In my previous seminars, I’ve always asked my participants a few questions to get them to realize the truth about their chances of making money online.
I ask them “Do you want to learn how to sell online?”
Of course, their answer is YES.
Then I ask them, “Do you want to learn how to build a successful Internet business?”
Of course, your answer is an astounding YES.
Finally I ask them, “Have you ever bought anything online?”
Suddenly, an awkward silence fills the room. People start looking around at each other, murmuring something just outside my hearing range.
“Is it safe?”, one participant asks. “Where do I buy online?”, asks another.
After some serious thought, one guy at the back puts up his hand to tell me that he has bought stuff online before. So I turn my attention to him, and ask him “What have you bought online?”
He replies, “Your seminar ticket..”
Funny right? But the truth is, I’ve heard the same thing in all my events. People want to make money online, but are too afraid to buy anything online themselves. It’s a paradox.
How can you truly understand the intricacies of e-commerce, if you’re not ready to put in your credit card information and click “Buy Now”. How will you understand the process that takes place once you’ve placed your order, if you’ve never made the order?
I can tell you for a fact that unless you are ready to actively buy stuff online, you will never succeed in Internet marketing.
Is it Really Safe to Buy Online?
I get asked that question all the time. It seems that for whatever reason, most Malaysians are afraid to put in their credit card information and buy anything online. It’s like they have a few million dollars in their bank account and are afraid that they will lose it overnight.
How much safer is it to give your credit card to a waiter, or to use it at your favorite pub?
I’ve been buying online since 2003, and I’ve never had a fraudulent charge on my credit card. Of course, there are a few things you need to look out for to make sure that your credit card transaction is secure. However, the chances of your credit card information being sniffed and charges make fraudulently to your account are slim to none.
Even The Malaysian Gurus Don’t Buy Online
The most surprising thing is that even the local gurus who are teaching people how to make money online, don’t buy anything online other than the web hosting or advertising charges for their business. I wonder then what are they really teaching?
Recently, one of the local experts asked me if Amazon ships to Malaysia.
I was shocked. As an Internet entrepreneur teaching others how to make money online, I would expect that you would have at least bought something from the largest e-commerce site in the world.
In fact, most of them don’t even have an online payment method in their websites. Not even PayPal, which by now is fully accessible to Malaysians. They just give out their bank information and ask people to bank in money to their account.
To make it worse, you don’t even need to fax / scan proof of your deposit and send it to them. All you need to do is fill up a form and tell them at exactly what time and date you made the payment. I know for a fact that most of them can’t even track payments like these, so they just approve your orders based on blind faith.
The problem with ATM deposits is that it is not a scalable or organized payment solution. But most Malaysian marketers stick with it because
- they don’t make much sales anyway or
- they don’t have a PayPal / 2CheckOut account themselves or
- they are too lazy to educate their buyers
We Need Buyer Education, Not Seller Education
When I asked a few of them why they don’t accept credit cards on their website, they told me that their target buyers have no credit card. Mostly I think this is bullshit.
Their target buyers do have credit cards or debit cards, and they use it to pay for petrol, to buy groceries from Giant, and even to pay their Astro bills. They are just not using it to buy real products online.
Recently, there has been talks about how the government is going to step in to take Malaysian e-commerce to the next level by providing all kinds of help to aspiring Internet entrepreneurs.
I support this move, but at the same time I think it’s a waste of time.
What the government should be doing is creating public awareness that buying online is safe and efficient. Something of this scale cannot be undertaken by individual Internet entrepreneurs. They can do their small part, but not much more.
After all, why develop more Internet entrepreneurs when there is no one willing to buy online from them?
I believe that if the government can turn more skeptical people to regular online buyers, the rest will take care of itself.