What are the best eCommerce platforms to boost sales?
10 minute read
The eCommerce market in Hong Kong has experienced astounding growth in the past few years. It’s undeniable that an eCommerce business model has more benefits than just owning a brick and mortar store.
Starting an eCommerce store is one of the best decisions you can make. By 2040, up to 95% of sales are expected to be made online.
Want to start your own online store? Keep reading for our definitive list of the best eCommerce platforms in Hong Kong, and 5 steps on how to start your own eCommerce business.
eCommerce platforms in Hong Kong
The main function of eCommerce platforms is to provide business owners with a chance to sell products online, without having a hosted site. It was much harder before to start an eCommerce store as a standalone eCommerce software and various business tools were required.
Now, almost anyone can start an eCommerce store thanks to these platforms that have the customer-facing front-end component required.
A SaaS (software as a service) eCommerce platform is one such cloud-hosted solution. These platforms designed specifically for eCommerce owners have the features you need to build your own online store.
Here are some eCommerce features that are necessary for running a successful online business:
- Analytics and reporting
- Inventory management and order management
- Content management
- Customer support
- Payment processing
- Promotions and pricing
Benefits of eCommerce platforms
While you could build your own eCommerce website from scratch, it might be better and more cost-efficient to use a platform.
Here are some benefits of doing so:
- Great customer support. If you don’t provide great customer support, your customers will probably never come back. But that won’t happen with a good eCommerce platform. Both you and your customers will receive amazing customer support whenever something goes wrong with the platform.
- Simple administration. Nobody wants to spend hours or days coding or managing their eCommerce store just to get it working as they envisioned, and connecting different channels to their store. Luckily, eCommerce platforms support easy and simple administration.
- Ease of use. An eCommerce platform that is designed and developed well will be user-friendly. This will make your customers’ experience a pleasant one.
- Lesser downtime. If you choose a reliable eCommerce platform, you will encounter lesser issues such as website server downtime, error messages, and similar technical problems. Your customers can purchase products successfully.
- Extra security. Security is one of the most important cornerstones for eCommerce websites. A data breach could ruin your entire business. The best eCommerce platforms come with enhanced security features, ensuring the security of your customers’ data.
Now that we’ve explained why eCommerce platforms are a good place to kickstart your online business on, let’s take a look at the best eCommerce platforms in Hong Kong.
Amazon is the most popular eCommerce platform in the world. It has over 300 million active users and billions of online sales. No matter if you want to sell to a global marketplace or want to cater only to local Hong Kong shoppers who are keen on online shopping, you shouldn’t ignore this platform.
Amazon offers a service called “Fulfillment by Amazon”, or FBA for short. If you use this service, this eCommerce platform will process and deliver all of the orders you sell automatically.
FBA comes with various benefits such as multi-channel fulfillment, return processing for merchants, 24/7 customer support, and eligibility for the free 2-day shipping service that comes with Amazon Prime. But if you don’t want to use Amazon’s advanced shipping solutions, you can make other arrangements.
To sell on Amazon, you can choose their individual plan that will charge you USD $0.99 per unit sold, or their professional plan that costs $39.99 per month. This eCommerce platform also charges a referral fee for every item you sell, which is between 8% and 15% but it will depend on the product category too.
As for shipping, it will depend on whether you use FBA or not. Some sellers could also include additional fees such as for long-term storage.
This eCommerce platform was launched in 2008 by Alibaba to be a spin-off of Taobao. It is now the largest e-commerce company after Taobao and one of the best eCommerce platforms in Hong Kong.
Unlike most eCommerce platforms, Tmall lists more premium products. Here you can find more high-end and foreign brands. So if you’re looking to start an online store where you will put the focus on premium brands and products, Tmall is a great choice.
Tmall is primarily used for business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) selling unlike eCommerce platforms like Taobao which are focused on consumer to consumer selling.
To sell on Tmall, you will have to pay a security deposit that will cost you approximately $25,000, as well as a yearly service fee that is required to stay on the platform.
In other words, to start off on this eCommerce platform, you’re going to need to invest tens of thousands of dollars before you even start selling. But if you’re planning to be in the eCommerce business long-term, Tmall is a great place to start your eCommerce business.
JD is the second-largest eCommerce platform in China and its main focus is B2C retail. The most popular categories on JD are electronic equipment and home appliances, but you can sell other products there as well.
Selling on this popular eCommerce platform has some requirements and includes a somewhat complicated procedure, similarly to Tmall. You would need to meet the regulations of this eCommerce platform which are somewhat strict.
