eCommerceFest 2021 Series #1: Next Stage of E-Commerce in Malaysia—The Challenges and Opportunities


Have you finished reading our blog post, ‘Topic 1: How Malaysian SMEs Scaled New Growth via E-Commerce’? If you have yet to read it, make sure you visit the blog post and spend some time on it. I’m sure you will get some very insightful information from it.   

Let us continue to the second topic in Series 1, ‘Next Stage of E-Commerce in Malaysia—The Challenges and Opportunities’. This topic discusses the current situation or stage of e-commerce in Malaysia. 

The Challenges and Opportunities of E-Commerce in Malaysia
The moderator (Salman Ahmad) and panelists (Song Hock Koon & Ganesh Kumar Bangah) of the event.

E-Commerce in Malaysia

Malaysia is considered one of the leading e-commerce countries in Southeast Asia because it started using e-commerce early. However, some areas still need to be enhanced to further develop Malaysia’s e-commerce sector. 

Check out the key takeaways of this session!

1. Malaysia’s Current Use of E-Commerce 

E-commerce use in Malaysia is considered to be at the early majority stage. E-commerce is growing quickly because most Malaysians have started to grow their businesses in the e-commerce sector.

However, there are still some areas that have not adapted to digitalisation but continue running business traditionally. 

2. Expanding Your Market

E-commerce merchants should target not the Malaysian market but also Southeast Asia as a whole. E-commerce store is borderless, and the cultures and buyer preferences in Southeast Asia are quite similar.

Therefore, e-commerce merchants can target and reach massive amounts of people outside Malaysia to develop their e-commerce businesses. 

3. The Three Components of E-Commerce 


Supply is growing slowly. Even though the MCO has resulted in a growth in supply, it’s not growing rapidly. Another issue for the supply side is that most of the supply is provided by foreign companies instead of Malaysian companies. 


Demand is growing faster than supply due to the lockdown. However, there are fewer local merchants, so there is less local demand. Most people are purchasing from foreign merchants, and delivery is slow because it takes a long time to deliver goods from foreign countries. 

Logistic Infrastructure

Logistic infrastructure has been affected by the huge growth in demand.

When demand is high and the growth of infrastructure is not fast enough, delivery times are delayed because the logistics infrastructure does not have the capability to cater to the high demand during the MCO.

4. Educate Both Sellers and Consumers to Sell and Buy Online 

To develop the Malaysian e-commerce market, sellers need to be educated to grow and stand out among the competitors. Sellers and business owners need to trust the potential and convenience of e-commerce.

Moreover, to build confidence in e-commerce, sellers and consumers need to try to buy or sell themselves. 

5. Start with Your Mindset 

Most traditional business owners do not spend a lot on marketing because they did not see it as an investment. Not investing much in marketing might work for physical stores (people will go directly to the physical store and buy products or services), but it does not work for online businesses.

Marketing is important for online business, and the investment in marketing will turn into a return on the expense. Retailers can see how much revenue they earn from their marketing spending.

Even after lockdown, retailers should continue investing in marketing because it will help retain their existing customers and increase new customers. 

6. Don’t Cannibalise Your Own Business 

Most traditional business owners do not want to step into e-commerce because they are worried about being cannibalised.

When selling online, retailers post the prices publicly, allowing their brand to be compared with other brands that sell similar products.

However, traditional retailers should not be worried that running their business online will cannibalise them.

Instead, they need to change their mindset about starting an online business. It is a way to sustain your business because we do not know when this lockdown will end. 

Final Thoughts

E-commerce is the new norm for business owners in Malaysia. It takes time and effort to move from adapting to digitalisation to earning a profit from your e-commerce business.

To effectively improve your e-commerce business, you must understand the challenges and opportunities in the e-commerce sector. 

During this panel discussion, the speakers, Ganesh Kumar Bangah, executive chairman of commerce at DotAsia Ventures, Sdn Bhd; and Song Hock Koon, director of e-commerce, MDEC, shared their insights into the challenges and opportunities in Malaysia’s e-commerce sector, as well as their opinions on how business owners can enhance their businesses. 

For more information, watch the full video, ‘Topic 2: Next Stage of E-Commerce in Malaysia—The Challenges and Opportunities’. You will get more than you expected! 

We have one more topic for Series #1 to go, so stay tuned!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments