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Supermarkets promote web-based sales   2010-10-05 - Nguoi lao dong

Supermarkets and retailers are now trying to sell products online in an effort to diversify sale channels and attract more customers. Yet Vietnamese habits shape these efforts as customers who place online orders still prefer paying cash and examining the products in person.


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Vietnamese people have become accustomed to online shopping with websites that let them place online orders, such as,,, or A lot of home appliance centres, mobile phone supermarkets and big producers recently have also begun selling their products online.


Saigon Nguyen Kim (a home appliance retailer), The gioi di dong (a mobile phone supplier), FPT (the computer and mobile phone distributor), PNJ (the jewelry maker) and, in Hanoi, MediaMart and Fivimart, are receiving orders online. Though online sales have just been launched recently and the number of customers remains limited, retailers are launching promotions to lure more visitors.


The website is now running a program called “Big sale – applied for online customers only”, offering attractive discounts for many kinds of products, from mobile phones, cameras and mp3 players. Meanwhile, has “Place online orders to get cheaper prices” program, and is running “Your lucky days” program which will last until October 20, offering the 5-10 percent price discounts for some products.


According to Hoang Long, a website administrator and online goods hunter, the biggest advantage of websites is that these are well known enterprises, so customers can feel secure placing online orders.


Online retailers all agree that Internet sales remains an unfamiliar mode of exchange, so online revenue remains modest. Distributors are still trying to develop web sales to diversify distribution modes and popularize their brands. That explains why many other home appliance centres, mobile phone companies and general supermarkets are also hurrying to open their websites.


According to IDC Vietnam, a market survey firm, customers like to buy goods at stores after they see them with their own eyes, plus they have a habit of paying in cash. IDC says these are the biggest challenges to online sales success.


A representative from The gioi di dong remarked that, though customers make online transactions, their clients still prefer paying cash to online payment.


Sometimes, even when placing orders online, customers go to stores to see the goods. In general, after placing orders via Internet or phone, customers will go directly to stores and pay, or the stores’ staff will bring the ordered goods to the homes of customers for payment in cash. Of course, all websites allow payment online, but this method has not really caught on with buyers.


In some cases, when customers want to buy products with high value, sellers require them to pay in advance using a money transfer, and they will only send the goods when they receive the money. Surveys show that Vietnamese people do not like this transaction method.


Purchasing goods via phone proves to be more favoured by customers, especially busy housewives and office workers to purchase the goods they want.


Representatives from Co-op Mart and Big C said they have been accepting orders via phone for the last several years. Two hours after orders are placed, the supermarkets’ staff make deliveries to customers.


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