I was recently in Taiwan for my very first trip to the country. Staying at the grand hyatt taipei meant I got to see the taipei 101 all the time. Boy is it tall, and boy was it amazing to see the building that displaced the Kuala Lumpur Twin Towers for being the tallest building in the world.
I had the pleasure of hanging out with a chap from Zalora Taiwan, who told me how e-commerce works there and how 7-Eleven stores help push e-commerce forward. The wikipedia entry tells all (I highlight the e-commerce relevant): Takkyubin, direct marketing shopping service, pre-ordered purchases. 80% of urban household shoppers visit a 7-Eleven each week.
It seems that in Taiwan, you can make your purchase orders and have them sent to the nearest 7-Eleven that is convenient for you. This is a boon for Zalora and all forms of e-commerce. All this thanks to the magic of Takkyubin. You can also handle “cash on delivery” operations at the 7-Eleven (so, you make a payment in the morning before leaving to work, when the Takkyubin delivery comes, the local 7-Eleven gives them money, and when you come back from work, you collect your item at the 7-Eleven store – isn’t this genius?).
The amount of 7-Eleven stores and the convenience of receiving or paying for your product within a 24-hour timeframe is awesome. You don’t even need a credit card.
Contrast this to Malaysia: cash-on-delivery is almost unheard of when it comes to “true e-commerce”, you need to have a credit card or process a bank transfer, you must be home from 9am-6pm, i.e. when the delivery company sends you items. If you live alone, e-commerce is tough if you have a job — unless you ship stuff to your office.
I see that in Malaysia, there exists TA-Q-BIN. Zalora Malaysia ships with GDEX (much like Pos Malaysia in terms of operation hours), but also with TA-Q-BIN. The rates aren’t friendly to e-commerce, but they do have the cash-on-delivery option, something that has been sorely lacking in the Malaysian market. However no 24-hour pickup schedule, because they lack much physical presence.
Imagine a partnership here between Berjaya (owners of 7-Eleven) with Pos Malaysia (saner rates)? This alone could boost e-commerce in the country, especially if Pos Malaysia’s Poslaju folk start taking cash (yes, I know, its trusting the postman to carry money… have a little faith will ya?).