Masaya Ueno, Director of Rakuten Asia, Head of Business Development Division, and Country Manager for Malaysia (pic) agreed that mobile is increasingly shaping the evolution of e-commerce:
The upward mobile trend today is creating a new path for the e-commerce industry in Malaysia. In the past years, mobile commerce was very much exclusive to the trailblazers, but today merchants are recognizing the potential it brings by having the ability to connect with customers anytime anywhere.
Google Consumer Barometer indicates that 56 percent of Malaysians use smartphones and tablets to research for products and this corresponds with our data where mobile traffic today comprises 30% of the total traffic on Rakuten Online Shopping Malaysia.
Inevitably, we expect an elevated interest from the merchants in embracing mobile readiness as part of their overall e-commerce strategy in order to improve the online shopping experience for their customers. We also expect greater emphasis on mobile driven marketing as merchants strive to capture small screen users and covert them to customers.
Despite the proliferation of mobile commerce, in-store purchase remains the ultimate buying destination for a large proportion of Malaysians. E-commerce is no longer just about selling products online, but more importantly part of a multi-channel retailing that facilitates browsing, buying, sharing and branding, regardless whether the transaction is performed online or offline.
In the coming year, the industry will see an encouraging stream of brick-and-mortar businesses appreciating the concept of multi-channel retailing and establishing their online presence, while the ones who have earlier jumped on the bandwagon continue to monetize their e-commerce investment.
2014 has been an encouraging year for Rakuten and the industry as a whole. New players and increased uptake aside, there were also several initiatives in place to make e-commerce a vibrant sector, such as the first-ever Digital Malaysia MYCyberSale.
As the industry continues to develop, stronger competition will inevitably present itself where online businesses will find it challenging to stand out in the market. This in turn will push businesses to become more creative in their online pricing and sales strategies. Customers on the other hand will continue to demand better service quality and fulfilment.
At Rakuten, we believe in expanding the ecosystem that is built around a vision of empowerment and leverages the internet to promote collaboration over competition. Only by taking the lead to enable a viable e-commerce ecosystem, the industry can accelerate long-term growth for merchants, partners and likeminded businesses.
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