Amazon launches Singapore website, its first in South-east Asia

Amazon's Prime Now facility in Singapore. Amazon's entry into the market here will see it go head-on against rivals such as Lazada and Shopee.
Amazon's Prime Now facility in Singapore. Amazon's entry into the market here will see it go head-on against rivals such as Lazada and Shopee.ST FILE PHOTO

Online marketplace stocks larger range of international goods, local firms' products

Amazon is giving online shoppers in Singapore access to a wider selection of offerings, with the launch of Amazon.sg

The local online marketplace, which was launched yesterday, not only stocks a larger range of international goods but also has products from local small and medium-sized businesses. The move will see it go head-on against rivals such as Lazada and Shopee.

Singapore is the first country in South-east Asia to get Amazon, which is available in 15 other countries. Previously, though shoppers here could access Amazon.com, many products were not available for shipping to Singapore and those that were available for international shipping would typically charge high shipping fees.

The United States company launched its Prime membership programme for Singapore in 2017, offering its fast delivery service through a mobile app. But its initial local selection focused mainly on groceries and household essentials.

Speaking to The Straits Times yesterday, Amazon Singapore country manager Henry Low said: "With Amazon.sg, we want to provide what customers have been asking us for: the ability for everyone to shop on desktop and mobile, more local and international selection from Amazon and trusted sellers, paired with fast and reliable delivery."

Mr Low said that while Prime members had access to tens of thousands of products, the new initiative would give all shoppers here access to millions of products.

These include the Amazon Kindle. The e-reader was previously not available for sale in Singapore but Mr Low said that six different models are available on Amazon.sg

GOOD FOR CONSUMERS

Amazon's Singapore site means more choices for shoppers here, which is always a good thing. The increased competition also means the e-commerce companies will work harder to make things more attractive for consumers.

MR LUCAS TOK, marketing lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic's School of Business.

 
 
 
 

The site also features international brands such as Bose, Fisher Price, KitchenAid, L'Oreal, and Spigen, and lists products from Singapore businesses including Biofinest, Creative, KeaBabies and Skin Inc. Book lovers can also access a selection of more than 15 million books, including books from Book Depository and Amazon's local and international selection.

All customers in Singapore can get free delivery on eligible orders over $40 within two to three days.

Prime members in Singapore will continue to have access to Prime Now, the free two-hour delivery service for orders over $40. With Amazon.sg, Prime members here will also get free one-day delivery with no minimum spend for eligible local items, as well as free international shipping for eligible orders over $60 on millions of items from the Amazon International Store.

Amazon Prime membership costs $2.99 a month.

Retail experts said Amazon's entry into the Singapore e-commerce market is good for consumers and timely for the e-commerce giant.

Mr Lucas Tok, marketing lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic's School of Business, said: "Amazon's Singapore site means more choices for shoppers here, which is always a good thing. The increased competition also means the e-commerce companies will work harder to make things more attractive for consumers."

Mr Tok said the launch of the site also makes sense since the digital economy is growing rapidly in South-east Asia, and Singapore is a good test bed for the region.

A recent report by Temasek, Google and Bain & Company released last week said the region's digital economy is expected to grow to US$300 billion (S$414 billion) by 2025, three times its current annual size.

Still, Amazon will have to compete with the likes of rivals such as Alibaba Group's Lazada and Sea's Shopee, said Mr Tok.

"Shoppers here who have been using other platforms will be used to the mechanics of those sites. So Amazon can't just rely on their brand, they will have to show shoppers here why they should shop on their site."

Asked about the competition, Mr Low said: "I wake up each morning obsessing over what my customers want and whether or not we can fulfil our promises. I spend very little time thinking about the competition."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2019, with the headline 'Amazon launches S'pore website, its first in S-E Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe