【The ultimate comparison of Taiwanese EC sites】 pros and cons in just 5 mins

【The ultimate comparison of Taiwanese EC sites】 pros and cons in just 5 mins

Hello, I’m Leo Sato (@slamdunk772), the CEO of applemint, a digital marketing agency in Taiwan!

Because the number of people infected with COVID-19 has expanded in Taiwan in May 2021, the demand for E-Commerce sites increased more than ever.

In Japan, if you want to start an E-Commerce site, you can either open a store on Amazon or Rakuten, or set up your own shopping website on Base or Shopify. But what about in Taiwan? If you want to open an E-commerce site in Taiwan, there are probably many people who don’t know how to start.

So, in this blog, I will introduce the costs of opening an E-Commerce site in Taiwan, and the advantages and disadvantages of each E-Commerce site!

Other blogs that introduce E-Commerce only provide an overview of the EC site, but this blog writes about each EC site in detail, so it is the best blog for those who are seriously considering an EC site in Taiwan!

Taiwanese EC Site Ranking

First, I’d like to talk about what kind of EC sites exist in Taiwan. Please see below (sorry, written in Chinese).

Source: 生活 Top 10台灣十大網路購物電商平台排名(2020.05最新)

As I will explain later, the EC site with the most traffic in Taiwan is Shopee, followed by PChome and momo. Shopee provides an E-Commerce service who is headquartered in Singapore. Japan’s Rakuten is struggling a bit, ranking 7th in Taiwan.

Now let’s take a look at the cost of opening a store in these E-Commerce websites!

SHOPEE

Shopee originally started out as a CtoC model like Mercari, and has now become an EC site that allows both CtoC and BtoC. The following are the main costs involved in opening a shopee

Name of the PlatformStore feeAnnual membership feeSales commissionOther
蝦皮拍賣2%-3%excluding bank charges, etc.
蝦皮商城3%-6%excluding bank charges, etc.
Source: http://loveprint.com.tw/paper1.php

“蝦皮拍賣” means auction and “蝦皮商城” means shopping mall. Please note that they have slightly different fees. 拍賣 is for individuals, while 商城 is for businesses.

Shopee also has a business account, which is designed for businesses to manage multiple products and multiple people. This account costs 899 NTD (approx. 32.33 USD) for six months. So, if you use it for a year, it will cost you 1,798 NTD (approx. 64.66 USD). It isn’t expensive.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages.

Disadvantages

Customer data is owned by Shopee.
There are many fake products on the market.

It’s a great e-commerce site for individuals to sell something like Mercari. However, I don’t think it’s suitable for businesses, because the customer data belongs to Shopee, and there are a lot of fake products on the site, so opening a store may have a negative impact.

I don’t think this is a good choice, at least not for big companies or brands with recognition…

However, it is less expensive than other services, so if you are just starting out, it might not be a bad idea to start with Shopee.

Shopee Hong Kong has also started a cross-border shipping service to Taiwan!

PChome

Next, I’d like to introduce the main costs of opening a PChome store, which can be called the Taiwanese version of Amazon. The following are the main costs.

Name of the PlatformStore feeAnnual membership feeSales commissionOther
PChome 24h Shopping Centre (入倉)NegotiableNegotiableNegotiableNegotiable
PChome Shopping CentreNegotiableNegotiableNegotiableNegotiable
PChome商店街18,000-25,000NT0% – 3%
source: http://loveprint.com.tw/paper1.php

There are several different types of PChome stores. The first one is “PChome 24h Shopping Center”, where you can store your products in PChome’s warehouse and ask PChome for fulfillment.

PChome Shopping Centre also ships from the PChome’s warehouse. The difference between “PChome Shopping Centre” and “PChome 24h SHopping Center” is whether to add the service of shipping within 24 hours or not. (Need to contact them for details.)

Since the package to ask for fulfillment and store opening fee vary between the product type and the number of product, it needs to be directly asked to PChome. PChome 商店街 ships from its own warehouses.

This is a great advantage for many Taiwanese customers, and some items can be delivered in 24 hours, but there are some disadvantages to opening a store there. As I will explain later, it is difficult to coexist with LPs, so you need to be careful when opening a store.

To be honest, I haven’t talked to many companies that have opened stores at PCHOME so far. Many choose momo.

momo

Next, I’d like to talk about the costs of opening a store on momo, Taiwan’s version of Rakuten.

Name of PlatformStore feeAnnual membership feeSales commissionOther
momo購物網(入倉)Individual ConsultationIndividual ConsultationIndividual Consultation
momo摩天商城20,000NTD20,000NTD2.5%-5%excluding bank charges, etc.
source: http://loveprint.com.tw/paper1.php

In my very personal opinion, I only use momo if PC home doesn’t have the item in stock or if the same item is cheaper on momo than PC home. There is almost no reason why it has to be momo.

The advantages and disadvantages are almost the same as PC home. Taiwanese people do have momo accounts, so if you open a store on either PC home or momo, you can reach out to Taiwanese e-commerce mall users.

There is no need to pay the fees of both malls to open a store in two different malls.

