Up until a few years ago, people preferred to shop at their own local stores and were at the constant mercy of weather conditions, parking spots, long queues and exhausting shopping expeditions. However, with the advent of e-commerce and online shopping, this is all rapidly changing. Initially consumers were hesitant to place their trust and money in online shopping ventures or use their credit/debit cards and give out personal details. But now, with many online websites and marketplaces proliferating the market and online banking becoming more secure, the shift towards online shopping is at unprecedented levels. Throughout the world, online shopping has grown exponentially, reaching record heights. Online shopping offers major benefits like ease, convenience, vast choices and also saves on time and money, increasing productivity and consumer satisfaction.
Even though the number of internet and card users in Cambodia is relatively low, these numbers are rapidly rising. The number of card users have grown by 24.87% from 2008 to 2015. This depicts a healthy rise and depicts a future growth in online shopping and e-commerce. The new entrants to the online shopping community have ample growth opportunities and the World Bank has also predicted the country’s GDP to stabilize at 9.9% over the next few years to 2017. FDI and tourism are also generating hefty revenues. Hence, continued economic growth, rising household incomes, proliferation of mobile phones, faster internet connections and the relatively low penetration rate of existing banking services will all in turn significantly boost the banking sector in terms of both volume and value imminently.
These trends depict a lot of future potential for online business and e-commerce currently penetrating the relatively untapped market. With services such as cash-on-delivery being provided by all the major online retail stores and websites, the barriers of trust have also been removed and consumers feel much more confident in making their purchases online and paying via cash when the products are delivered.
Online business and marketplaces like KqubeShop, SnappyShop, Kaymu and Shop168 have made it so much easier for budding entrepreneurs to enter the market by providing them with a platform to connect sellers with buyers. Through such websites, sellers only have to display their merchandize online, with the market already created for them. Initially, many people had issues with online marketplaces not being user-friendly enough and since roughly only 34% of the SMEs in Cambodia were registered with the Ministry of Commerce; many were clueless about digital marketing and online promotions of products. Now with such marketplaces at easy access, SMEs can rapidly grow and fill the market gap.
In order for online businesses to flourish, it is imperative to identify market gaps and aim to fill them or create a niche market. Hence, entrepreneurs should always identify local market needs and conduct an in-depth analysis of consumer preferences, purchasing power and buying patterns. With the development of mobile apps for these online ventures, such businesses are now just a click away and a major segment of the market has been catered to. Ultimately, the future of online shopping is centered upon constant improvement and innovation customized to match local trends and requirements.
All in all, online shopping trends are only going to become more popular in Cambodia as time goes by and consumers get more comfortable with secure payment methods, on-time delivery and quality of their purchases – depicting highly optimistic future trends.