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Sell in Vietnam: A detailed guidance for every business

Ngoc Lee
Sell in Vietnam: A detailed guidance for every business
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Are you dreaming of tapping into the thriving Vietnamese market and reaping incredible profits?

You've come to the right page as we will unveil the secrets to sell in Vietnam easily, empowering you to maximize your sales potential and leave your competitors in the dust. This article will be from the potential market overview and then step-by-step guidance on how to effectively sell in Vietnam.

Wait anymore, scroll down to figure out your compass in thriving and making a lasting impact on the lucrative Vietnam market, no matter who you're a seasoned entrepreneur or a budding startup.

E-commerce Vietnamese Market Overview

It is essential for your to grasp the market trends customer behavior and insights to tailor your approaches accordingly before you penetrate and sell in Vietnam.

Vietnamese market trends in 2022 and 2023

According to a recent survey conducted by Statista in the third quarter of 2023, Shopee had the highest penetration rate among all e-commerce platforms in Vietnam, as stated by 81 percent of the respondents. Lazada ranked the second and Facebook is the third.

 

  Adoption rates of prominent e-commerce platforms among Vietnamese consumers during the third quarter of 2023
Adoption rates of prominent e-commerce platforms among Vietnamese consumers during the third quarter of 2023

One of the reports of Shopee Vietnam at the end of 2022 also indicated that there were some best-seller product industries ranked in order: Home & Living, Health & Beauty, Women’s fashion, General Fashion, and Electronics.

total-conversion-from-shopee-vietnam.jpg

In the realm of Home & Living, Shopee witnessed a shopping frenzy with mini cookers, portable kettles, cordless vacuum cleaners, and the ever-essential storage & organizers, not to forget the plush towels, driving the highest sales.

For those indulging in a bit of self-care, the Health & Beauty section saw a surge in purchases for facial masks, captivating fake nail art, eyeliners, rejuvenating face masks, and a dash of supplements.

In fact, Vietnamese consumers are quick to embrace global trends and prefer to purchase foreign-made goods. Especially they show a particular affinity for styles emanating from the US, Japan, and South Korea. This is one of the things making Vietnam one of the most attractive markets in Asia.

The Women's Fashion and General Fashion categories saw a fashion-forward wave with lingerie, cozy socks, and trendy casual outfits, including chic shirts and pants, flying off the virtual shelves for women, men, and even the little fashionistas.

Switching gears to the tech realm, the Electronics category witnessed a tech-tastic show with mechanical keyboards, wireless earphones, and stylish mobile phone cases securing the top spots as the absolute favorites. Dive into the trends and treat yourself to the hottest picks on Shopee!

Vietnamese consumer behavior in 2023

In a captivating snapshot of consumer habits, a survey in Vietnam conducted on January 2023 unveiled a fascinating trend. Over 21 percent of the participants emerged as avid online shoppers, navigating the virtual aisles several times a week.

20.82% of participants said that they just purchased online once a month, while on the flip side, a mere 3.5 percent of respondents disclosed engaging in the digital shopping experience just once every six months.

 Shopping online frequency among Vietnamese consumers as of January 2023 (Source: Statista)
 Shopping online frequency among Vietnamese consumers as of January 2023 (Source: Statista)

Step-by-step to sell in Vietnam easily

Whether you're an experienced seller or just starting out, expanding your business to Vietnam can be a little bit difficult venture. To help you navigate the process smoothly and effectively, we've outlined the essential and detailed steps for selling in Vietnam from initiation to delivering orders to the hands of customers and making customers loyal to your brand. Let's dive in:

Register for a Business License in Vietnam

Before you can sell in Vietnam, it's important to register for a business license. This step might be a trouble for many foreign investors or merchants looking to establish a business in Vietnam.

However, you need to check the list of requirements in order to make sure that your business registration process is convenient prior to opening a business in Vietnam.

  • Business conditions

Vietnam does not provide unrestricted access to foreign investors in its market. Therefore, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the investment and business conditions before launching and operating your business in Vietnam.

