Vietnamese retailers should pay heed to mobile e-commerce to improve product access for consumers and promote market competitiveness, an official of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said on August 14.

Wireless electronic equipment such as tablets and mobile phones are more than just communication and information searching devices, also serving as an interaction channel between retailers and consumers, Director of the ministry’s Vietnam E-commerce and Information Technology Agency (VEITA) Tran Huu Linh said at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City.

The department reported that the online shopping value per capita in Vietnam is about 145 USD per year while the revenue of the e-commerce B2C (business-to-consumer) model reached some 2.97 billion USD, accounting for 2.12 percent of the country’s total retail sales.

Main products shopped for online include technological and electronic devices, clothes, cosmetics and household appliances.

Up to 64 percent of Vietnamese shoppers pay in cash for goods ordered online while 37 percent use e-wallets and 14 percent pay through bank transfers, the department said.

Experts attributed a boom in Vietnam’s online shopping to consumer willingness to try new shopping experiences along with business efforts to make shopping easier such as improving transaction safety or providing free or cheap delivery services.

They said owning a website is not enough to be considered e-commerce, and that each company needs to devise a multi-channel strategy to access shoppers, adding that quality products with attractive designs, reasonable prices and good after-sale services will help e-commerce develop and yield high profits.

The workshop on mobile e-commerce was among key activities in the run up to the online shopping day – Online Friday 2015, held on the first Friday of December by the VEITA and the Vietnam E-Commerce Association.

The first Online Friday took place in 2014 and attracted 1,000 businesses offering 3,226 discounted items. It generated 154 billion VND (7.3 million USD) in revenue, 2.48 times profits during average days, according to VEITA.

The agency expects this year’s event will see sales worth 25 million USD.-VNA