Amazon shoppers in Singapore, there’s some good news. Although they won’t make it in time for Christmas this year, Amazon is said to be setting up shop in Singapore in the first quarter of 2017. This is according to a recent TechCrush post, which said Amazon has been covertly acquiring assets and making new hires in Singapore.
In related news, Amazon is said to have signed a lease for nearly 100,000 square feet of space at Mapletree Logistics Hub at Toh Guan. This space is expected to serve as a fulfilment centre for its e-commerce business and other operations.
Amazon already ships some times directly to Singapore, including free shipping under the AmazonGlobal Saver Shipping program. However, this is still buying from the Amazon U.S. store.
The new arrangement means that Amazon will operate out of Singapore with a local Amazon Singapore online store. This is similar to the Amazon U.K. and Amazon India stores. Items will be priced in Singapore dollars, and most likely fulfilled out of Singapore, so shipping will be cheaper, or perhaps more items will have free shipping.
Products vary from store to store, so don’t expect to see all the Amazon U.S. items available in the Amazon Singapore store, or vice versa. It’s likely that the Singapore will have a smaller catalogue, but on the other hand, there may be more localised items, and items that are designed to be used in Singapore. For example, you typically can’t buy light bulbs from the Amazon U.S. store because they are of the E26 variety, while we use E27 types in Singapore.
Amazon’s arrival in Singapore will be a boon for online shoppers. Although other e-commerce marketplaces like Qoo10 and Lazada are quite popular locally, many consumers still turn to overseas online shopping for the greater variety of merchandise, and sometimes lower prices despite shipping costs.
Competition will definitely heat up among the e-commerce sites. I’m hoping Amazon coming here will pull up service standards and improve customer protection in online shopping. Can we get free no-questions-asked returns to work here?