Below are examples of business activities that foreign investors can engage in while registering a company with 100% foreign ownership:

  • Trading, which encompasses the import, export, wholesale distribution, and retail distribution of goods
  • Business Consulting
  • IT services (which may be eligible for tax incentives)
  • Manufacturing
     
  • Investment capital

Investment capital refers to the total amount of funds invested in a company. It comprises two components:

  • Contributed capital: This is the capital that must be fully provided within 90 days from the establishment date of the company.
  • Loan capital (optional): This component represents the funds borrowed by the company, which can be used as part of the investment capital.

To put it simply, investment capital includes both the contributed capital and, if applicable, any borrowed funds that are invested in the company.

  • Business Address 

To establish a company and sell in Vietnam, it is mandatory to have a business address within the country. This serves as the registered office and main location for conducting business activities, in accordance with Article 48 of Enterprise Law and Article 38.2 (b) of Vietnam Investment Law).

Typically, it is recommended to select a business address that aligns with the majority of your business operations. It is highly advisable to personally visit the location to ensure that it is suitable and well-suited for your specific business needs. This on-site visit allows you to assess whether the chosen location is the most appropriate fit for your company.

  • Company Structure

There are 3 main kinds of company structures for foreign merchants to choose and start the journey of selling in Vietnam:

company structures for foreign merchants
company structures for foreign merchants
  • Legal Representative

A legal representative is a person who acts on behalf of a company and is responsible for carrying out the rights and responsibilities that arise from the company's transactions.

In Vietnam, a company has the flexibility to appoint multiple legal representatives, who may hold titles such as Director, General Director, President, CEO, and so on.

Both Vietnamese residents and foreign individuals can serve as legal representatives for a Vietnam-based company, as long as at least one representative resides in Vietnam. It is important to note that while it is not mandatory by law to hire a local legal representative, the decision to do so depends on the specific needs and requirements of your business.

  • Required Documents

The foreign sellers must prepare some required documents:

Individual investors/sellersCorporate investors/sellers
Passports of all investors/sellersCompany registration certificate
Bank account balance certificate

Financial statements for the latest 2 years

Bank account balance certificate

Lease contract and its legal documentsLease contract and its legal documents


👉 Learn more: Business Registration Certificate in Vietnam: All Detailed Steps

Export and Import Products into Vietnam

If you intend to obtain products from sources outside of Vietnam to sell in Vietnam, it is important to obtain an import license. 

In this country, you should take note that certain products require registration before they can be legally sold. Examples of such products include:

  • Drugs and food supplements
  • Processed products from vegetables, fruit, and grain
  • Wine and cigarettes
  • Essential oils, perfumes, cosmetics
  • Milk and dairy products, eggs, honey, and other animal-derived products.

Moreover, protecting your intellectual property is crucial if you are selling a product in Vietnam that has been developed by your company. This ensures that only you have the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell it.

In practical terms, companies that wish to import goods into Vietnam without establishing a local legal entity have the option of finding a third party. This approach enables foreign businesses to navigate and optimize the importation process effectively and overcome potential language barriers when facing logistics challenges, and a desire to test the market.

Export and Import Products into Vietnam
Export and Import Products into Vietnam

After importing products into Vietnam to sell in Vietnam, you will continue to conduct customs procedures.

In Vietnam, all imported and exported goods are required to adhere to the country's customs clearance regulations. These standards serve to ensure that the quality, specifications, quantity, and volume of the goods are thoroughly inspected and meet the necessary criteria. Additionally, specific imported goods are subject to further scrutiny through inspection procedures.

For instance, imported pharmaceutical products must undergo rigorous testing and be accompanied by comprehensive documentation detailing essential information such as product usage, dosage, and expiration dates. It is crucial that these details are provided in Vietnamese language and are displayed on or within the product packaging.

To regulate these customs procedures, Vietnam has implemented Law No. 54/2014/QH13, which outlines the current standards that importers and exporters must follow to ensure compliance.

Conduct customs clearance
Conduct customs clearance

Create Online Stores on Online Platforms

If you're considering selling online in Vietnam, it would be a major oversight to neglect the vast potential of e-commerce platforms. A recent study conducted by Statista in 2023 revealed that as of February of that year, a staggering 22.79 million individuals were actively engaged in online shopping through various e-commerce platforms.

This surge in popularity can be attributed to the unparalleled convenience, enticing discount vouchers, and the bonus of free shipping that these platforms offer. In fact, experts estimate that by the year 2028, the number of enthusiastic online shoppers on e-commerce platforms is projected to skyrocket to an impressive 37.17 million.

