I am interested to know more about acceptability of e-commerce in Thailand. What do most people think about shopping online, what is the common person's views on this. I am sure geeks would prefer shopping online, but what about the average shopper?

From my observations(limited to very few people), I see most people have never purchased anything online and their common concerns are :-

  • It is not Safe
  • If its cheaper then ill buy online
  • Cant decide what to buy without feeling the product
  • Not sure when it will get delivered
  • For online bookings i need a physical person to talk to me

What do you all think? What can be done to promote e-commerce in Thailand? What are the successful online shops? and do any of them run an affiliate program?

Sajal Kayan

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By: mk
on 5 March 2008 - 21:15 #44942
mk's picture

For me, it's about payment method. It's not easy for teens (who are major users of the internet in Thailand) to have a credit card. While Debit card still hasn't been accepted in online world, we have no other choices.

There are some efforts to create e-wallet alternative. The problem is the implementation. If I remember correctly, PaySbuy requires a lot of payment fee. Then, no one uses it and finally it's gone.

By: sugree
on 7 March 2008 - 09:12 #45103 Reply to:44942

Yes, that's correct. Many teens can't register domain name to professional service because they don't have their own credit card. Bank transfer is the only choice right now. Fortunately, most banks provide online banking for a while. Anyway, bank transfer introduces more waiting time.

By: mrfah on 21 July 2010 - 08:55 #194471 Reply to:44942

Agreed, payment is the heart of online business, in US you can get a credit card at 16... (with parent approval).

By: rulaz07
on 5 March 2008 - 22:55 #44953

Insecure is my opinion. Using credit card on internet is a risk and Paypal or other money online agents are still not popular.

My senior is working for IT specialist at a bank. He told that credit cards can be hacked very easy and many of customers was hacked because buying online. Buying online have to depend on reliability of seller.

Cheaper? It's always cheaper buying online.

I think it's all about reliability of seller.

I have seen a big online shop that run an affiliate program.


By: thedesp
on 6 March 2008 - 00:41 #44971 Reply to:44953
thedesp's picture

These are the reasons why there are technologies like "Verified by VISA" and SSL encryption.

I use 2-3 credit cards for different purposes and always choose the one which the card provider offers "Verified by VISA" to their customers to pay online.

For SSL, always look for the trustworthy certificate authority (CA or signer) or at least the well-known one which you have heard about it. This is only a minor effort compared to going through entire ordering process. I wonder how many people ever click the little "Lock" icon to view these information....

And I agree that the looks and design of the site help motivated buyer to pay or not to pay. I prefer the "professional" looks but ... yes, many scam sites looks so trustworthy and in the other way, the real sites looks unprofessional enough to close the page almost immediately.
That is why we have tech...........you can go up and read the first line.

We, customers, should protect ourselves by technologies provided today instead of asking for the next-generation technology that can protect us better. I believe the best security system would always requires a user involvement because human is "unpredictable".

Just a rant.

By: kong
on 5 March 2008 - 23:38 #44958
kong's picture

I only pay online for things that cannot be paid by other methods e.g. my domain name registration. Otherwise I prefer walking to the shop -_-a

And security is also a very serious issue. A corporate-level site in Thailand doesn't even use https for credit card payment process. Another online service site even forces the user's password to be 4-digit number only!

- - - - -


By: sajalkayan on 5 March 2008 - 23:52 #44960 Reply to:44958

interesting. can I know which site uses unsecure http to process credit card?

By: kong
on 6 March 2008 - 10:00 #45001 Reply to:44960
kong's picture

Hehe I made a mistake :P Good thing that I didn't mention the name earlier.

The site I suspected is dtac's. The online payment page that you'll usually see is like this:
No Description

The protocol is http:// and there is no "lock" icon. That's the reason I never use their online payment service.

But after you asked, I go and read their service agreement, which says

To keep our customers safe from payment on Internet. We, dtac, will not store any information regarding our customer credit card on our system. So, at the time you have to supply your credit card information, these information will be sent directly to KTB's payment gateway. Furthermore, these information will also be encrypted by standard SSL

So I checked out the page source and it turned out that they use a frame to include a secure http page inside normal page >_<"

Sorry for incorrect information, and thank you for making me curious enough to check again.

- - - - -


By: panuta
on 6 March 2008 - 00:31 #44969

I agree with other people here about payment method and how insecure it is. It's a big obstructer for normal e-commerce website to gain customer's confidence. For me, I'm not even trust a big retailer in Thailand if they have e-commerce website. It's not a business that they familiar to. How can I know they're going to handle it properly.

I gotta admit that I have no idea how to promote e-commerce. I thought PaySbuy is the solution for this problem. It looks like it's more complex than I thought. However, I think I can summarize some idea here.

  • Living in bangkok, I can still easily find something I want by went to a mall. I got what I want immediately. No need to buy online.
  • For electronics and big items, people seem to be hesitate because they don't see it.
  • Books, CDs, DVDs and other media, I can easily find from nearby store (if I don't illegally download it, of course)
  • IT parts, this is what I want to buy online. I'm sick and tired to walk for hours in IT mall finding items that I really want. I always end up buying cpu and mainboard from one store and harddisk from another and so on.
  • I think off-line shopping difficulty is one of main advantage for e-commerce.
  • Then rural area will benefit from e-commerce. However, as far as I know, its market size is "still" not big and shipping cost is burden too. And I still didn't talk about internet accessibility problem.

It seems to be a dilemma, which is more than two. I believe one big impact will eliminate all problems. But I don't know what the impact, though.


By: bara.munchies@d... on 6 March 2008 - 02:21 #44981

There would be a payment solution, if there was demand for it.
There would will no demand for it as long as there are no good payment solutions.
Thats the dilemma.

For security concerns: A well respected thai bank could offer a paymant gateway to which the customer whould be redirected same as paypal. There could be different payment solution. all secured by this bank.
After payment, customer gets send back to website for confirmation.

Why people don't like to buy online here? not sure.
but i know one big reason why people like to buy online in europe for example:

-better prices

And in thai market it is hard to beat prices of retailer, just with advantage of online channel, cause wages for salespersons are comparably low and rend for shop as well.

I would not say it is impossible. but i guess thai people love haptic of products before buy, because quality range is very wide.

Another reason: First movers in online retail are often well known brands.
Because they have same quality and people have experience about quality. Thinking about fashion for example. But in Thailand brand have only little bit of market share. And shopping brands is more like a celebration in one of the flashier shopping malls. don't think people would like to miss out this happening i they pay 10 times as much as for non brand stuff.

at the end, i think it's easier to sell stuff to outside thailand, than to domestic market.

just my 0,02$ :)

By: BLeAm on 6 March 2008 - 02:50 #44985

There're too much factors to achieve e-commerce here, look, how many percent of Thai people use internet? How many percent of the first question's answer that have enough income to be qualified to make a credit card? How many percent of the second question's answer decided to make it one(Note, it's not everybody who qualified will decide to take it)? How many percent of the third question's answer trust in payment security? It's never been 100% safe, right? After filter all above factors out, there's very very small percent left, so, no wonder if it would be hard to try to cheer up or encourage this market. Moreover, to say cheaper price, it's not always true. One of the most important culture here, bargaining!

BTW, IMO, e-commerce or selling goods online in other word is just the very first success story in cyberworld, it was looking good at the beginning of period and dissolved after that, who can be successful with it? Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Radioshack, who's next? (If you have any other cases, please remind me.) You may say Ebay is one of the case, but actually Ebay is an open market which rather leads into client to client deal, so, it's supposed to be considered as service than shop or e-commerce that we're talking about.

Summary,I think e-commerce's trend has gone, especially in Thailand(Even though it's never been here before!), IMO, the direction of online business has changed, there are Google/Facebook/Yahoo, there are advertising/service/entertainment. However, all above is just my opinion and I might be wrong.

