Living in Phnom Penh, company worker Chhay Visna wanted to sell his iPhone at a higher price than that in the phone shops, so he decided to post his product on internet websites, selling it at a price recommended by one of his friends.
“This is my first time to sell products online. I hope to get a higher price because I can sell it to the buyers directly,” he said. He added that he had several people call to negotiate the price within a few hours of his post going online.
“I waited to get the highest price from the other users on the website,” he said.
Visna is not the only person to post and sells products over the internet. There are many people doing the same type of selling in this internet-age. Nowadays selling and buying stuff online has become much more convenient.
Once put on the internet, the product reaches thousands of people looking to satisfy their demands. Therefore, users just wait to receive phone calls from customers who are interested in their goods. There is no point in spending hours or even days, like in the past, walking in every shop to bargain for the most satisfactory price possible. The internet, once used as an information gathering and sharing tool, is now also used for business, advertising and commerce.
More and more websites have been created as forums for users to sell and buy things on the World Wide Web. Unlike many other commercial websites in other countries which require customers to have a credit card to shop online, most Cambodian websites serve more as interactive forums for users to meet and share what they need.
Khmer24.com, established in 2008, is one of the leading E-commerce websites in Cambodia. Similar to other classified websites, it allows users to register and login to post what they like. Py Rady, the founder of khmer24, said there were about 6,000 commercial postings on his website now which are grouped in different categories.
“Approximately 1,000 people log into my website per day. People of all age groups, from students to professionals, use it to post their products,” said Py Rady.
Gaining more support and popularity from internet users, especially young people, classified and commercial websites are growing rapidly in Cambodia as new businesses also think of creating websites for their sales and advertising campaigns.
Realising the potential of online business, a new computer shop called GoldOne Computer has its own website one year after opening. Chor Vanna, the shop owner, explained why he has a website.
“A website provides customers with ease when they are looking for computers. They do not have to go through every shop to compare the price. Just click on the internet; they get all what they want,” he said, adding that there was a moderate rise in sales after the website opened.
“It is important to frequently update the website. I often update mine once a week so that people can get the most updated information regarding computers,” he said.
Though credit cards are not required to trade online in those Khmer business websites, there still is a chance that users could get cheated online. Kang Kea Yi, a student at the National University of Management, described being deceived when trying to buy a phone online.
“I saw someone’s post that he had a phone to sell at rather a cheap price, so I contacted him,” he said, adding that the seller was from the United Kingdom.
Kang Kea Yi added that after he paid 50 percent of the phone’s price through Western Union, he waited – and got nothing.
“I know that there is a chance of getting cheated, but I wanted to try because the seller seemed so trustful,” he said.
Although there are many untrustworthy websites, many have now maintained higher levels of security to guard from the hackers.
Being aware of the potential for being cheated, Py Rady said he had his IT team worked to kick out the hackers and decrease the risk to the users as much as possible.
“I do not allow people from outside Cambodia to register or even view my website,” said Py Rady, explaining that most hackers were foreigners who live abroad.
“The website is for Cambodian users only so that they can meet face to face to avoid fraud during the transaction.”
Despite the growing number of Cambodian websites which enable internet users to browse through prices and make business, there is a lack of book websites.
Chan Kimpay, an administrative officer who declined to name her company, said it was hard to find websites that sell books or show the prices of new books in Cambodia.
“Sometimes I want to search for new books or the price of books on the internet because I do not have much free time to go to book shops,” she said.
She said she hoped that in the future Cambodia would have online book shops like other countries which allow book lovers to spend less time searching for what they like.
Given the fact that the website Monument Books, which is under maintenance right now, is one of the available websites for internet users to search for books – book websites seem to be growing slowly and less detailed in comparison with other business websites such as phone shops and computer shops.