Singapore, 13 March 2000 - CaseTrust, a joint effort project by CommerceNet Singapore, Retail Promotion Centre and the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), will be joining forces with local Internet solutions and services provider Cybersource. Cybersource Pte Ltd., one of the largest Internet companies in Asia, will be linking up to provide CaseTrust with the opportunity to go global.
The signing of a memorandum of understanding today between Cybersource and CaseTrust marks CaseTrust's first foray into the international e-commerce arena.
"CaseTrust takes on new challenges as it goes global. For a website trustmark to be fully useful in the borderless world of e-commerce, there is no other alternative to globalising," said Associate Professor Toh See Kiat, Chairman of CommerceNet Singapore. "International recognition, however, is not easy to achieve. Most traditional global brands took decades to be established. CaseTrust must do it at Internet speed. Therein lies the beginning of a long list of challenges."
Sign of Trust
Launched earlier this year, the CaseTrust scheme accredits retailers with good business practises. Good retailers are regularly audited to ensure that business standards of the scheme's participants comply with the relevant code of practise. Retailers who qualify for the scheme can display the CaseTrust logo on either their web page or storefront.
Unaccredited retailers will run into problems should they try to download and use the logo without CaseTrust's authorization.
To download the image from the site would result in a 'scrambled' image, said Prof. Toh. There is also a built-in tracking system to trace the would-be downloader, he added.
"The basics of business are still applicable; amidst the excitement of getting online, merchants must be able to assure customers of reliability and the ability to fulfill promises," said Mr Loh Kok Choy, general manager of the Retail Promotion Centre (RPC). "All online businesses are born global. So it becomes all the more important, but challenging, to communicate that reassurance. CaseTrust is designed to address such needs - it provides consumers the assurance that merchants carrying the mark have been audited and found to abide by good ethical business practises and have the wherewithal to fulfill orders."
Calling all vendors...
Last year, CaseTrust also signed an MOU with Singapore ISP Pacific Internet, who encouraged all 38 merchants of their virtual mall to apply for CaseTrust accreditation.
To date, a total of 480 retail outlets and 35 websties have received their CaseTrust logos. The signing the MOU with Cybersource invites another 50 vendors who can apply for the CaseTrust scheme.
"We see the partnership with CaseTrust as an ideal alliance to create a condusive environment for the promotion of e-commerce in Singapore and Asia," said Mr Wong Jeat Shyan, director of marketing and business development at Cybersource. "The CaseTrust seal will also help instill confidence and assurance among customers who shop at our merchants' sites."
Mr Wong added that CaseTrust would help to remove the obstacle of non-confidence that the potential buyer normally encountered, making he or she feel more comfortable with online purchasing.
Putting the buyer at ease
Citing the Gartner Group, Mr Loh noted that most local Internet users had purchased something within the last year, but that most of the purchases were not from local merchants. Consumers need assurance, he said, and authentication of the merchant - they needed to know that the site was dependable, could deliver the goods, and that the online transactions would be secure. The partnership with Cybersource, he added, made sense as the solutions provider also handles risk management and multiple currencies, valid concerns in today's global e-commerce arena.
Prof Toh also said that CaseTrust intends to go public within this year, after getting more funding and corporatizing itself.
Cybersource, is a Singapore incorporated company, established in December 1995 and has over 50 merchants in countries like Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Hong Kong and Pakistan. It provides e-commerce and wireless Internet solutions, including a global messaging system and a WAP portal (netonwap.com), soon to allow full m-commerce functionality once secure transmissions can be guaranteed.