Set Up a Website for Online Sales – What a Seller Needs to Know?September 21, 2021
According to a report by Vietnam e-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency (governed by Ministry of Industry and Trade), with 53% of the population shopping online, the e-commerce market in Vietnam grew by 18% in 2020, reaching 11.8 billion USD, which accounted for 5.5% of total retail sales of consumer goods and services.
According to the National E-Commerce Development Master Plan for the period 2021 – 2025, 55% of the population will participate in online shopping by 2025 with the average value of online purchases of goods and services reaching 600 USD / person / year. Revenue of B2C e-commerce model is forecasted to increase by 25% / year, reaching 35 billion USD, accounting for 10% of total retail sales of goods and services.
E-commerce will surely be an important and one of key factor of economic development nowadays. In a time with the affect from the pandemic of Covid-19, e-commerce activities are increasing day by day in both transactions volume and value. A trader or a seller should be aware of legal requirements on upon setting up a website for sales.
Under the Government regulations, apart from the e-commerce platform operator, any traders, organizations, individuals that operate their own websites to sell goods online (“online sellers”) are still subject to notification and registration procedure requirement with the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The notifications of online sales websites shall be received and processed online by the Ministry of Industry and Trade on the e-commerce management portal at www.online.gov.vn.
It is noted the procedure does not apply to websites in finance, banking, credit, insurance; websites in purchase and exchange of money, gold, foreign exchange and other payment means; websites providing online games, betting or games of chance. Such websites are subject to jurisdiction of corresponding sector management.
The online sellers shall access to the e-commerce management portal and execute the following steps:
Step 1: register for access to the system by providing following information:
- The name of the online seller;
- Business registration number;
- Lines of business;
- Address of head offices;
- Contact information.
Step 2: processing
Within three working days, the online sellers shall receive results from the Ministry of Industry and Trade via registered emails and if the registration information for an account is adequate, the online sellers shall be granted an account and proceed with Step 3.
Step 3: After being granted an account for access to the system, the online sellers shall carry out logging on, select online sales website registration and fill in the forms as instructed.
Step 4: Within a period of three working days, the online sellers shall receive responses from the Ministry of Industry and Trade via registered emails regarding confirmations that the declared information is adequate and eligible;
Upon confirmation of notification, the Ministry of Industry and Trade shall send a code segment to the online seller via a registered email for insertion into the online sales website and displayed onscreen as a “registered/notified” sign. Upon choosing this sign, users shall be led to respective notification information about the online seller on e-commerce management portal.
Goods and products are subject to restrictions on e-commerce websites;
Under the rules, below goods and products are not allowed to sell on e-commerce websites:
- Shotguns and bullets, sporting weapons, combat gear;
- Cigarettes, cigars and other finished products of tobacco.
- Alcoholic drinks;
- Precious and rare wildlife and plants including live species and their processed parts;
Breaching the above rules, the online sellers can be subject to penalty from 5,000,000 to 10,000,000 upon discovered by the local authorities.
In terms of tobacco or alcoholic drinks, despite of the above restrictions, it is found those are still sold on e-commerce platforms or websites with an access for users who are not less than 18 years old only.
This is arguable since according to the Law on Prevention and Control of Harmful Effects of Alcoholic Beverages dated June 14, 2019, the rules have set out certain measures to prevent minors from accessing and searching information and purchasing alcoholic beverages through the e-commerce system. Specifically, the rules require sellers that
“sell alcoholic beverages through the e-commerce system; providers of e-commerce services to other alcoholic beverage traders and sellers shall take measures to prevent minors from accessing and searching information and purchasing alcoholic beverages in accordance with the following requirements:
1. It is required to have applications intended for declaring names and age of users before they access and search information; information about purchasers’ names and addresses, payment with bank account or other non-cash payment methods upon their purchase of alcoholic beverages.
2. Information about alcoholic beverage products on e-commerce websites of alcoholic beverage sellers should not be linked or introduced to accounts of minors; online pages and channels and other means exclusively intended for minors or accessed by a majority of minors.
3. Alcoholic beverage sellers shall check the recipient’s age if his/her age is uncertain and ensure that the recipient is aged 18 or older.”
Annual report post registration
Once a year since the receipt of confirmation of notification, the online sellers are responsible for updating notification by accessing the e-commerce management portal and filling in the forms as instructed. Failure to do this may lead to a postpone of the notification information on the e-commerce management portal by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.