Amazon launches local online store in Singapore with wider shopping selection

PHOTO: Reuters

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 launched on Tuesday (Oct 8), not only stocks a larger range of international goods but also has products from local small and medium-sized businesses.

Singapore is the first country in South-east Asia to get Amazon, which is available in 15 other countries including the United States, Australia, Brazil, India, Mexico and Japan. 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 US company launched its Prime membership programme for Singapore in 2017, offering its fast delivery service through a mobile app. But its initial local selection mainly focused on groceries and household essentials.

Speaking to The Straits Times on Tuesday, 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 previously with Amazon's Prime Now service, Prime members had access to "tens of thousands of products".

"With Amazon.sg, all shoppers will now have access to millions of products that cut across many different categories including books, video games, baby and toys, home and kitchenware, and consumer electronics."

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

The site also features international brands like Bose, Fisher Price, Kitchenaid, Lego, 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 over 15 million books, including books from Books 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 per month.

Retail experts said Amazon's entry to the Singapore e-commerce market is a positive one for consumers and a timely move for the American e-commerce giant, considering the continued growth of the digital economy here.

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 testbed for the region.

A recent report by Temasek, Google and Bain & Company released earlier this month said the region's digital economy is expected to grow to US$300 billion (S$415 billion) by 2025, three times its current annual size.

While Amazon is a recognisable brand, it will still have to invest in good marketing to be able to attract shoppers and compete with 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 what he thinks of the competition, Mr Low said he chooses to focus on what customers want instead of what Amazon's rivals are doing.

"I wake up each morning obsessing over what my customers want and on whether or not we can fulfil our promises. I spend very little time thinking about the competition. This is just day one for Amazon.sg. We will listen to our customers and they will be the ones to vote with their wallets."

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

VIDEOS TO WATCH

SERVICES