How to Start Ecommerce Business in Singapore
Ecommerce is big in Singapore, and the top 4 marketplaces Shopee, Lazada, Carousell, and Qoo10 (with Amazon SG a distant 5th) are places where you should start your business.
Shopee is the largest online platform marketplace and you should definitely start selling here first. You can read more on selling on Lazada / Carousell / Qoo10 too, just scroll down to see more details on selling on them.
In this article, we shall explore how to start eCommerce business in Singapore.
How to Start Ecommerce Business in Singapore on Shopee? — Onboarding on Shopee
Here are 3 steps on how to start selling on Shopee!
- Sign up with your email or mobile number at https://shopee.sg/buyer/signup
- List your products with title, photos, descriptions,
- Choose your shipping methods and price of the product
Publish and you are good to go! Let’s go through the details.
Step 1: Register as a seller on Shopee
You have to sign up with a mobile number, OR your Facebook login, Google login, or Apple ID login. Do note that you have to use your real particulars when signing up as revenue will be deposited into your bank account.
Once verified, you can use their Seller Centre.
Step 2: List your products via Shopee Seller Centre
List your products. You can use the desktop Seller Centre or the mobile Shopee App. At the mobile App, just go to the bottom right tab “ME”, and select “Start Selling”.
Just list your products with as many details as possible and with good photos!
Remember, the TITLE and the PHOTOS need to be detailed and attractive, let the viewers know what are the benefits of the products so that they will click in and get engaged.
On the mobile app, just click Me > My Shop > Add new products
On the website, just choose Product > Add new products
At each product listing page, you can upload photos of your products, and enter the details and specifications. You can use the app to take photos directly via your phone camera or select existing images from your phone’s gallery.
After this, supply the fields below with the photos and the necessary information. These include:
- Product name
- Product Description
- Category (choose among the default categories on Shopee)
- Shipping methods and fee
Step 3: Set your shipping methods and price. Free shipping does improve online sales!
Choose shipping methods. Shopee works with Ninjavan and other shippers such as J&T and UrbanFox for courier delivery. If your product is light, you may also use Singpost. Do note that Singpost with no tracking number has the risk of missing parcels and it is the seller’s responsibility when goods are missing (i.e. you have to compensate lost parcels to the buyer).
Set the price for your shipping as well as the product pricing.
Publish and your product is live!
Hint for sellers: Free shipping always improves online conversion! If you want to know more, please do check out How to Sell On Shopee.
Do I need to register a business to sell in Shopee?
You can just sell as an individual, there is no need to register a business for this. Though once you are familiar with e-commerce and want to have proper taxation treatment (tax authorities and banks treat companies and sole proprietorships differently), you are encouraged to start a business entity with ACRA.
If you just want to try it out and go at it fast, just register as an individual and use your NRIC / bank statement to register as an individual seller. This applies to Lazada / Qoo10 / Carousell sellers too.
Is Shopee free for sellers? Does Shopee take a commission? What are Shopee’s fees?
Edit: as of 2022 Sept, Shopee has added another layer of transaction costs. So there are 3 layers to pay Shopee (excluding shipping subsidies you may pay for buyers to buy from you)
Shopee full fees for Singapore sellers (excluding shipping subsidies)
- Commission Fee of 2% (GST inclusive- 2.14%
- If you join cashback, an additional Service Fee of 5% (GST inclusive- 5.35%), would be 3% for some categories such as mobiles, laptops, milk formula, etc.
- OR Service Fee of 2% (GST inclusive- 2.14%) if you join both cashback and Free shipping program
- A transaction fee of 2%
To simplify Shopee seller fees for all Singaporean sellers:-
a) if you are in the cashback program, you are paying a total of 2% + 5% + 2% = 9% (9.63% inclusive GST)
b) if you are in cashback AND free shipping program, you are paying a total of 2% + 2% + 2% = 6% (6.42% inclusive of GST)
c) if you are NOT in cashback, you will be paying only 2% + 2% = 4% (4.28% inclusive of GST)
The tier of 4% or 9% from Shopee is whether you are enrolled in their Shopee cashback for buyers.
