Ecommerce trends in Southeast Asia you need to know

The COVID-19 crisis has led people worldwide to limit physical interactions significantly. Self-imposed social distancing to avoid contagion, together with the strict confinement measures in many countries, resulted in the transition to focus on retailing their goods and services online.

Research has projected that Singapore’s eCommerce market is to reach US$7,157m in 2022. It’s a staggering number, and by 2025, we expect to have 4.1 million online shoppers. 

This trend is echoed worldwide, as OECD reports. Whether in the United States or China, traditional brick and mortar businesses are forced to digitalise their business. Most businesses already recognise what this looks like for their consumers – shoppers can purchase products online and get them delivered or pick them up from the shops later. But what else can businesses like yours do to surf the changing tides of eCommerce?

This article gives a rundown of eCommerce trends in Southeast Asia that you need to know. 

What is e-commerce?

Ecommerce (electronic commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services on the internet. It encompasses online marketplaces, eCommerce platforms, and a wide variety of data, systems, and tools for online buyers and sellers.

Most businesses use an eCommerce platform to conduct online eCommerce marketing and sales activities and oversee logistics and fulfilment. Beyond just online web sales, there are more that your businesses can do to propel it to the next level in 2022.

1. Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) 

BNPL are services that allow consumers to make purchases and pay for them at a future date, often interest-free. Also referred to as “point of sale instalment loans,” BNPL arrangements are becoming an increasingly popular payment option, especially when shopping online. 

One example is Atome, which splits payments into three interest-free instalments, one to be paid now and the others at a future date. BPNL as a payment option when shopping online is expected to grow by 52.1% on an annual basis to reach US$ 564.0 million in 2021.

BNPL has many advantages for consumers with limited access to credit or who live in countries with low credit-card acceptance and availability. Additionally, some consumers mistrust large financial institutions. Therefore, offering BNPL can contribute to increased revenue for businesses. 

2. Omnichannel marketing 

You might not realise it, but this is how most of us shop for our favourite brands today. We follow businesses on Instagram, participate in their giveaways, and then finally, decide to purchase their products. It’s not just buying yoga pants, it’s buying into the entire fitspo community. If this sounds familiar, congrats. You’ve cracked the code of omnichannel marketing. 

Omnichannel marketing is about integrating and coordinating various channels to interact with customers. The goal is to achieve a consistent brand experience and seamless customer experience across physical brick and mortar stores and all digital channels. 

Research shows that customers that engage with multiple touchpoints tend to be 30 per cent more valuable. 

Why is omnichannel marketing so important for brands? It is a customer-centric marketing strategy that gives consumers the chance to research a purchase online or in-store. Customers engage with the brand and experience the same brand voice and identity at every possible touchpoint. This targeted messaging also builds loyalty, making it more likely a customer will purchase from your brand again.

3. Store or curbside pickups

BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) has grown over the past decade. This hybrid digital-physical model presents advantages for both consumers and businesses since it combines the efficiency of online shopping with the immediacy of purchasing an item in-store. Statista shows that the preference for BOPIS increased by 58 per cent worldwide in 2021.

Assuming a product is in stock, customers can often pick it up the same day they place the order — or faster. Major retailers like Apple offer pickup times as short as 1 -2 hours. It’s a near-instant gratification that makes it even better than buying online.

The no-contact nature of BOPIS is also attractive to customers. 

Businesses benefit from BOPIS as they save delivery fees and encourage customers to drop by the brick and mortar shop. Encouraging shop traffic creates a chance for companies to increase their in-store marketing presence. All the better to line your shop aisles with small items that customers might purchase when they come in to collect their bigger items! 

4. Loyalty programs 

Loyalty programs offer rewards, discounts, and other special incentives to attract and retain customers. They encourage repeat business, offering people a reward for store/brand loyalty. Typically, the more often a customer patronises the merchant—and the more they spend—the greater their rewards.

Loyalty programs benefit companies by developing customer loyalty and providing vital information on how customers spend and what products or offers are most appealing.

Loyalty program incentives vary. Typical incentives include:

  • Giving advance notice of/early access to new products
  • Allowing early access to sales
  • Providing free merchandise or enhanced services (e.g. free or expedited shipping)
  • Loyalty points and cashback programs
  • Prepaid credit and package plans.

To join a loyalty program—a rewards program or points program—customers have to register their personal information with the company. But imagine this fussy scenario: your customer fills in a form on a tablet, then hands it back to you before they can tap on your payment device with their phones. This is a lot of work. 