By: bara.munchies@d... on 6 March 2008 - 10:36 #45003

nice points. actually, to implement an online bargaining thing could be a key to thai ecommerce. social commerce is big thing right now. so why nor bargain online.
i think it's not too late for commerce in thailand. in some aspects i think ebusiness in thailand is at a very early stage.
having a credit card doesn't have to be key to onlineshopping. right now it is, just because lack of other option.

take germany for example. as i said amazon just anounced 1 billion in sales (just one country) at the same time most germany don't have a credit card. how do they pay?

most is done my letting amazon access bankaccount. so you enable them to take money from you account. thats maybe more than 50% of transaction volume. another big part is cash on delivery. so you pay amount to the post guy.

interesting discussion.

By: mk
on 6 March 2008 - 16:57 #45039 Reply to:45003
mk's picture

I think the different is European debit card is online payable while Thai debit card is not.

By: sajalkayan on 6 March 2008 - 17:00 #45041 Reply to:45039

My new BBL be1st debit card has the 3 digit number on the back(signature strip). Maybe it can be used online? Ill post some tests later when i have money in it.

Sajal Kayan

By: toandthen
on 6 March 2008 - 19:09 #45053 Reply to:45041
toandthen's picture

No. The bank may be able to explain to you why.

However, if you really want to use debit card to purchase things like credit card, you can open a new bank account at Kasikorn Bank and use their "Web Card" service. It's pretty cool actually. The web card is a card that acts like a credit card. Even though it is not. You may have credit limits set up and everytime you use it you will be notified through SMS or E-mail (really handy).

I think Kasikorn Online Banking is even better than some of the foreign banks like HSBC in HK or even ANZ. People should give it a try. (And of-course, its secure through https://)

ton.is.my.name | @TonsTweetings

By: audy
on 6 March 2008 - 23:20 #45077 Reply to:45041
audy's picture

My BBL be1st debit card can use online. I use to pay many service from Amazon web service every months.

By: bara.munchies@d... on 7 March 2008 - 18:59 #45151 Reply to:45041

i tried my card and it's not working online. it's debit card issued by krungthai. the visa logo is just marketing :)

By: toandthen
on 8 March 2008 - 05:58 #45184 Reply to:45151
toandthen's picture

Tried calling your bank. They might be able to enable it to you but they will have you sign an agreement that they will not be responsible for scams and identity theft from you bank account.

The reason for disabling it before hand is actually because the debit card is directly connected to your bank account. Therefore the money you use in your online transaction means the real funds from you account.

ton.is.my.name | @TonsTweetings

By: sugree
on 9 March 2008 - 00:57 #45230 Reply to:45151

You may need to activate "verified by visa" at KTB.

By: audy
on 10 March 2008 - 07:47 #45317 Reply to:45151
audy's picture

กรุงไทย เท่าที่ทราบทำไม่ได้นะครับ
ส่วนบัตรของกรุงเทพ ที่ว่าใช้ได้ ต้องเป็นบัตรรุ่นที่มีหมายเลข CVV สามตัวหลังบัตร ซึ่งต้องระบุตอนทำบัตรด้วยว่าต้องการแบบนี้
หลังจากได้บัตรแล้วตองไปทำการ Verified by VISA จากหน้าเวบของธนาคารด้วยครับ จึงจะใช้ได้

By: freeman
AndroidUbuntuWindowsIn Love
on 6 March 2008 - 11:16 #45005
freeman's picture

for me it hard to negotiate the price , most of my purchase via net is booking the airline

Stay Foolish

By: oakyman
on 6 March 2008 - 11:41 #45010

No other opinion yet, but I used to work in tohome.com, which is considerably an established e-commerce site in Thailand (operated since 1999 or 2000).
But how big? I have no idea.


By: panuta
on 6 March 2008 - 12:25 #45019

I found bargaining is an interesting point too. Ebay just implemented their bargaining system. I think that would be a good example if someone want to implement it in thailand.

I think there're a number of quite successful e-commerce in thailand. tohome.com that oakyman pointed out is one of them, also tarad.com, thatsecondhand.com, thanni.com, chulabook.com But it seems no one is really big.

IMO, price is not the main key. People can't compare a price between an online store with a retail store which they still didn't go there! (unless they called if they know phone number). Online store can't cut a big chuck of price either. Like bara.munchies said, wages is not the main cost in thailand. In US, one advantage is also there's no tax for some online store.

