Learn about e-Commerce

How does the Internet influence Retail Buying Decisions in Malaysia

How does the Internet influence Retail Buying Decisions in Malaysia

How does the Internet influence Retail Buying Decisions in Malaysia

This article examines how retail consumers in Malaysia use the internet to gain awareness when shopping for products, how they research them and eventually complete a purchase. The data given are based on “The Connected Consumer Survey 2014 / 2015” and “Consumer Barometer by Google” with data from 2014 and 2015. Research sample sizes vary, but the data sampling should clearly show the current trend within a small margin of error. Not all data shown will add up to 100% as some less significant data were omitted for the purpose of keeping this article comprehensive.

Accessing the Internet

To access the internet, a whopping 96% use a mobile phone to do so. In addition, 35% use computers (desktop, laptop and netbooks), and 14% use tablets.

Interestingly 40% of internet users go online using their smartphone while watching TV.

Product Awareness

20% of internet users gain awareness about a product or service from online discussions with other people, with the majority coming from in-person contacts and social media. Consumers who eventually purchased a product learned about the products online (48%) or in a physical retail store (41%).

Online advertising contributed 31% to gaining product awareness, compared to 21% TV advertising, 15% magazine advertising, and 2% radio advertising, the remainder being various other advertising channels.

Product Research

About equal amounts of customers did their product research moments before their purchase (18%), hours before purchase (19%), days before purchase (17%), and weeks before purchase (18%). 80% of customers used both online and offline channels to research their purchase, and the majority (30%) of customers were motivated to complete their purchase due to discount or promotion offered.

The major sources for online product research were search engines (74%), brand websites (42%), retailer websites (27%) and social media networks (24%).

The main reasons for customers to do online research before deciding on their eventual purchase were to compare products, prices and features online (55%), discover relevant brands (36%), getting ideas (33%) and looking for opinions, reviews or advice online (30%).

Product research was done mainly using computers (74%) followed by smartphones (45%) and tablets (16%), as well as combinations of these devices. Among the smartphone users, 23% did their product research within a physical store.

Purchasing Behavior

Internet users completed their purchase mostly in a physical store (58%) compared to an online purchase (30%) or phone orders (5%). Those who opted for an online purchase did so using their computer (72%), smartphone (20%) or tablet (6%).

Almost a third of customers (29%) who completed their purchase (both online and offline) shared their purchase experience via social media, and 16% posted reviews or ratings online.

Interesting Take-Aways

While the internet is accessed predominantly via smartphones their contribution to the shopping cycle is still much less prominent than computers.

Based on data not shown here (will be subject to a follow-up article) this may have to do with the lack of mobile friendly websites, which makes it inconvenient for smartphone users to do their online product research and purchasing. Concerns about secure online purchases via phones may be another reason.

Online product research and price comparison is a growing trend that poses substantial challenges for traditional retailers. Customers research products within a shop but use the internet to look for the same product online, hoping to get it at a lower price – a trend referred to as ‘showrooming’. With free price comparison apps on smartphones it becomes easy for consumers to ‘feel’ a product in a retail shop but to purchase it elsewhere cheaper.

Online advertising clearly outperforms traditional advertising channels like TV, print and radio. This is an ongoing trend that will likely become more polarized. In addition, some 40% of smartphone users go online while watching TV, quite likely during commercial breaks. This renders the effectiveness of TV ads questionable. It also indicates that advertisers who are currently using digital channels sparingly or not at all will need to re-align their marketing budgets to cater for this trend and invest more into i.e. online advertising. Since 74% of all online product research was started via a search engine it seems reasonable to allocate a share of the online advertising budget to search advertising, i.e. via Google AdWords.

A surprisingly high number of retail customers share their purchase experience via social media. This should be seen together with the data showing that about a quarter of online product research is also done thru social media. Consumers use this channel to give and take advice about products that are relevant to them, resulting in what is traditionally called ‘word-of-mouth marketing’. This makes proper customer engagement and brand monitoring an increasingly important factor of a retailer’s or brand owner’s social media tactics.

As always I welcome any comments or feedback. If you have your own experience with regards to the above data or conclusions please share them in the comments below for everybody’s benefit.

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Posted by AsiaTraining in Learn about e-Commerce
Website hosting – how to choose the best hosting provider

Website hosting – how to choose the best hosting provider

Website hosting - how to choose the best hosting provider

Website Hosting is a (paid) service that allows your website to be accessible to anyone connected to the internet.

