Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (11 October 2013) – Rakuten, one of the world’s largest Internet service companies and owner of Malaysian marketplace Rakuten Online Shopping, recently released findings of its inaugural Rakuten Smart Shopping Survey. The commissioned study of more than 2,000 online consumers across Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan revealed that only 29 per cent of Malaysian respondents were satisfied with goods they purchased online in the last 12 months. The remaining 71 per cent claimed to have regretted their buys, often due to mismatched expectations.
48 per cent attributed the key reason for their dissatisfaction to products looking different when they arrive in comparison to what they had been led to believe, while 29 per cent said it was due to poor product quality.
Masaya Ueno, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rakuten Online Shopping said, “Shopping is not only about convenience, but also about entertainment and discovery. Be it online or offline, it is critical for consumers to make smart decisions by evaluating the credibility and reliability of merchants. Choosing legitimate, reputable and secure online shopping sites while having clarity of the product offerings before they proceed with the purchase will ensure that the overall shopping experience is not affected.”
The study also found that over three-quarters (76 per cent) of Malaysian respondents never or rarely interact with merchants during the online shopping process and those who do, mainly prefer the mode of email over telephone or live chat. Comparatively, in Indonesia, almost half (42 per cent) the respondents frequently communicate with vendors but Taiwan on the other hand showed the least interaction with only 10 per cent communicating with merchants.
“Consumers are missing a beat here. They are spending time online and purchasing products without asking questions. Consumers should expect the same experience they enjoy from their favourite local shops, which means talking to the experts and building a sense of trust in the merchants and the products. The retailers that are smart will be able to offer this,” he added.
Online shoppers prefer to research before purchasing
Approximately one-third (30 per cent) of Malaysians failed to complete their online purchases as they prefer to research the products further and decide if they will purchase them. This often counters the very convenience that e-commerce can offer by taking up significant amount of time.
“Extending research to engage and interact with merchants can save shoppers a lot of time and effort as it would help them validate their decisions. Just like when shopping in the offline world, it is common for a customer to consult a sales staff for advice on product specifications or simply to get an opinion on whether the good they intend to buy is right for them,” said Masaya.
A secure website and transaction (83 per cent) is the most important factor that influence their online shopping decision followed by price (78 per cent) and quality products with detailed photos (70 per cent).
Asian consumers’ payment preferences vary from region to region
The study also showed that less than half (44 per cent) of Malaysian respondents favored payment via credit and debit cards. Interestingly in Taiwan however, 57 per cent prefer credit and debit cards over Cash on Delivery or e-wallets. Yet, Indonesian online shoppers have a clear preference and will take PayPal, AliPay and other e-wallet services over other payment methods.
Masaya added, “E-commerce offers consumers so much in the way of convenience, value and entertainment. By becoming smarter shoppers, they will only maximise their experience and satisfaction when shopping online.”