How to Start Selling Online in Singapore

Published on
July 14, 2020
Written by
Marissa Saini
Reviewed by
Episode #
How to Start Selling Online in Singapore
Top platforms in Singapore for your business to start an online presence, from Shopee, Lazada, Qoo10 to Deliveree to GrabFood.
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Ready to transform your business? Thinking of selling online? Use this guide to learn how to sell online to expand your business's cash flow. A compilation of the top platforms in Singapore for your business to start an online presence.

Selling online in Singapore

Whether you’re selling fashion items or you own an F&B business, you’re able to find a suitable platform to reach more consumers online. Singapore has grown to be a hotspot for businesses to thrive online. Simply pivoting to online marketplaces could help you to reach the 26% of Singaporeans that shop online at least once a week. 

Based on per capita, that’s the highest percentage of online buyers in Southeast Asia.

In addition, selling online helps to activate previously unutilized revenue streams.

In this article, we’ve picked the best online selling platforms in Singapore (read: where most Singaporeans shop).

What's an Online Marketplace and Why is it Important for Businesses?

An online marketplace is a digital platform that connects buyers and sellers in one place. It allows businesses to reach a wider audience and sell their products or services online. With the rise of e-commerce, more and more consumers are turning to online marketplaces to shop and buy products. There are many online selling platforms in Singapore that businesses can use to sell their products, such as Lazada, Shopee, Qoo10, and Carousell.

Online marketplaces are important for businesses in several ways.

Increased exposure

By selling on online marketplaces, businesses can increase their exposure to a larger audience of potential customers.

Reduced marketing costs

Online marketplaces often have their own marketing strategies to attract customers, so businesses can save money on their own marketing efforts.

Lower start-up costs

Online marketplaces provide an alternative to setting up a physical store, which can be costly. Selling on an online marketplace is often more affordable and requires less investment upfront.

Ease of use

Online marketplaces typically have an intuitive user interface and offer a range of tools and services to help businesses manage their sales, making it easier for sellers to get started.

To start selling online in Singapore, businesses can choose from various platforms depending on their needs, budget, and target market. It is important to do research and understand the different platforms before selecting the best fit for the business.

Why is Singapore a Highly Desirable Market for Online Sellers?

Singapore is a highly desirable market for online sellers due to several reasons. Firstly, it has a high internet penetration rate, with over 84% of its population being internet users. This provides businesses with a large online customer base to target. Additionally, Singapore has a strong economy, a stable political environment, and a high GDP per capita, meaning that consumers have higher purchasing power and are more likely to spend online purchases.

Furthermore, Singapore has a well-developed infrastructure for e-commerce, with reliable payment gateways, efficient logistics services, and a strong regulatory framework that protects both consumers and businesses. Singapore is also strategically located in Southeast Asia, providing businesses with easy access to other markets in the region.

All these factors make Singapore an attractive market for online sellers and a great place to start and grow an online business.

How to Start an Online Business in Singapore?

Starting an online business in Singapore is a straightforward process that can be done in a few simple steps.

Choose the type of business entity

Several types of business entities can be registered in Singapore, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, or private limited company.

Register the business entity

Once the business entity has been chosen, it can be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Obtain necessary licenses and permits

Depending on the nature of the business, certain licenses and permits may be required before the business can start operating.

Set up an online presence

To sell online, businesses must set up an online presence, which includes a website, social media accounts, and listings on online marketplaces.

Choose an e-commerce platform

Businesses must select an e-commerce platform that best suits their needs and budget, from which they can sell their products or services online.

Payment gateway

An online payment gateway must be set up to enable customers to make purchases.

Logistics and shipping

A reliable logistics partner must be chosen to ensure that orders are fulfilled efficiently.

By following these steps and seeking professional advice, businesses can start an online business in Singapore and leverage the benefits of e-commerce.

Five Things to Know About Selling Online in Singapore

If you're considering selling your products or services online in Singapore, there are a number of things you'll need to be aware of to ensure that you comply with local regulations and laws. Here are five key things you need to know about selling online in Singapore.

