How to Start an E-Commerce Business in Malaysia?

picture of shopping cart with moneyWith the advancement of online (web) applications, starting an e-commerce website and selling products online has never been easier. The best part is it sounds easy and it IS easy. So what do you need to start an e-commerce business today? I’d say, around RM10,000 or USD3000 for the investment.

And I wasn’t kidding about the figures. If you’re asking, why are the figures so high? It’s because I’m talking about professionally designed, real search engine optimized, online advertising and marketing type e-commerce businesses. If you’re still saying; but you said it’s so easy to start selling online today, yes I did say it but easy doesn’t always equal to cheap. Let me give you a quick breakdown of where the investment would and should go if you wanted to start an e-commerce business.

Here are the essential items you’ll need to start an e-commerce business today:

  • E-commerce website design
  • E-commerce online application
  • E-commerce payment gateway
  • Search engine optimization or marketing
  • Online advertising

I didn’t include any figures because price is subjective. Especially in this dog gone saturated website design and development market in Malaysia. But I’ll explain a little why these are the essential items.

E-commerce website design

If you’ve read about the perfect e-commerce layout, you would understand why this should be an investment. If you hadn’t, then picture yourself in a supermarket where you want to purchase an item you have never purchased before but need it now. If you’re alone, the packaging design is one of the first to influence your purchase decision.

E-commerce online application

If I added a product to my shopping cart, it goes into my shopping cart list. The online application part is for you to manage your products easily ad track your sales. A well-planned and well-built online e-commerce application is one you would find easy to use. And I dare say, require little to no training on how to use it.

E-commerce payment gateway

You need this! It’s the tool used to process online payments. The cost of it may not be expensive but remember to calculate in the setup and monthly maintenance cost.

E-commerce warehousing and logistics

Instead of keeping goods in your room and digging for the customer’s product, there are available warehouse solutions which cater to e-commerce store owners. Some have solutions which are linked up with a picking and packing system to get their products faster. One of the solutions I found was like; Schaefer Systems.

Search engine optimization (SEO) or Search engine marketing (SEM)

Besides keywords and key phrases, a reputable company who specializes in this will help your website improve a lot in the search engines. Plus, I’m not talking about the ones who throw the guarantee marketing pitch in your face. Those are false claims if not done in methods which may get you banned.

Offline advertising

I’ve had a hands-on experience finding out offline advertising is still required in Malaysia if you want to tap the demographics here. Due to our mediocre (if not, lousy) Internet penetration and usage in Malaysia, most users visit a website after seeing the print advertisement or video commercial. Also from what I heard, newspaper advertising costs a bomb.

So yeah, starting an e-commerce business in Malaysia is easy. If you want cheap, you will get cheap and find yourself spending more down the road. If you invested enough, you would kickstart your online business venture with less worries and with less future spending.

Anyone else would like to add to the above or have any comments they’d like to share? I know you do so let it be heard or read.

11 Replies to “How to Start an E-Commerce Business in Malaysia?”

  1. Hi, Danny, A very good brief introduction for me to start e-commerce business. I understands that many people concern particularly at building the website, there are many guidelines and methods. But i barely find any information regarding the inventory management and shipping especially in malaysia. Example i want to start selling physical products, so i got the website and everything on it in place, but furthermore how to get the product marketed to consumer?.. do u get want i mean?.. anyway thank you for your info, does help.

  2. lavuz:
    I know what you mean. And there are various ways to do this. From search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing and still important in Malaysia, offline marketing. One of the best methods online is to create a viral or guerilla campaign to drive the exposure and awareness.

    liew:
    I know students who can do it for even less than that. And I’ll be sharing on how or why can some charge a very cheap low-cost ecommerce website later.

  3. Hi Guys,
    At the retailer’s market we make starting an ecommerce business as simple and low cost as possible. We offer a dropship service on the products that we have, option of purchasing wholesale, and most importantly a ready-made ecommerce website that can enable you start taking payment in days. It is a very easy to use system with no technical knowledge required.

    Furthermore, we don’t just leave you once you purchase a website in a box. We also help you with free and low cost marketing tips, list of dropshippers in the U.K, and 1,000 email leads to start your campaign on. We are doing a special offer to be ending soon so hurry.

  4. In other words, you don’t offer an e-commerce website solution but a dropship business solution.

    Difference is instead of selling your own goods and you handle the delivery, you market the products and divert all orders to the owner/distributor. They’ll then handle the shipping and delivery of the product.

    Oh yeah, you’ll also need to handle customer service. Though I know some other dropship providers who handles even customer service.

  5. Do you think it is a must to register to company in Malaysia for an e-Commerce business? How Malaysia government going to tax me if my e-Commerce business is not run under any registered company

  6. Chui Lee, someone have asked the same question before. And according to their enquiry with LHDN, you need to pay taxes even if it’s an e-commerce shop.

    Well, even if it’s not a registered company the income has to be declared in some way. Maybe your wife or husband’s allowance to you? 😛

    But yeah, because the tax guidelines aren’t clearly stated for electronic industries, we do have loopholes and many unanswered questions still continuing up to this day.

  7. I want to start a B2B site, just being middleman and collect membership fees and a cut from the transactions. How can you help?

  8. If your B2B website is without a unique proposition, there are several ready made solutions online which you could use to build your business. But you would want to pay close attention to its features and demonstration to decide on the best solution for your business needs.

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