Number of e-commerce users in Vietnam 2018 - 2028
Number of e-commerce users in Vietnam 2018 - 2028

Currently, there are some leading e-commerce platforms in Vietnam such as Shopee, Lazada, TikTok Shop, and Tiki.

Each platform has its own registration and listing process, so take the time to understand their requirements and optimize your product listings accordingly. Tailor your content and visuals to resonate with the local audience, and consider utilizing translation services to provide accurate product information in Vietnamese.

👉Learn more: Top 16 Vietnam Ecommerce Sites in 2024

Create & implement a Marketing Plan to sell in Vietnam prosperously

A well-executed marketing plan is essential to stand out in the competitive Vietnamese market when you want to sell in Vietnam. Don't forget that your marketing plan must be suitable for Vietnamese customer insights and behaviors.

For example, Vietnamese consumers tend to believe in foreign cosmetics brands instead of local cosmetics brands. Because there are a lot of low-quality skincare products on the markets from local brands, which makes them have troubles with their skin, and due to some other reasons.

EFEX also suggests some steps to make an effective marketing plan so that you always go first than your competitors.

Step 1. Perform market research

Just as you conducted thorough market research before launching your domestic marketing plan, the same level of research is essential before expanding into the Vietnam market.

This entails understanding the target customers in this market and their preferred marketing channels. Are they active on social media? Do they gravitate towards video content? It's crucial to consider cultural differences that influence their media consumption habits.

To answer these questions you can refer to some reliable report websites such as Statista, Decisionlab, DataReportal,...

For instance, according to the Statista, people in Vietnam tend to spend over 2 hours on social media daily in 2022. In that year, Facebook was the leading active social media app in the country. You can see the details in the report below.

Daily time spent using social media in Vietnam from 2nd quarter 2018 to 3rd quarter 2022
Daily time spent using social media in Vietnam from 2nd quarter 2018 to 3rd quarter 2022

So, now you know that you should build branding on social media to increase brand awareness among consumers. In contrast to Generation X and Y, Generation Z exhibited greater utilization of other global platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest.

You can also base on some reports EFEX gathers in the first part of this article to make a suitable Marketing plan.

Furthermore, it is vital to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations of your target country like Vietnam to avoid launching a campaign that inadvertently violates any of them. Therefore, conducting comprehensive market research and understanding the legal framework is imperative before venturing into the Vietnam market.

Step 2: Set goals

When it comes to crafting a marketing plan, setting goals is like putting together a crucial puzzle piece. It not only provides a benchmark for measuring success or failure but also sets the stage for your international expansion. However, it's essential to establish SMART goals that are both reasonable and strategic.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These goals should enable you to not only generate profits when selling in Vietnam but also consistently enhance your presence in the regions you're expanding into.

They act as a guiding light, ensuring that your efforts are focused and aligned with your long-term objectives. So, by setting SMART goals for your international expansion, you're not only aiming for success but also laying the foundation for continuous improvement and growth in new markets.

SMART goal
SMART goal

Step 3: Create a localized strategy

Before expanding your business to another country, it is crucial to assess whether your branding and marketing strategies need to be adapted for the new market. And when you penetrate and sell in Vietnam, you also need to do so.

If your market research indicates the need for a different approach, it is time to develop a localization strategy. Actually, if you are selling in Japan or Korea, there must be some differences, and you need another strategy to meet the demands of Vietnamese customers.

Localization involves tailoring your messaging to align with the cultural and personal preferences of each specific country you are targeting. For example, what may resonate with customers in Japan or Korea may not have the same impact in Vietnam.

To meet the unique needs of your new customers, it is important to shift your branding and messaging accordingly. let's begin by identifying the disparities between your original domestic messaging and the new international content you need to develop.

You can highlight these differences and outline the necessary changes in your tactics for this entirely new market space. By doing so, you can effectively connect with your target audience on a personal and cultural level.

Order Fulfillment

Efficient order fulfillment is crucial for customer satisfaction. Because the thing that makes them come back and be loyal to your brand also depends on this stage. Thus, please make sure that all stages from customer placing orders to receiving orders are smooth and make your customer satisfied.

Below is the detailed process of order fulfillment from storing, and fulfilling to delivering orders to the end customers.