Sale of Goods Act

The Sale of Goods Act is a law that governs the sale of goods in Singapore, including those sold online. As an online seller, you'll need to ensure that your products meet the requirements of the Sale of Goods Act, which includes:

The goods must be of satisfactory quality

This means that the goods must be fit for their intended purpose, and free from defects or damage.

  • The goods must be as described: Your product listings must accurately describe the goods being sold, including their features, specifications, and condition.
  • The goods must be legally sold: You must have the legal right to sell the goods you're offering, and they must not infringe on any intellectual property rights.

Licence

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to obtain a license to sell your products or services online in Singapore. For example, if you're selling food or health supplements, you may need to obtain a license from the relevant regulatory authorities.

Similarly, if you're selling certain types of products, such as alcohol or tobacco, you may need to obtain a license from the relevant authorities.

Registration of Business

To legally operate a business in Singapore, you'll need to register your company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). This involves obtaining a Unique Entity Number (UEN) and registering your business name, address, and other details with the authorities.

If you're looking for a simple and hassle-free way to register your business in Singapore, you can use a platform like Aspire. Aspire makes it easy to register your business online, with a streamlined process that can be completed in just a few clicks.

Taxes and Duties for Imports

If you're importing goods into Singapore for sale, you'll need to know the applicable taxes and duties. The Singapore Customs website provides detailed information on the different types of taxes and duties that may apply to imported goods, including:

Goods and Services Tax (GST): This is a tax of 7% that is levied on most goods and services sold in Singapore, including imported goods.

Import duties: Depending on the nature of the goods being imported, import duties may also apply. These duties are typically calculated as a percentage of the goods' value.

It's important to factor these taxes and duties into your pricing strategy to ensure that you're not pricing yourself out of the market.

Prohibited Goods

Finally, it's important to be aware of the types of goods that are prohibited from being sold online in Singapore. Some examples of prohibited goods include:

Counterfeit goods: Selling counterfeit goods is illegal in Singapore and can result in heavy fines and legal action.

Pornography: The sale of pornographic materials is illegal in Singapore.

Prescription drugs: Selling prescription drugs without a license from the Health Sciences Authority is illegal.

In addition to these prohibited goods, certain types of goods are restricted in some way. For example, the sale of certain types of firearms and ammunition is strictly regulated and may require a license from the authorities.

By partnering with a platform like Aspire, you can simplify the process of setting up and managing your online business, allowing you to focus on growing your brand and reaching new customers.

Most popular online selling platform for goods in Singapore:

• Lazada

• Qoo10

• Shopee

• Shopify

• Carousell 

• eBay

• Zalora

• RedMart 

• Craigslist 

• Fishpond

Most popular online selling platform for services in Singapore:

• GrabFood

• Deliveroo

• FoodPanda

Selling Online on Lazada

Selling on Lazada Singapore

One of the largest e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia, Lazada offers a wide variety of products available for sale. Lazada gets more than 10 million visitors in Singapore, monthly. It is known for their fashion, consumer electronics, and home & living products.

1. Cost

Registration fees : None

Commission fees : (Commission rate + 2% Payment Service Fee) x Listing Price

2. Payment

Paid out every 14 days

3. Shipping

Fulfilment by Lazada, NinjaVan or Singpost

3. How to register?

Register on Lazada

Lazada has an eCommerce starter package for retailers affected in this period and Lazada University offers a wide range of resources!

4. How to Sell on Lazada?

  • Apply to become a seller on the Lazada website
  • Set up your online store and create product listings
  • Wait for approval from Lazada to start selling
  • Once approved, start fulfilling orders and managing your online store

Selling Online on Qoo10

Selling on Qoo10 Singapore

Qoo10 gets more than 7 million visitors in Singapore monthly. It is known for their consumer electronics, baby & toys and healthy & living products. It is a diverse online marketplace that offers a diverse range of products from electronics to fashion, beauty and more.

1. Cost

Registration fees : $100 for Case

Commission fees : Seller Grade x Listing Price

2. Payment

Paid out every 7 days

3. Shipping

QExpress

4. How to register?

Register in Qoo10

Qoo10 requires the purchase of QCash for marketing usage on their platform!