I don't know if we can see a successful case from US, UK or German. Environment is a lot different, like city layout, wage cost, people perception, government etc. How about Japan, Indonesia, or Singapore? Is there a successful case in either of these countries?


By: smilelovehappiness on 6 March 2008 - 14:39 #45029

...I have to say that it depends.

If you are in the girls-who-love-makeup group, it's really is another story. Online shopping is widely accepted. Girls love to buy privately imported make up and skincare because it's lots cheaper than getting one from the department store and some of them can't be bought in Thailand. Also, those girls who live outside of Bangkok also have difficulty buying beauty products too. If you check out www.weloveshopping.com (recently bought by True Corp.) you'll see that there're plenty of stores and they sell various kind of products. I think they're the biggest online shopping point in Thailand but I'm not sure though. The payment method that is currently using is money transfer. The money is to be transferred to the bank account of the sellers. After transferring the money, the goods will be send by post.

Yes, there're cases that the sellers cheat and you never gets the stuffs you paid for, unfortunately. So, the reputation really is important in this system. This is more about the words of mouth thing.

You could say that this is a unique shopping habit only happens in a small group of people but it is spreading. (It's not really small because many girls I know have shopped online) The girls who are shopping online are mostly at young ages like university students and office ladies. They are those who use Internet everyday or almost everyday. This habit will make them more familiar with the online shopping and they will no longer afraid of it. I think they will buy more as they grow.

Anyways, I still think that the e-commerce will success if they offer something better than the store such as cheaper price or something u can't get in Thailand or at the store near you.

By: toandthen
on 6 March 2008 - 19:06 #45052
toandthen's picture

I would say for most common Thai people, the problem with buying online is:

  • Trust, people don't really trust one another just yet especially where scams are still on everyday's news
  • Bad Delivery Infrastructure, though it's gotten heaps better now, but some of the people still perceive Thailand Post or any other postal service not so reliable. (Netherlands is another good example of having bad postal services)
  • Not that many people own credit cards, here in Thailand. Though the more common method of transaction is actually direct bank transfer. And direct bank transfer usually involves risk.

ton.is.my.name | @TonsTweetings

By: sapron123 on 22 April 2010 - 16:37 #172512 Reply to:45052


By: pittaya
WriterAndroidUbuntuIn Love
on 6 March 2008 - 21:31 #45073
pittaya's picture

IMHO, most E-commerce sites in Thailand don't offer "long enough" tail. They don't take advantage of being online. Most of stuff they sell are available at nearby shopping mall.

Delivery method is another issue. I have to trust the seller, the postal service, even my apartment's staff. There's a great chance that my item can be lost.



By: loptar on 8 March 2008 - 20:04 #45208 Reply to:45073
loptar's picture

you can look for the same price or cheaper just walk into some shop, why take risk? the e-commerce sites in thailand doesn't have advantage being online.

By: sajalkayan on 8 March 2008 - 21:52 #45218 Reply to:45073

the long tail argument is a nice point. Personally i order physical stuff online(not websites in thailand) because those things are not easily available in Thailand.

I am considering setting up an online shop to sell a very "long tail" series of product focusing at a very very specific niche market in Thailand.

Sajal Kayan

By: fatro
on 8 March 2008 - 20:38 #45211
fatro's picture

Two things:

  1. Payment
  2. Shipment

What they (banks, paypal-like and Post) should do to make this market grow rapidly are to make payment and delivery : easier and faster.

By: rulaz07
on 9 March 2008 - 21:26 #45300


E-banking was hacked. The bank lost more than 10 millions.

By: jo1992 on 3 June 2010 - 16:13 #181278 Reply to:45300

Chip Missing

By: adente
on 21 July 2010 - 11:10 #194518
adente's picture

Old one story...5 Mar 2008
2 years ago,time changed but not thing changed...

By: thedesp
on 24 July 2010 - 21:39 #195720
thedesp's picture

Haha. Time sure flies.
IMO, E-Commerce in Thailand is still a flop.

By: lingjaidee
on 25 July 2010 - 04:46 #195784
lingjaidee's picture

Mpay is Answer?

my blog