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If you’re planning an online purchase you’ll probably be wondering which is best - Lazada or Shopee. As two of the biggest ecommerce sites operating in Malaysia today, they’re great places to start when you’re looking for a great deal. But which is best? Get all you need to know in this review.¹ ²
It’s worth noting that while both Shopee and Lazada operate internationally, we’ll be focusing on the Malaysian sites as a reference point here. We’ll also touch on how you can cut the costs of buying online from overseas retailers, with the Wise multi-currency account. All that and more coming right up.
|Table of contents
Before we get started, a little sneak preview into how we’ll measure these two giants of ecommerce against each other.
Shopee is the most popular ecommerce site in Malaysia³ - and in fact in the whole Southeast Asia region, with Lazada coming in second based on traffic volumes. They're both great sites, with a crazy customer choice and pretty easy user experience. So how will we pick them apart?
Here’s a quick overview of the factors we considered and which came out on top between the two stores:
|Ease of use
|Both have great 4.7 out of 5 ratings for their Apple apps - but Lazada wins on Android ratings
|Price vs quality
|With such as huge product range it’s hard to generalise - check out the selection and prices of the item you want to buy with both platforms to get a sense of which wins for you
|Ways to pay
|Lazada has Touch ‘n Go, but Shopee has more options overall including easier ways to pay in cash and more instalment plans
|Costs vary based on what you’re buying, but Lazada’s seller discounts for high value purchases might be what tips the balance in their favour for you
|Refunds and buyer protection
|Lazada returns policies are clear with a 7, 14 or 5 day window depending on the seller. Shopee offers resolution support, but you’ll need to keep an eye on the app to make sure you don’t miss the option to negotiate or agree to a resolution which works for you.
Let’s dive right into how easy it is to use Lazada and Shopee Malaysia. Exactly the experience you get will depend on whether you choose to use their desktop sites or apps - both providers have apps available for Apple and Android phones so shopping on the go is a piece of cake.
The desktop sites for both platforms are pretty easy to navigate with lots of search options to find what you need. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but by using search tools and filters it’s easy enough to narrow down your choices. It’s also good to know that Lazada gives an option of languages including English or Bahasa Melayu, while Shopee has these plus Chinese.
If you’d rather use the Lazada app or the Shopee app, both come very highly rated for Apple phones, while Shopee falls a little short on Android. Which is best for you might simply come down to the phone type you prefer to use.
|4.7 out of 5
|4.7 out of 5
|4.7 out of 5
|4.2 out of 5
Ecommerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee are absolute goldmines if you’re hunting for a bargain. But what about when a product isn’t what it seems? Sadly, unethical or poor quality sellers could appear on either platform, offering goods which are overpriced, poor quality, or simply just an out and out scam. In most cases you’ll need to take a few common sense steps to make sure you’re not a victim - like:
- Look for seller reviews to see if they’re an established store
- Never agree to pay outside the app or platform site - this is a known scam
- Read the description carefully and note the refund policy in case something goes wrong
- If something looks too good to be true it’s probably not genuine
Both Lazada and Shopee have buyer protection policies in place, which we’ll cover in a bit more detail later. This should mean that if you order an item in good faith and the quality isn’t what you’d expected, or it’s broken or doesn’t work as intended, you can return it within a fixed timeframe to get your money back.
Both Shopee and Lazada have plenty of different ways to pay on offer - in most cases you’ll be able to choose either without worrying. However, Lazada offers Touch ‘n Go payments, which Shopee doesn’t - while Shopee has more options for cash payments and instalment plans.
One important point here is that while all prices are marked up in ringgit, it’s common for platforms to cross list products between countries, which means you might actually be buying from sellers based overseas.¹⁰ In this case, the seller marks their item price in their own home currency - let’s say CNY if the seller is based in China - and the provider will convert this from the seller’s home currency into MYR.
The seller doesn’t actually determine the exchange rate being used for this currency conversion - that’s up to the platform to decide. That means that when you pay in ringgit from a seller overseas you may actually be paying a currency conversion fee to the platform without even realising it. More on currency conversion costs and how to beat them coming up in just a moment.
Here’s a roundup:
|Lazada Wallet can be used for all purchases
|Shopee Pay can be used for all purchases
|Credit or debit card
|Visa, Mastercard and Amex accepted
|Locally issued Visa and Mastercard only
|Available for major Malaysian banks
|Available for major Malaysian banks
|Maybank credit card users can pay by instalment on selected items
SPay Later - Shopee’s instalment plan - available on some purchases
Maybank and Public Bank credit card users can pay by instalment on selected items
7-Eleven cash payments available on selected items
Cash on delivery option for some low value purchases
7-Eleven and KK Mart cash payments available on selected items
Cash on delivery option for some purchases
|Touch ‘n Go
|Can be used for all purchases
If you’re buying from an overseas seller you could save money by using the Wise multi-currency account and card. Open your account online and for free, top up in ringgit - or any other of the 50+ supported currencies - and whenever you spend in a foreign currency, the card will auto convert your MYR to the currency you need using the real exchange rate. That means there are no foreign transaction fees and no dodgy currency exchange rates to worry about - just low, transparent fees for the services you use.
Here’s how to pay with the Wise card:
- Order your Wise card online
- Add money to your Wise account in MYR
- Fill your basket - and opt to pay in the sellers preferred currency
- Wise automatically converts your funds to the preferred target currency
- Complete your order with low, transparent conversion fees and save money
Use your Wise account anywhere that accepts card payments - online, in person and when making cash withdrawals.
Shopee’s shipping and delivery costs⁶ are based on the parcel size and weight, as well as the costs of their different delivery partners. You’ll see a quote when you head to the checkout, and you’ll be able to track your order with Shopee tracking tools in real time once it’s on the move.
Lazada also offers great in app tracking options, with costs calculated based on size, weight and delivery location⁷. It’s worth knowing that some Lazada sellers offer shipping discounts if you spend above a fixed amount - that may mean that for high price purchases you get free delivery.
Hopefully nothing will go wrong with your online order - but it’s good to know the options if it does.
Exactly what you can do will depend on the specific item you’ve bought, and the seller’s own return policy. For example, for Lazada⁸:
- LazMall items have a 15 day return option
- Non-LazMall items have either a 7 day or 14 day return window
- Some items - like perishable goods - can not be returned
If your item is eligible for return you’ll usually have to either physically return it to the seller or have them collect it by courier. Full instructions will be provided when you raise the return request.
With Shopee, you’ll be able to request a return or refund if your item doesn’t show up, is incurred, faulty or incomplete⁹. In this case you’ll raise a query online and the seller will have 3 days to propose a resolution - for example, sending a new item or giving you your money back. Shopee can step in to help negotiate if you’re unable to resolve the issue yourself - but reports and reviews publicly available online do suggest you’ll need to do a lot of the running yourself if you want to see your money again.
Which wins for you on the Lazada vs Shopee debate might be decided by the specifics of what you’re buying, and how you want to pay.
Both platforms have vast numbers of products for sale - but if there’s a Shopee promotion or a Lazada promotion on the thing you need, that might tip the balance for you. Similarly, if you’re looking for a high price item, or buying a lot from a single seller, you might find that Lazada wins because of their free shipping options with selected sellers. It’s also good to know that whichever you choose, you’ll be able to use Shopee tracking, or the Lazada track order tool to check up on progress as your goods make their way to you.
Take a bit of time to compare your product options on both Shopee and Lazada, and remember to make a few common sense checks to avoid scams. That should keep you in the clear, so you can spend safely knowing you’re getting the best possible deal. And don’t forget if you’re paying in a foreign currency, you could save even more with the Wise multi-currency account and card, for low cost currency conversion which uses the real mid-market exchange rate every time.
- Lazada Malaysia
- Shopee Malaysia
- eCommerce sites Malaysia - ranking by traffic
- Lazada - payment methods
- Shopee - payment methods
- Shopee shipping and delivery
- Lazada shipping and delivery
- Lazada refund types
- Shopee refund types
- Shopee seller international terms of service
Sources checked on 25.05.2022
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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