5. How to Sell on Qoo10?

  • Register for an account on Qoo10
  • Create your online store and product listings
  • Start selling and managing your store
  • Pay commissions to Qoo10 on each successful transaction

Selling Online on Shopee

Selling online on Shopee Singapore

Shopee gets more than 7 million visitors in Singapore monthly. It is known for their consumer electronics, home & living products and healthy & beauty products.

1. Cost

Registration fees : None

Commission fees : None

2. Payment

Paid out every 14 days

3. Shipping

NinjaVan, Singpost for deliveries or self-collection

4. How to register?

Register on Shopee

5. How to Sell on Shopee?

  • Register for an account on Shopee
  • Create your online store and product listings
  • Start selling and managing your store
  • Pay commissions to Shopee on each successful transaction

Selling Online on Shopify

How to sell on Shopify Singapore

Shopify is a cloud-based, SaaS shopping cart solution that allows you to customise your own shopping platform easily.

1. Cost

Subscription fees : From USD 29 per month

2. Payment

Paid through credit card to your company bank account

3. Shipping

Self-fulfillment

4. How to register?

Register on Shopify. Note that your own domain name is required.

Shopify offers a 90 days FREE trial during this period, you can also get cashback on your subscription fees when you pay using the Aspire Card (check out our other rewards)!

5. How to Sell on Shopify?

  • Sign up for a Shopify account and choose a pricing plan
  • Create your online store and add product listings
  • Set up payment and shipping options
  • Start promoting your store and managing your online business

Sell on GrabFood

How to sell in GrabFood

GrabFood is a local F&B services company that offers food delivery services. They get more than 14 million visitors monthly and is known for their wide array of cuisines provided and are known for their various cuisines. Restaurants can partner with the platform and deliver their dishes to customers.

1. Cost

Registration fees : $100/outlet if you use your own Android Device and do not print order receipts. $300/outlet for a Grab Order Device that automatically prints order receipts.

Commission fees : 30% on all GrabFood orders

2. Payment

Paid out every 14 days

3. Delivery

Fulfilled by GrabFood drivers

4. How to register?

Register on GrabFood

5.How to Sell on GrabFood?

  • Sign up for a GrabFood merchant account
  • Provide your menu and restaurant information
  • Wait for approval from GrabFood to start selling
  • Start fulfilling orders and managing your restaurant's online presence

Sell on Deliveroo

How to sell on Deliveroo

Deliveroo is a local F&B services company that offers food delivery services. They get more than 470 thousand visitors monthly and are known for their strong fulfillment services.

1. Cost

Commission fees : Depending on merchants

2. Payment

Paid out every 14 days

3. Delivery

Fulfilled by Deliveroo drivers

4. How to register?

Register on Deliveroo

5. How to Sell on Deliveroo?

  • Apply to become a partner restaurant on the Deliveroo website
  • Provide your menu and restaurant information
  • Wait for approval from Deliveroo to start selling
  • Start fulfilling orders and managing your restaurant's online presence

Carousell

Carousell launches new brand identity | Marketing | Campaign Asia

Carousell is a popular platform for buying and selling second-hand goods in Singapore. It's easy to use and offers a wide range of categories, including fashion, electronics, and home decor.

1. Costs

Free for basic listing, additional fees for premium features

2. Payment

Typically within 3-5 business days after successful transaction

3. Delivery

Seller can choose to offer shipping or meet-up options

4. How to Register

Create an account on the Carousell app or website

5. How to Sell on Carousell?

  • Download the Carousell app and create an account.
  • Take high-quality photos of your item and create a listing.
  • Write a detailed description of your item, including its condition and any defects.
  • Set a fair price for your item and indicate whether you're open to negotiations.
  • Respond promptly to enquiries from potential buyers.
  • Meet up with the buyer to exchange the item for payment.

eBay

eBay - Wikipedia

eBay is a global online marketplace that allows individuals and businesses to sell products to buyers around the world. It's a popular platform for both new and used goods.

1. Costs

Fees for listing, final value fees for successful transactions

2. Payment

Depends on the payment method used; can range from instant to several days

3. Delivery

Seller can choose to offer shipping or pick-up options

4. How to register

Create an account on the eBay website

5. How to Sell on eBay?

  • Create an eBay seller account.
  • Create a listing for your item, including high-quality photos and a detailed description.
  • Set a fair price for your item, taking into account fees and shipping costs.
  • Choose your preferred payment and shipping methods.
  • Respond promptly to enquiries from potential buyers.
  • Ship your item promptly once it's sold.

