E-Commerce in Malaysia – Challenges and Opportunities

When it comes to e-commerce, Malaysia has one of the fastest growing markets in Southeast Asia. With Southeast Asia’s revenue adding up to US$1,077,761 million in 2020, e-commerce in Malaysia is projected to amount to US$3.91 billion in 2020 (Statista, 2019). 

Furthermore, with a growing digital population of 22.33 million, Malaysia undoubtedly attracts a diverse range of companies from both the national and international e-commerce market. As such, the e-commerce market presents a huge opportunity for SMEs in Malaysia. Companies like Lazada, Zalora, Shopee, and Carousell have been largely popular and have served as an inspiration to aspiring business owners. Yet, behind these opportunities lie key challenges that companies must tackle in order to succeed in the industry. 

In today’s article, we discuss the challenges faced by SMEs in the e-commerce scene in Malaysia.

1. Adoption of e-commerce Platform

The e-commerce platform is completely different to conventional business owners and organisations and thus sellers would have to adapt to the industry by utilizing team effort. 

E-commerce platforms require companies to have knowledge of graphic design, photography skills, content creation to compete with other companies. Employees who are skilled in digital marketing and advertising are also required to execute the plans and reach out to the target audience effectively. This may be daunting for traditional business owners who may find it difficult to adapt to the industry and fail to stand out from their competitors. 


2. Attracting Consumers

Displaying the company products online is perhaps the easiest step – attracting consumers to your site and sustaining sales requires much more than displaying your products alone. It requires practice, experience, knowledge, trial and error, capital, patience, and of course, failure. But it is crucial for business owners to learn from their failures and improvise to succeed in the industry.

3. External Threats

The advent of technology and convenience of shipping tend to cause issues, especially to drop-shippers, when consumers purchase merchandise directly from the manufacturer. This poses as a threat to local sellers as the competitiveness has increased substantially, requiring sellers to invest more effort to build their brand and attract customers.

Future Potential of E-Commerce in Malaysia

The e-commerce industry in Malaysia is experiencing growth at a rapid pace and is expected to continue with this trend. Although Malaysia is at its nascent stages of growth as compared to China and Taiwan, the prospects for business are rather vibrant. More sellers are believed to shift from offline to online, where both models will complement each other. 

Competition in the digital marketing realm will also be exacerbated due to the proliferation of advertisements via digital media outlets. As such, marketers have to be more innovative in order to stand out among their competitors and attract consumers’ attention. 

If you’re interested to learn more of similar business strategies, tips and how to tackle common issues that many SMEs face, do join us at our 3rd Annual H.E.R Asia Summit 2019: https://herentrepreneur.com/h-e-r-asia-summit-2019/.

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One Thought to “E-Commerce in Malaysia – Challenges and Opportunities”

  1. Thanks for giving us this useful information

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