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Trust remains issue for e-commerce

Update: February, 18/2016 - 09:21
With the fastest growth of Internet users in Asia, Viet Nam has up to one-third of its population as potential customers of e-commerce. Therefore, many policies on e-commerce have been revised to be closer to reality.

However, besides true businesses, there are still many unreliable businesses, which cause loss in consumer confidence and hold back the development of e-commerce during the past time.

Vietnam News Agency reporter Tran Trung interviewed Tran Van Trong, deputy chief of the office of the Viet Nam E-commerce Association, regarding this problem.

Tran Van Trong

Last year is considered a booming year in the e-commerce market. What are your comments on the growth of the market last year?

Last year can be considered a booming year of the country's e-commerce market as large domestic corporations began to invest in e-commerce including Adayroi of VinGroup.

Besides, foreign enterprises have shown more interest with the market by investing in domestic reputable companies such as Lazada, Lingo, Bizweb and Haravan.

The e-commerce market has become a playing field not only for large enterprises but also small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individual businesses such as traditional handicrafts.

Consumers and businesses are also interested more in e-commerce, with the number of enterprises taking part in last year's online shopping day, Online Friday, doubled and trading value per day increased by three times compared to the previous year.

It can be said that the domestic e-commerce market has many advantages in telecommunication infrastructure, legal environment and the large Internet community, in which most young people easily participate in online shopping.

Although Vietnamese e-commerce is developing rapidly in both size and sales, many businesses "die young". What do you think are the main reasons for this paradox?

First we need to note that in any business environment, there is competition coming along with success and failure.

Vietnamese e-commerce is still in a booming phase in market size, but the market value remains relatively low compared to other business forms as well as compared to the world.

In addition, consumer confidence in online shopping is still low.

Supporting services for e-commerce such as payments, delivery and post-sale services have not kept up with the pace of development in e-commerce.

The business model of e-commerce also requires businesses to have resources and long-term plans, while creating a new direction to make a difference in this dynamic business environment.

Despite owning advantages over traditional business models, e-commerce in Viet Nam has not yet won the trust of customers. What is the main reason of this problem?

The cause of this problem stems from both sides.

For enterprises, skilled human resources in e-commerce are limited, and most of businesses are applying e-commerce at a basic level.

Typically, according to the 2015 Viet Nam e-Business Index (EBI) report, most businesses use websites to provide information of businesses and products.

Fifty-three per cent of websites have online ordering features, while 17 per cent of websites have online payment features.

Therefore, the majority of products and services have not satisfied customers from information diversity to shopping experience.

As for customers, they are still worried about personal information security when shopping, as well as the quality of goods and services.

The country will need a long time to change the habit of using cash and checking products before payment.

Again, supporting services for e-commerce such as payment and delivery have not kept up with the development pace of e-commerce.

What measures are needed to ensure the interests of consumers and what policies are needed to help enterprises have a level playing field?

So far, the policy and legal environments for e-commerce have been quite complete, guaranteeing the rights and duties for both consumers and businesses.

However, due to the new characteristics of this business model, time is needed for businesses to execute business obligations in accordance with legal regulations in e-commerce.

In addition, strategies to develop a master plan for the 2016 to 2020 period are necessary to have specific orientation for businesses operating in the sector as well as to help companies and organisations have a foundation to promote e-commerce.

The mechanism for dispute settlement in e-commerce, especially online dispute resolution, also needs completing.

State management agencies as well as organisations and associations need to boost communication and skill training for consumers when participating in the online environment.

What do you think about the opinion that no e-commerce businesses can exist alone, but they need to co-operate with other enterprises of various sectors to develop together?

This is absolutely right, and this is also the goal of agencies and organisations including the Viet Nam E-commerce Association in order to promote the development of e-commerce in the country.

Online shopping day is a typical example for this goal.

Besides providing customers with discounted products with good quality, our goal is to raise awareness among customers so that there will be more people shopping online.

The programme is also a bridge connecting sellers and supporting service businesses such as delivery, payment and banking to jointly improve service quality with the lowest cost but bring practical benefits for both businesses and consumers. — VNS

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