The evolution of e-commerce to social commerce
by Jonathan Wong, firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted on October 7, 2012, Sunday
Evolution of online shopping
Online auctions are one of the few examples of how e-commerce over the Internet has truly revolutionised a business model as compared with transferring it to a different medium.
Founded by History Interbase Resources Sdn Bhd at the end of 1998, Lelong.com.
my was the company’s flagship despite being among the company’s earlier projects.
Largely seen as Malaysia’s eBay (as eBay only entered later on), the online auction site gained a cult following at first, before establishing itself as a common name in Malaysian cyberspace.
Richard Tan, founder and managing director of Malaysia’s popular online auction/ retail site Lelong.com.
my (Lelong) stated that the site was the pioneer in e-commerce and had been in operation since 1999.
Tan stated that much had changed since the founding of the site and that it had been growing exponentially the past few years.
“On line commerce has been growing very well in the lately and Lelong has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of number of unique visitors and transactions.
“Today we have over four million unique visitors using Lelong each month proving that the growth is very encouraging and I believe we are just at the starting line of an explosive growth in e-commerce in Malaysia,” said Tan.
“The sector has felt rapid growth at the turn of the century.
As the Internet becomes more familiar ground, Malaysians are more comfortable with making purchases online.
“Internet payment systems such as PayPal have further helped the sector by providing an easier and more secure method of payment, helping retailers sway security-minded consumers and attract long term customers,” Tan pointed out.
Tan explained, “When we first started in 1999, we only had auction.
Today we have diversified and expanded our range to include online retailing where users can buy the items immediately using our ‘BuyNow’ feature.” Tan added that, “Bidding in an auction is certainly exciting and spurs the deal hunter in us all but as the online shopping scene started getting mainstream, both large and small businesses started using the Lelong web store to sell new items using our ‘BuyNow’ platform as well.
“The auction and BuyNow are two different ways of selling the products and both have their advantages and disadvantages and operate side by side very well.
” This change was established to cater to the increasing demand for the ability to purchase the products online, establishing the notion that Malaysia’s online retail market place was slowly but surely gaining bullish traction.
“Online shopping has revolutionised the way Malaysians shop as well as increasing the demand for online auctions, especially among the younger generation.
Better access to a myriad of products, the ability to save time, gas, and money as well as ease of use is helping the industry make the right steps forward,” Tan explained.
He also elaborated that despite security concerns still proving to be a hurdle to be addressed, Tan strongly believed that online sales would pick up as most credit card companies now had implemented better safety features to help combat credit card thefts and frauds.
He also added that to further help combat this issue, online retailers should also figure out ways to assist in adding security to increase the sense of security for the customers.
“In Lelong, we try to help ensure the online safety of our customers hence we provide services such as the ‘SafeTrade’ as well as the BPP (buyer protection programme).” He believed that trust would always be an issue as without the face-to-face interaction it was no doubt more difficult to build trust with an online presence but with the increase in security, the public should be generally a lot safer and it was now not too different from shopping normally in terms of security.
Despite the issues being faced especially on security, Tan felt that online retail would continue to boom as online retailing and auctioning had the advantage of not having a geographical limitation, being available 24/7 and could be done at the convenience of the buyers in the comfort of their homes rather than the shop owners.
“Online shopping will continue to grow but traditional retailing will not go away.
Traditional retailers should all have an online presence and view this as a very important extension of their business,” Tan enthused.
“Online auction has been strong as everyone is looking for a good deal while the ease and convenience of online retail will continue to spur the boom in that area.
An increasing Internet penetration rate as well as increased security from both credit card companies as well as online retailers would no doubt pave the way for the Malaysian online retail market to reach greater heights.”