How Amazon Singapore helps alleviate SG SMEs’ local delivery woes
Singaporean sellers on Amazon increased 45% between 2019 and 2021.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may have seen a boom in sales as they penetrate the online realm, but they are still faced with disruptions in the supply chain because of the pandemic. Amazon Singapore is aiming to assist them through Amazon Easy Ship, ensuring quick delivery and tracking of parcels, with a flat fee per consignment depending on the size of the parcel.
Amazon has seen the number of Singaporean sellers in its local and international stores jumping over 45% between 2019 and 2021, on top of the 25% increase in sellers who are exporting their products with the platform.
The platform, in February, launched Amazon Easy Ship which is focused on helping local sellers to manage their domestic orders that are not fulfilled by Amazon, according to Jan Lim, Country Leader of Singapore Marketplace at Amazon.
“For a fee, they will be able to ensure faster and more predictable delivery experiences for customers along with the up-to-date shipment tracking information, optimised for cost and speed with shipping services through Amazon's enrolled carriers,” said Jan Lim, Country Leader of Singapore Marketplace at Amazon.
“These sellers will not need to configure fulfilment time manually, freeing up their time to focus on better sourcing, creating, and promoting their products and brands to grow their customer base,” he added.
It was at first available as a pilot and invite-only programme. Stores in the pilot implementation include Hyper Singapore, which is the authorised local distributor for HyperJuice and HyperDrive, and Momo Gadgets which is a seller of branded phones, accessories, electronics, and lifestyle products.
Services under the Amazon Easy Ship expanded in February 2022 after its full roll-out.
Key features include a simplified seller registration wherein the program will support a one-click opt-in integrated with the account registration of Merchant Fulfilment Network, or sellers who manage their own delivery. The shipping settings are automated through a shipping engine, which avoids the need for sellers to select their own configurations.
Currently, over 50 sellers have availed of the programme which delivers orders within 2.5 days on average and has a 100% parcel tracking rate, according to Amazon Singapore.
Lim also added that the order fulfilment experience will be integrated with the Manage Your Order on Amazon’s Seller Central.
“The scheduling and fulfilment experience will be powered by Amazon Easy Ship Scheduling Service (ESS), which enables orchestration of shipment planning, creation and delivery,” he said.
There will also be a standardised seller rate where sellers will be charged a flat fee per delivery based on the weight and size of the delivery, and they will not have to negotiate rates with carriers. It will also allow sellers to preview shipping fees when they are scheduling pick up and review them on the order transaction reports.
The Amazon Easy Ship service also enables trackable delivery with customer notifications for key progress such as ship confirmation, in-transit, and delivered, amongst others, Lim said.
Online challenges, exports
With the rise of online selling opportunities, Lim noted that some fundamental aspects of selling are being overlooked such as the importance of quality product pictures and crafting a proper product listing.
Others are also struggling in keeping up with the demands and expectations of consumers online and are not able to digitally engage, retain and grow their customer base for the long run.
“To succeed online, businesses need to bring in quality products, price them correctly, and ensure safe and timely delivery at the customers’ convenience. If opening an e-store is new for local SMEs, they may need to learn about new tools to effectively manage an online business,” he said.
Selling overseas has also been a problem for Singaporean sellers, according to an Amazon report released in October 2021.
Singaporean businesses cited high costs of cross-border logistics, lack of clarity on important regulations in markets abroad, and the lack of ability and information to compete globally as top challenges for export opportunities.
They also had difficulties in coping with supply chain disruption and an increase in demand for online deliveries because of the pandemic, Lim said, adding that they also helped them in managing logistical and operational costs.
“For instance, by using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), SMEs can leave customer service, returns, and the picking, packing, and shipping of their products to us. With this freed up time and resources, they can focus on product innovation as well as better engaging and understanding their consumers,” he said.
The Amazon report also showed that business-to-consumer exports in Singapore are expected to increase more than two-fold to reach S$3.5b in 2026 if SMEs accelerate the penetration of e-commerce to sell overseas.
Moving forward, Lim said Amazon Singapore will continue to invest in employees and technology to better predict customer trends and when and where they want to receive their items.
“Even as more and more consumers shop online, we believe they will continue to care about—low prices, vast selection and fast delivery—and at Amazon, we will continue working hard to provide all three, all the time,” he said.