Order Fulfillment process
Order Fulfillment process

However, managing order fulfillment on your own in other foreign countries is quite challenging, especially when you sell in Vietnam. It entails numerous responsibilities that consume your time, preventing you from focusing on product development and marketing activities. These might be:

  • High warehouse rental costs that increase every single day
  • Be incapable of fulfilling bulk orders during peak sales
  • Extremely high shipping cost and low delivery time
  • Poor inventory management, leading to frequent overselling or underselling
  • Poor order processing drives more customers away every day
  • Be overwhelmed when handling multiple tasks (staff and warehouse management).

So, let's evaluate your options for warehousing and fulfillment in Vietnam. You can establish your warehouse or partner with third-party logistics providers that offer fulfillment services. Please ensure that your chosen fulfillment method aligns with your business needs and provides reliable and timely delivery to your customers.

Step 6: Manage After-Sales

To build customer loyalty and maintain a positive reputation, it's important to provide excellent after-sales support. When you sell in Vietnam, please establish clear policies for returns, exchanges, and customer inquiries.

Let's consider setting up a dedicated customer support team or outsourcing customer service to ensure prompt and effective communication with your customers. Responding to customer feedback and addressing their concerns promptly will help build trust and enhance your brand reputation in Vietnam.

Manage after-sales
Manage after-sales

EFEX’s sell in Vietnam solution for every business

Understanding the challenges and barriers that foreign merchants encounter when selling in Vietnam, EFEX was born with the mission of helping businesses penetrate and develop strongly in Vietnam with the highest level of service at the lowest possible cost.

With an extensive network of over 30,000 retailers nationwide, professional in logistics (warehouse & fulfillment) as well as in Marketing, EFEX simplifies sellers' entry into the Vietnamese market like never before. Sellers can now concentrate on product development to sell in Vietnam, leaving the A-to-Z details in EFEX's capable hands.

With over 5 years in the industry and a team of well-trained staff in multiple industries from Legal, Marketing, warehouse operation, import-export, and customer support, what can EFEX support foreign merchants?

  • Register business license: Streamlining the comprehensive business license registration process.
  • Export-Import: Facilitating cross-border shipping for swift imports from countries like Korea, Japan, and the US, etc. to Vietnam.
  • Connect with retailers across the country: Playing as a reliable bridge to facilitate connections with over 30,000 domestic retailers who specialize in distributing Japanese, Korean, American,...products, streamlining for foreign merchants to penetrate conveniently. You will swiftly reach their desired revenue and profit targets in this promising market with EFEX's sell in Vietnam.
  • Open online stores on e-commerce platforms: Crafting eye-catching online stores on top e-commerce platforms (Shopee, Lazada,.., complete with SEO-standard content to boost visibility.
  • Conduct effective Marketing campaigns: Strategizing and executing multi-channel marketing campaigns aligned with Vietnamese customer behavior.
  • Optimize order fulfillment: Enhancing supply chain and logistics with strict 24/7 inventory management and an extensive warehouse network in major cities (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh), ensuring same-day order processing, and bringing 100% customer satisfaction to your end consumers.
EFEX's sell in Vietnam solution
EFEX's sell in Vietnam solution

In conclusion, EFEX takes care of every step along the way, making it easier than ever for foreign merchants to establish a successful presence in the Vietnamese market, as the motto we set: Let focus on scaling, we will handle the rest!

You can find more details about EFEX's solutions for foreign merchants to sell in Vietnam here.

Conclusion

By following these step-by-step guidelines, you'll be well on your way to successfully selling in Vietnam. Remember, each step requires careful planning and execution. Although selling in the Vietnamese market can be challenging, don't forget that EFEX is always by your side to support your business from A to Z.

EFEX commits to making you sell in Vietnam more easily than ever so that you can unlock the immense potential of this vibrant market and make a huge profit. Best of luck on your journey to sell in Vietnam!

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Ngoc LeeNgoc Lee is an Content Creator Manager at EFEX. She wields her long-term expertise in Logistics and Supply Chain, harnessing her top-notch writing and research skills to bring incredibly valuable content. Whether you're a small startup or a well-established enterprise, Ngoc Lee is here to equip you with the essential knowledge of e-commerce, fulfillment, and all things business-related.