Leveraging digital opportunities

KUALA LUMPUR: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can utilise digital means to make up for the shortfall in sales at their physical storefronts during the Covid-19 pandemic and the movement control order (MCO), say industry players.

During an April 16 Zoom video conference, Senheng Electric (KL) Sdn Bhd managing director Lim Kim Heng, Digi chief business officer Eugene Teh and Malaysian Digital Association president Serm Teck Choon gave insights into the ways SMEs can leverage the new wave of commerce strategies to open new windows of opportunities in business, by transforming their businesses.

Titled “Digital Commerce for Sustainability”, it is the second knowledge sharing session under the SOBA SMEBiz Webinar series.

An initiative by the Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA), the series is aimed at addressing pertinent issues among SMEs in sustaining their businesses beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

SOBA 2020 is organised by Star Media Group with Digi, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd as main sponsors, Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd as co-sponsor and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation as the official trade promotion partner. It is supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO.

For more information on SOBA, email soba@thestar.com.my.

Senheng Electric (KL) Sdn Bhd managing director

Lim Kim Heng

Those with existing e-commerce strategies like Senheng’s seamless new retail model – which combines retail online and offline with logistics and big data - also have to adapt, as the ways to channel traffic and communicate with customers are different.

Immediately brainstorm with the team to open up new windows to bring in new businesses.

Put more resources into online touchpoints to bring in traffic online, assign an experienced candidate with good product and operations experience.

Open a call centre for inbound calls as another channel for sales, as well as to handle enquiries about promotions, products and delivery.

Mobilise sales teams to become telemarketers and deploy big data through the customer database for outbound calls to reactivate lapsed customers in the database.

Use digital apps to enable redemption of birthday vouchers, to blast special promotions, to launch customer activation programmes for lapsed customers or to collect customer feedback.

Digi chief business officer

Eugene Teh

Set up a process for a daily meeting for at least five minutes to ensure employees continue to function as a team through communication, as it also enables brainstorming.

Identify gaps in the existing offerings and tailor products and services to capture the immediate need of the market.

Enable sales team to start selling online. Get the buy-in from employees to leverage their own social media accounts to push sales.

There are four rules of thumb to help SMEs navigate the digital landscape: start small, think mobile first, engage the right partner and start building big data capabilities.

First, start small by leveraging e-commerce platforms to learn the critical areas of an online business along the way. Then, consider digital collection methods, supply chain such as last-mile delivery as well as building a community.

Second, designing the website or interface should be optimised for mobile, as it’s where businesses can engage most of their customers.

Third, adopt a partnership with the right ecosystem mindset, which would help get businesses on the right track with the right digital solutions, including facilitating new ways to reach customers or to boost sales.

Lastly, start thinking about how to capture and use data smarter consistently and systematically, such as starting with a cloud point-of-sales system to collect information to understand their customer behaviour better.

Malaysian Digital Association president

Serm Teck Choon

It is about how businesses can do things differently and innovatively in difficult times, by optimising resources and opening new windows of opportunity.

At this point in time, when businesses no longer have a physical touchpoint with customers, e-commerce becomes a key touchpoint.

While e-commerce is a key area, it is only one part of digital transformation, so businesses have to take this opportunity to make the jump.

Setting up an online store, having your own app and creating a paperless business environment is the ideal for mid- to larger companies.

Utilise online platforms such as FB Live and Zoom to educate the public can help build up a community and credibility, especially for those that cannot provide their services due to MCO limitations.

For business-to-business companies, build trust and engagement in order to build a relationship with customers, by providing value-add using digital platforms.

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