Technological advancement and digital disruption have affected virtually all aspects of life. One sphere that has been affected profoundly is the retail business. Globally, many companies have adopted the online retailing model (Ahmad, 2018; Grewal, Noble, Roggeveen, and Nordfalt, 2020). Whereas some businesses have opted to balance the model with the traditional brick and mortals, others have gone entirely digital. The efficacy of online retailing is an issue that has attracted immense attention from scholars and business experts (Ali et al., 2016). In other words, as businesses adopt online retailing strategies, it is vital to determine the factors that enhance robust growth and development.
Malaysia is one of the developing economies that has attracted many businesses. Due to favorable political, economic, and social environment, companies that adopt the right strategies are poised to record the highest success rate. On the other hand, the competition within the online retailing industry has intensified (Ariffin, Mohan, and Goh, 2018). Such implies that only businesses with unparalleled strategies will remain viable, sustainable, and profitable in the market. The number of online retailers has grown exponentially. The growth is attributed to a wide array of factors, including the availability of technological infrastructure and changing consumer behavior. In essence, the number of consumers who are purchasing commodities continues to increase. First, it has been established that the majority of the millennials prefer doing shopping online as it is convenient (Chin and Goh, 2017). On the same note, the older generation who are not techno-savvy is gradually bending to the unavoidable technological forces of change.
As much as online retail businesses continue to dominate the Malaysian market, it vital to recognize the wide disparity. Simply put, the sale effectiveness of online retailers are different. While one organization can boast of having high sales effectiveness, another one may be having a different story. Therefore, this study intends to investigate sales effectiveness among online retailers in Malaysia.
Background of Research
Online retailing involves the sales of goods and services to customers by using the internet. In the retail industry, two main models that are normally used in the business activity are; business –to- consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B). In Malaysia, online retailers are using either one or both of the models. However, stakeholders in the industry are becoming increasingly concerned with the effectiveness of the strategies that are adopted by various businesses to promote their sales activities. As mentioned earlier, the effectiveness of sales is premised on multiple parameters including the elements of internal and external environment such as resources, marketing strategies, organizational culture, and the level of competition (Ariffin, Mohan, and Goh, 2018). It means that when one organization becomes successful in the industry while its competitor fails to make an impact, then there must be underlying factors that are contributing to this outcome (Chong, 2019). As such, it is an issue of pertinent concern to ensure that the factors that affect sale effectiveness are known. Again, without generalization, these factors must fit within the Malaysian market context. This assertion is premised on the fact that factors affecting sales effectiveness in Malaysia can be different from those in other countries especially during the Covid-19 pandemic that affects all types of business in the market.
The Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly affected the world’s economy including Malaysia. Since it is a highly contagious disease that has killed many people globally, the government has enacted stringent measures to curb its spread (VOA News, 2020). In a way, the “working from policies” that has been espoused is affecting the online retail market in Malaysia. Many people who would normally visit local stores to make purchases have been obliged to use the online market platforms. In other words, it seems that the Covid-19 pandemic has facilitated a boom and vibrancy in the online retailing industry in Malaysia (Birruntha & Nathan, 2020). As such, it is evident that demand for products that are sold online is attributed to the current events.