Ecommerce in the East

Ecommerce in the East

When it comes to online market penetration, China leads the way at 83%. Many other Asian countries are also very comfortable with using online shopping. It’s heartening for those in ecommerce as this is a vast market to be tapped. Ecommerce stores in the area stand an excellent chance of success, but just how much progress can they hope to achieve? If we look at the examples gathered by RedBrain in the infographic that they compiled, we can see that ecommerce has added some significant income for the top American brands.

Would these same successes translate over to the Asian markets? The buying capacity is there definitely. People in various countries across the continent are more than happy to get the products that they want online. That said, it should be understood that there is a big difference in how business is done in the East and the West. The advertising, product selection, etc. all need to be approached very differently if you hope to make a success of it.

That is why so many Western businesses hire consultants to help them make that transition. And, while you might not have to be as concerned with the cultural niceties when operating online because you are not dealing with people face to face, that does not mean that you can ignore them completely.

It is simple – meet the needs of your market. Customize your approach to suit that of the market that you are serving. You need to not only meet but exceed your client’s expectations. If you do not, there will be plenty of others that will be only too happy to try instead.

Get to know something about the customers that your target market adheres to. For example, would it be polite to cold call them? Is it considered intrusive to send them unsolicited mail? What sort of greeting is considered acceptable?

In a lot of Eastern countries, showing your clients the respect that they deserve is an integral part of the business success. The typical Western attitude of informality might do more harm than good here. So, in all things, do your research upfront and always be polite.

Check out RedBrain comprehensive research on commerce vs in store on
Share This

About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on

View all articles by Thomas Gennaro