Zalora

Zalora, Southeast Asia's largest clothing e-tailer confirms sale of  Thailand, Vietnam operations

Zalora is a popular online fashion and beauty retailer in Singapore. It offers a wide range of products from both local and international brands.

Costs

Commission on each sale, additional fees for premium features

Payment

Typically within 30 days of successful transaction

Delivery

Zalora provides its own delivery service

How to Register

Apply to become a seller on the Zalora website

How to Sell on Zalora?

  • Apply to become a Zalora seller on their website.
  • Once approved, upload your products to the Zalora platform.
  • Provide high-quality images and detailed descriptions of your products.
  • Set a fair price for your products.
  • Respond promptly to customer inquiries and orders.
  • Ship your products promptly once they're sold.

Craigslist

Craigslist logo and symbol, meaning, history, PNG

Craigslist is an online classifieds platform that allows users to buy and sell goods and services locally. It's popular in many countries around the world, including Singapore.

1. Cost

Free to post listings

2. Payment

Depends on the payment method used; typically done in person

3. Delivery

Seller can choose to offer shipping or meet-up options

4. How to register

No registration required, but a valid email address is needed to post listings

5. How to Sell on Craigslist?

  • Go to the Craigslist website for Singapore.
  • Choose the appropriate category for your item and create a listing.
  • Provide a detailed description of your item and include high-quality photos.
  • Set a fair price for your item and indicate whether you're open to negotiations.
  • Respond promptly to enquiries from potential buyers.
  • Meet up with the buyer to exchange the item for payment.

Fishpond

Fishpond is an online marketplace allowing individuals and businesses to sell products to customers in Singapore and worldwide. It offers a wide range of categories, including books, electronics, and toys.

1. Cost

Commission on each sale, additional fees for premium features

2. Payment

Typically within 30 days of successful transaction

3. Delivery

Fishpond provides its own delivery service

4. How to register

Apply to become a seller on the Fishpond website

5. How to Sell on Fishpond?

  • Apply to become a Fishpond seller on their website.
  • Once approved, upload your products to the Fishpond platform.
  • Provide high-quality images and detailed descriptions of your products.
  • Set a fair price for your products, taking into account fees and shipping costs.
  • Respond promptly to customer inquiries and orders.
  • Ship your products promptly once they're sold.

Other Platforms

FoodPanda

How to sell on FoodPanda Singapore

foodpanda is a food delivery platform that lets users order food from their merchant of choice and get it delivered to their doorstep within 15 minutes. According to the Straits Times, the platform sees more than 10 million users on a given day.

How to sell on foodpanda?

Step 1: Sign up via the online form

Step 2: Receive a contract

Step 3: Sign the contract 

Step 4: You’re ready to receive orders from hungry foodpanda users

Tips to Keep in Mind When Selling on these Platforms

Selling online in Singapore can be a great way to reach new customers and grow your business. Here are some tips to keep in mind when selling on online platforms:

Do your research

Before you start selling on any platform, be sure to do your research to ensure that it's a good fit for your business. Look at factors like the platform's target audience, fees, and user reviews to determine whether it's a good match.

Optimize your product listings

When creating your product listings, be sure to use high-quality images and descriptive titles and descriptions. This will help your products stand out and make it easier for customers to find what they're looking for.

Offer great customer service

Providing excellent customer service is key to building a successful online business. Be responsive to customer inquiries and feedback, and work to resolve any issues quickly and professionally.

Promote your products

To drive traffic to your online store, you'll need to promote your products. This can include tactics like social media marketing, email campaigns, and paid advertising.

Monitor your sales and analytics

Finally, be sure to keep a close eye on your sales and analytics data to track your performance and identify areas for improvement.

Set Up Your Own Website to Sell Online in Singapore

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marissa Saini is a seasoned writer and an avid trendspotter across business finance, personal finance, travel and lifestyle industries. With writing history at SingSaver, INK, and ohmyhome, Marissa leverages her broad range of experiences to simplify finance and make readers financially savvy.
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