- Full platform fee for Cashback Seller – 9%
- Full platform fee for non-Cashback Seller – 4%
If you are not offering cashback, the Shopee marketplace fee is 4%. If you are offering cashback, the commission adds on another 5% to be a total of 9%, regardless of how much cashback is offered to the buyers (Shopee shoppers would know that cashback in Shopee coins can be as high as 10%, 12% 18% or more in festive seasons).
Add in the GST of 7%, you have the Shopee fees of 4.28% or 9.63% for non-cashback and cashback schemes.
Do Shopee sellers pay for shipping? Why is Shopee’s shipping fee so expensive?
The shipping fee structure evolves in Shopee as new shippers come in and also changes during different festive seasons. Shopee tends to subsidize sellers to encourage them to offer free shipping too.
The seller has to use integrated channels for shipping (such as NinjaVan or J&T Shipping), but he can also apply for non-integrated channels such as Singpost normal mail or Seller Own Fleet.
For couriers, see the choices that are available., Shopee may favor a particular shipper by offering lower rates. For lightweight goods, you can apply to use Singpost normal mails for low shipping fees. For bulky or special goods, you can request Seller Own Fleet to use your own vehicle delivery.
If you have valid reasons, go ahead and apply for non-integrated shipping channels with Shopee.
Is it easy to sell in Shopee?
Selling online is not difficult at all, it just requires you to put in the effort and research it. I personally crossed $1m in sales on Shopee in 2021.
There are lots of ways to stand out and sell more. Unfortunately, I find the biggest obstacle to start selling is:- to start the ball rolling. Do scroll to the end to see all the Singapore SkillsFuture courses available for you to begin building your foundation.
How to Start an Ecommerce Business in Singapore on Lazada?
Do not neglect Lazada too. It is a great platform to sell and has huge customer volume as well. The onboarding for Lazada is easy as well.
Simple summary on starting selling on Lazada
- Register a seller account on Lazada
- List your products
- Manage Store
- Ship Products
- Receive payments!
Step 1: Register a seller account on Lazada
Sign up for free at Lazada. Do your verification and enter your warehouse address and bank details for payment.
Step 2: List products via Seller Center
Use their Lazada Seller Center to add your products step by step: product photos, attributes, descriptions and shipping methods and price. You can do a single product upload or even mass product uploads.
Step 3: Manage Store
Make use of Seller Tools to boost store, product sales, and performance. Join their various campaigns and sales promotion. You can always use their tool to check and manage your store performance.
Step 4: Ship Products
Use one of their shipping partners such as NinjaVan to ship to your customers. You can also apply for Seller Own Fleet to deliver your own products.
Step 5: Receive Payments
Payment is automatically credited to your bank account weekly! View your account statements for the details.
Is it free to sell on Lazada? How much percent commission does Lazada take from sellers?
Lazada Marketplace charges 2% on payment processing, while LazMall charges 3-5% for brands that are listed on LazMall. In theory, Lazada has no fees, but the payment processing fee is still a fee to us sellers.
Can individuals sell on Lazada? Can I sell in Lazada without business registration?
Yes, individuals can now sell on Lazada without business registration. In the past, you need to have an entity such as a sole proprietorship or a company to sell on Lazada. With fierce competition from Shopee, Lazada has now waived this requirement.
Is it easy to sell on e-commerce marketplaces in Singapore (like Shopee, Qoo10, Carousell)? Is it wise to start an eCommerce business?
Whether it is on Lazada or Shopee, selling online is not difficult at all, it just requires you to put in the effort and research it. There are lots of ways to stand out and sell more. Unfortunately, I find the biggest obstacle to start selling is:- to start the ball rolling.
Many people are too comfortable in their comfort zone and do not want to learn new things and do new ventures. Take a tiny step, and go for a SkillsFuture course for e-commerce. Here are some suggestions:
- SkillFuture Course to sell at Shopee
- SkillFuture Course to sell at Lazada
- SkillFuture Courses on Supply Chain Logistic Fulfillment for Ecommerce
Learn from excellent trainers and benefit from these highly subsidized courses!