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Study: Reviews (good and bad) crucial to eCommerce experience for SEA buyers

Study: Reviews (good and bad) crucial to eCommerce experience for SEA buyers

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Reviews and ratings are crucial to a positive online shopping experience, especially for shoppers in Singapore (61%), Thailand (66%), and Malaysia (57%). One in two shoppers (54%) said reviews make the shopping experience positive, according to Lazada's latest study done in collaboration with Milieu Insight, which surveyed 6,000 online shoppers in January this year across six Southeast Asian markets.

Additionally, 50% of those surveyed said they leave reviews on the product post-purchase, and 32% said the reviews are one of the top three reasons why they prefer to buy online.

For Singapore, in particular, shoppers increasingly value peer ratings and reviews (61%) along with secure payment options (53%) when it comes to platform features.

James Chang, Lazada Group's chief business officer, told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that reviews and ratings being the top feature in three Southeast Asian countries indicates that trust remains one of the most important considerations when shoppers are choosing an eCommerce platform on which to complete a purchase.

Aside from this factor, the authenticity of products (44%) and the variety of payment options (credit card, cash on delivery, and digital wallet) (36%) available were the two other platform features that Southeast Asian shoppers found important to their eCommerce experience.

No fatigue when it comes to mega shopping festivals

Meanwhile, the rise in the number of online shopping festivals over the past few years have left some wondering if there is fatigue among consumers. Interestingly, the study found that 73% of Southeast Asians surveyed now consider shopping online to be integral to everyday life, with 67% of them identifying eCommerce mega campaigns as a key factor in shaping their consumer buying behaviour.

The study labelled eCommerce mega campaigns as region-wide shopping festivals that also include Lazada's birthday on 27 March, mid-year festivals in June and July, as well as Lazada's 9.9, 11.11, and 12.12 campaigns. Nearly 60% of consumers also welcomed online shopping as a part of their daily life less than two years ago.

"There have been instances where monthly mega campaigns were regarded to be too frequent and commonplace to have an impact, but the survey done with Mllieu Insight shows that we’re on the right track and that eCommerce shopping has become an established behaviour," Chang explained.

Southeast Asian consumers are actively choosing to purchase their items through digital channels, with 65% reporting that when they shop online, they already know what they’re going to buy. In Singapore, 46% said online shopping became important to them in the last two years, likely due to the pandemic, and 85% said they are now spending more online than in stores. Meanwhile, in Thailand, more than 90% of Thai females ages 16 to 24 surveyed say they are spending more online since the pandemic, and over half of them are willing to wait for a discount.

To further augment the eCommerce experience, 29% of Southeast Asian respondents report enhanced engagement with the platform through additional browsing for the best deals and exploring the platform for additional items ahead of completing the sale. According to the study, there was a greater demand for digital vouchers in the Philippines (29%) and Singapore (27%) while 33% in Indonesia and 26% in Thailand prefer shopping online because of bulk discounts.

Chang explained that digital vouchers for services such as spa packages, F&B-related items, hotel stays, and even tourism experiences were popular among consumers in the Philippines and Singapore. In Singapore, digital vouchers have been widely used by the F&B industry, and popular items include bubble tea, and hotel staycations. Meanwhile, among the Philippines' top purchased digital voucher items are fast food vouchers and hotel accommodation, especially those near the beach areas. Also, Lazada Gift Cards, which were launched last year, is also one of the top digital vouchers in the Philippines, according to Chang.

When asked how Lazada plans to continue attracting the bargain seekers in Indonesia and Thailand even without bulk discounts, Chang explained to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that the company's goal is to support brands on their digitalisation journey and offer them new insights and features for moving online.

"Selling online offers retailers a new host of conveniences, and if merchants can support their online venture with low prices, free shipping and other conveniences, it will help more shoppers choose the online option when they make their next purchase," he added.

Why consumers buy online

Low prices (45%) and affordable shipping (45%) top the list of reasons people are buying online, followed closely by the ease of search (43%) and convenience (43%). Singapore (55%), Thailand (48%) and the Philippines (49%) show a strong preference for the items to be delivered straight to them. 

The majority of markets have also fully embraced cross border shopping with 79% of respondents in Singapore having no preference for local or global brands, followed by 58% in Thailand and 56% in Malaysia. Shoppers in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines have a preference for local labels, with one in two (52%) Vietnamese respondents showing a strong preference for shopping from local labels followed by the Philippines (41%) and Indonesia (36%).

Meanwhile, on the payments front, markets with more mobile-first approaches lead the region with payments via e-wallets, with Malaysian leading with 63% followed by Indonesia (55%) and the Philippines (54%). The study also found Vietnam (33%) and Malaysia (30%) to be the top two countries with a higher adoption of livestreaming.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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