On 12 June 2020, Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Standards Council launched Technical Reference 76: the first-ever guidelines to set out a national standard for e-commerce transactions. The standard is aimed at boosting the digitalisation of SMEs, as well as the burgeoning e-commerce sector in Singapore.

Technical Reference 76 serves as a practical reference for e-retailers and online marketplaces. The guidelines cover a wide range of functions, from the pre-purchase activities of browsing and selection, to purchasing and payment processes, as well as post-purchase fulfilment, delivery, product tracking, returns, refunds and exchanges. They provide best practices for businesses looking to develop and implement the necessary operational procedures, customer support, merchant verification controls, as well as processes to ensure that consumer-facing communications are clear and enable customers to make informed choices.

The standard was formulated as an industry-led effort comprising representatives from the Consumers Association of Singapore, the Singapore Retailers Association, e-marketplaces including Carousell and Shopee, the e-retailer FortyTwo, Nanyang Polytechnic’s Singapore Institute of Retail Studies, and payment and logistics service providers.

Technical Reference 76 can be purchased from the Singapore Standards e-shop at www.singaporestandardseshop.sg. To support SMEs’ efforts in combating COVID-19, the public will, for a limited time, be given free access to Technical Reference 76 and other selected international and Singapore standards at www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/standards-covid19.

There will also be an upcoming webinar on 2 July 2020 to discuss the launch of Technical Reference 76. Interested participants can register via upskill@sirs.edu.sg.

Concluding remarks

The e-commerce market has grown, and is expected to continue to grow, rapidly in Singapore and across the region. At the same time, there are numerous legal considerations that need to be addressed in order for e-retailers and marketplaces to thrive sustainably and reap the fruits of their labours without the worry or set-back of any potential repercussions. Where possible, external counsel should be engaged to advise companies on consumer-facing agreements, supplier and service contracts, and the applicability of local laws and regulations to their business, including consumer protection, advertising and marketing, intellectual property, and data privacy issues.


Reed Smith LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore under the name and style, Reed Smith Pte Ltd (hereafter collectively, Reed Smith). Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with Reed Smith’s Formal Law Alliance partner in Singapore, Resource Law LLC, where necessary.