that mobile banking is a secure method in Singapore to pay online bills. A TrustSg mark on the e-commerce site can build the confidence of customers in online transactions in Singapore. While doing online business in Singapore, you can dive into the five payment gateways like PayPal, SmoovPay, Stripe, Braintree, and eNETS.
Finally, reliable and quick logistic services to deliver the goods to your customers is important.
Regardless of starting an online or a traditional business in Singapore, you will need someone to guide you through the process of company incorporation in Singapore. At Enterprise Assurance PAC, we have a team of experts with the knowledge and experience in a broad range of services, spanning from company incorporation, accounting services to tax planning services. If you have been convinced to start an online business in Singapore, let us make your journey easier with our help and expertise. Send us an email with your contact details and we’ll let our experts talk to you!