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Ezbuy woes lead to surge in business for its competitors

SINGAPORE – Ezbuy’s competitors have seen a surge in business, with some reporting new customer sign-ups numbering in the thousands since the e-commerce firm’s problems first surfaced in November.

Ezbuy woes lead to surge in business for its competitors

Employees sort boxes and parcels at a logistic centre in in Jinan, Shandong province, China, after the Singles' Day online shopping festival. An estimated 30,000 orders placed with Ezbuy were disrupted due to its ongoing problems with a China e-commerce site. Reuters file photo

SINGAPORE – Ezbuy’s competitors have seen a surge in business, with some reporting new customer sign-ups numbering in the thousands since the e-commerce firm’s problems first surfaced in November.

SGshop, Peeka, and Oops – agents who also purchase from e-marketplace Taobao – are all seeing a huge wave of customers joining them. Taobao agents work as middlemen to communicate with the merchant on behalf of customers, as well as make payment and ship products to the customers.

The firms told TODAY that a majority of these customers are from Ezbuy.

SGshop’s chief operating officer Lai Xin said: “Around half of them (new sign ups), the 9,000 new customers since November, transferred from Ezbuy. The surge in customers is definitely because Ezbuy can’t provide the service now.”

“We also have Ezbuy customers calling us to enquire about our services,” Mr Lai said, adding that the company, which the firm which has been in Singapore for 6 years and has about 200,000 customers here, has not had issues with orders despite a 10-fold surge of orders for Singles’ Day. The orders were placed and paid for within 24-hours, he said.

For Taobao agent Peeka, customers have surged by 1,000 more since November, contributing to their customer base of over 30,000 customers. “Registered customers have doubled or tripled on a daily basis,” said Mr Mark Xu, co-founder of Peeka.

Shipment services company Oops, which also provides concierge services, also reported about 400 new customer sign-ups in recent weeks.

Mr Paul Ham, Oops’ managing director, said: “In the first week after Singles’ Day (on Nov 11), there was a surge in new customers, it was almost off the charts and we did not expect it, so we were wondering why and enquired with some. Then we found out that they are Ezbuy customers.”

He added that the Singles’ Day phenomenon has caught on in recent years, with the Oops site seeing a 100 to 150 per cent increase in orders on a year-on-year basis.

Meanwhile, global competitor Lazada – which is backed by Alibaba who owns the Chinese online marketplace Taobao – also shared that they have seen a two-fold spike in new customer signups compared to other months. However, Mr Alexis Lanternier, CEO of Lazada Singapore, did not attribute the increased contribution to Ezbuy’s service disruption.

Among the thousands of Ezbuy customers who have switched providers is business owner Sebastian Sim.

Mr Sim bought 1,000 aluminum packaging items for his company’s needs from Taobao agent Peeka. Although he noted that Peeka’s shipping costs are about 20 per cent more compared to Ezbuy, he said he gets “better service” through its order status updates.

As of Sunday (Dec 10), a notice on Ezbuy’s website said its Taobao Buy-For-Me service remains down.

Alibaba Group had responded to Ezbuy’s complaints about being frozen out of Taobao’s site saying that the latter’s creation of multiple accounts to buy from the e-marketplace and subsequently reselling them was equivalent to scalping.

In its statement on last Friday, an Alibaba Group spokesman said the company does not tolerate and will penalise such behaviour, adding that “such acts severely damage both consumers’ and sellers’ rights, disrupts normal business transactions”.

Ezbuy has more than 1 million registered users in Singapore. Its problems which started early in November had mushroomed into an estimated delay in 30,000 orders placed. TODAY had reported last week about the onslaught of complaints against Ezbuy from users whose orders are delayed, with many saying that they are unable to resolve their issues with the company through its customer service platforms.

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