Online trade in VN needs daring, smart business people

Online commerce in Vietnam has never seen such a bloom as it is now. Because of the ease and convenience of opening an online shop, thousands of people are rushing to own one in order to trade from very simple practical goods to more luxurious and expensive ones. It seems like a perfect environment; yet the truth is not at all like that.

Online traders have to be independent from social networks. Photo by Thu Huong

Online traders have to be independent from social networks. Photo by Thu Huong

Early ripe, early rotten

In 2010, online trading first appeared in Vietnam with some websites like muachung, nhommua, or hotdeal. Since then, people regardless of age or job have joined this trend to sell various kinds of merchandise, most of whom are the young.


Statistics show that at the moment, around 23 million Vietnamese often purchase goods online, and this figure is expected to rise significantly since more than a half of the Vietnamese are Internet users. On average, each person spends 3 hours per day on the Internet, one – third of whom expend about $160 a year to buy goods there.


The most favorite platforms for online shops are the social networks Facebook and Zalo. Normally, show owners do not need to register for any business permit or be under any censorship. All they have to do is to use their own mobile device to post an attractive status introducing the goods they want to sell, and then wait for an order. It seems the whole virtual trading world is in front of them within a few actions. After a certain chat and agreement between sellers and buyers, the shipper team takes responsibility for the last stage of delivery goods.

In reality, however, online commercial is not that simple.

According to Ms. Nguyen Huu Thuy Anh from District 10 of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), although there are hundreds of new shops opening every day, not all of them can stay healthy for a long time. Online trading, to her, does not just mean posting an eye-catching picture of the current goods along with a few advertising words. Besides having a prestigious source of merchandise with reasonable prices, a true and successful online business depends on smart strategies, a careful study of potential customers, and a lot of time for customer service. Without them, earning profit from an online shop is easier said than done.

Becoming more skillful and knowledgeable

In a Vietnam Shark Tank show on startup projects, businessman Pham Thanh Hung commented that many Vietnamese are owning an online shop, yet they are too dependent on their chosen Internet platforms like Facebook or Google. As a result, they are exposed to grave risk once these social networks no longer wish to operate in the nation. 


Obviously, to stably develop a career as an online trader, people have to carefully consider a more prestigious trading channel rather than putting all their eggs into the basket of social networks, which certainly does not specialize in commercial.


Take Facebook as an example. 24-year-old Duong Minh Tu, located in Binh Thanh District of HCMC, recalled the grave story when his Facebook account was lost. At that time, he was so shocked and worried that he had to ask his friend to help him take back the account. Meanwhile, he tried to create a new page to continue his trading activities. The problem was that a new page meant no more connection with regular customers and followers, let alone some clients doubting whether he was an unreliable seller or not. Learning from that terrible experience, Minh Tu decided to find a partner to open their own trading website while joining other famous digital trading platforms like Tiki, Lazada, and Shopee.


According to a lecturer in the HCMC Industry and Trade College, thanks to understanding the current market, many people have been successful with their online trading activities via Facebook. However, they have never thought about becoming independent from this social network due to their ignorance of its possible hazards or inability to administrate a website on their own.


It is, therefore, advisable that the young should become pioneers in trend research and equip themselves with more knowledge instead of following the current lucrative yet dangerous tendency.

By HAI THU – Translated by Thanh Tam

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