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The Ultimate Online Shopping Guide In Malaysia

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Chapter 1

The Best Online Shopping Platforms In Malaysia

Shopping is a national pastime in Malaysia. When we’re not taking refuge from the tropical heat in air-conditioned shopping malls, we’re window shopping online. In the past month alone, 82% of Malaysian internet users bought something through the web.

But not all online shopping sites are the same. Some are better than others for specific categories of items, or could have rewards programmes that can help you save on future purchases, or could be better for obscure items you can’t find anywhere else.

Here’s what you need to know about these popular e-commerce platforms in Malaysia.

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Lazada

Lazada was the most searched shopping platform in Malaysia as of January 2020. It was launched in 2012 and has since been acquired by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

There are three different types of sellers on Lazada. LazMall sellers are official brands or authorised sellers, local sellers refer to those based in Malaysia, while LazGlobal sellers are based in China, Korea or Japan. As a consumer, this means having access to a wide variety of items. And if you don’t feel comfortable buying from sellers you aren’t familiar with, you can just stick to buying from official brands.

Payment methods: Lazada Wallet, credit card, debit card, online banking, Maybank instalments, Touch ‘n Go eWallet, cash payment at 7-Eleven.

Good for: Home and lifestyle products, electronics, health and beauty and fashion.

Platform: Web and app

Shopee

Shopee is Malaysia’s most visited e-commerce platform, even leading the pack throughout Southeast Asia. This platform was only launched in 2015 and has gained a reputation for being slightly cheaper than other online platforms.

There are three categories of sellers on Shopee: normal sellers, preferred sellers and Shopee Mall sellers. Preferred sellers are featured by Shopee for having a strong sales record and high product ratings, among other criteria. Shopee Mall sellers are official brands or top sellers.

Shopee also has its own rewards programme, Shopee Coins. You earn 1 Coin for every RM1 you spend with Shopee Preferred and Shopee Mall sellers, or by participating in promotional events. You can exchange 100 Coins to get RM1 off, up to a maximum of 3,000 Coins or up to 25% off in your next order – that’s equivalent to a 1% cashback.

Payment methods: Credit or debit card, ATM/bank transfer, online banking, ShopeePay, cash payment at 7-Eleven, Maybank/Public Bank credit card instalment.

Good for: Home and lifestyle products, electronics, health and beauty and fashion, food items.

Mudah.my

Launched back in 2007, Mudah.my is a well-known Malaysian online classifieds marketplace. It has since been acquired by Carousell, another online marketplace platform.

Mudah.my’s homepage claims that you can “find almost anything”. It isn’t just a tagline. You’ll find job listings, properties, used items and even live animals (we assumed you’ll have to pick up the animals personally, but we noticed a few sellers offering delivery).

Sellers can be individuals or businesses. When buying from individuals, it can be hard to weed out fraudulent sellers, as there is no buyer protection programme in place. There is no rating system to determine if a seller has had past successful purchases, either. If you’ve made a purchase, your best bet is to opt for cash on delivery, so you can inspect the goods in person before making a payment.

Payment method: Arrange with seller.

Good for: Second-hand items.

Taobao

Taobao has been around since 2003, but it probably hasn’t been on many Malaysians’ radar until a few years ago. This e-commerce mammoth targets mainland Chinese consumers, but is also popular among international users.

The platform has a huge variety of products with attractive prices. Fashion, home and lifestyle and consumer electronics tend to be popular.

There are two types of sellers on Taobao – the regular sellers, which could be individuals or small businesses, or Tmall sellers, who are registered businesses or official brands or manufacturers. Taobao guarantees that goods sold on Tmall are genuine.

The only major downside for international users is that Taobao is entirely in Chinese. If you don’t read the language, making a purchase can be a headache. You could use a Taobao agent like ezbuy to facilitate a purchase, but that would incur extra fees. Don’t worry – we have a handy guide on how to shop on Taobao directly, even if you can’t read Chinese.

Payment methods: Credit or debit card, online banking, Boost, Touch ‘N Go.

Good for: Home and lifestyle products, electronics, health and beauty and fashion.

Carousell

Carousell, which launched in 2012, is a marketplace for new and used items.

Most of the sellers on the platforms are individuals selling used items. There are all sorts of things for sale, including clothing, consumer electronics, sports gear and even cars and properties. Fashion and health and beauty products tend to be popular.

As you’re dealing with used items, it’s good to meet up with the seller in person to verify the authenticity and condition of the items before purchasing them. Look for sellers with high ratings if you’re buying big-ticket items.

There’s also a Carousell Protection feature. This allows you to make a payment through one of the supported payment methods, but your money will be withheld from the seller until you’ve confirmed you’ve received the item as listed. Items that are eligible for this feature are labelled ‘Carousell Protection’.

Payment method: For items without Carousell protection, arrange with the seller. For items with Carousell protection, pay with GrabPay, online banking, credit or debit card.

Good for: Second-hand items.

eBay

Does eBay need any introduction? Founded in 1995, it was one of the world’s first notable e-commerce websites. Its popularity has waned a bit, but it’s still one of the most popular auction sites in the US.

In Malaysia, eBay isn’t as popular, as many sellers are based in the US. If you’re buying from overseas, your shipping fees could amount to hundreds of ringgit. But in recent years, more local and Asian sellers have joined the platform, which means faster and much more affordable shipping.

If you can’t find an item on sites like Lazada or Shopee, chances are, you’ll find it on eBay. It’s a great platform to look for obscure items, antiques or unusual collectibles. And while other e-commerce sites are good for finding what you need quickly, virtual window shoppers will enjoy sifting through the listings to find great deals and hidden gems. However, many items will be on auction, so you’ll have to bid on them rather than buying them outright.

Payment methods: Credit or debit card, gift cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal.

Good for: Second-hand items, antiques, collectibles.

Amazon

The world’s most popular e-commerce platform; the juggernaut that has vaulted founder Jeff Bezos to the top of Forbes’s Richest People in the World list for three years in a row.

Amazon isn’t as popular in Malaysia, as half the sellers on the platform are based in the US. Amazon sellers are individuals, small businesses, major brands, and even Amazon itself. It’s likely that you’ll find whatever you’re looking for on the site, but you may end up paying hefty shipping fees. Some sellers won’t even ship to Malaysia.

Nevertheless, Amazon is still a great place if you’re looking for hard-to-find items in Malaysia, such as a special edition DVD of your favourite cult film or a niche electronic device.

Payment methods: Credit or debit card, gift cards.

Good for: Products that are hard to find in Malaysia.

So, there you have it – seven e-commerce platforms that Malaysians love. Did we miss any sites? Let us know your favourite places to shop online!

Next: Which Online Sales Should You Prepare For?

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