Need to register your eCommerce business? Let Sleek guide you. We offer one-stop company registration, company secretary and ways to keep your eCommerce business compliant so you can sell online with ease.
It’s important to note that more than half of the brands that want to sell on JD have their registration rejected during the application stage. This is because the application process for this eCommerce platform is very rigorous and that’s how they ensure only top-quality products are available for their customers.
If you do get approved to sell on JD, you have to pay the following:
- An initial deposit of HKD 15,000, which is refundable.
- An annual fee per one online store that amounts to HKD 1,000 if you don’t opt for multi-channel selling.
- A commission for each sale that amounts to anywhere between 2% and 8%.
Although it takes a lot to actually start selling on JD, once you’re in, success is almost guaranteed because the sellers on this eCommerce platform are trustworthy and legitimate.
WeChat is better known as a messaging app, but it actually added eCommerce functionality thanks to WeChat Pay that made it possible to accept payments. Now, this eCommerce platform is one of Hong Kong’s eCommerce sites. People use it to book restaurants, book movie tickets and hotels, and exchange money between one another.
Aside from becoming a sales platform, WeChat also made it possible for brands to get direct feedback from their customers. This is an important feature in eCommerce platforms for people who are looking to test their products out on the Chinese market before they invest in further expansion.
WeChat is another eCommerce platform that won’t accept just anyone and you will need to meet some requirements if you want to be accepted. But it’s not as tough to get in as the previous two, as you will need to have sufficient funds, a brand presence in China, and a robust plan.
Even though it’s cheaper to get into WeChat than it would be to start selling on eCommerce platforms such as Tmall and JD, you will still have to pay your monthly fees. These fees can come out to thousands of dollars or even more, depending on the volume of sales your online store makes.
Taobao is a great eCommerce platform for online merchants that want to sell directly to customers. It’s one of the eCommerce websites that operate on a C2C model and it allows small businesses and individuals to sell their products online without any issues.
Unlike eCommerce platforms such as Tmall and JD which are known for only accepting high-priced items, online merchants who work with Taobao can sell anything. If your business is selling low to medium-end products, this is the perfect place to do so. Online stores on this eCommerce platform usually sell jewelry, clothing, and accessories.
It’s also less expensive to create your online store on Taobao, but you will need to open a company in Mainland China. And to actually start selling on Taobao, you need to pay a guarantee fee to Alipay. They will hold this money for at least 15 days before refunding it.
The eCommerce platform also charges for photograph storage, ads, plugins, and fees for withdrawals over 20,000 yuan.
Starting an eCommerce business
Learning how to start an eCommerce business in Hong Kong takes some time and effort. To help you on this journey, here are some of the most basic things you should know after you choose the best platform.
Decide what you want to sell
When choosing the best products to sell on your online store, you should go with something you’re really interested in and passionate about. Also, make sure your products are sought after on eCommerce platforms, have high profit margins, and if possible, capitalize on trends as soon as possible.
Know your target market
Before you can start using your chosen eCommerce platform to sell online, you need to know who you’re going to sell to. Your target market represents the internet users who are most likely to buy your products. When you know who your target market is, it will be much easier to draw them in and choose the right marketing tools.
Establish your brand identity
Make sure your brand identity is consistent throughout your eCommerce website. Have a custom domain with the name of your online store, include your logo on every webpage, and also keep the same color scheme and design on every page.
Learn the basics of accounting
So many online merchants have an issue with accounting because they don’t know the basics when they start their business. That’s why they make a lot of mistakes that could be preventable. It’s very important to know accounting, how to accept payments safely, and what payment gateway to use.
Hire expert business services
Finally, there are some additional services that can make running an eCommerce store in Hong Kong through an eCommerce platform much easier. Sleek has helped numerous eCommerce businesses with these services:
- Company incorporation. All you need to do is choose the name for your business and answer a few questions, and Sleek will take care of all the processing and file the documentation you need. We have helped hundreds of online store owners get set up and running, talk to us to get started.
- Company secretary. At Sleek, you can find great company secretarial and governance services that will help you to be compliant when selling online.
- Accounting and bookkeeping. If you don’t want to struggle with accounting by yourself, that’s no problem. Our experts will manage all of your bookkeeping, financial statements, payment processing and filing requirements.
Now that you know all of the basics regarding eCommerce platforms in Hong Kong and what steps to take to open your own eCommerce business, you’re ready to start selling online. And the first step in starting an eCommerce site is choosing the best platform for you.
Sleek can help you, regardless of which eCommerce platform you choose. Thanks to our services, you can reach your goals much quicker and effortlessly.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We’re here for you and ready to help you find success with your business setup.