YAHOO Store

Next, let’s talk about opening a store in Yahoo! First, here are the main costs

Name of PlatformStore feeAnnual membership feeSales commissionOther
Yahoo奇摩購物中心15,000NTD12,000NTD3.2%, 5.7%excluding credit card fee, cart fee, convenience store pickup fee, etc.
Yahoo超級商城
15,000 – 16,000NTD12,000 – 39,000NTD3.2%, 5.7%, 8%excluding credit card fee, cart fee, convenience store pickup fee, etc.
Yahoo奇摩拍賣
1.49%with paid advertisement
source:http://loveprint.com.tw/paper1.php

Yahoo奇摩購物中心” is a BtoC site, ”Yahoo超級商城” is a BtoB and BtoC site, and “Yahoo奇摩拍賣” is an auction site.

I’ve never opened a store on Yahoo before, but looking at the fees alone, I don’t feel like opening a store at all lol I think Yahoo’s strength is that it has a news site and stable traffic, but young people these days don’t look at Yahoo very often…

So I personally think that the above fees for opening a store is a bit unfair.

source: http://loveprint.com.tw/paper1.php

PINKOI

Lastly, I’d like to talk about Pinkoi, which is a bit of an exception among e-commerce sites.

Pinkoi is an E-Commerce website that only sells fashionable items. I don’t know what their criteria for “fashionable” is, but I think they probably have an internal manual.

You can’t just open a store right away, you have to go through Pinkoi’s screening process. It seems that this screening process is quite strict, and it is said that less than 10% of applicants pass.

Pinkoi’s fees are as follows

DepositAnnual membership feeSales commissionOther
Pinkoi3,000NTD15%Product images, inventory management, etc. are done by the stall owner.
source:Build Your Online Business with Pinkoi

There is no annual fee and the deposit is cheap, but the commission is quite high. So the disadvantage is the fees. If you are selling expensive products, you need to be especially careful.

If you can open a store on Pinkoi, it means that you are recognized as fashionable by Pinkoi. Also, Pinkoi’s users are young and fashion conscious, so you can reach out to the fashionable youth.

91 APP/CYBERBIZ, etc. (Building your own EC site)

The next thing I would like to talk about is the option of adding a shopping cart function to your website or building your own EC site. In Taiwan, there are 91App, Cyberbiz, Xapp, Shopline, and Meepshop.

91app does not disclose their annual fee, but their sales commission is 5.5%, which is rather high. For what it’s worth, a friend of mine recently switched from 91app to shopee, so 91app’s commission doesn’t seem cheap.

Cyberbiz is comparatively cheaper at 27,000NTD – 64,800NTD and I have seen many companies using Cyberbiz recently.

I’ve seen a lot of Japanese companies using Launchcart for cross-border e-commerce, and Cyberbiz for local shopping carts. However, Shopify is also on the rise these days.

source:http://loveprint.com.tw/paper1.php

SHOPIFY (building your own EC site)

Finally, let’s talk about  Shopify. To tell you the truth, we worked with Shopify two years ago in 2019, and at that time, the challenge was how to increase the number of Shopify leads.

Then the COVID-19 hit the world, and the demand for own e-commerce website skyrocketed, so we didn’t need to worry about lead acquisition at all. I wonder what my worries were back then… hahaha

In Taiwan, a major Japanese cosmetics manufacturer is using Shopify for their EC site, and the fees are not that big at all.

Also, Mr. Tokuda, a representative of Sekai He Bokan, a Japanese company that provides overseas cross-border support, said that Shopify is an excellent service for overseas cross-border EC.

So, if we were to start something, I think Shopify is the way to go.

Is an e-commerce mall better? Or do you want to build your own?

Finally, I’d like to talk about whether you should use an e-commerce mall or build your own. If you want to utilize your own customer data for marketing purposes, I would recommend an in-house e-commerce site.

If you don’t know how to utilize customer data, then an e-commerce site is fine.

The worst thing you can do is to open a store in an e-commerce mall and then build your own e-commerce site and spend money on advertising to drive users to your e-commerce site. Orders will not come to your EC site at all.

Why wouldn’t the orders come in at all? For example, let’s say I’m selling a cosmetic product called “SATO”. I have a store in an e-commerce site, and I also have my own LP. If I spent money on advertising, I would naturally want to direct people to my LP. This is because the sales commission is low and user data can be obtained.

However, users who have seen the ad and come to the LP are wary of SATO, as they have never heard of it. So they search for “SATO” in order to learn more about it. If you have a store in an e-commerce mall, there is a high probability that the e-commerce site will appear on the first page of the search results.

What would happen then? The user will buy SATO cosmetics from the e-commerce sites instead of the LP. The reason for this is that it is more convenient and safer to buy from the e-commerce site.

As a result, the company spends a lot of money on its own LP and a monthly cart system for its e-commerce site, but receives no orders.

As you can see, it is advisable to have a digital marketing expert plan the opening of your e-commerce site and the development of your LP. However, there are some clients who cut back on the cost of this advice and end up losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There are companies that use both E-Commerce website and LPs. There are also companies that are increasing their sales only with LPs. We have given appropriate advice many times in the past.

If you are interested in applemint’s Taiwan EC strategy and web marketing, please contact us here at any time!

That’s all from Taiwan, about Taiwanese EC malls!

Click to contact applemint.

Leo Sato 佐藤峻

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