Your site resides on a ‘server’, a powerful computer that can serve your website to any computer with a web browser (i.e. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari etc). You could potentially host your website yourself on your own computer, but the technology and expertise required to do so is quite costly and labor intensive. Your own server would have to be online 24/7, needs to be able to handle many simultaneous server requests for your website, has to have all kinds of hacker proof security, and you need to monitor it around the clock to handle any break downs. Realistically, the most efficient option is to contract this out to a specialist company.

There are many web hosting companies around, some well established and many others out for a quick buck. It’s quite a task to find one that is reliable, secure and with proper infrastructure in place. Website hosting contracts vary widely as well, from at about US$4 per month to a lot more.

Since my company has a lot of individual websites we are always on the lookout for the best deal around, meaning highest reliability and features at reasonable cost. Our preferred hosting provider will change over time as new and better offers become available. To see what I think is the current best deal please click:

Webhosting with free Domain Name

Click the link above and follow the instructions.

When you sign up for hosting you usually get a free domain name. This is where you enter the domain name you selected in the previous section How to choose a domain name?. Also, the longer period you sign up for the cheaper it gets, hence I would recommend to sign up for at least three years to get the best price.

Some hosting providers will try to upsell you extra services like website builder, automated back-up, domain privacy, website protection and others. Make sure you de-select all of these, you don’t need them. Just stick with the pure hosting alone, so your cost should only be the cost for monthly hosting times 36 month. Example: if hosting per month is US$3.95 all you should pay is $3.95 x 36 = $142.20, nothing more. There is now way around paying for domain and hosting, but this is the only mandatory expense you will have for three years – everything else just costs you time and effort.

Once you have completed your payment you will get a confirmation email with your login and password info, keep that in a safe place as you will need it for the next step.

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Posted by AsiaTraining in Learn about e-Commerce
How to choose a domain name?

How to choose a domain name?

What is a domain name, and how to choose one?

A domain name is the website name that people can type into their browser like google.com, yahoo.com or AsiaTraining.com. Before we get to how to choose your domain name just a quick rundown of some domain terminology:

Top level domain (TLD): this refers to the type of domain, for example .com, .net, .org, .biz and so on. By now there are dozens of top level domains available, including rather obscure ones like .guru, .golf, .gamble and a huge lot more. From a practical point of view you should stick with .com and not even consider any other TLD.

Most people associate a website with .com, so I’d strongly recommend to stick with it.

Second level domain: this is the actual website domain name that comes just before the top level domain. For example, in ‘mywebsite.com’ the second level domain is ‘mywebsite’. Since real estate is very much a person-to-person business, and the blog is all about the professional ‘you’ I strongly recommend to name the blog and domain name after yourself. Here are some pointers:

Make your domain name a part of your personal brand. Consider naming it after yourself together with your profession, like JohnSmithRealEstate.com’ or ‘JohnSmithRealtor.com’ or ‘JohnSmithProperty.com’ or along those lines. Please note that big caps or small caps are treated as the same, so ‘JohnSmithProperty.com’ is the same as ‘johnsmithproperty.com’, I just capitalize the beginning of each word to make it easier to read.

Make it easy to communicate and don’t use numbers and hyphens: if you name your website something like ‘John-Smith.com’ and tell this to someone the other person may forget the hyphen later and type the wrong website address. Same for JohnSmith4u.com, people may remember it as ‘JohnSmithForYou.com’.

Don’t include trademarks or brand names if they don’t belong to you.

Make sure you proofread your domain name, write it out and show it to your friends before you register it. It may sound great to you because your mind is fixed on how to read it. Your friends may see a hidden, undesirable meaning in your chosen domain name. Here are some example of actual domain names where the owners have not heeded this advice:

  • a company name Pen Island selling specialty pens registered ‘penisland.com’ – also reads ‘PenisLand.com’
  • Sam, a massage therapist, registered ‘samtherapist.com’ – also reads ‘SamTheRapist.com’
  • the design company Speed of Art that prides itself with quick art designs registered ‘speedofart.com’, which unfortunately also reads ‘SpeedoFart.com’
  • a company named Kids Exchange registered their business name ‘kidsexchange.net’.

I could go on, but you get get the idea.

So, this is now your first hands-on task: take a piece of paper and write down some variations of your perfect domain name. Take your time with it, after all you will be stuck with that domain name for the rest of time.

If you need just a domain name without hosting then the following domain name seller is probably your best choice at the moment: World’s Largest Registrar.

Posted by AsiaTraining in Learn about e-Commerce