You need an all-in-one specialised smart point of sales (POS) system like the Qashier X1 or QashierXL. It allows retail businesses to integrate a customer loyalty programme with data management on top of cashless payment functions. This way, your customer has options when paying for your customised loyalty program – with seamless cloud-based solutions, points earned and redeemed are easy to track by you and your staff. Customer-facing touch screens make it fuss-free for them to leave their details seamlessly.  

5. Online marketplace 

An online marketplace is an e-commerce site that connects sellers directly with their consumers. (D2C). Examples of online marketplaces include Amazon, eBay, and Lazada.

Direct-to-consumer online (D2C) has been growing in popularity as businesses move away from consignment sales using offline physical spaces. Selling their products in online marketplaces allows for more control over a business’s sales and marketing. As of 2021, reports show online marketplaces account for 23% of online purchases worldwide. 

Amongst its advantages, an online marketplace provides an additional source of revenue to businesses and cuts marketing costs. Customers are also more likely to purchase from an online marketplace with a wide range of options.

Social selling via social media, where customers discover and purchase products via channels such as Instagram, is also on the uptake. Actively connecting with potential customers on social media can help your brand be the first that a prospect considers when they’re ready to purchase. It replaces outdated relationship-building and sales techniques like cold calling! 

 6. Back-end technology

Businesses should also tap on back-end technological opportunities to streamline their business. For example, inventory management software to track ingredients used versus sales of menu items for food and beverage businesses (F&B) can help prevent food wastage and reduce costs. This cost-effective strategy keeps your business running smoothly. 

Employee motivation increases when the hour tracking system is transparent with employment management software that tracks schedules. For retail businesses that require commission tracking for their salesperson, an all-in-one employee management software can keep track of the payments and enhance sales productivity. 

7. Integrated payments + mobile wallets 

Mobile wallets where all customers need to do is tap to pay with their smartwatches or smartphones have seen substantial growth. Accenture reports that In the next ten years, almost 2.7 trillion transactions, worth US$48 trillion, are projected to shift from cash to cards and digital payments. Businesses must be ready for a cashless future, no matter their industry.

In Singapore alone, we see the popularity of Paylah and Paynow skyrocket. Especially after Covid-19, when consumers prefer cashless payment to minimise social interaction. Other e-wallet methods such as Grabpay, ShopeePay, ApplePay and SamsungPay are also increasingly popular. 

Since the country attracts visitors worldwide, it’s important to remain accessible by allowing mobile wallets to be used anywhere in the city. Therefore, businesses should look for an integrated smart POS solution that will enable them to offer payment solutions for e-wallets used in the region, such as WeChat Pay. WeChat Pay is one of China’s biggest payment services. Paypal, a worldwide payment solution used by many, has also increasingly become a choice of payment for everything from taxi rides to ordering food online. 

8. Subscription models and product customisation 

Last but not least, personalised shopping services such as subscription models or product customisation will be the trend moving forward. We can look at the retail beauty industry as a prime example of how these strategies work.

Beauty marketing experts have opined that with shopping transitioning online, the brick and mortar concept of allowing customers to sample their products can no longer be the only customer interaction touchpoint for beauty retail brands. To increase customer relationships, they will need to offer customised solutions such as personalised product packaging or bespoke skincare product offerings.  

The convenience of subscription models where customers can order products based on their needs and budget can increase brand loyalty. This model results in better customer relations and an uptick in customer retention. 

An efficient smart POS system that can integrate seamlessly with customer management software and provide other functionalities will be necessary for businesses moving forward to offer a customer retention strategy effectively. 


All the above trends point that the digital economy is dynamic. Big and small business owners must be poised to adapt. An agile, smart POS partner can offer a customisable solution that will allow their business to grow.

Qashier is the all-in-one smart POS solution that offers specialised cloud-based tools in sleek form factors for F&B, beauty, and retail industries. Businesses will benefit from its complete functions, from QR and online ordering table management, employee management, customer relationship management, data analytics and integrated payments, all within one device.

With various payment methods: you accept – major significant e-wallets, credit cards, Apple Pay, GPay, and QR code payments, all alongside a cash register.

Business owners can benefit from its hardware and software setup, training, and support at just SGD1/day (in Singapore with PSG Grant). Best of all, the sleek, compact, and portable design of its systems means your smart POS system will blend well with the shop design aesthetics. If you have an online presence already, Qashier also allows for 3rd party integration with eCommerce platforms, e.g., Shopify, WooCommerce.

Be ready for the digital economy. Speak to us to see if Qashier’s Smart POS can meet your business needs. Schedule a meeting with us here, call us at (+65) 3165 0155, WhatsApp (+65) 8882 8912, or email [email protected].



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